History

//History
History 2017-04-04T21:19:30+00:00

The Wakefield Park circuit was built by Paul Samuels and John Carter and was opened officially by NSW Premier John Fahey and Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham in November 1994.

It was built with club motorsport firmly in mind, and soon became a popular venue for track days and supersprints.

Since then, Wakefield Park has held every type of car-related activity imaginable, including club sprints, time attack events, manufacturer drive days, driver training programs, state championship race meetings, PROCAR, Shannons Nationals, endurance races, Superbikes and the V8 Supercars Development Series.

The country town of Goulburn, located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, may not have seemed like a particularly obvious location to build a race track. But in fact, Goulburn is steeped in motorsport history, having been the scene of the very first Australian Grand Prix for motor cars in January 1927.

Held on a 1 mile, 75 yard oval dirt track, the inaugural AGP was won by the Bugatti Type 30 of Geoff Meredith.

Many decades later, with Sydney’s population booming and urban sprawl threatening the existence of Amaroo Park, historic racers Paul Samuels and John Carter were concerned about suitable venues to race their cars. They decided to build a circuit in a rural area, a location unlikely to be threatened by development.

After finding a suitable site, seeking approval from the necessary authorities and constructing the track, Wakefield Park was finally opened by NSW Premier John Fahey in November 1994. Formula 1 World Champion, Sir Jack Brabham was also present for the official opening and completed the first official laps of the new circuit.

The circuit was 2.2 kilometres long and featured changes in elevation along with a particularly tight corner which was soon to be dubbed the “Fish-Hook”. The mixture of technical corners and relatively short straights made it a circuit that tested driving ability and car setup, rather than necessarily rewarding those with the most horsepower.

In 2000, the circuit changed hands with Rob Hodkinson and Paul Phillips taking ownership, and Garry Wilmington being appointed as the manager. The new owners made several adjustments to the circuit, including re-profiling the Fish Hook and the final corner to improve the driving experience.

The following year, Wakefield Park’s status was elevated above merely club-level motorsport thanks to two major events taking place at the venue.

The first of those was the V8 Supercars Development Series (then known as the Konica Series) which held the first round of its calendar at Wakefield Park in February. The round was taken out by Simon Wills with two race wins, while Leanne Ferrier finished second overall ahead of Paul Dumbrell.

The V8 Supercars Development Series continued to run at Wakefield Park in its various incarnations, including Konica and Fujitsu, until 2008. DVS race winners at Wakefield Park include such stars as Mark Winterbottom (who won his very first race in a V8 Supercar in 2003), Dean Canto, Adam Macrow, Jonathan Webb, Tony D’Alberto, Steve Owen and Tim Slade, who claimed the final DVS Round at Wakefield Park in 2008.

The second major event to feature on Wakefield Park’s 2001 calendar was the PROCAR Series, held in May. This featured a number of national motorsport categories including the Nation’s Cup, GT Production and V8 Utes. This series attracted more high-profile drivers including John Bowe and Jim Richards, and would continue to run at Wakefield Park until it ceased to exist in 2004.

In 2007, the circuit was purchased by the Benalla Auto Club but the circuit continued to thrive as a facility focused around competitor satisfaction.