Car club track days near Sydney
If your car club is looking at a fun track day south of Sydney, then ex-racing car driver Garry Willmington has just such a venue at Marulan. Jim Gibson visited there some time ago, but the track is still operating today.
Given the recent closure of Wakefield Park there’s renewed interest alternative track-day facilities near Sydney. Marulan is on the Hume Highway, two hours south-west of Sydney.
Garry Willmington had a dream, the realisation of which started back in 1991, when a shovel turned the first sod of dry earth on his 150-acre property, in order to create the Marulan Driver Training Centre at the Pheasant Wood venue.
Since then, he and his wife Natalie have put their hearts and energy, along with $2.4m of their own money, into building this purpose-designed, one-kilometre bitumen race track.
It is a challenging clockwise direction track with closing and opening corners, combined with an elevation where the track climbs and then descends through flowing S-bends and corners. It is very Amaroo Park-esque, for those who can remember that great little 1.9-kilometre track in northern Sydney, before in gave way to housing in 1998.
The track can also be used as a hill-climb circuit by running in the opposite direction.
There is a skid-pad to hone your skills on a wet surface, as well as a dirt section where Garry and his team train kids as young as eight-years-old in specially designed small cars with rollover protection.
Willmington is passionate about training people in the art of car control, in particular teenagers.
“If they learn how to control a car correctly it’ll possibly save their life on the road, where evasive action is required or where the road surface is wet or slippery,” said Garry.
“Contrary to what a section of the community believes, car control tuition and track racing does not breed irresponsible and reckless public road drivers.
“In fact, driver training should be a part of the high school curriculum.
“A love of motor sport has dominated my life and I like helping young guns to get started in motor sport, but it’s not as easy as it once was, being very much dollar driven these days.
“We grade participants with various coloured wrist bands and as they progress to the next level, the faster they go, until finally they reach a competitive level.
“We do this by observation from the trackside and also with a trainer in the car with them.”
The track is open six days a week – the Willmingtons take a well-earned rest on Tuesdays – and can take up to 50 people with cars on a day. Races with up to six cars are possible, but the most popular club activity is a one-vehicle super sprint against the clock.
There is a cafe facility on site and a theory training room.
As at October 2022, day hire for the track was $7500, plus any payment for the required number of marshalls and medical backup. You can book a day as an individual or a car club by calling (02) 4841 1422, or visit the website: pheasantwood.com.au.