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Supercars’ New Zealand return confirmed

SUPERCARS will return to racing in New Zealand for the next several years after striking a deal with the New Zealand Government and Taupo District Council.

The category’s future presence across the ditch has been a hot topic ever since Pukekohe’s closure was announced.

Now, Taupo Motorsport Park is officially New Zealand’s new home of Supercars per a three-year agreement covering 2024-26.

Taupo is located on the central North Island, with its 3.32km International Circuit configuration to be used.

Dates for the 2024 ITM SuperSprint are due to be announced in the coming weeks, with a late April slot thought to be the likely outcome.

There are set to be four Kiwis on the grid by then: Andre Heimgartner, Matt Payne, Ryan Wood and Richie Stanaway.

“We are honoured to receive the New Zealand Major Events and Taupo District Council’s endorsement for the Supercars Championship’s return in 2024,” said Supercars CEO Shane Howard.

A huge crowd attended the 2022 Pukekohe round. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

“A key priority for Supercars has been the Championship’s return to New Zealand and its passionate fan base.

“This support is a great step forward in ensuring we can begin a new chapter of racing at the world-class circuit in Taupo.

“With the support and the availability of Taupo International Motorsport Park, Supercars is now focused on identifying a suitable date for the event in 2024.

“The championship looks forward to collaborating closely with all stakeholders, series partners and fans, to ensure the successful return of the Supercars Championship to New Zealand.”

Supercars has had just one race meeting in New Zealand since the start of 2020, owing to COVID travel restrictions and the shutdown of Pukekohe.

MORE: Pukekohe confirmed for iRacing immortalisation

Taupo circuit owner Tony Quinn expressed his delight at the news.

“It’s fitting that Supercars is coming back to NZ and hats off to everyone who has made it happen,” said Quinn, who also owns Hampton Downs, Highlands and Queensland Raceway among other motorsport properties.

“The Kiwis are going to love the excitement of it all.

“While some people might be surprised that it’s at our Taupo track, we think it’s a winning combination – the track will provide excellent racing, the consents are all in place, Taupo and their community have a proven track record in hosting world-class events, and we know that Supercars knows how to make the magic happen.

“Since purchasing the park at the end of 2021, we’ve been full steam ahead bringing it up to ‘TQ’ standard and it’s special for our organisation to be part of the team making Supercars a reality back in NZ, in one of the most stunning regions in the country.

“I’ve no doubt that the Aussies that make the trip over to NZ are going to be well impressed with the Taupo region and all it has to offer and will go home and spread the good word!”

Taupo District Mayor David Trewavas added: “Attracting a premium event like Supercars to the Taupo District further cements our reputation as the events capital of New Zealand.

“Our central location means people will come from all over the country and we are looking forward to making the most of it.

“We expect a lot of visitors to our town and our district; and we know they’ll receive a warm Taupo welcome.”

Taupo will become the third New Zealand venue to host a Supercars Championship round, following Pukekohe and the Hamilton Street Circuit.

“The news that the Repco Supercars Championship is heading back to New Zealand is outstanding for the sport and the local fans,” said Repco CEO Wayne Bryant.

“As a proud trans-Tasman business, having a round of the Supercars Championship in New Zealand makes sense for everyone. Repco has 87 stores in New Zealand and we know the Kiwis love their cars and motorsport. It’s the perfect match.

“The passionate support at Pukekohe last year was unforgettable. We know the unbelievable pedigree of drivers and crew within the sport that New Zealand continues to produce, so this just makes today’s news a big win for all.”

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