The NSW government and Sydney Motorsport Park (formerly Eastern Creek Raceway) announced they have secured the Top Gear Festival Sydney for three years, starting next year with Jeremy Clarkson, James May and The Stig kicking off the inaugural event on March 9-10.
Richard Hammond will not be part of the festival at this stage but organisers say that this may change closer to the event.
While two tracks of the newly redeveloped circuit will host races with driving legends and celebrities, the main attraction will be Mark Webber in action behind the wheel of a Red Bull Racing F1 car for the first time on a Sydney race circuit, just seven days before the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix kicks off in Melbourne.
Mark Webber said it will be a great way to start the 2013 Formula One season.
“Obviously it’s a pleasure to be part of the Top Gear Festival in Sydney and give Aussie motorsport fans another chance to see top motorsport cars in action. I’m really looking forward to being in front of my home crowd, especially just before the Australian GP."
The event will also see precision driving exhibitions, a stunts and jumps zone, an off-road challenge, the world’s most expensive and powerful cars in The Stig’s Supercar Garage and challenges and races across both tracks including the Top Gear favourite ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car'.
Top Gear Festival Australia brand events managing director Michael Hodgson said the Top Gear Festival Sydney events will differ substantially from the live tours seen before.
"Unlike the previous Top Gear Live tours to Australia, the new festival format we have developed enables visitors to enjoy a full day of outdoor motoring entertainment, including world class racing, along with stunts and presenter challenges synonymous with the Top Gear television program.”
Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said, "Top Gear Festival Sydney will inject an additional $19 million into the NSW economy and attract more than 20,000 interstate and overseas visitors each year."
The three-year contract sees the event move away from South Africa, with Johannesburg and Durban previously holding the event.