The biggest event in circuit motor racing in the country this year is set to rock Pukekohe on and off the track this weekend when the V8 SuperTourers make their first appearance at the legendary track for their International 500.
Twenty cars and forty top-line drivers will tackle the circuit in its old configuration in three enduro races totalling 500km, and with work set to start on the venue for the return of the V8 Supercars in 2013, it will almost certainly be the final time that big, fast, V8 touring cars are unleashed on the ultra-fast old layout.
Greg Murphy is back in the hot seat in the M3 racing Mike Pero Mortgages Holden, and will be partnered by Jack Perkins. The appearance of Chris van Der Drift alongside Tim Edgell brings the number of former Black Beauty A1GP team drivers racing to three - with Jonny Reid and Matt Halliday also in the field. International drivers include Porsche legend Jeroen Bleekemolen and the racing promises to be even more competitive than the gripping first enduro event at Taupo on Father's Day.
Track action commences from 10am on Friday with support class testing, with the SuperTourers testing on track from 1.20pm. The parade of cars through Pukekohe will take place at 7.45pm and action on circuit on Saturday and Sunday begins at 9.35am and 10.10am respectively. Saturday night's concert at the circuit gets underway at 5.30pm. The V8 SuperTourer format will include qualifying and a Top Ten Shoot out on Saturday, with one race on Saturday afternoon, and two races including the Feature race on Sunday.
With a theme of Race By Day and Party By Night - Saturday evening will come alive with the sound of The Feelers and the Jordan Luck Band headlining a number of talented Kiwi acts and there will even be action in the air to look forward to - with helicopter hot laps following the racing cars available to the punters and air displays promised by the newly rebuilt WW2 Mosquito and a Strikemaster jet fighter if the weather holds out - which it is forecast to do.
Support for the SuperTourers on the circuit comes from an exciting field of V8 Challenge Cup cars featuring the tin top stars of tomorrow, breathtaking pace from the new Trans-Am type XtremeSports & GT Series cars and season opening full grids from the Central Muscle Cars and the Motul Honda Cup.