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Funding pulled for new Bathurst circuit

The federal government funding for a proposed second circuit at Mount Panorama has been pulled.

Mount Panorama design concept

The Bathurst Regional Council announced on Friday evening that two grants totalling $12.5million [£6.7million] have been withdrawn by the federal government.

The two grants, one worth $10million and one worth $2.5million, were awarded to the council to go towards the construction of a second circuit in Bathurst to sit alongside the famous Mount Panorama circuit.

However the grants required the new circuit to be built, and the money spent, by 2026.

With that deadline now unrealistic, and efforts to divert the funds into upgrades to the existing Mount Panorama circuit unsuccessful, the funding has been reversed and the second circuit project put on ice.

“Unfortunately, we were advised [that repurposing the funds] didn’t align with the intent of the original grant funding,” said Bathurst mayor Robert Taylor.

“The project is on hold for now, but the council strongly supports the development of the second circuit and will continue to work with both the federal and state governments and other stakeholders to make it happen.”

The council had raised a total of $27.5million [£14.7million] for a project it expected to cost around $52million [£27.9million].

There was the now-withdrawn $12.5million of federal funding, as well as a total of $15 million of state government funding – $5 million of which has already been spent on the design and documentation for the development application.

The council had secured a 200-hectare site behind McPhillamy and Reid Parks on Mount Panorama, where it had planned to build a permanent circuit facility, entirely separate from the existing track.

When plans were announced in 2018, UK-based firm Apex Circuit Designworking was hired to create the track design.

The facility would have had year-round use, unlike the existing circuit which is actually an open tourist road that can only be closed for racing five times per year.

Those events are the Bathurst 12 Hour, the Bathurst 6 Hour, the Bathurst 1000, Challenge Bathurst and the Bathurst International.

The plans for the second circuit included a 4.5-kilometre layout with both FIA and FIM approvals, with Supercars having initially declared interest in racing at the new facility. 

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