The opening meeting, held on the 11th and 12th of March 1962, featured the 1962 Sandown International Cup, which was contested by world-famous international drivers including Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren and John Surtees. A second Sandown International Cup was held in 1963, the two races serving as the forerunners of the Sandown round of the annual Tasman Series from 1964 to 1975. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the race meetings continued to attract international stars along with the best of Australia's drivers.
Australia's traditional Holden/Ford rivalry really surfaced at the track in the late 1960s and through the 1970s with drivers such as Norm Beechey, Ian Geoghegan, Allan Moffat, Bob Jane, Colin Bond and Peter Brock and continues to the present day. From 1968 to 1980 almost every major touring car race held at the circuit was won be those driving either a Holden or a Ford.
1984 saw an extension of the track to 3.9 kilometres (2.4 mi) to comply with FIA regulations for minimum track length for World Championship events. It also saw the first 500 km race held at the circuit, the Castrol 500, being Round 3 of the 1984 Australian Endurance Championship. Along with the circuit changes, some AUD$600,000 had been spent relocating the pits from its original place between what was turns one and two (now turns one and four) to its now permanent place coming onto the main straight. Peter Brock and Larry Perkins took their Holden Dealer Team VK Commodore to a one lap victory in the 1984 Castrol 500; it was to be the last of Brock's record nine wins in the Sandown enduro events.
In 1989, the 3.9 km International Circuit was abandoned and the track reverted to 3.1 kilometres (1.9 mi), though not by using the original 8 turn layout, but a modified 13 turn course. This was achieved by simply bypassing the largely unpopular tight and twisty infield section that had been in use since 1984 and using only the re-configured International (outer) Circuit. The effect was also to bring the cars closer to the spectator area on the outside of the esses to bring back spectators to the area. The esses at the end of the back straight was a popular spectator area during the 1970s and 1980s with several converted Double-decker buses frequenting race meetings.
Sandown continued to host both the 500 kilometre race and a sprint round of the championship, the Sandown Challenge, throughout the majority of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In 2001 and 2002, the circuit hosted the Grand Finale as the closing round of the season. When the Sandown 500 returned in 2003, the sprint round was removed from the calendar and Sandown no longer hosts two major V8 Supercars events per year.
The infield section was still used for motorcycle racing at the track until about 2000 as the high speed esses (turns 6–9) at the end of the back straight were deemed too dangerous for the bikes at high speed (the entry speed off the straight was close to 200 km/h (124 mph)) with very little runoff area between the track and the outside fence. Using the infield section not only bypassed the esses but slowed the bikes down and allowed them to continue using the circuit for the series such as the Australian Superbike Championship.
In late 2007 the Melbourne Racing Club, owner of the venue, brought the management of the motor circuit in house. As part of securing the future of motorsport at the venue Sandown's Manager Wade Calderwood negotiated a long term deal with V8 Supercars. Under this deal the MRC invested significant funds as part of a 3-year upgrade to the pits and circuit safety.Courtesy: Wikipedia.
The nearest airport is Melbourne's Tullamarine International Airport, approximately 40 minutes drive from the circuit and with excellent transport links to the city centre.
Sandown Raceway is located in the Springvale district of Melbourne, Australia.
If arriving by car, the course is located alongside Princes Highway, its about 25 kms from Melbourne City Centre and 8km from Dandenong. Parking is available at the circuit.
Public transport is also excellent as the circuit benefits from its own railway statiion, with regular services on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.