Symmons Plains Raceway—the pride of Tassie motor racing!
Located 30kms south of the city of Launceston, Symmons Plains Raceway is the one of the longest serving racing circuits in Australia, hosting iconic events like the Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar series.
Since 2005, Symmons Plains has been home to it’s own event, now known as the Tasmania Supersprint, which attracts thousands of fans ready to enjoy the finest V8 action the Apple Isle has to offer.
You don’t even have to be a racing legend or event spectator to enjoy the thrill of Symmons Plains. Now you can experience the thrill yourself when you come down to the track for a signature V8 drive or hot lap experience. If you’re a motor racing enthusiast these event days are the perfect opportunity to get behind the wheel of a high performance V8 race car and see how your lap times compare to those of your racing heroes.
The history of Symmons Plains
Symmons Plains Raceway has a rich and interesting history, and is one of Australia’s oldest continually in-use circuits, having been in operation since 1960. Loved for being short and fast, the circuit has been a fixture on the touring car and V8 Supercar scene for so long that it has become synonymous with Tasmanian sport.
In fact, Symmons Plains is so popular that when it hosts its annual round of V8 Supercars, it’s considered the largest sporting event in the state!
The track did remain relatively unchanged for the majority of its early years, but received a substantial $3 million upgrade in 2004. The start/finish lines were moved and the layout of the track changed to straighten the previously curved road course.
From farmland to racing ready
The original Symmons Plains circuit started life as a paddock on the edge of a wealthy family’s farmland, deep in sheep grazing country. The Youl family was known as prosperous land owners but also as integral members of the Tasmanian motor racing scene. Brothers John and Gavin Youl were quality race drivers, and luckily had the means and backing of a supportive family who said they could use some of the land on the edge of the property to build their own circuit.
With the help of fellow Tasmanian racing enthusiasts Robin Bessant and John Berrenger, the first rudimentary shapes of the circuit were mapped out and by 1960, the circuit was ready for action.
Locals initially laughed at the track layout which resembled a pork chop and had a strange start and finish position sitting on a slight curve. The pit lane was also peculiarly crammed into the centre of the course, restricting space. However, the extremely tight Brambles Hairpin turn was set to be an instant hit.
Australian Driver’s Championships and V8 Supercars
It didn’t take long for Symmons Plains to become a popular circuit for the Tasmanian racing scene. By 1966, the Australian Driver’s Championship started at the track with Greg Cusack christening the course with a win in his Lotus-Climax.
By the time Touring Car racing took off, Symmons Plains was well and truly playing in the big league. From the late ‘60s until 1999 some of the biggest and brightest from Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat, Robbie Franceivic and George Fury all made history at the track.
With so much talent making its way to Symmons Plains special mention has to go to Peter Brock and Jamie Whincup who have both taken five wins at the track.
Symmons Plains upgrades
Symmons Plains remained relatively unchanged during the early years, with minor upgrades made to the pits and paddock facilities which were in much need of some love. However, by 1994, it was time to make some major changes, with upgrades made to the pit lane and start/finish lanes to create more space for the teams and a more logical position in front of the new pits.
A $3 million investment was injected to make the track safer and build the first permanent pit garages and hospitality facilities.
Motorbike racers also won out, with a new section of track added after turn two to improve rider safety, as well as a general resurfacing to make the track as safe as possible for everyone.
From 1999 to 2004, the V8 Supercar Series took a break from Symmons Plains but returned to the circuit in November 2004 after the Tasmanian Government, Motorsports Tasmania and the V8 Supercars negotiated the building of new garages, and a raft of other new infrastructure.
New land has been purchased around the Turn 4 hairpin with plans to extend the track.
Where is Symmons Plains Raceway?
Symmons Plains Raceway is located in Launceston, the largest city in Northern Tasmania. You can reach Symmons Plains by driving 30km south of Launceston. Flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane reach Launceston daily and Hobart, Tasmania’s capital is an easy two hour drive to the south.
A great alternative to flying to Tasmania is the popular overnight ferry service, The Spirit of Tasmania. This drive-on service docks at Devonport, approximately 110km north west of Launceston.
Car hire is also available from Launceston and Hobart airports.
No matter how you choose to find Symmons Plains Raceway, why stop by for an exhilarating V8 Supercar driving or hot lap experience?