Liberal-Nationals coalition leader, Matthew Guy has promised to build the “Colosseum of Drag Racing” in Melbourne if he wins government in next weekend’s Victorian State election.
Guy made the announcement today, promising to spend $10m to find and purchase a suitable site before committing another $30m for its construction.
“[A Liberal-Nationals government] is going to commit $10m to find and plan a site, and then another $30m or so to build it – and we’re going to get on with the job of building the ‘Colosseum of Drag Racing’ in Australia for Melbourne,” Guy said.
Guy said a dedicated facility would increase tourism and invigorate the once vibrant Victorian drag racing industry, which has suffered considerably since Calder Park ceased to run regular events in 2001.
“[Drag racing] is competitive, it is interesting, and it brings a lot of tourism potential. It’s an international sport, not just a sport in Australia, so the brand awareness for Melbourne and Victoria will be enormous,” he said.
“We’re missing out on [the tourism] in Melbourne, and we want to make sure we have the biggest and best facility to capture that market.
“[The facility cost] is a small injection for a huge investment in tourism and a whole range of other industries that will come to Victoria [as a result].”
Guy’s announcement follows meetings held between the Opposition leader and second-generation drag racing official Lachlan Craven, reigning Pro Bike champion Maurice Allen, and long-time motorsport media identity Gerald McDornan, with the trio having presented a detailed proposal for the facility.
Allen said while the realisation of today’s announcement hinges on next week’s state election it was still a historic day for the sport with the return of the annual Australian Nationals to Melbourne high on the list of priorities for the track.
“This is a great day for our sport and we’d like to thank Mr. Guy and his team for seeing the benefits of this particular project. Today’s announcement is incredible in what it means for so many passionate competitors, spectators, and enthusiasts.” Allen said.
“In the 1990s, Melbourne played host to the biggest and most prestigious drag racing event outside the United States each year, and it is our intention that the Nationals returns to this city.
“It’s long overdue and the fact Mr. Guy has listened and given an undertaking for it makes it an exciting time for our sport.”