V8 Supercars has staunchly defended the move back to Pukekohe as reports of the financial losses incurred by the defunct Hamilton street race continue to swirl around.
Opponents had argued that Pukekohe had been seen to be facing a bleak future as it had been labelled as past its use-by date before the decision to pump millions into upgrades was made last year.
An official audit lists the Hamilton event which ran from 2008 until last year had cost $37.4million of which $17.9million was spent on infrastructure costs.
The infrastructure from Hamilton which includes concrete barriers and temporary grandstand seating was acquired by V8 Supercars for $1.25m when the total cost of the equipment is valued well into the millions.
V8 Supercars were reacting following a report in the New Zealand Herald newspaper that the series managers claim was ‘old news rehashed’.
Central to the five-year Pukekohe deal was the $6.6million in track upgrades with V8 Supercars contributing $2.2million and the Auckland Council’s events arm ATEED and the government chipping in $2.2million each.
“To be honest it is going over old ground. We assumed what had ultimately been a flawed business plan in Hamilton and the rest is history,” V8 Supercars spokesman Cole Hitchcock said.
“The final years of the Hamilton event were very successful. Unfortunately the initial promoter didn’t have a sound business plan.
“Due diligence has been done on all levels, by us, the government, by ATEED, the Auckland Council body.”
V8 Supercars maintains that a lot of the losses from Hamilton occurred when the category did not manage the event and that when it took over promoting the street race for the last couple of years, it had capped the council’s costs.
The Pukekohe circuit was subject to an FIA inspection following the upgrades last month however a decision on whether it will be granted a level two licence, upgrading it from level three, has not been officially signed off.
Among the detailed upgrades at Pukekohe is the placement of the concrete barriers and debris fencing that were used at Hamilton, new race control and timing buildings and a new pedestrian bridge while the circuit length has grown slightly from 2.84 to 2.91km with the inclusion of a chicane in the back straight.
The ITM 400 Auckland starts with opening practice at Pukekohe on Friday.