Two hours east of Adelaide city lies Australia’s newest world-class motorsport park for competitors, enthusiasts and spectators. Luckily for us, The Bend Motorsport Park’s opening coincided with the launch of the 2018 Mustang it what would be a showcase of Adelaide scenery and adrenaline-charged pleasure.
An hour outside of Adelaide we stopped at Wistow Bakery & Cafe for a quick pit stop. Shelves of cakes, sweet, sandwiches pies and sausage rolls line the entrance way to the far wall to eliminate your road-hunger.
For a scenic detour we headed south-east via Langhorne Creek Rd. through a myriad of green hills which sunk into wine vineyards and then into terracotta dust from the road and onwards to the horizon. Numerous cellar door wineries were passed that had us hoping we had extra time to stop and stay the night to explore the region.
It’s too easy and smooth to reach high speeds in the Mustang – that is not a complaint at all. The 5.0-litre V8 (10-speed automatic) with its 339 kW of power (an increase of 33kW over 2017) and 556 Nm of torque (an increase of26Nm over 2017) effortlessly roared through the Adelaide countryside. A lower, remodelled bonnet and grille and lower front grilles gives the 2018 Mustang a cleaner, more aerodynamic and refined profile. What is immediately noticeable when sitting inside the cabin, is how luxurious the 2018 release is. The leather on the seats, steering wheels and side panels are exclusive to the top, premium level of the car in the US release but are standard across all levels of the Australian release. It is a comfortable, fashionable and vastly noticeable improvement upon the 2017 GT.
Eventually we arrived at the town of Wellington which required a ferry crossing across the Murray River. It’s a slow chug across the river whilst you are surrounded by trucks and other drivers but its calm, unique a part of a road trip that is not often experienced. From the ferry, its only a 20 minute drive to the track.
The Bend Motorsport Park was developed and primarily funded by the Peregrine Corporation with construction beginning in early 2016. Finished in early 2018, the motor racing circuit is Australia’s only circuit to comply with the latest FIM Category A and FIA Grade 2 standards.
Aside from the motor racing circuit, the precinct also boasts a 4WD adventure park, rally and off-road area, hiking and bike trails, caravan and camping lots as well as a drift, kart and rallycross circuit. It certainly isn’t limited in its functionality. Different levels of membership allow access to the race circuit and exclusive networking events. Eventually there will be an opportunity to house your motoring passion on-site in trackside villas and garages.
There was a diverse and extensive on-site buffet courtesy of the Rydges Hotel a few hundred metres away that would perfectly accompany any event you desire to host.
Like the control centre of an airport in a room beside large conference room and suites, dozens of TV’s line the main control rooms walls to show you all the sneaky corners, open straights and potential hazards of the track. Soon enough it was time to hit the track.
If there is one thing that will get you energised, it’s the grunt of the engine as you head down the opening straight to see the impending opening corner. With a slight screech, the Mustang glides and sticks low to the circuit as you open up into another small straight before the responsive steering is once again put to its test in another corner.
The dashboard is now a completely digital 12-inch instrument cluster that offers three separate views, user customisation of the displays for Normal, Sport and Track modes as well as the ability to control colours and gauge layout to the drivers preference.
A drag strip on The Bend circuit allowed for the ultimate testing of the 0-100km/h specs and Ford does not lie. In drag mode on the digital dashboard, race starting lights count you down from red to green as the car records reaction time and acceleration and just as Ford boasts, In 4.3 seconds the car reached 100km/h.