There’s just five days to go until the start of round four of the 2016 V8 Supercars season (or should I now call it VASC?!) and the series makes it’s way to Western Australia to Barbagallo Raceway for the Perth SuperSprint. As one of Western Australia’s biggest sporting events, the Perth SuperSprint has seen it’s fair share of historic moments over the course of it’s running and none more so than last year when Will Davison and Erebus wrote themselves into the modern history books after passing Craig Lowndes for victory on Sunday. V8SC arrives in Perth this season in the midst of what is fast becoming one of the most competitive and open years for as long as I can remember and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top. Will McLaughlin and Volvo continue their incredible form from Philip Island, or will PRA come on strong at Barbagallo like they did in 2015? My full round preview will appear at some point in the coming week but in the meantime I’ve delved into a little bit of the history of Barbagallo and the Perth SuperSprint.
Originally known as Waneroo Park, the circuit hosted it’s first race back in March 1969, when the Six Hour Le Mans race for sedans and sports cars moved from Caversham Airfield which had hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1957 and 1962. Touring car racing arrived at Waneroo Park/Raceway in 1973, and the first ever West Australian round of the then named Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) saw Alan Moffat lead home Peter Brock in a Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase II for the Ford factory squad. Moffat would go on to win a further four rounds in 1973, heading Peter Brock in the Holden Torana by 23 points in the final championship table.
It wasn’t until 1978 that the ATCC returned to Waneroo Raceway with Peter Brock taking victory in three out of the next four seasons (78,79,81) until Alan Grice and Re-Car Racing took victory in 1982. During this new period of activity at Waneroo Raceway, the circuit also held it’s only Australian Grand Prix/Australian Drivers’ Championship race in 1979 when a new pit and paddock complex was opened towards the West of the circuit. South Australian Johnnie Walker would go on to win the race for Lola with John Bowe coming home in second place.
ATCC continued to visit Waneroo Raceway throughout the 1980’s with the Group A regulations ensuring that Nissan and Ford would dominate the event from 1985-1992 in a period which would see Mark Skaife take his first ATCC victory in the Gibson Motorsport Nissan Skyline in 1991. Barbagallo Raceway was born in 1992 with the construction of the new 1.7km short circuit linking turn five to the back straight, funded by Alf Barbagallo. ATCC continued to make it’s annual visit to Perth and 1996 saw the start of a period of Holden Racing Team (HRT) domination with Lowndes taking victory in 96,98,99,2000 and Peter Brock winning his final ATCC round in 1997 before Paul Radisich and DJR would take victory for Ford in 2001.
The last 13 Shell/V8SC rounds held at Barbagallo have seen eight overall different winners with some very well known names on the trophy list including Mark Winterbottom, Jamie Whincup, Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes once again. Now known as the Perth SuperSprint, V8 Supercars didn’t visit Barbagallo in 2010 after championship officials labelled the circuit a “third world facility” yet the circuit returned in 2011 with Whincup and Triple Eight taking victory for Holden in the Commodore VE in the same year Karl Reindler suffered burn injuries in what was one of the most dramatic accidents in recent seasons.
In more recent years Barbagallo was the scene where Scott McLaughlin would take Volvo’s first V8SC win in 2014, one year on from Lowndes surpassing Skaife to take his 91st career victory. 2015 was the year Will Davison grabbed the headlines for Erebus Motorsport and we all eagerly anticipate the coming weekend where we wait and see who’ll grab the headlines this time round in Perth.