2023 Festival of Motorsport, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit – by George Darwent


Many thanks to GD for this selection of photographic awesomeness.

Motorsport enthusiasts and car lovers alike descended on the famous Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit for a four day “Festival of Motorsport” from the 9th – 12th March 2023. Although the circuit is known primarily as a home to the Australian MotoGP, the flavour this weekend was of the four-wheel variety, with the 34th VHRR Phillip Island Classic being held. It is the largest historic motor sport gathering in the southern hemisphere, and as with most events in Melbourne in this post-covid world, had an extremely strong attendance across all four days.

Those that made the trip to the island were greeted to not only perfect autumn weather for much of the program, but an outstanding field with non-stop action on track for the duration of the event.

Cars from Grp J K & L, M&O, Grp C & A, Grp N, Grp S, Formula Ford, and early and late model open wheelers were all represented, as well as a large grid of regularity cars. One of the highlights of the weekend was the presence of six vintage Formula 1 cars, coming from Europe for the event, which ran alongside locally owned F1 cars, F5000’s and Formula Holdens.

The breadth of the field gave a fantastic festival atmosphere, with attendees and competitors from around Australia and the world able to share their enthusiasm for the machines on display. Strolling through the paddock to see Formula 1 cars next to the likes of famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) Bathurst winning Nissans piloted by ex-Supercar drivers Greg Murphy and Steven Richards was an absolute treat and a throwback to a classic era where the ground would shake from a grid of touring cars, and Formula 1 cars were a true battle between man and machine.

Having not attended ‘the island’ myself for many years seeing such a variety of cars and enthusiastic crowd battle it out on a classic track at an exceptionally well run event left me wanting more…. I guess I’ll have to return next year, and if you have the opportunity, I strongly suggest you do the same.

George Darwent

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