The Bend modernizes to create a ‘festival atmosphere’

A bridge has been erected at Bend Motorsport Park

Sam Shahin hopes to create a “festival atmosphere” on the grounds of Bend Motorsport Park with further improvements to the circuit.

The installation of a bridge and the addition of concrete walls and fences across the center of the circuit will open up new areas for spectators for this weekend’s OTR SuperSprint.

Spectators will have better access to the middle of the circuit, with general admission on the front straight and at Turn 13.

The bridge, which was last used on the Adelaide Street circuit, was only installed on Wednesday and received final technical approval yesterday.

Shahin said the circuit upgrades are aimed at improving the customer experience.

“Creating infield access and the ability to have spectators on the infield literally right in front of pole position on the main straight is an experience you certainly can’t get on any track in Australia today.” , Shahin told Speedcafe.com.

“So I’m very happy to be able to offer this to our wonderful customers who come here this weekend.

“We installed about 2 km of debris fencing and concrete barriers on the infield and for the first time we activated the infield.

“That was the purpose of the pedestrian overpass, to get people inside the field. For the first time, people will be able to line up the circuit on the other side and watch the races.

“There will be entertainment, food, drink, bars and some [displays]. It’s a festival atmosphere on the ground just to give people a different taste of what they experienced last year.

“So we’re trying to speak here and say okay, we’d like to give customers a different experience this year and we’ll listen.

“If they commit, if they use it, great, we’ll try to improve it next year; if they don’t, well, we’ve made a mistake.

The move comes as Shahin urged Supercars to be more innovative, even suggesting The Bend’s 7.7km GT setup as an option for future rounds.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic shaking spectator confidence, Shahin said this weekend’s Supercars event at Tailem Bend will be well attended.

“COVID has made a mess of everything, as everyone knows, for the last 18 months or so, and there’s still this apprehension about people attending events,” Shahin explained.

“But the indications from ticket sales so far have been incredibly encouraging and yes, we’re on track for perhaps our biggest event ever, which is pretty incredible given the circumstances.

“The motorsport crowd is very unique; many decisions are left to the last minute and they all leave us guessing, with a significant share of input from people showing up that day.

“It’s pretty hard for any place to respond in terms of food, toilets, traffic and all that sort of thing, but hopefully people show up in droves.

“We’re ready. But there are certainly indications that this will likely be our biggest year ever.”

The action at OTR SuperSprint kicks off Friday with practice and qualifying for the support categories. The supercars will be on track Saturday and Sunday.


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