NZ could host first V8 airport event

Whenuapai Air Base : Google Earth

New Zealand could host the first airport-based event in the V8 Supercars Championship as officials look at replacing the Hamilton event from 2013 onwards.

The Whenuapai Air Base, just 20 minutes drive north-west of Auckland city, is being suggested as a new potential home for a V8 Supercars event. The New Zealand Weekend Herald today reporting that V8 Supercars is already in discussions with NZ Defence Minister Wayne Mapp about using the Royal New Zealand Air Force base.

The event would utilise the grandstands and other infrastructure from the Hamilton street event, which will be taken over by V8 Supercars as part of its NZ$1.25million deal to end the deal with the Hamilton City Council after the 2012 event.

The NZ Weekend Herald also reports that Kiwi motor racing legend Frank Radisich and town planner Peter Sinton have already struck a deal with former Defence Minister Phil Goff for the rights to hold racing at the air base until 2014.

The Whenuapai Air Base is 25 kilometres drive from the Auckland CBD. Many people, including Kiwi legend Greg Murphy, have already stated that Auckland’s population is the key to a successful V8 event in New Zealand.

The IndyCar Series hosts an airport-based event in Edmonton, Canada

“North of the Bombay Hills is where a lot of the people are in New Zealand and it’s my belief that the Auckland area is where we need to look to for a new event,” Murphy said in a statement yesterday after news broke of Hamilton’s demise after next year’s event.

Airport-based temporary circuits are well known in North American motorsports, where Champ Car and IndyCar competition have utilised airports in Cleveland, Ohio and Edmonton, Canada.

CLICK HERE for the full story in today’s New Zealand Weekend Herald.

In other New Zealand event news, Wellington City Council’s Sports and Events Portfolio Leader John Morrison has also told the NZ Herald that he would be keen to get V8 Supercars to Wellington, with that city having hosted a touring car street race as recently as the 1990s.

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