THE FIRST WEEKEND OF JULY HERALDS THE THRUM OF HIGH-PERFORMANCE VEHICLES AND THE SMELL OF BURNING RUBBER AS BOUNDARY STREET TURNS INTO PIT STRAIGHT AND THE SUPERCARS DESCEND ON TOWNSVILLE FOR THE ANNUAL WEEKEND OF RACING BROADCAST ACROSS THE GLOBE.
But what does it really mean for our community?
This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the Townsville 400, a milestone Supercars Chief Executive Officer Sean Seamer said should bring more interest, especially in the face of a recovering economy.
“This event has delivered more than $300 million into the economy and one million room nights for visitors in the past 10 years, and we anticipate more visitors to the region this July to celebrate,” he said.
“The Townsville 400 is easily North Queensland’s largest annual event and a pillar of the economy, particularly in recent years during the economic downturn in the mining and associated industries. Now the economy is in recovery, we expect the event will grow further and reinforce its importance to the region, on top of the great outcome in additional visitors in 2017.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said in the past nine years, a staggering 1,353,275 supercar fans had attended the Townsville 400. This year’s event is expected to push that number closer to 1.5 million.
“The Townsville 400 is so much more than just a car race, it’s become a must-see weekend combining top level motorsport with world-class entertainment,” she boasts.
This year’s ‘rock’ component of the ‘Rock’n’Race’ weekend will be headlined by Aussie music legends John Farnham and Daryl Braithwaite performing on the Saturday night, supported by the Hoodoo Gurus and Baby Animals on the Friday night.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart hailed the event a win for Townsville businesses.
“We want to grow our major events in Townsville because we know they drive visitors to our region and support jobs,” he said. “The Townsville 400 is an iconic event and the fact that we’re able to partner with the Supercars and improve on this race every year is a testament to the fact that we’re all on the same page when it comes to backing tourism operators in North Queensland.”
Cole Hitchcock, Supercars General Manager – Corporate Affairs, said much of the logistics, produce and consumables are purchased locally, and whilst exact figures are not available “a majority of contractors and suppliers are from Townsville and the region.”
More than 10,000 staff and contractors are accredited to work at the event, including permanent, part-time and contract staff engaged in some way as a direct result of the event (e.g. bar staff, catering, security personnel) which ensures repeat employment in the region.
Additionally, local tourism receives a massive boost, with 230 hours of international television showing off Townsville’s clear blue skies and North Queensland’s tourist hot spots to over 298 million homes across 96 countries.
The 2018 Watpac Townsville 400 will run from 6-8 July.