Hampton Downs puts hand up for V8 meeting
Hampton Downs Raceway has put its hand up to host a V8 Supercars race.
Next year, New Zealand’s Hamilton street race will host its final V8 race, and finding a replacement circuit has been high on V8 Supercars priority list for 2013.
There has been investigations in recent months to move New Zealand’s event to a new venue at the Whenuapai Air Base near Auckland, or redevelop Pukekohe Park, but Hampton Down’s managing director Tony Roberts says that his venue will table a proposal to host the 2013 New Zealand leg of the V8 Supercars Championship.
“We have been working with a consortium of financial advisors, planners and investors for the past year analysing potential track operations and the future for a motor sport focused business park,” said Roberts.
“Based on that work we anticipate being in a position to take our proposal to the V8 Supercars organisers in the first quarter of next year.
“Hampton Downs has the potential to be the long-term future home of motorsport, and the pre-eminent motorsport park in Australasia.
“It already has a fully functioning 2.7 kilometre track with the necessary FIA Category 3 standard for V8 Supercars racing, and we have resource consent to extend the track to 3.8 kilometres.
“This extension can be undertaken at any time and could be completed a full year ahead of when the track would be needed for the V8s.
“When fully completed spectators will have extensive views of the track from various vantage points.”
V8 Supercars racing in New Zealand is one of the most attended sporting events in the country. Besides the country having a large per-capita interest in motorsport, the popularity of V8s soared in 2001 when the V8 Supercars first held a round of its championship at Pukekohe. Local hero Greg Murphy won the first three rounds at the track, cementing the category’s future in the country.
Roberts says that plans have already been made to accommodate the huge crowd that would attend the meeting.
“Our current resource consent allows us to hold events with up to 20,000 spectators,” he said.
“We have the land capacity to easily accommodate more than 60,000 people.
“Hampton Downs is 45 minute drive down State Highway 1 from downtown Auckland, and has a population catchment area of more than a third of New Zealand’s population within an hour’s drive, and half the population within a three hour drive.
“While Hampton Downs has ample room to cater for large numbers of cars and buses, we are in discussions with the local authority to develop park and ride facilities within 10 minutes of the venue, and the racetrack is located between two existing train stations within 10 minutes.
“There are 23 months between now and when the 2013 V8 event is scheduled to be held in New Zealand, which is sufficient time for Hampton Downs to be upgraded to host more than 60,000 spectators, the track extended and other infrastructure completed.”
Roberts sees the permanent facility at Hampton Downs as a long-term proposition for V8 Supercars.
“The benefit Hampton Downs offers is that it is a dedicated, purpose built motor racing track, which means organisers are not involved in expensive set up and pack down costs that have been the downfall of one-off events,” he said.
“Our infrastructure will be used on a year-round basis and offers the V8 Supercars a long-term solution, rather than a temporary fix.
“Within what we are planning, the V8 event would form part of a total motor racing and motor sport programme, operating within a motor sport business park cluster.
“While not ready to release the details of our proposals, we are making this statement to counter the suggestion that the V8 Supercar Championship will inevitably be lost to New Zealand.”
V8 Supercars first held a round of its championship in New Zealand in 2001. It has retained an event every year since then. The round was first held at Pukekohe before switching to the Hamilton street track in 2008.