Holden’s test track at Lang Lang on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne sold for the tidy sum of $36.3 million, according to documents on file with the Victorian Government.
The sale went through last year and new owners Vinfast – one of Vietnam’s richest companies and automotive start-up – has been operating out of the facility for close to 12 months.
However, the sale price was previously unknown.
Potential bidders included Lindsay Fox, who also owns the nearby Phillip Island race circuit and another vehicle testing facility on the other side of the bay, near Angelsea.
While no price estimates were shared at the time, industry insiders predicted Holden’s vehicle testing facility would be sold for close to or in excess of $20 million.
It had undergone upgrades totalling $16 million in the lead-up to the sale.
Despite attempts to have some or all of the land returned to – or bought back by – the state government on environmental grounds, Vinfast outbid all comers.
While Vinfast has closed its Port Melbourne engineering facility – which had employed dozens of ex Holden and ex Ford engineers – the company says it plans to continue using the test track facility near Lang Lang.
Vinfast says it will also offer use of the facility to other car companies and engineering firms, as a means of recouping some of the purchase price.
The former Holden test track is located near the town of Lang Lang on the Bass Highway, 90km south-east of Melbourne in Victoria.
The 877 hectare (2144 acre) site incorporates a large amount of protected flora and fauna that have remained largely unaffected by nearby urban sprawl because the top secret test track has been closed off from the outside world since the 1950s.
In addition to a high-speed oval for performance testing, the site includes a 44km road system, of which 22km are sealed roads and 15km are unsealed roads.
The road network is designed to mimic real-world environments, so car companies can test top secret models on private property years before testing on public roads, where future models might be caught on camera by spy photographers.