The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Asia Pacific Series says they are committed to bringing future events back to New Zealand after a one-off venture to Hampton Downs in 2018.
A steady band of heavy rain, unfortunately, greeted the one-make series upon its four-day event at the Waikato venue. The downpour saw both races postponed until late Sunday and qualifying delayed as the local fire brigade helped clear the standing water.
The event has since failed to return to the Asia Pacific calendar with races at Albert Park in conjunction with the Australian Grand Prix the only frequent round in the South Pacific.
A criticism of the New Zealand event was the lack of support categories which left spectators disinterested during the lengthy breaks between races.
However, Filippo Zanier, Head of Corse Clienti Asia Pacific believes the round was a hit with drivers, and he hinted at a possible return to New Zealand after the global pandemic has abated, and international travel returns to normality.
Zanier says the series is continually looking to expand across the Asia Pacific region and will no doubt have New Zealand on their radar for future seasons.
“The race weekend held in Hampton Downs in 2018 is a cherished memory for the Ferrari Challenge APAC racers,” Zanier told Velocity News.
“Despite the unforgiving weather conditions, our drivers had nothing but praise for the track, a layout that follows the contours of the land poses challenges that are becoming rarer in motor racing, and there was definitely a lot of appreciation for that.”
Zanier went on to suggest a return to New Zealand will likely see a return to Hampton Downs. The other realistic host venue being its sister Highlands Motorsport Park circuit in Cromwell.
But he also emphasised the Covid-19 pandemic must be considered when drafting a calendar and any return to New Zealand won’t be until at least the 2022 season.
“Concerning our chances to return in the coming years, it’s clear that our decisions on the near future have to take into consideration the impact of Covid-19.
“These days, when we plan a racing event, a high degree of flexibility is of paramount importance, as the daily changes in immigration policies due to the pandemic can lead to sudden event cancellations.
“Given the logistical challenges, we don’t see this happening for the 2021 championship.
“Having said that, our series is called Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, and that isn’t just a name,” he added.
“We are committed to bringing the excitement and passion of our racing weekends back to Australia and New Zealand, countries where the passion for the Prancing Horse has deep roots.
“When travel restrictions are completely lifted and borders are open again for both our drivers and our staff, the possibility of racing again at Hampton Downs will definitely be on our agenda.”
The series operates on an ‘arrive and drive’ notion and often sees the field mostly made up of gentleman drivers. The only Kiwi to have entered the 2018 Hampton Downs event was ex-NZ V8 driver Grant Baker.