LAST August, we spoke to Lance Warren just days after his purchase of Heathcote Park Raceway. The sale was settled on 31 December, and since then Lance and a dedicated crew have been working tirelessly on breathing life into the iconic venue.
“We’ve only had four weeks here and the place is already looking so clean,” Lance says. “We’ve achieved a shitload.”
The staging area has been torn up and resurfaced with fresh bitumen, while the less-than-reliable timing boards have been made functional. An entirely new Compulink system and tree are being installed, replacing the old insect-infested set-up.
“Every day it’s a bit of a mystery with what we find around the track!” Lance laughs. Wall-to-wall track prep has also been completed, stripping three decades of rubber and debris from the existing quarter-mile.
Lance is implementing a smartphone-based digital timecard system to give racers immediate access to their results. An app is also in the works, where entrants and spectators will find upcoming meets and be able to book a space.
In a major windfall, governing body IHRA has sanctioned Heathcote Park, paving the way for new events.
Planning is underway to hold a round of the 400 Thunder Championship series alongside other high-profile meets, with potential for Top Fuel cars to compete on a soon-to-be-netted quarter-mile.
The IHRA deal is not exclusive, opening up the possibility for ANDRA events to take place in future alongside the Raceway’s own events.
A “sentimental guy”, Lance promises Heathcote Park will stay true to its rich history.
“We’ve found hand-painted signs from the 70s and 80s, and collected hundreds of old photos that go right back to opening day,” he says. These images will eventually be housed in an onsite tavern.
The developments have created a buzz among the racing community, who Lance credits with a major role in the track’s advancements so far.
“A lot of people grew up with the track when it was pumping, and, like me, they want it to become one of the premier tracks in Australia.”
There’s still a huge amount of work to be done on the venue, including a resurfaced track, sealed pits and twin-lane return road. It’s a long list, but Lance remains energised.
“The support we get and the everyday improvements motivate me to keep going.”
As a serious drag racer himself, Lance also has his own motives to get the track finished. “I haven’t driven my GT-R (above) in two months, which is killing me,” he says. “I can’t wait to get it to our track and hopefully break some records!”
Raceway memberships are now available. A variety of packages are on offer, with proceeds from racer and spectator memberships returned to the track for ongoing works. Jump online and visit hpr.family to sign up.