30 April 2010

Redbank Plaza race preview prompts call for raceway upgrade

QUEENSLAND Raceways CEO John Tetley has agreed with criticism  levelled at his event from leading V8 driver Craig Lowndes.

Craig Lowndes at Redbank Plaza shows a young fan
what the V8 Supercar drivers wear when racing.

QUEENSLAND Raceways CEO John Tetley has agreed with criticism levelled at his event from leading V8 driver Craig Lowndes.

Lowndes said there was a cloud hanging over the future of the race and the Willowbank track needed urgent facility upgrades.

"Race drivers love tracks with character, altitude change and corners that are difficult to drive. At the moment there is not much character at Queensland Raceway," Lowndes said in his Courier Mail column.

"The circuit must be upgraded with facilities for the fans such as better shade, seating and catering.

"It's not the most technical track to drive, but at least it gives the spectators a view of the whole circuit."

Tetley said he would love to implement Lowndes' proposed changes, but the V8 race did not generate enough money to justify it.

"Last year we lost money on the V8 race, so where would the money to make these changes come from?" he said.

"There's no doubt it needs an upgrade and it is a safe track which means it can be boring.

"But our main business is the 'V8 Experience' which we have running on all the time here and the track suits that program.

"The V8s are only here once a year and unless the State Government helps out we don't have the money to extend the track.

"I have been to the tracks in Europe which are like palaces and I'm very envious."

Lowndes said race drivers found the Queensland Raceways track unsatisfactory.

"I would like to see the circuit resurfaced and lengthened, preferably with more than just two left-hand corners," he said.

"It's a very basic circuit and there are really only two or maybe three places you can overtake."

Rival V8 driver Jason Bright agreed with Lowndes' comments and said the controversy could have been resolved when the track was built ten years ago.

"They had a big area to build a track and that's what they came up with and now they are stuck with it," Bright said.

"There's no doubt it needs an upgrade as it's not the most exciting track to drive on."

Speaking at last night's meet and greet with drivers at Redbank Plaza, race fan Trevor Green said while the track was up to scratch, the facilities weren't.

"As far as views go, the track is great. Obviously the drivers see it from a different perspective, but fans love it because you can see everything," he said.

"The facilities are pretty ordinary and there's not much shade, especially if you have young kids and are sitting around in the sun all day."

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