THERE are only a handful of days left until the Victorian state election, so spare a thought for the denizens of that state, who have been getting bombarded with promises and general mudslinging from all sides of politics for the past six weeks. Most of it just goes in one ear and out the other as we all get forcibly marched towards the polling booths – but then, seemingly out of nowhere, promises of money for drag strips and motor racing have been announced and the ears of car lovers around the state have pricked up in anticipation.
Both the state Labor and Liberal parties have pitched money for motorsport in Victoria, so we thought we’d break down the nuts and bolts of each plan.
THE Liberals have pledged $10 million to buy land and begin the planning to build a new motorsport complex for Victoria. This will include a permanent quarter-mile drag strip, burnout pad and skid pan, as well as a fully paved pit area. Spectator seating and corporate facilities are also on the menu, as well as an Australian Drag Racing Museum.
“We’re going to take the Nationals back to Melbourne, we’re going to make the home of drag racing Melbourne, and we’re going to build the facilities to make that happen,” said Victorian Liberal Leader Matthew Guy.
Now we know what you’re thinking at this point: How can you build all this for just $10 million? Well here is where this big proposal may fall flat on its face. The words “develop a masterplan” indicate that the money would only cover buying the land (the location of which is yet to be determined) and for the studies/research, not the actual building of anything.
“The $10 million is for the planning phase; then we’ll have to wait until the next budget to file for the money we will need to build the track,” said Liberal media officer Michael Lewis. “Although $40 million has been said, we can’t say how much it will cost until the report and study have been done.”
Put simply, they’ve got $10 million to spend on planning a new drag racing complex in this coming term of government, should they be elected. We will have to wait until the next budget for the specific amount of building funding to be confirmed.
So why are they promising all this? Well apart from trying to compete with Labor’s motorsport proposals (below), Matthew Guy is supposedly a car guy himself. “Mr Guy has his own blue SS, and if he could drive it every day he would,” Mr Lewis said, and went on to say that Mr Guy switched from the VF Series I to the VFII SS just for the exhaust note. Sounds car ‘Guy’ enough, I s’pose.
LABOR was the first of the two parties to begin campaigning to us car nuts with promises of motorsport funding.
The party has set aside $5 million to upgrade existing tracks and equipment, while $2.4 million total in grants will be shared among local motorsport clubs. There aren’t any specific details as to how much will go towards high-end facilities like Calder Park and how much will be allocated to smaller club-run tracks.
“We know the cost of upgrading Victoria’s race tracks can be expensive; that’s why we’re helping these clubs to grow for the future,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
An additional $300,000 will go to the Ricciardo’s Racers program, which helps 12 to 17-year-old juniors develop for motorsport, while a further $300,000 will be used to help expand the Dare To Be Different program to help girls and young women break into motorsport.
Unlike the Liberals’ plan, Labor isn’t planning to build any new motorsport tracks or complexes.
WHICH plan do you prefer? Or rather, which will you be most disappointed to lose when it doesn’t get seen through after the election?