Hampton Downs could still keep its right to host the New Zealand leg of the Supercars Championship in 2021, says the category’s CEO Sean Seamer.
The Waikato venue received plaudits late last year for stepping in to replace Pukekohe Park who had fallen foul of the Auckland Unitary Plan which banned motorsport at the circuit without sufficient notice.
However, the event was subsequently cancelled following a calendar revision to minimise the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has led to uncertainty of whether the event will return to Pukekohe as usual next season or if it will remain at Hampton Downs.
Seamer admitted at a recent Repco sponsor launch that no venue will be confirmed till after the season finale at Bathurst and did hint that Hampton Downs could still see a round of the Supercars Championship staged at the circuit to compensate the loss of its 2020 event.
“Our position hasn’t changed as it relates to Hampton Downs, given all of the great work they did for us, particularly over Christmas last year… but we’ll confirm that just after Bathurst, the timing for announcing the calendar is just after Bathurst this year,” said Seamer.
“We’ll work through that with all the key partners involved, Sky, Repco and the folks at ITM and we’ll come to a conclusion on that in the next few weeks.”
Hampton Downs does have a permit to host a round of the Supercars Championship and the series had already spent vast work with and around the venue to work out logistical and operational issues.
Earlier in the year, Seamer said the series will look to visit New Zealand around the usual ANZAC weekend date in April. But yesterday admitted there is plenty of flexibility with the round which could still is pushed back later in the year.
“Our current plans for the calendar for next year as it relates to getting back to New Zealand, we’re still working on being there in April,” Seamer said.
“What we’ve seen with our partners in New Zealand is that there’s a lot of flexibility already around the date and location of that event, because of everything we’ve been through not only this year but in planning for this year, with the change from Pukekohe to Hampton Downs.
“The Kiwis are an entrepreneurial bunch and we’ll make it happen one way or another.”
Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin currently leads the Supercars Championship 143 points ahead of Jamie Whincup with three rounds left to play out.
The first of those will be the Repco SuperSprint from The Bend over September 19-20.