Stadium Australia, currently also known as ANZ Stadium due to naming rights, formerly known as Telstra Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium located in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct of Homebush Bay. The stadium, which in Australia is sometimes referred to simply as the “Olympic Stadium”, was completed in March 1999 at a cost of A$690 million to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. The stadium has since then hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final, as well as the National Rugby League grand final annually.
The stadium was originally built to temporarily hold 110,000 spectators, making it the largest Olympic Stadium ever built as well as the largest stadium in Australia. In 2003 reconfiguration work was completed to shorten the north and south wings, and install movable seating. These changes reduced the capacity to 83,500 for a rectangular field and 81,500 for an oval field (making it the second largest stadium in Australia after the Melbourne Cricket Ground). Awnings were also added over the North and South stands, which means that now most of the seating is under cover. The stadium was also engineered along sustainable lines for example with the low use of steel in the roof structure in comparison to the Olympic stadiums of Athens and Beijing
The Sydney Telstra 500 is a V8 Supercar motor racing event held annually at Homebush Street Circuit. The event is the last on the V8 Supercar calendar. The event is sponsored by Telstra and is officially known as the Sydney Telstra 500.
The event is staged over a three-day weekend (Friday-Sunday). Practice is held on Friday with a 35-minute session followed by two 50-minute sessions. Qualifying is held on Saturday, with two 20-minute sessions, the first session determining places 21-29 and session two 11-20. The top ten cars proceeded to the top ten shootout. On sunday a 20-minute all in session determines the grid. This is to change in 2010 as a 20-minute all in session on each day will determine each days race grid.
Each race is 250 km long, at 74 laps.
Then NSW premier Nathan Rees expected that the 2009 Sydney Telstra 500 would attract over 15,000 visitors from interstate and overseas. It has an identical format to the Clipsal 500, with two 250 km races, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. The Sydney Telstra 500 was launched on May 16, 2009, at Martin Place in Sydney. The launch began with six V8 Supercars driving across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the morning.
The first Sydney 500 was widely considered a success, and it’s been suggested that continued races will serve to further enhance the standing of V8 Supercars in the Sydney market.
Critics said the V8 car races would cost the NSW government far more than the amount originally stated. The Olympic Park Authority said “it is clear that in all scenarios the current V8 Supercars Australia budget estimates are too low and/or incomplete.” Government involvement in the races was opposed by the Premier’s adviser on events, John O’Neill, as well as the government’s infrastructure chief, David Richmond
Federal Labor MP, Laurie Ferguson, said that it’s all about “News Limited and Channel Seven – they’re trying to please them.” News Limited, publisher of The Daily Telegraph, and the Seven Network had lobbied the New South Wales Government for public funding of the V8 cars. The Seven Network is a sponsor of the V8 Supercars, and The Daily Telegraph said that V8 car racing was a good fit with its readers.
Despite initial reports of success from event organisers, the event has drawn criticism from the media and motorsport fans across NSW after an Auditor General’s report was leaked to the public via the Sydney Morning Herald. The report concluded that economic benefits predicted by V8 Supercar Australia were not met and expenditure was over budget.
The Total Environment Centre said that the New South Wales Government overrode the threatened species law, as well as the Homebush Bay Authority’s planning principals, and would cause social, environmental and economic disruption at Sydney Olympic Park. Tony McCormick, who lead the team that designed Sydney Olympic Park, said “I find it truly a travesty… The site was supposed to be a legacy for generations and we can’t even make it last a decade.