Hamilton street race confirmed for April..
Hamilton will host its first Australian V8 Supercar race meeting in April of next year.
The series organisers announced this week that the New Zealand round of the 2008 championship will be run on a street circuit in the Waikato City from April 18 to 20.
The New Zealand round of the series was previously run at the ultra-fast Pukekohe Park track south of Auckland.
V8 Supercars Australia says the race will be known as the Hamilton 400.
The event promoters and the Porter family have announced that V8 Supercar drivers will race in Hamilton for a new prize, the Mark Porter Memorial Trophy.
The trophy honours the popular Waikato driver who was tragically killed while racing a Development Series Supercar at Bathurst last year.
The Porter family’s Porter Hire and Eagles Spares businesses are based in Hamilton.
Waikato fans will get the first chance to buy tickets for the Hamilton 400, which go on sale in Hamilton this Saturday, August 18.
Residents who bring a coupon from the Waikato Times newspaper to one of the Ticketek outlets in Hamilton will have exclusive rights to buy tickets for the event for the first week.
General ticket sales for the rest of the country and online begins on August 27.
V8 Supercars chairman, Tony Cochrane, predicts the Hamilton race meeting will be “one of the best events on our calendar”.
“Hamilton has the hallmarks of becoming the New Zealand equivalent of the biggest and best street race on our Australian calendar – the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.”
The New Zealand promoters Caleta Streetrace Management (CSM) said the confirmed date signalled “a firm reality” that the event was all-go.
“Our team has been working very hard to get to this point and we’re excited that we have a firm date now,” said CSM managing director, Dean Calvert.
“We’re also honoured that the Porter family have agreed that the drivers can compete for the Mark Porter Memorial Trophy, to be held in perpetuity for this event.
“Mark Porter was a well-known driver in V8 Supercars and the Porter family has been synonymous with motorsport in this country and especially here in their home in Hamilton.
“We feel this is an appropriate way to celebrate and honour that contribution and we are indebted (for) their support.”
Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock says the announcement of the April date shows the event is now really on its way. “The civil works in preparation of the track are proceeding well, and we believe the momentum will really start to build now that we have dates and ticket sales confirmed.”
Attendance at the race is limited to 55,000 people a day for the first year, which includes nearly 20,000 grandstand seats.
“The nature of a street circuit is much different,” says Calvert. “Our aim is to provide an overall experience for the whole family.
“While there will be excellent opportunity for general admission, the best viewing will be from the seven major grandstands which all have good views (of) the 12 big screens we will have around the circuit.”
Calvert says the ticketed area is at the top of the circuit running from the Waikato Stadium, with pits and start/finish line on Mill Street, through to Seddon Park.
The park will be the venue for two nights of free concerts after racing for ticket-holders.
The rest of the 3.4km circuit winds around the Frankton business district which won’t offer direct viewing of the track aside from the grandstands at the bottom of the circuit.
Race fans will be able to wander through the Frankton retail district which will operate throughout the weekend.