Newcastle Supercars: James Warburton laments ‘scaremongering’ | map, photos, video

James Warburton in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Michael Parris
James Warburton in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Michael Parris

Supercars supremo James Warburton says lack of detail about the November race in Newcastle has led to “scaremongering” in the community.

Mr Warburton was in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin to inspect the layout for the track, which will host the final round of the series for the next five years.

Supercars will hold another round of community consultation next week to discuss a range of issues which have concerned some Newcastle East residents, including access during the track construction and race weekend and the effect of that work on the area’s heritage.

“We do everything that we possibly can. We’ve got a great track record in working with local residents,” Mr Warburton said at Fort Scratchley.

“We have some 9000 [affected] residents in the Gold Coast community that obviously work with the Gold Coast 600 and 500 at Bathurst, so we’re a very professional organisation in terms of the way we work with residents and look at all of the options for the three-day race weekend.”

Tension exists between Supercars, Newcastle City Council and Destination NSW over consultation about a possible alternative route along Shortland Esplanade to Nobbys, but Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes stood alongside Mr Warburton at Tuesday’s press conference.  

“All three of us will need to work well together to achieve the outcome,” Mr Warburton said. “From our perspective, so far so good. These things are tough in year one, but that noise abates, and as long as the event delivers, which we’re absolutely confident it will, this will be a huge success for Newcastle.

“We just get on with the job. We do 16 race meetings in 37 weeks. For us, it’s about making sure we do our part. We’re as responsible as anyone else in this mix.”

The council has started utility works on parts of the race route in Shortland Esplanade, but Supercars contractors will not begin building the track until May 1.

That work will include resurfacing the entire 2.6km of road to be used for the Supercars circuit.