The V8 Supercars Championship’s hopes of continuing to stage a round on New Zealand’s shores could rest with a long-term deal to return to Pukekohe Raceway from next year onwards.
Next weekend’s championship round at Hamilton, the ITM400, will be the event’s last after city officials agreed to terms with series organisers for an early termination of the event’s multi-year contract. The street race took over from Pukekohe as New Zealand’s official V8 Supercars round in 2008. Pukukohe previously staged championship rounds between 2001-7.
Pukekohe is the only permanent race facility in New Zealand that currently comes close to meeting the required FIA safety standards to host the V8 Supercars, but a return to the Auckland venue would still require a significant injection of public funding to bring it up to standard.
“It’s a good little circuit, it obviously needs some upgrading in regards to safety and amenities, but we believe that would be the best venue to be considered by the government to continue racing in New Zealand,” V8SC’s chief operating officer, Shane Howard, told SpeedCafe.
“It’s got a strong motor racing heritage, and we think that if the government supported that venue, it’d be the right place to go.”
But the series is also looking for a long-term deal as part of any negotiations to remain in New Zealand.
“People need to have confidence that the event will be on,” Howard added. “It would give everyone confidence that V8 Supercars are there and will continue to run there, so we’d very much like to confirm a long term future there.”
Should an announcement confirming a return to Pukekohe be made, expect for it to be confirmed mid-season.