Winton to inject millions into North East economy

NINE million dollars in three days.

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: Chris Lewis-Williams and Wayne Williams are delighted with the improvements made at Winton. Picture: TIM FARRAH

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: Chris Lewis-Williams and Wayne Williams are delighted with the improvements made at Winton. Picture: TIM FARRAH

That’s the economic benefit the annual Supercar event at Winton Motor Raceway brings to the North East.

Circuit chief executive officer Chris Lewis-Williams said the event also supports 42 direct and indirect jobs in the region, while the broader impact on the state is $18m and 79 jobs.

Crowd numbers last year reached 70,000 over the three days, with 41 per cent staying overnight and spending $483 per person.

Crowds have increased in the last couple of years due to the track’s new management team focusing on families and customer service.

The family area, called Sideshow Ally, has rides, including dodgem cars, face painting and other activities for children plus a live band.

“Kids under 16 get in free. Supercars are a family sport and we have worked hard to put a family context around the event,” he said.

“We have a shuttle bus that takes fans around the circuit, you only wait for 10 minutes till the next one comes along.

“It makes accessing the family fun area and the teams merchandise stores really easy.”

Winton is one of only three Supercar events where fans can camp at, along with Bathurst and Phillip Island.

“We have improved what’s happening off track and the facilities, so people enjoy the whole weekend, not just the Supercars,” he said.

“For example, there are lives bands from 7pm till 10pm in the camping grounds.”

Circuit manager Wayne Williams said the improvements from the last few years were working.

“We have nearly doubled the number of camping sites sold, because we listened to peoples’ feedback,” he said.

“There are a lot more showers and toilets for instance.

“It’s the little things that make a day or weekend fun; we are aware of that, and have made the improvements, so people can relax and have a great time.”

Lewis-Williams said the Winton facility is in pristine condition.

“We had the Australian Super Bike Championship here two weeks ago, which was a good lead up to the Supercars,” he said.

“There has been plenty of mowing, painting and track improvements happening – it looks fantastic.

“We are just so pleased to be able bring the county’s premier motorsport event to the region.

“If we didn’t, the closest Supercar round would be a 5-½ hour drive to either Phillip Island or Sydney.

“Having them here is a huge benefit for lots of reasons, including economic, but it’s also just a great thing for families to do together.”

Testing starts at Winton on Friday.

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