For the second year in succession Sydney Motorsport Park in Western Sydney will host the Repco Supercars Championship’s return to the track after an extended break.
Last year 125 days separated the previously completed race, the Adelaide 500, and the first of two rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park.
On this occasion Sydney will host four rounds on consecutive weekends; the first race set to take place 104 days after the chequered flag fell last time out in Townsville.
All four will be held on the flowing 3.9km Grand Prix layout that features 11 turns, including a signature high-speed Turn 1 sweeper, with a variety of different race and tyre formats in play.
Formally known as Eastern Creek until a rebranding in 2012, Sydney Motorsport Park has held 25 Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championship rounds since 1992.
Mark Skaife holds the record for the most race wins at the circuit with 10 ahead of old sparring partner Marcos Ambrose (7) and fellow legend Glenn Seton (6).
Triple Eight endurance co-driver Craig Lowndes is next on five ahead of current full-time Supercars drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen (4 apiece), while Scott McLaughlin also posted four SMP victories.
Ahead of the return to racing, here’s a look back at 10 memorable moments from ATCC/Supercars Championship history at Sydney Motorsport Park.
1992 – Although the circuit then known as Eastern Creek had hosted a 500km Australian touring car enduro shortly after opening in 1990, it did not host the ATCC for a further two years. Its debut on the ATCC calendar was dominated by Dick Johnson Racing’s John Bowe, who won both 16 lap races in his Shell Ford Sierra.
1994 – The Holden Racing Team took a famous Bathurst win in 1990 but its first ATCC round win did not come until 1994, and it happened at Eastern Creek. Peter Brock, who had returned to the factory Holden fold that year, won both races in his VP Commodore; his first ATCC round win in four years.
1996 – Two years later Eastern Creek hosted the opening round of the ATCC in a day/night meeting most famous for the stunning debut of Brock’s new teammate, Craig Lowndes. The 21-year-old won Races 2 and 3 and the round and went on to score the ATCC title and the Sandown/Bathurst enduro double.
1997 – Glenn Seton went undefeated at Eastern Creek in his two championship-winning years, 1993 and ’97. A clean-sweep of the latter three-race round included a famous pass on Bowe in the final race that involved side-to-side contact between the duelling Falcons. It’s a move that Seto says was the most satisfying of his career.
2003 – Any list of memorable EC moments would not be complete without this dust-up between Russell Ingall and Mark Skaife in the 2003 finale. Skaife crashed out of the Sunday race after contact with Ingall and gesticulated at the Ford next time it went by, which Ingall retaliated to by swerving at the Holden star!
2004 – Eastern Creek hosted the final round of the 2003 and ’04 V8 Supercars Championships, and on both occasions, Marcos Ambrose sealed the title in dominant fashion. He won both races in 2003 and all three in ’04, while he also blitzed the field during the May round in 2003, when he led a Ford trifecta.
2005 – Ambrose added to his record at EC in 2005 with victory in Race 1, but this time in controversial circumstances. Contact between the left-front of the Ford and the right-rear of Mark Skaife’s Holden at Turn 3 sent the Commodore into a spin. Ambrose went unpenalised, much to his rival’s disgust.
2008 – Current Dick Johnson Racing driver Will Davison started his full-time V8 Supercars career at the team in 2006, and in ’08 took his maiden race and round wins at Eastern Creek. It marked DJR’s first V8 Supercars round win since September 2001 and the last V8 round at the venue until 2012.
2017 – Sydney’s 2017 event provided an early flashpoint in the growing rivalry between Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin. SVG broke ranks on a late Saturday restart and bumped McLaughlin to take the lead, only to spun by the Ford at Turn 2. Both drivers were penalised and Fabian Coulthard won the race.
2018 – McLaughlin and van Gisbergen were at it again the following year, engaging in a tense – and this time clean! – fight for the lead during a spectacular night race. McLaughlin looked in control until a Safety Car played into Triple Eight’s hands; SVG and Jamie Whincup storming through for a one-two finish.