New Zealand Grand Prix cancelled due to border restrictions

The New Zealand Grand Prix has been cancelled. Picture: Bruce Jenkins

The 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix has been cancelled due to the nation’s strict border restrictions.

The race, featuring a fleet of Toyota Racing Series cars, was to have been held at Hampton Downs on the weekend of February 12-13.

However, at least eight would-be starters from overseas have thus far been unable to secure the requisite MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) places in order to get into the country.

The decision was announced jointly by Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand, MotorSport New Zealand, and promoter SpeedWorks Events.

“We have waited until the last possible moment to give potential drivers a chance to get to New Zealand for the GP event,” said TGRNZ motorsport manager Nicolas Caillol.

“However, with the border restrictions currently in place and all of those drivers simply unable to find MIQ spots, we do not believe we can run the Grand Prix that we or the spectators want to see or that the event itself deserves, so we have very reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s race.”

On the eight drivers, he added, “Those eight would have made a big difference to the quality and size of our grid for the GP and had they been able to get here, we would have been able to put on a great show.”

MotorSport New Zealand CEO Elton Goonan explained, “The New Zealand Grand Prix is one of the most significant events on NZ’s motorsport calendar and the decision to not run in 2022 has not been taken lightly.

“We will continue to work with the FIA and TGRNZ to plan for the 2023 season and enable our local drivers to showcase their talent against some of the world’s up and coming best.”

The New Zealand Grand Prix weekend was to have been the single race meeting for the Toyota Racing Series field in 2022, under the previous calendar revision.

It was the feature race in the opening round of a three-round 2021 campaign which was largely contested by local drivers due to pandemic restrictions, with Shane van Gisbergen taking a remarkable last-to-first win.

Typically, the Toyota Racing Series is run to a five-round season, with a grid made up of a mixture of New Zealanders and drivers who have come from overseas to race during the northern winter.

The meeting which this year’s grand prix was to have headlined will still go ahead, with organisers working on a replacement showpiece race.

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