Have you ever dreamed of one day owning your very own race track? What about a true blue grand prix circuit?
Well, now you can, and all for a bargain price!
S2134 Olson Rd, Port Wakefield, is home to the Port Wakefield Grand Prix circuit, which hosted the 1955 Australian Grand Prix, and it’s currently for sale.
Located in rural South Australia, the property is being sold by its elderly owner to help pay for her aged-care requirements. The property currently has a bid of $15,000, and is being sold by Openn Negotiation, a flexible terms online auction site. It’s expected the historic site will reach a final price of between $80,000 and $100,000.
The Port Wakefield circuit holds significant historical importance for Australian motorsport, being the site of Jack Brabham’s first grand prix victory.
This was long before the Aussie Grand Prix was part of the Formula 1 World Championship, with the ’55 AGP being open to Formula Libre cars, with an unlimited engine capacity. In total 22 cars started the race, which ran to 80 laps.
Brabham’s victory at the helm of a Cooper T40 Bristol was also the first Australian Grand Prix victory for a rear-engine car, something that wouldn’t be repeated until 1960.
The T40 was a streamlined version of Cooper’s racer, and was built by Brabham in England after he joined the squad, before sending the car to Australia.
The Australian racing legend shared the fastest lap for the grand prix with polesitter Reg Hunt who was driving a Maserati A6GCM. The duo lapped the circuit in a time of 1:03.0.
It was the twentieth time the AGP was run, and the first time it would be held on a purpose built circuit.
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Brabham would go on to win another two Australian Grands Prix, going back-to-back in ’63 and ’64.
Port Wakefield was the first purpose built race track in Australia after World War II when it opened in 1953, and it’s the second standalone circuit to be built in our nation’s history.
Construction of the circuit began after the South Australian government banned motorsport on public roads, where many events were held in that era, following the death of a spectator. The ban would only be lifted in 1985 so the Adelaide Street Circuit could host a round of the F1 championship.
Unfortunately 1955 would be the first and only time that Port Wakefield would host the Australian Grand Prix, with South Australia creating the Mallala circuit when it was the state’s turn to host the GP again in 1961. Part of Port Wakefield’s facilities were used in the construction of Mallala, crippling the 2.092-kilometre circuit, and it would host its last race meeting, organised by the Austin 7 Club of South Australia, on May 14, 1961.
The outline of the dirt track can still be found on Google Maps, however, it is hidden behind ever encroaching scrub.
The future owners will have the perfect back-yard circuit should they have some oil in their veins.
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