Lakeside Park is one of few circuits in the world to be granted heritage status and those entered for the track day will get to experience the same circuit that some of the great legends of racing drove.
Since its opening Lakeside has become one of Australia’s most favorite and classic circuits. Formerly known as Lakeside International Raceway, its first event, the Queensland Touring Car Championship, took place on Sunday, March 19, 1961, in front of 2,000 spectators.
Since then the track has hosted grand prix for formula race cars, with Graham Hill winning the first such event with a BRM in 1966, and has gone on to host Australian touring car rounds, GT races and the Australian Superbike Championship.
Situated 30 kilometres north of Brisbane, the circuit cuts through grassland along the shores of Lake Kurwongbah and despite minor safety additions and facility improvements, the track’s basic fast flowing characteristics have remained fundamentally the same over the years.
The venue quickly established itself as the home of motorsport in Queensland and one of the premier facilities in Australian motorsport. The Tasman Series came to Lakeside for the first time in 1964, with Jack Brabham winning in his BT7A-Climax.
Formula One legends were regulars
It was a time when Formula One stars were regular entrants in the Tasman Series, so Queenslanders had an opportunity to watch legendary drivers such as Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Jim Clark, Phil Hill, Derek Bell and Jochen Rindt.
In 1965, Tasman Series skipped Lakeside but returned in February 1966. That race had a prestigious title of Australian Grand Prix. Graham Hill was the winner, driving the BRM P261, ahead of Frank Gardner and Jim Clark. A year later, the race lost the Grand Prix status, but it was a part of the Tasman Series. The winner was Jim Clark.
In 1968, Tasman Series skipped Lakeside again, returning in 1969 for the last time, again with Australian Grand Prix status. The winner was Chris Amon, driving the Ferrari 246T for Scuderia Veloce. Derek Bell and Leo Geoghegan completed the podium.
Lakeside Park 1966 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Touring Car Championship came in 1964, stayed until 1998
While hosting international stars, Lakeside was also the venue of the Australian Drivers’ Championship between 1963 and 1971, but the main competition became the Australian Touring Car Championship, which arrived at Lakeside for the first time in 1964. The first ATCC winner was Ian Geoghegan with a Ford Cortina. He repeated a victory in 1967 with his Ford Mustang.
The track was closed in 1973 due to problems with floods. 100 meters of the track was rebuilt at a higher level above the flood line and a new pit lane was also constructed.
Regular ATCC venue and the place of great racing battles
After re-opening, from 1975 until 1998, the track became one of the regular venues of the Australian Touring Car Championship. In that period, many legendary races became part of Lakeside folklore, especially when the race was the decisive last round of the championship.
Probably the most memorable race happened in 1981 when Queensland hero Dick Johnson battled with a reigning champion Peter Brock. Johnson winning the race and the title.
Lakeside Park Round 1 of 1981 Australian Sports Sedan Championship
Legendary names on the winners list
Other multiple ATCC winners at the Lakeside International Raceway were Allan Moffat, Peter Brock, Colin Bond, George Fury, Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst. Parallel to ATCC, Lakeside hosted the Australian Super Touring Championship eight times between 1993 and 2001, with Paul Morris winning five of those eight races.
Over the past few years, many other national series visited Lakeside, such as Australian GT Championship, Australian Sportscar Championship, Australian Sports Sedan Championship, Formula 2 Championship or Australian Superbike Championship.
In 1984, the track underwent some upgrades for the bike races, adding a so-called Bus Stop section on the outside part of the track, between Karrussell and Hungry Corner.
‘Friends of Lakeside’ save the historic circuit
At the end of the 1990s the circuit came under threat of closure and loss to redevelopment but a sustained campaign by enthusiasts formed as ‘Friends of Lakeside’ in 2007 successfully secured Lakeside for club and historic racing with a long term leasehold taken out by John Tetley (Wrexmere Pty Ltd), the owner of Queensland Raceway.
Tetley signed an agreement for a 30-year operating lease, with an option for another 10 years. Tetley also invested around AUS$1.2 million rebuilding the circuit’s infrastructure.
Lakeside reopened its doors in 2008, strictly as a club and historic racing venue and testing facility, with national meetings now taking place at Queensland Raceway, southwest of Brisbane.
Many improvements on the circuit
Over the 2008/2009 summer off-season, a part of Lakeside’s track was widened and resurfaced. During the refurbishment new pit facilities were added as well as a tunnel underneath the circuit just before the footbridge. Further upgrades followed in 2011 when the Armco barriers on the exit of Karrussell were removed and a sand trap put in their place. In 2014, a new Bus Stop chicane was added.
Today’s Lakeside Park is the venue of Queensland racing series and historic cars events, such as the Lakeside Classic. In 2011, the Lakeside Tribute was held for the first time, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the track, and since then it runs annually.
Story partly sourced from SnapLap.net
Results for Lotus entries in the Australian Grand Prix of 1966 and 1969 held at Lakeside (NB. pic shows 1961).
1966 (31st AGP)
3 Jim Clark Lotus 39 Climax
4 Jim Palmer Lotus 32B Climax
6 Glynn Scott Lotus 27 Ford
10 Leo Geoghegan Lotus 32 Ford
DNQ Les Howard Lotus 27 Ford.
The winner was Graham Hill in a BRM P261.
1969 (34th AGP)
3 Leo Geoghegan Lotus 39 Repco
4 Graham Hill Lotus 49T Cosworth
DNF Jochen Rindt Lotus 49T Cosworth.
The winner was Chris Amon in a Ferrari 246T.