“Adelaide wasn’t going out with a whimper,” said veteran Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker. “It was going out with a gigantic bang and a non-stop buzz of fun, activity and on-track happenings which ensured we’d never forget it.”
Indeed, the 11th and final Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide in 1995 showed no signs of the resentment of the loss of the event to Melbourne from 1996. Extra grandstands were installed to cope with the demand of not just the final grand prix in Adelaide but also a post-race concert by American rockers Bon Jovi.
The final opportunity to see Formula 1 on the streets of Adelaide resulted in record-breaking crowds: 74,000 on Thursday, 102,000 on Friday and 139,000 on Saturday. And, on Sunday, the sold-out signs came out with a capacity 210,000 attendees for a four-day crowd in excess of 500,000.
The 210,000 race-day crowd set a new world record for Formula 1, previously held by the 200,000 in attendance for the first Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest in 1986.
Adelaide’s record stood until the 2000 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the long-awaited return of Formula 1 to America. But while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s permanent grandstands and infield section makes it the biggest facility in world motorsport, Adelaide holds the crowd record for a temporary street circuit.
The 210,000 figure remains the biggest-ever one-day crowd for a sporting event within Australia.
Adelaide was getting its final taste of Formula 1. “The caps, pins, hats, T-shirts and other paraphernalia were walking off the streets like there was no tomorrow,” wrote The Sunday Mall. Sadly, for Formula 1 fans in Adelaide, there isn’t.”