–   pics & words by neil grant for autobabes.com.au 

V8 Supercars tackle the “New Look” Barbagallo Race Way in Perth  !

The V8 Race week end in Perth (May 4-6), saw some very tight and interesting racing, especially after an odd shower or two on Saturday began to test the limits of both drivers
and machinery as the combinations went about grappling for adhesion.

Ford pretty much took out round 4 of the V8 Super Car Championship in WA, with a win to Mark “frosty” Winterbottom during Saturdays Race, and 2 wins on Sunday for Will Davidson .

All in all, it was business as usual; brilliantly decked out team transporters were all lined up in a flurry of colour, team merchandise vans were busy selling identity, support crews were shuffling tyres from one area to the other and of course the Grid Girls and Team Promotional Girls were busier than most as they tirelessly posed for photographs with eager race fans.

I know this because I saw it “live”………………..…on TV.

Well actually, that’s not entirely true. I WAS there at Barbagallo Race Way all week end, but I decided to plonk myself down in a corporate box and watch the race unfold on TV, because as it turned out …. that was the best place to see it.

Let me explain. I’m a “Race fan”, And like any race fan or sports fan for that matter, there are certain trials and tribulations that we endure to support our favourite team or sport. In my case I got up at 5am, I got in my car without a 2nd cup of coffee to wake me up and I
braved the drive and the snails paced crawl to the raceway car park. Its cold, and now I’m hungry as I queue to get into the gate because I’d skipped breakfast in an attempt to get an early start. But that’s OK, because I know a poor quality and over priced hamburger awaits me once inside. Then., I’ll find my favourite “race track vantage point” and settle in to watch the heated exchange of bumper to bumper racing .

On the surface all was great, another day of prestige motor sport with Australia’s elite set to do battle, a spectacle worth seeing. But “seeing” was the problem. And it was “this” topic that divided the crowd at the “new look” Barbagallo Race Way. (Wanneroo)

Over the past 6 or so months Barbagallo Race Way has gone through some major changes. In short it was decided to move and rebuild the V8 Garages and pits into the infield. The Pits were originally on the outfield, a set up that was deemed un-suitable for the V8 Teams, but in moving all to the infield, the “powers that be” have managed to
“blind spot” a large section of the race track from ALL spectator vantage points.

It was this lack of “vision” (being the operative word) that had a large percentage of race goers questioning why they had purchased (not so cheap) tickets in the first place when they could have stayed at home and watched the whole event unravel “live” on TV.

To put it into perspective, Barbagallo is a rather short circuit (2.45 kms) with only 7 corners (so if you’re a V8 Racing car driver you should do a lap in around 55 or 56 seconds) But, from where I was standing (on the main straight) as I do every year, I realised that whereas last year I could see 6 of the 7 corners, this year I could now only see 1 !

The other sore point for race goers was the bridge linking the outfield to the newly built infield. The height of the bridge was evilly placed blocking off even more of the track to fans.

To me, this wasn’t watching V8 Super Cars, it was more like “hearing” them, and without the aid of television it was impossible to get the finer points of duels, race craft, strategy and all the components that make racing worth “watching”.

So I was forced to find refuge in front of the television.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of the changes. I’m all for improvement, but at what cost ?

I personally thought the new pit area ”looked” the goods, and gave the whole circuit a fresher and more up market feel. Also, from what I heard the drivers and the teams loved the new set up.

But what about the fans ? What’s the point of going “live” if you can’t see the track.

Some how, I feel that those fans who actually make the effort and burden the expense to turn up ”live” and cheer on their favourite teams have been put a distant 2nd (to TV rights- maybe ). Next year it will be interesting to see if fans will vote with their feet and stay at home. (I hope they don’t., but then again who could blame them)?!

Many seemed to say that’s “exactly” what they’d do.

Don’t forget, it’s the fans, the excited crowd, the dedicated few that are the heart and soul of any sporting event.

They are the fans who’s emotions we can watch, they are the fans who add colour behind the play.

The fans make the sport. And they need to be looked after at any level.

Any team or any promoter should want them there and go above and beyond to attract, maintain and build these “live” fan bases. In the case of the new “No-See” Barbagallo
Raceway…..I guess time will tell.

On a side note, I did manage to talk to a few promotional girls at the track over the week end. They asked If Auto Babes were going to be at this year’s annual “Miss Motor Sport” Competition. I said we were just finalising the dates (will let you know as soon as they are

For those that don’t know (yeah, like I have to explain it ) it’s a competition which sees some of W.A.’s most beautiful girls in sports wear, swim suits, and other fantasy race gear. It’s held over a couple of months at different venues.

And then I had a scary thought. What if the same people who revamped Barbagallo Raceway got a chance to organise the Miss Motor Sport competition. The girls would come out behind a metal sheet. You may not be able to see them…. But at least you’ve paid your money right ?.

lol… let’s hope not.



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