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Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

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Subject: Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Greg Murphy, 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series, 2013 International V8 Supercars Championship, Australian Tourist Trophy
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Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Location Phillip Island, Victoria
Time zone GMT +10
Owner Linfox
Opened 31 March 1928 (Road circuit)[1]
15 December 1956 (modern circuit)[2]
Re-opened: 7 April 1989
Closed 1940 (Road circuit)[1]
1978 (modern circuit)
Major events Australian Grand Prix
Australian motorcycle Grand Prix
Superbike World Championship
Australian Manufacturers' Championship
Australian Touring Car Championship
V8 Supercar Championship Series
Australian Drivers' Championship
Armstrong 500
Surface Asphalt
Length 4.445 km (2.762 mi)
Turns 12
Lap record 1:24.221 (Simon Wills, Reynard 94D Holden, 2000, Formula Holden)
Road (1928–1935)
Surface Gravel
Length 10.6 km (6.5 mi)
Turns 4
Lap record 4:49.4 (Bill Thompson, Bugatti Type 37A, 1932)
Road (1936–1940)
Surface Gravel
Length 5.3 km (3.3 mi)
Turns 4

The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is a motor racing circuit on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia. The circuit was opened in 1956.


  • History 1
    • Road circuit 1.1
    • Grand Prix Circuit 1.2
      • Important dates 1.2.1
  • Current status 2
  • Lap records 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Road circuit

Motor racing on Phillip Island began in 1928 with the running of the 100 Miles Road Race, an event which has since become known as the first Australian Grand Prix. It utilised a high speed rectangle of local closed-off public roads with four similar right hand corners. The course length varied, with the car course approximately 6 miles per lap, compared to the motorcycle circuit which was approximately 10 miles (16 km) in length. The circuit was the venue for the Australian Grand Prix through to 1935 and it was used for the last time on 6 May 1935 for the Jubilee Day Races.[3]

Other significant events staged at the Phillip Island road circuit included the Victorian Centenary Grand Prix of 1934 and the 1936 Australian Tourist Trophy.

A triangular circuit utilising one leg of the original rectangular course was subsequently mapped out and used for racing [4] from 1936 to 1940.[5]

Grand Prix Circuit

In 1951, a group of six local businessmen decided to build a new track. About 2 km away from the original circuit, it still bears the corner name signs of the original circuit. As the piece of available land was on the edge of the coast, the track is known for its steep grades – the highest 57 metres – which caused cost overruns and delays in track opening. The new track was opened in 1956 [4] and in 1960 the first Armstrong 500 production car race was held at the circuit. Extensive damage resulted from the running of the 1962 Armstrong 500, and, with the circuit owners unable to finance repairs, the circuit was closed and the race was moved to the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst in New South Wales.

The circuit reopened in October 1967 [4] and hosted the Phillip Island 500K endurance race, a round of the Australian Manufacturers' Championship, from 1971 to 1977. But again, due to its testing terrain, the circuit required much maintenance and slowly declined through the 1970s. It was farmed by its owners while closed and was then sold in 1985 in preparation for reopening, but did not do so until 1988 after agreement on a long term lease and rebuild agreement. During the time the circuit deteriorated and finally closed, part of the main problem for its owners was that the main bridge from the island to the Australian mainland reportedly could not carry the heavy vehicles needed to resurface the circuit. This meant that the bitumen surface was a cold mix which easily broke up under the rigours of racing, instead of the standard hot mix which would have allowed a more durable surface. It would not be until the mid-1980s that the bridge would be rebuilt allowing the necessary equipment needed for resurfacing.

The circuit was refurbished with a reduced length of 4.449 kilometres and was reopened on 4 December 1988 for the final round of the 1988 Swann Insurance International Series for motorcycles.[6]

The 1989 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix saw a race long dice in the 500 cc division between local favourites Wayne Gardner and Kevin Magee, along with Wayne Rainey and Christian Sarron. The race was won by 1987 World Champion Gardner to the delight of the huge crowd. Gardner would make it two in a row at the Island in 1990 before the race moved to Eastern Creek in Sydney in 1991. The Australian motorcycle Grand Prix would remain at Eastern creek until it returned permanently to Phillip Island from 1997.

