Following today’s announcement of Hampton Downs earning the right to host the 2021 New Zealand Grand Prix, the longer 4km International Circuit configuration has been confirmed as the track of choice.
It will be the first time a Toyota Racing Series event is staged on the 10-corner circuit which boasts the notoriously tight Fosters Hairpin and the unforgiving Double Bastard corner.
Similarly, it will also be one of the first race meetings held on the recently resurfaced back straight.
The longer circuit has hosted rounds of the Australian GT series, the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific Series, and it was set to be the layout used for the Supercars Championship last year.
TRS cars that have tested on the International configuration were previously having to lift along the back straight due to an undulating bump on the entry to Fosters Hairpin.
Work done to that area of the track over the last few months have hopefully alleviated the problem for drivers, meaning they should be able to attack the straight at full speed.
The newly-laid surface is also the same grade used by the several circuits in Australia for the Supercars Championship.
Lap times are expected to be in the 1m27 vicinity with the Grand Prix to be staged over 28 laps.
Hampton Downs now becomes the eighth different circuit in New Zealand Grand Prix history to stage the iconic event. Since 2008 those honours have been held by Manfeild which this year will host the season finale over February 12-14.
Contrary to most previous TRS seasons, this year’s Grand Prix will also be the opening round of the 2021 championship with the race scheduled for January 22-24.
The earlier calendar date is designed to attract high profile New Zealand drivers still at home following the Christmas break and provide a rare opportunity to run the Grand Prix with the very best Kiwi drivers available in it.
An all-star line-up for the Grand Prix featuring former TRS champions and other national stars has been mooted but yet to be confirmed.
What has been set in stone is veteran Ken Smith will make his 50th Grand Prix start this year.
The first batch of driver announcements for the 2021 TRS is set to be revealed over the coming weeks.