Drags angle for $3m upgrade

BIG PLANS: The Steel City Raceway could look like this if the club is successful in obtaining government funding for a $3m upgrade.
BIG PLANS: The Steel City Raceway could look like this if the club is successful in obtaining government funding for a $3m upgrade.

The Steel City Drag Club is seeking funding from the federal government for a $3 million redevelopment of its raceway to generate an economic boost for the region.

To fund an extensive upgrade the club will be putting forward about $330,000 and is asking for funding from the Building Better Regions fund.

The site redevelopment would include the following upgrades to the facility:

  • Expand and upgrade the existing drag track
  • Increased safety barrier protection to drag strip
  • Installing clubrooms and an administration area
  • Kitchen and canteen facilities
  • Tackling surface water and drainage issues across the site
  • Pavement, parking and groundworks to control access and site circulation

Other aspects of the project are new fencing to improve the security of the site, a new entrance and ticketing building, upgraded track lighting, and more signs.

The proposal outlines how an improved drag track and facilities would unlock economic activity by allowing for more events to be held at the Steel City Raceway.

According to a study undertaken by Ernst and Young on November 16, 2021, motorsport contributes $3.1 billion in direct output, while providing $5.5 billion of indirect output based on pre-COVID figures.

Club president Mark Kuhn said the pit areas were positioned on gravel, which was "not ideal" for race cars which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"The whole place has no real drainage to it at all. The other day was the fifth time since I have been involved in the club that the place has been underwater," he said.

"The damage to the race surface when it has been submerged is pretty obvious."

Mr Kuhn hopes that he can begin including drift racing into the meetings at the raceway once the upgrade is complete and the pit areas have been sealed.

"It will bring in some other types of motorsport into the facility," he said.

Independent Senator Rex Patrick recently met with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to discuss the project, with the aim of putting the proposal on the table.

"He is now aware of it ... I will work with the club to make sure that submission goes into the next round of the Building Better Regions fund," he said.

"Mr Joyce has made it clear that it has to stack up on the merits ... as we know he is a strong supporter of the regions."