The 2016 Virgin Australia Supercars Woodstock Winton Supersprint has been declared the most successful round of the Supercars Championship held at the nation’s action track in the modern era, with a massive crowd giving an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the recent circuit, management and promotional improvements.
A three-day crowd figure of just under 90,000 was recorded for the event, the highest achieved in a number of years.
Benalla Auto Club (BAC) Group Chief Executive Officer Chris Lewis-Williams was very pleased with the outcome of the event.
“The 2016 Winton SuperSprint was a very successful conclusion to the third year of our contract to host the Supercars,” Mr Lewis-Williams said.
“Although the BAC is only a small organisation, we are the only completely independent promoter of a Supercars event anywhere in Australia, and the entire team of staff at Winton Motor Raceway can be very proud of what they achieved over the weekend.
“The new BAC executive, which includes the committee and circuit management, is very passionate about strengthening relationships with Local, State and Federal Government and we took some important steps towards those relationships over the course of the weekend.
“This year, we conducted a lot of analysis around understanding and quantifying the economic benefits of the event to the north-eastern Victorian region, which will help our ongoing discussions with all levels of government.
“In the lead-up to the event, we received significant levels of support from the Benalla and Wangaratta Councils in assisting us with event promotion, which contributed to our excellent crowd figures.”
Mr Lewis-Williams said discussions have already commenced to secure the future of Supercars at Winton.
“We believe it’s very important to have Australia’s most prominent circuit racing category here each year from a regional development perspective, and we’re already working on a long-term agreement to secure the return of the Supercars Championship moving forward,” Mr Lewis-Williams said.
Following feedback from spectators at previous events, this year’s Winton SuperSprint featured a number of improvements including an upgraded online ticketing and campsite booking facility, an enhanced program of trackside entertainment and an expanded lineup of support categories. Mr Lewis-Williams said all the improvements were very well received.
“Over the weekend, there was a lot of positive feedback, especially in regards to the Auto One Arena area where we had an extensive selection of team merchandise, gourmet food options and live band performances,” Mr Lewis-Williams said.
“It was all part of our plan to expand the spectator experience off the track as well as on it, and we have some more exciting ideas for future events.”
The event also delivered excellent on-track action; the new surface produced lap records in every category and local team Brad Jones Racing dominated the Supercars, with Tim Slade taking victory on both Saturday and Sunday.
Cameron Hill claimed a piece of history by winning the first-ever round of the Toyota 86 Series, while BAC member Taz Douglas won the Kumho V8 Touring Car round. The other category winners were Kim Jane (V8 Utes) and John Bowe (Touring Car Masters).
Winton’s “Motorsport May” continues this weekend with the 40th anniversary Historic Winton event, run by the Austin 7 Club.