Manfeild Park in Feilding in the Manawatu is planning a major works programme aimed at getting the rights to run the New Zealand Grand Prix from 2008.
February 15, 2007. Manfeild is making a bid to run the 2008 New Zealand Grand Prix which has been contested at Teretonga Park, Invercargill, for the past few years. Manfeild Park Trust chief executive Phil Abraham says major work will be done at the circuit as part of the drive toward securing the Grand Prix, which is run for Formula Toyota open-wheel racing cars.
Toyota New Zealand which bankrolls the Toyota Racing Series, of which the Grand Prix is part, is based in Palmerston North, near to Manfeild, and is known to be keen to have the race in its virtual backyard.
Abraham says the Manfeild Trust plan to invest “significant resources to ensure we get the New Zealand Grand Prix.”
“It’s our desire to host this race, the biggest domestic motorsport event in New Zealand, the jewel in the crown.”
Manfeild last hosted the NZGP six years ago.
Since then it has been run at Teretonga, originally for Formula Fords and then for the Toyota Celica-powered Tatuus cars, once the TRS was established.
Toyota New Zealand has had a close relationship with Manfeild, and has used the track for testing road cars for almost 20 years.
“We really value our association with Toyota New Zealand,” says Abraham.
“We believe that it is as much to their advantage, as it is to ours, to have the Grand Prix here.
“It will also be good for the (Manawatu) region. The whole region can enjoy the benefits of an event of this size.” Manfeild is located in the rural Manawatu town of Feilding, its name an amalgam of Manawatu and Feilding.
To reinforce its bid to get MotorSport to sanction the Grand Prix being run at Manfeild, the Trust will commit to two major projects to be completed by the end of this year.
Those projects are the construction of a multi-storey control tower with an estimated cost of around $700,000, and resealing of the 3.03 kilometre main circuit.
“The circuit was built in 1973,” says Abraham. “The middle section was resealed in the late 1990s, through a grant. Other repairs have been done to address wear and tear, plus some flood damage, but it’s now due for a major overhaul.
“This year the goal is to address the priority parts of the circuit to ensure it is up to the standard competitors would expect.”
Photo caption: Above right, Bahrain driver Hamad Al Fardan wins the 2006 NZ GP at Teretonga in his TRS single seater. The 2007 race will be held at the Southland circuit in March, but Manfeild is seeking sanction to run the Grand Prx in 2008. Photo by Graham Blow.