Pukekohe chosen over Hampton Downs
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 6:48p.m.
By Shaun Summerfield
Pukekohe is set for a $6.6 million makeover as the V8 Supercars revamp the track in time for next April’s race.
The upgrade will include new pit buildings and spectator viewing, but the racing will be slower.
It bears the scars of 50 years of racing, with every scrape telling a story, but Pukekohe is no longer up to scratch.
“The old girl needs a spruce up – there's no question,” V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane says.
But despite the rusting pit buildings and slumping track, the counties circuit has been chosen over the new Hampton Downs track as the new home of V8 Supercars in New Zealand.
“The reality is that this place is much closer to Auckland. It is in the Auckland Council region and we know with the upgrade we're giving it, it's got a 15 to 20 year life in it,” Cochrane says.
The upgrade will cost $6.6 million, but there is some cost cutting involved, including Pukekohe inheriting Hamilton’s pit lane but not the financial model, which saw the street race lose over $40 million.
Auckland deputy mayor Penny Hulse is happy with the situation.
“We take none of the risk. We don't do any underwriting and we get all the benefits. So Hamilton might suddenly feel a great big hole in their economy next year and we'll certainly see the benefits.”
But some fans may lament the revamped circuit, which sees Pukekohe's famous back straight shortened, with three turns added as the Supercars try to diffuse one of the championship’s most volatile corners.
It brings a safer track and future for the New Zealand round, with the series promising to underwrite the race until 2017.
“It was very important to me personally to make sure we had a bright future in New Zealand,” Cochrane says.
And the return of Pukekohe wasn't the only new date on the calendar released today, with a Texas race scheduled for next May.
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