As the Australian Grand Prix celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the first Grand Prix at Albert Park, the event enjoyed near record-breaking attendance levels on the first day of opening the gates to the general public.
In celebrating the anniversary milestone, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) opened the gates to the general admission public and over 69,400 people came – the event’s second-highest Thursday attendance level since 1996.
Aside from a few demonstration laps by David Coulthard, there was no F1 action on-track, but there were plenty of other sights and smells to take in for the fans who came to the circuit today.
There were historic car displays on and off the track, as well as practice sessions for the Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge, and practice and qualifying sessions for the Porsche Carrera Cup and V8 Supercars Championship series’.
All of the Formula 1 drivers were on-hand as well to attend to their media commitments at the circuit, with many stopping to sign autographs (including the usually taciturn Kimi Raikkonen!) and pose for photographs with fans.
“It’s such a great thrill to be able to celebrate the heritage of motor racing at Albert Park not only with the Melburnians who have embraced this great race for years, but also guests visiting from interstate and abroad,” AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott said.
“Whilst much has changed since the first Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in 1953, the sheer passion and love of Formula One is still well and truly alive amongst all race goers.”
“The stage is set for an exciting show. Being the first race of the season anticipation is high and we would all love to see the two Aussies (Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo) perform.”