Top Gear Festival. Photograph by Rogan Ward

Durban’s successful Top Gear Festival, which was staged for the first time in 2012, is being held up as the benchmark in Sydney, Australia, which is planning its own event.

James Cooke-Priest, the festival’s chief operations officer said this week that the Sydney organisers were trying to emulate Durban’s festival, held at the Moses Mabhiba stadium, which attracted 67 000 motoring fans and generated more than R93 million for the economy.

Cooke-Priest was in the city for the media launch of the 2013 Top Gear Festival, which will be held on 15 and 16 June.

The venue would be reconfigured to accommodate more people and organisers would be targeting 80 000 spectators.

Richard Hammond would not be flying in to join presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and “The Stig”, because of prior commitments.

Formula 1 legend Mika Häkkinen - the famous Flying Finn - would be joining the street circuit festivities.

In a recording Häkkinen said he was looking forward to visiting Durban.

Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC for economic development and tourism, said that a decision had been taken to build on the afterglow of the 2010 Fifa World Cup to position the province as the home of mega events.

The city and province invested R37 million to stage the 2012 festival, and year two will cost less than R20 million. Andrew Layman, chief executive of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pledged the full support of the chamber and “applauded” the investment made.

“We understand the benefits to the local economy,” he said.

Tickets range from the basic ticket of R250, up to R2 100 for an “ultimate village package”.

For more information on ticket prices or to book, visit the festival website.