Former Holden Lang Lang test track revving up for second sale in a year
The Lang Lang proving ground where Holden tested generations of iconic Aussie cars is being sold by the Vietnamese firm that bought it off General Motors less than a year ago.
And it could become a private racing track for an uber-wealthy Australian, with big names including Lindsay Fox among those understood to have inquired about the property the last time it went to the market.
Vietnamese car maker VinFast purchased the 877ha property for $36.3m, including GST, late in 2020 after it was listed for sale in February by US automotive giant General Motors (GM), which owns the Holden brand.
The track in Victoria’s southeast opened in 1957.
Its secretive testing included putting Kingswoods through their paces in the 1970s and testing Commodores and Astras into the 21st century.
The hefty sale price was revealed in State Revenue Office data released in July this year.
It is unclear if VinFast will recoup the full price paid, as industry sources have hinted early interest is closer to $33m.
Other sources have indicated interested parties could include some with the deepest pockets in the nation, with trucking magnate Lindsay Fox understood to have inquired last year.
The billionaire already owns the Phillip Island Grand Prix motorcycle circuit.
A VinFast representative said the company was selling as a result of “unexpected situations brought about by Covid-19” and would concentrate its operations, centred around electric vehicles and sports utility vehicles (SUVs), in Vietnam for the time being.
“(But) in the long-term future, VinFast still considers Australia as one of its strategic markets,” they said.
Earlier this year, a spokesman from the firm said it had begun building on the site’s capabilities to accommodate a “wide range of development, test and validation” activities.
They also noted the company was looking at making it available for testing by other brands.
The Lang Lang proving ground has a whopping 44km of tracks ranging from its high-speed oval to a 4WD course. It also has a variety of testing, laboratory, storage and office buildings which cover a combined 11,920sq m.
VinFast opened a research and development centre in Melbourne early in 2020, but closed it in May this year.
CBRE’s Stephen Adgemis and Dean Hunt are handling inquiries and were also tasked with the sale last year.
Neither would comment on an expected price.
Mr Adgemis described the proving grounds as “one of the most advanced facilities of its type in the world” as well as holding “a unique place in Australian motoring history”.
He also confirmed interested groups were expected to include the automotive industry eyeing it as a research and development facility, and even rich listers seeking a private racing track.
“In the past, which may happen again, we have had high-net-worth investors who have considered it for purpose of their own automotive car storage and recreational use,” Mr Adgemis said.
He would not confirm if any individuals or particular companies had expressed interest.
A GM spokesman previously noted proceeds of asset sales of the Holden business “remained in Australia”, and the firm still employs 200 people as part of the sub-businesses: Holden Aftersales, GM Specialty Vehicles and ACDelco.
GM spent almost $16m upgrading the track in 2018.
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