Newcastle Supercars track builders ready to roll | photos, video

START LINE: Josh Ryan, right, in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars boss James Warburton and drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin.

START LINE: Josh Ryan, right, in Newcastle on Tuesday with Supercars boss James Warburton and drivers James Courtney and Scott McLaughlin.

Work is due to start on May 1 to transform parts of Newcastle East into a Supercars track, including resurfacing all 2.6km of the circuit.

Senior project manager Josh Ryan, of track engineers iEDM, said on Tuesday that construction crews would work on various parts of the circuit simultaneously.

The project would include fresh tarmac on the entire track, reshaping corners, new footpaths, a new road through Nobbys reserve and replacing permanent speed humps with temporary ones.

“Given the condensed time frames for delivery, the packages will be constructed concurrently in all four zones as per our mapping,” Mr Ryan said. “We are aiming, with the caveat of approvals from state government, to start construction on the first of May, through, tentatively, to the end of September.

“That’s just the civil construction. Then overlay of the event will start around early to mid October, take us through six to seven weeks to the event.”

Mr Ryan said the engineers would work hard to maintain vehicle access for as much of the construction period as possible.

Newcastle City Council is working on part of the race route at the southern end of Shortland Esplanade, but a spokesman said this was related to replacing a retaining wall for the Bathers Way project.

Some residents are concerned the circuit will look like a motor racing track 365 days a year, detracting from Newcastle East’s heritage character. But Mr Ryan said the circuit would effectively disappear after each race weekend.

Temporary structures for the November 24 to 26 race would include two pedestrian bridges spanning the track, one at the corner of Wharf Road and Watt Street and another probably at Hunter Street to maximise pedestrian traffic past CBD shops, cafes and bars. 

Mr Ryan said Supercars simulations had confirmed the drivers would reach 240km/h down Wharf Road before sweeping left into Watt Street around a slightly reshaped corner. The track would not require chicanes to slow down the cars.

Mr Ryan, who is living in Newcastle this year with his family while the track is built, said about 300 contractors would work on the five-month track construction. He said the project would leave the city with better roads and footpaths.

Supercars executives will be back in Newcastle next week to talk to residents, and chief executive James Warburton said tickets would go on sale to Novocastrians at the end of April.

Organisers have secured Delta Goodrem to perform on the Friday night of the race weekend and are still chasing a “major” act for the following night. 

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