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Major safety updates completed at Phillip Island

Major safety updates completed at Phillip Island

Major safety updates completed at Phillip Island

A new-look Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit has been unveiled after a A$2 million safety upgrade of the world-renowned track over the past two months. The track improvements have been jointly funded by the Victorian Government and the new circuit owner, Linfox.

Mr Ron Walker, Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation which will stage the 2004 Cinzano Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the circuit on October 15-17, and Mr Lindsay Fox, Founder of Linfox, which acquired the circuit this year, inspected the track changes this week.

The circuit was already homologated for this year's Grand Prix but the safety upgrade was done in consultation and co-operation with the MotoGP Safety Commission because of the significant increase in performance of the new-generation four-stroke bikes.

Changes have been made all around the 4.4km track. Major works have been done on the Pit Exit and Pit Entry, safety barriers have been moved further back from the track in several places, new and bigger run-offs and gravel traps have been created and new tyre walls built.

Indeed, 30,000 tyres were brought in to form new safety walls. There has also been 12,500 tonnes of river gravel trucked in to form the new gravel traps, which are crucial in slowing up competitors who run off the circuit. The track upgrade has also seen 1.5 km of new kerbing installed. Further improvements to the circuit are envisaged by 2006.

Mr Walker and Mr Fox said the recent works, and those planned for the future, were part of a program to maintain Phillip Island's position as a pre-eminent international motor sport venue.

"The Cinzano Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix is the biggest annual event in regional Victoria and showcases Phillip Island and Australia to the world," Mr Walker said.

"Victorian governments, of both political persuasions, have strongly supported the Grand Prix at Phillip Island and the contribution to upgrading the circuit, jointly with Linfox, is greatly appreciated and will ensure the track, the Grand Prix and other events here continue to bring great pleasure to many millions of people each year."

THE CHANGES – TURN BY TURN

> The Pit Exit, which previously joined the circuit in front of the Control Tower on Gardner Straight, just past the start-finish line, has been extended all the way down to Turn One (Doohan Corner) to create greater visibility of riders entering the track.

> The circuit is now 10 metres wider from the Control Tower down to Turn One, with a six-metre median strip between the circuit proper and the Pit Exit.

> Turn One now features a greater run-off area and new gravel trap.

> At Turn Two the run-off area has been raised, a huge gravel trap created on the outside of the turn, and the safety barrier moved back 50 metres. A new viewing mound has been built at Southern Loop (Turn Two).

> From Turn Three to Turn Four the run-off has been raised, making it level with the track surface. Spectator viewing has also been improved in this area, known as Bass Strait.

> At Turn Six the run-off has been raised – and indeed now runs uphill.

> At Turn Eight (approaching the Hayshed) the former triangular run-off has become a gravel trap.

> At Turn 10 a new gravel trap has been created and the tyre wall pushed back 25 metres.

> From Turn 11 all the way around to the "MELBOURNE" bridge on the main straight, Gardner Straight, gravel has been laid from the outside of the two-metre grass verge of the track to the safety barriers.

> The Pit Entry still begins before the sweeping Turn 12 on to Gardner Straight but now more closely follows the radius of the inside of Turn 12. The Pit Entry is now 80 metres longer, and straighter, providing clearer visibility for riders as well as crews and officials in the Pit Lane. The concrete wall lining the Pit Entry before the Pit Lane has also been extended.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, CINZANO AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

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