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HomeNewsTemple of speed: Pukekohe's place in Supercars record books

Temple of speed: Pukekohe’s place in Supercars record books

PUKEKOHE Park Raceway will continue to hold a special place in the Repco Supercars Championship record books well into the future.

The New Zealand circuit made its final bow last weekend with record crowds packing its hills and grandstands, farewelling the 59-year-old facility ahead of its permanent closure in April 2023.

However, Pukekohe remains the scene of the fastest lap recorded at a ATCC/Supercars round in championship history, and it’s likely to retain that honour for the immediate future.

It’s a record that has stood since 2005, when Steven Richards claimed provisional pole with a 55.4789s lap in his Perkins Engineering Holden Commodore VY, which works out to an average speed of 184.351 km/h.

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The Pukekohe circuit had been partially resurfaced prior to the 2005 event due to drainage works, which led to the old lap record taking a beating: Richards’ mark undercut the previous mark, set by Jason Bright one year prior, by almost a full second.

As a comparison, the fastest Supercars lap around Mount Panorama – the 2m03.3736s lap set by Chaz Mostert in the Top 10 Shootout for the 2021 race – works out to an average speed of 181.293 km/h.

It would take a 2m01.3271s lap for Bathurst to bump Pukekohe from the top spot.

Richards’ provisional pole time was 0.0469s clear of Marcos Ambrose in second place. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

It’s not yet known exactly how close the Gen3 Supercars will ultimately get to the current generation cars in terms of overall lap speed, but their reduced downforce levels means that Pukekohe’s mark may continue to stand well beyond the facility’s final Supercars round this.

In a twist of fate, the 2005 Pukekohe weekend was billed as ‘The Final Rumble’ as AVESCO pushed for it to be replaced by a street race in Wellington for 2006. The Auckland circuit earned a stay of execution when the plan fell over, remaining on the calendar for two more years before New Zealand’s round moved to the streets of Hamilton.

Shane van Gisbergen reset the qualifying record at Pukekohe in Supercars’ visit in 2019. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Pukekohe returned to the championship for 2013 but with a chicane installed in the back straight. The fastest Supercars lap recorded on the layout, Shane van Gisbergen’s 1m01.5480s from qualifying in 2019, is over six seconds slower than Richards’ mark on the old circuit.

It was a mark that stood through Supercars’ final weekend at the circuit, where the fastest lap set was the 1m01.9211s lap that earnt Will Davison pole position for Sunday’s second race.

Pukekohe remained one of the fastest circuits on the current Supercars calendar despite the addition of the chicane, with van Gisbergen’s 170.209 km/h lap from 2019 ranking it fourth behind the new Albert Park layout, Mount Panorama and Symmons Plains.

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