V8 SuperTourers organisers have been overwhelmed with the public support shown for the category’s inaugural event at Hampton Downs this weekend.
The all-new class, featuring 16 identical specification cars, hit the track for the first competitive on-track action today.
Pre-event, category management was pleased with pre-sale tickets, however, they did not predict the traffic surge that converged on the Hampton Downs track before 9am this morning.
The circuit holds 25,000 spectators, and category CEO Paul Radisich says that there’s every chance that they could go close to that mark for tomorrow’s two races.
“Presales have been higher than Hampton Downs has even had before,” category CEO told Speedcafe.com.
“We’ve pre-sold more than half of the grandstand tickets so we’re very pleased with the outcome so far.
“We think we’ll get about 10,000 today, which could mean we’ll be near the 20,000 mark tomorrow. For our first meeting, that is an enormous achievement for us.”
Key category administrator and champion driver John McIntyre says that it is the first time in 15 years that he has seen a traffic jam leading into a domestic New Zealand race meeting.
“We had a huge crowd here yesterday (Friday), and that’s the first time that has happened in a long time,” McIntyre told Speedcafe.com.
“We’ve got people filing in the gate here now and the car park is nearly full. So, we’ve done something right! The cars sound good, look good and virtually ran faultless yesterday.
“It’s hard to put a figure on it, but if we get 10,000 people here today, we’re looking good for a big one tomorrow.”
Scott McLaughlin was the fastest driver in yesterday’s practice sessions. While a number of the all-new cars experienced minor electrical problems during the two sessions, McIntyre is confident the cars will be fit for today’s qualifying and race sessions.
“Some issues were to be expected,” McIntyre said.
“It’s the first time that we’ve run an event and a race meeting, so there a few little things.”
CLICK HERE for results from the final practice session at Hampton Downs yesterday.
A 20 minute qualifying session will be held at midday (NZ time) today, followed by Race 1 at 3.10pm.
The seven round series will be televised in Australia by subscription channel Speed TV, with a 150 minute broadcast from Hampton Downs set to go to air at 4:30pm AEDT tomorrow. V8 Supercars on-track commentator Chris Jewell will be joined by V8 SuperTourers CEO Paul Radisich for Speed TV’s coverage.
It is the first time that a domestic New Zealand racing category has been televised internationally.