Phillip Island hosted its first Superbike World Championship round in 1990, taking over from Sydney's Oran Park Raceway as the Australian round of the series. Local riders Peter Goddard (Yamaha FZR750) and Rob Phillis (Kawasaki ZXR750) won the two races for what was Round 12 of the season, with Goddard having secured pole position.

In 1990 the Australian Touring Car Championship returned to the circuit for the first time since 1977, with Dick Johnson winning in his Ford Sierra RS500.

Important dates

  • 1951: A historically significant meeting of six local businessmen decided to re-establish motor racing at Phillip Island.
  • 1952: A steering committee formed and the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club (PIARC) developed with a dream "to build Australia's first international grand prix circuit".The current site was purchased in that year. PIARC calls for 7000 subscriptions at 10 pounds each to assist in the development of the circuit and building work begins. An Alfa was used to measure the three-mile distance required for international certification as an International Circuit.
  • 1956: Between 1952 and 1956 the building of the circuit had met with major engineering hurdles and PIARC had to call for more money from its shareholders. The grand open meeting was held with much acclaim in December 1956.
  • 1957: Phillip Island stages numerous trophy races including the Australian Motorsport Magazine Trophy Race 1957, the Formula Libre race of 1958 and the Phillip Island Trophy race of 1958.
  • 1960: The first Armstrong 500 endurance race is won by Frank Coad and John Roxburgh driving a Vauxhall Cresta. They completed the race in eight hours 15 minutes.
  • 1962: The circuit is damaged during the running of the 1962 Armstrong 500 and is subsequently closed to racing.
  • 1964: Businessman and former Australian Drivers' Champion Len Lukey purchases the circuit with a view to redevelopment.[7]
  • 1967: The circuit reopens with a newly laid surface at the "Grand Re-Opening Meeting" on 22 October 1967.[8]
  • 1971: The first Phillip Island 500 endurance race is held
  • 1978: The circuit is closed,[9] having become becomes virtually unusable for modern racing and, between 1979 and 1982, it is used only for historic rallies and cub sprints.[10]
  • 1985: Phillip Island Circuit purchased by Placetac Pty Ltd, with the view to re-introducing racing to the famous facility.
  • 1988: The circuit is refurbished with a reduced length of 4.449 kilometres and is reopened on 4 December 1988 for the final round of the 1988 Swann Insurance International Series for motorcycles.[6]
  • 1989: The 1989 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix, a World Championship round, is held at the circuit on 9 April.[11]
  • 1990: Phillip Island hosts its first round of the Superbike World Championship. Phillip Island continues to host a round each year.
  • 1996: Australian superbike rider, Troy Corser, wins the Superbike World Championship on board a Ducati at the October race at Phillip Island.
  • 1999: The Australian Touring Car Championship is renamed to Shell Championship Series (later V8 Supercars Championship) and Phillip Island continues to host an annual round.
  • 2004: The property is purchased by the Linfox corporation with a view to complement the world famous circuit with world class facilities such as an 18 hole Greg Norman designed championship golf course and a luxurious 5 star hotel.

Current status

Casey Stoner in action at the 2010 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

In 2006 and 2007, Phillip Island hosted the grand finale of the V8 Supercars Championship Series, as well as a regular MotoGP and Superbike round. From 2008 to 2011, Phillip Island hosted the L&H 500, replacing Sandown as the host track of V8 Supercar's 500 km race, before returning to Sandown in 2012.

A multimillion-dollar re-development was undertaken in late 2006 by the Linfox Group, which now owns the track. The new facilities will also feature a karting circuit.

