Monday, Jan 13 11:04am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Supercars forced to drop Pukekohe Park for Hampton Downs

Organisers of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship have been forced to drop Pukekohe Park from this year’s calendar due to council bylaws.


The series will instead race at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over 24–26 April under the ITM Auckland Super400 banner.


The issue stems from changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan in recent years – unbeknownst to Supercars – meaning that racing cannot take place at Pukekohe Park on ANZAC Day.


Clause I434.6(1) of the plan states: There must not be any use of the track by motor vehicles, except for vehicles undertaking maintenance in all of the following circumstances,” with subsection (b) specifically stating “Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Anzac Day.


It is understood an application by Supercars to Auckland Council needed to have been made 130 days prior to the event.


With Hampton Downs under the jurisdiction of the Waikato Regional Council, the circuit is not affected by the Auckland Unitary Plan.


Supercars last raced at Pukekohe Park on ANZAC Day in 2014, before changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan were made preventing racing from taking place on specific holidays.


While Supercars has addressed the issue of Pukekohe Park and ANZAC Day, there remain concerns over the feasibility of Hampton Downs as a venue.


Currently the venue is only has a resource consent allowing 20,000 spectators. Not only that, but a traffic management plan must be submitted three months out from the event, leaving the venue not much time to ready itself for it’s debut.


The full length International Circuit is reportedly set to be used for the race with no changes to the race weekend format. The last major championship to use the full 12-turn configuration was the Australian GT Championship.


An official announcement is expected to come today.