Greg Murphy has stressed the importance of the V8 Supercars Championship returning to New Zealand in 2013.
Next season could see New Zealand miss out on a championship round for the first time since 2000, following the canning of the Hamilton street race.
V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane has recently talked down the possibility of a new event being established in the country, as the category continues to hope for intervention from the New Zealand government.
According to Murphy, leaving New Zealand would be a negative move for both the country and V8 Supercars.
“It’s crucially important that V8 Supercars keeps coming back to New Zealand – it’s vital,” Murphy told Speedcafe.com.
“We’ve had 11 years of competition in New Zealand and it would not be a good thing for anyone for us to not come back.
“New Zealand deserves it and it will continue to be well supported.”
Pukekohe, which hosted the V8 Supercars between 2001 and 2007, has emerged as the only feasible venue for a V8 Supercars return.
The 2.84km circuit currently needs upgrades in order to meet the FIA Category 2 safety standards required – a move that New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has recently said could attract government backing.
Murphy, who won V8 Supercars Championship rounds at Pukekohe in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005 in addition to his success in a non-points event held at the circuit in 1996, says heading back to the North Island venue would be a surprise result.
“It would be a bit of a shock and surprise if we went back to Pukekohe. When we left there in 2007, I certainly didn’t think that we’d ever go back there,” Murphy said.
“If that does happen, then it would be great to keep the race in New Zealand, no question.”