In the lead up to the 2012 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the circuit's third turn was officially named Stoner Corner, in honour of Australian MotoGP rider Casey Stoner, who had won the Grand Prix for five consecutive years from 2007 to 2011, and would retire following the 2012 MotoGP season. The choice of the third turn was made by Stoner himself, describing it as his favourite corner. He went on to win the 2012 event.[12]

Lap records

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Panorama showing turn 12 heading on to Gardner Straight
As of 19 October 2015

In the early 1990s, Phillip Island was used during the Australian summer for pre-season testing by various World Sportscar Championship teams and some Japanese Formula 3000 teams (who generally found travelling to Australia was actually cheaper than paying some $5,000 per hour to hire the Honda owned Suzuka Circuit in Japan). While no official lap times were published, television commentator and race driver Neil Crompton reported in 1990 that the Nissan Motorsports International team with drivers Julian Bailey and Mark Blundell driving the Nissan R90C were able to lap the circuit in around 1:18 while a 3.0 Litre Mugen V8 powered Dome F3000 (which Crompton drove) was able record similar lap times. At the time the fastest Australian cars that raced at Phillip Island were the 3.8 Litre V6 powered Formula Holden's which were approximately 10 seconds per lap slower.[13]

Class Driver Vehicle Time Date
Outright Simon Wills Reynard 94D Holden 1:24.2215 13 February 2000
Racing Cars
Formula Holden Simon Wills Reynard 94D Holden 1:24.2215 13 February 2000
Formula 3 Tim Macrow Dallara F307 Mercedes-Benz 1:24.5146 21 September 2013
Superkart Russell Jamieson Anderson Maverick-DEA 1:28.1232 21 September 2013
Formula 5000 Chris Hyde McRae GM1 Chevrolet 1:30.1205 9 March 2008
Formula Ford Anton De Pasquale Mygale SJ13a-Ford 1:35.8901 24 November 2013
Touring Cars
V8 Supercars Jamie Whincup Holden VF Commodore 1:32.0246 23 November 2013
Super Touring Geoff Brabham BMW 320i 1:37.1706 1 June 1997
Group A Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 1:40.2312 10 March 2013
Sports Cars
Group 2A Sports Cars James Winslow Radical SR8 Suzuki 1:25.9294 25 May 2013
GT Sports Cars Jack Le Brocq Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 1:27.1505 26 May 2013
Carrera Cup Steven Richards Porsche 991 GT3 Cup 1:31.6230 24 May 2014
Nations Cup Paul Stokell Lamborghini Diablo GTR 1:34.1058 10 August 2003
Marque Sports Steve Owen Lamborghini Gallardo 1:34.4309 21 November 2009
Aussie Racing Cars Adrian Cottrell Aurion-Yamaha 1:47.2815 18 May 2012
MotoGP Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:28.108 20 October 2013
500cc Grand Prix Kenny Roberts, Jr. Suzuki RGV500 1:32.743 1 October 1999
250cc Grand Prix Álvaro Bautista Aprilia RSV 250 1:32.710 5 October 2008
125cc Grand Prix Álvaro Bautista Honda RS125R 1:36.927 17 September 2006
Moto2 Alex de Angelis Speed Up SF13 1:32.814 20 October 2013
Moto3 Jack Miller KTM RC250GP 1:36.302 19 October 2014
World Superbikes Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1:31.168 24 February 2013
World Supersports Kenan Sofuoğlu Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 1:33.238 24 February 2013
Australian Superbikes Wayne Maxwell Honda CBR1000RR 1:32.316 17 October 2009
600cc Supersport Bryan Staring Yamaha YZF-R6 1:35.200 17 October 2009
Sidecar Steve Webster/
David James
LCR-Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:38.726 18 April 1999


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ John B Blanden, A History of Australian Grand Prix 1928–1939, Volume 1, 1981, page 123
  4. ^ a b c Pedr Davis, The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 363
  5. ^ Phillip Island Club Triangle Circuit Retrieved from on 20 February 2011
  6. ^ a b Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 161-163
  7. ^ Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 107-108
  8. ^ Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 113
  9. ^ Terry Walker, Fast Tracks, 1995, page 130
  10. ^ Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 134-135
  11. ^ Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 163-165
  12. ^
  13. ^ 1990 Phillip Island Raceway Dunlop Tyre Testing

Further reading

"The Official 50 Race History of the Australian Grand Prix"

External links

  • Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit official website

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