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Wednesday, May 22, 2024


SHANE van Gisbergen has called on Supercars to consider a surprise contender for its next New Zealand destination.

Hampton Downs is the favourite to win a spot on the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship calendar in place of Pukekohe, which will cease motorsport activities next April.

Highlands and Taupo have also been touted as options, but Kiwi star van Gisbergen has nominated a hidden gem in Christchurch as his first choice.

“There’s three tracks that are probably pretty good: Hampton, Highlands and Ruapuna,” he said after winning both races yesterday as well as the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.

“Ruapuna probably doesn’t have the facilities but the layout is awesome and from wherever you are on track, you can see the whole track.

“That probably would be the best racing track I reckon, is Ruapuna, if they spend some money on it.

“We could have two tracks and two races here (in New Zealand), we could go to Hampton and then you could go to Christchurch.

“It’s got a big airport right by the track, it would work out perfectly.”

Ruapuna is otherwise known as Mike Pero Motorsport Park.

Supercars is yet to state its preference, but CEO Shane Howard reiterated the matter will be explored following the success of the weekend’s ITM Auckland SuperSprint.

As for the future of the Pukekohe precinct, van Gisbergen was less than enthused.

Circuit owner the Auckland Thoroughbred Racing announced in July that it will focus solely on horse racing activities from April.

“I guess there’s some stuff going on with the landowners or whatever to make some money selling it off or into a horse training track, I’m not sure,” he said.

“But as I said the other day, the horse track is a piece of shit.

“You look at it and it’s wrecked, and we turned up there on Thursday and the race track is a golf course, like it was amazing how well presented it was and how cool the event was and how much everyone supported it… the horse track will probably regret it.”

Aside from the two-year period impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions, New Zealand has hosted a Supercars Championship round every year since 2001.

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