The Bend has won the prestigious Motorsport Facility of the Year Award as part of the Professional Motorsport World (PMW) Expo Awards. The announcement came overnight at the PMW Expo Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner held at the Köln Messe, Cologne Germany.
The award was received at the event, on behalf of The Bend by Deputy Agent General, James Mraz. Judged by a panel of 23 leading international motorsport experts (list below), it is the first time an Australian facility has won the award. Past award winners in this category include Formula 1 circuits such as the Sochi Autodrom in Russia, and the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe in France which plays host to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Sam Shahin, Managing Director of The Bend Motorsport Park: "This is by a country mile the biggest accolade we have received so far. It is a phenomenal achievement, considering the last winners were in 2018 Donington Park in the UK, and before that the The Circuit of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, the F1 facility Sochi Autodrom in Russia and the Audi Competence Center Motorsport in Germany.’’
Whilst this is the first international accolade for The Bend, the venue was recognised locally in 2018 at the South Australian Sport Awards when the OTR SuperSprint (Round 11 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship) won Major Event of the Year.
2020 is set to be an exciting year for The Bend, with a host of new major events including the Asian Le Mans Series in January, and a Supercars Championship endurance event in September. Through a collaboration with Dorna Sports and Motorcycling Australia The Bend has also secured the Asia Talent Cup, to be a part of their International MotoFest in May, a category that provides a pathway for the fastest young talent within the Asia Pacific region to compete together and start their journey on the Road to MotoGP.
Manufacturers including Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Audi will all make a return to the venue for a mixture of exciting product launches, driver experiences and customer activities.
Development continues across the park with construction continuing on the Group 1 Dragway, and light craft air strip, both due to be completed in early 2021.
The Bend Classic is the next event set to take place at the venue, where a mixture of unique classic, historic and modern cars will take part in a sprint across 4 different circuit configurations. Historic F1s including the likes of Alan Jones’ Championship winning Williams FW07 will be on display for enthusiasts to enjoy in full flight – spectators can enjoy the free event on 7-8th December.
Past award winners; Donington Park, UK The Circuit of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Circuit de la Sarthe), France Sochi Autodrom, Russia Audi Competence Center Motorsport Facility, Ingolstadt, Germany
Nominees in the 2019 'Motorsport Facility of the Year' category; Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Canada Audi Motorsport facility, Germany Škoda Motorsport HQ facility, Czech Republic Prodrive Motorsport, Banbury UK Millbrook Motorsport, UK
PMW Awards judges: 1. Dean Slavnich (editor-in-chief, PMW Magazine, and co-chairman of the PMW Awards) 2. Matt Ross (editor, PMW Magazine) 3. Geoff Kingston (technical editor, PMW Magazine) 4. Jess Shanahan (The Metro, BBC Radio Sport) 5. Mike Magda (Cup Race Technology, Drag Race Technology, Racecar Engineering) 6. Marc Nooderloos (Automobile, Evo) 7. Alvaro Sauras Alonso (Autofacil - CAR&Tecno) 8. Matt Youson (FIA Auto Magazine) 9. Javier Arus (Autofacil - CAR&Tecno) 10. Carl Cunanan (Wheel2Wheel Asia) 11. David Tremayne (The Independent, GrandPrix+) 12. Gabor Szecsenyi (Az Auto, Tempo Radio) 13. Dan Carney (The New York Times, Sports Car International, BBC) 14. Hormazd Sorabjee (Autocar India, CNBC Television) 15. Michael Taylor (Motor, AutoWeek) 16. Renuka Kirpalani (Autocar Show on The Times Network) 17. Jesse Crosse (Autocar, The Telegraph) 18. Matt Joy (Honest John, Autocar, Auto Express, Evo) 19. Andrew Charman (TheCarExpert.co.uk, Motor Trader and Super Touring magazine) 20. Alex Grant (Fleet World, Performance VW, Classic Porsche, Diesel Car & Eco Car, AutoVolt, Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology International) 21. Bruce Newton (Motoring Journalist, Australia) 22. Daniel Lloyd (sportscar365.com) 23. Graham Heeps (Autocar, TractionLife.com, Autosphere.ca.)
Further details of the awards can be found here: https://www.professionalmotorsport-expo.com/en/awards.php