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New three-year Pukekohe Supercars deal edging closer

Tom Howard

Sunday 5th November, 2017 - 4:00am

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The ITM Auckland Super Sprint looks set to remain on the calendar for another three years

Supercars expect final confirmation of a new three-year extension for the ITM Auckland Super Sprint to arrive by the end of the month.

The championship and ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) are believed to have reached an agreement to keep the Pukekohe Park Raceway event on the Supercars calendar until 2020.

Supercars annual visit to New Zealand has been included on the draft calendar for 2018 although a deal is yet to be announced, with this weekend’s race the last of its current contract.

Race sponsors ITM have already announced a new naming rights deal for the event in August.

Outgoing Supercars CEO James Warburton says progress on the finer details of a new contract are currently being worked through and expects the deal to be concluded soon.

He has denied that there was an intention to announce a new contract at Pukekohe this weekend.

“It is in our draft calendar so we absolutely plan to be here,” said Warburton.

“We have agreed terms and now it is just a long form drafting arrangement we are going through with ATEED.

“Neither of us expect any surprises.

“I imagine these things take time agreeing core KPIs and those types of things. I would imagine that would all be concluded by the end of this month.

“I think it is very positive.

“New Zealand is a great market for us obviously, the strength our Kiwi drivers at the pointy end of the championship is something we have marketed heavily and it given us a very strong result here.”

While Warburton is confident the deal will be concluded, ATEED has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that discussions regarding the new contract are ongoing.

“Contract negotiations are ongoing,” read a statement from Steve Armitage, General Manager Destination – ATEED.

“ATEED will conclude these negotiations before we make any further announcements.”

While interest in the championship is growing the region courtesy of recent success from Kiwi drivers Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard, the possibility of a second New Zealand event in the future is unlikely.

“It has never really been entertained or discussed,” added Warburton.

“We have a great relationship with ATEED and the way the calendar is set it is not possible.

“I think it is important from market point of view that you have got everything centred in the one area to bring the economic benefit in the one area.”

Supercars has been visiting Pukekohe since 2013, having previously held events at the circuit from 2001 to 2007, with Hamilton hosting the New Zealand leg between 2008 and 2012.

The ITM Auckland Super Sprint concludes today with a 20 minute qualifying session at 1225 (1025 AEDT) followed by a 70 lap race scheduled for 1610 (1410 AEDT).

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