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Motosport

The Bend hope to bring F1 back to SA

SVG shines, Whincup crashes in Supercars

Build it and they will come – maybe even Formula One.

The remote $110 million Tailem Bend track an hour’s drive of Adelaide may have only just hosted its maiden Supercars round.

But its developers are dreaming big, not ruling out a tilt at bringing a grand prix back to South Australia.

The difficult 18-turn, 4.95km The Bend circuit made some of Supercars’ biggest names see red last weekend as they slid off time and again trying to get their heads around the category’s first permanent track since 1999.

But the circuit’s developer, Sam Shahin, believes the signs are good for The Bend to usher in a F1 return to SA.

Adelaide hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1985-95 before it moved to Melbourne.

Shahin said “never say never” about an F1 return to SA.

“If one day we have the chance to bring it back to SA I want to be in the front row to do that,” he told reporters.

The Bend has many configurations, with the longest being 7.7km, making it the second-biggest permanent track in the world behind Germany’s Nurburgring.

The track already meets requirements to host MotoGP and the World Endurance Championship.

And in an interesting twist, NASCAR deputy Steve O’Donnell was a special guest at the maiden The Bend round at the weekend.


Shahin said only “minor changes” had to be made to the circuit to host F1 races.

Shahin made his fortune operating SA’s largest private company, The Peregrine Corporation, with his two brothers after their OTR petrol station empire was founded by his late father more than 30 years ago.

While Tailem Bend boasts only 1500 people, crowds flooded in at its debut Supercars round at the revamped circuit, which was a former Mitsubishi Motors testing track.

More than 17,000 were at Sunday’s 200km finale, boosting the round’s three-day attendance to more than 41,000 – easily eclipsing initial expectations of 30,000.

The drivers’ biggest complaint was the amount of dirt scattered around the track as they cut corners on what is considered Supercars’ most technical track.

But Holden’s defending Supercars series champion Jamie Whincup, who claimed Sunday’s 41-lap race, said it wouldn’t be an issue in future.

“It’s a cracker race track. It just needs time to mature,” he said.

“The dust issue is just because it is brand new. Anyone who develops a track knows dust is the biggest drama.

“When we come back next year I am sure the whole dust thing won’t be an issue.”


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