Sandown Racecourse was first built as a horse racing facility, dating back into the 19th century, but closed in the 1930s in a government run rationalisation program. Redevelopment began not long after World War II. A bitumen motor racing circuit was built around the outside of the proposed horse track (which was not completed until 1965) and was first opened in 1962 and held the race which became the Sandown 500 for the first time in 1964.

When Sandown first opened in 1962 it held the Sandown International Cup, which featured world-famous drivers such as Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren. Throughout the 1960s and 70s the race meetings continued to attract international stars along with the best of Australia’s drivers.

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Australia’s traditional Holden/Ford rivalry really surfaced at the track in the late 1960s and through the 1970s until Peter Brock won seven meetings in a row, out of a total of nine.

1984 saw the first appearance of Group A touring cars and 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, named the Castrol 500. In 1989 the 3.9km International Circuit was abandoned and the track reverted back to 3.1 kilometres (1.9 mi), though not using the original 8 turn layout but a modified 13 turn course. This was achieved simply by not using the largely unpopular tight and twisty infield section that had been in use since 1984.

The 1990, 1993 and 1994 events had no major sponsor and were underwritten by Jon Davison.

Sandown held the Australian Grand Prix in 1964, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1976 and 1978.
On December 2, 1984, after the track had been lengthened to 3.9 km, Sandown held the last round of the 1984 World Endurance Championship. The race, known as the 1984 Sandown 1000, was won by Stefan Bellof and Derek Bell in their Rothmans Porsche 956. This race was the first FIA World Championship motor racing event to be held in Australia.
The next (and only other) FIA World Sportscar Championship race held in Australia was also held at Sandown on November 20, 1988. This was the 1988 360km of Sandown Park, the final round of the 1988 World Sports-Protype Championship, which was won by Jean-Louis Schlesser and Jochen Mass driving their Sauber Mercedes C9.