ATCC: Wellington round to be dropped in 1996

December 1995 will see the last running of the waterfront touring car race in Wellington, New Zealand. This race, formerly known as the Nissan Mobil 500, has built up quite a reputation since it began in the mid-80s and was a round of the world...

December 1995 will see the last running of the waterfront touring car race in Wellington, New Zealand. This race, formerly known as the Nissan Mobil 500, has built up quite a reputation since it began in the mid-80s and was a round of the world touring car championship in 1987. The Schnitzer BMW team has been a regular visitor, and winner, although Tim Harvey was the overall winner last year in a Motorola BMW. The meeting is a round of this year's FIA Asia-Pacific touring car championship.

It's a street race, partly through streets near the centre of the city and partly right on the waterfront -- if a driver managed to leap the wall he'd be in the water. It's not quite Monaco but it is a special setting and makes excellent TV.

Now the Wellington City Council has decided not to support the race after this year, because of complaints about noise, traffic rerouting etc. Earlier the council helped bankroll the race as part of its atempts to make Wellington appear to be a fun place (the city is renowned in NZ for its awful weather, earthquakes and general dullness).

The race itself will probably survive; the most likely option is that it will just pack its bags and go to Auckland. Which could be a good thing in the long run.

Bernard Carpinter

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