New Zealand may lose race

New Zealand risks losing V8 Supercar Championship Series forever New Zealand was risking its long-term chances of hosting a V8 Supercar Championship Series event after next year should a proposal to race in Auckland be vetoed, Australian Vee...

New Zealand risks losing V8 Supercar Championship Series forever

New Zealand was risking its long-term chances of hosting a V8 Supercar Championship Series event after next year should a proposal to race in Auckland be vetoed, Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company (AVESCO) Chairman Tony Cochrane said today.

AVESCO has agreed to wait through a 90-day extension so that race promoter IMG, Transit New Zealand, the Auckland City Council and North Shore City Council can attempt to solve traffic issues that threaten to prevent the race from going ahead.

"If a solution is not found it could well be the end for New Zealand," Mr Cochrane said.

"We have major cities around the world such as Singapore, Dubai and Cape Town crying out for us to come there and here's Auckland, who have been gifted the race, almost saying thanks but we can't get it together.

"Now. because we have agreed to this extension, it makes it difficult for any other bid to prepare in time for 2006. On top of this there is also a decision by Motorsport New Zealand not to allow two races in the same year that has foiled any hopes for a race at Manfeild.

"With Manfeild forced to shelve their plans there is nowhere else with the standard of facilities that our Championship requires. It just doesn't make any sense."

Mr Cochrane was alarmed by the prospect that the race may not proceed due to the resource management consent process.

"At first we were led to believe that this process would be quite straight forward," Mr Cochrane said.

"And why shouldn't it be? I don't see Monaco, Vancouver, Montreal, Gold Coast or Long Beach having too many problems with traffic management when they host such events through the hearts of their cities.

"How a city like Auckland can not prepare itself for a three-day event such as this is ludicrous. Of course there are going to be traffic issues but only for one weekend of the year.

"We run a race through the middle of the Gold Coast and another through Adelaide. And the Australian Grand Prix runs just a few kilometres from the heart of Melbourne. They all seem to cope."

Mr Cochrane said the loss would be New Zealand's.

"We chose Auckland because we know how important our championship is to New Zealanders," he said.

"Even at a venue like Pukekohe, which we have far outgrown, we see first hand what the New Zealand public want. That's exactly why we want to race in Auckland -- because the majority of New Zealanders want us to."

Not only would Auckland lose the race but all of the associated benefits of having an internationally sanctioned and recognised event taking the city to the rest of the world.

"Auckland will be losing out on tens of millions of dollars in economic impact through global exposure, tourism, broadcast rights and ticket sales to what would be a phenomenal event," Mr Cochrane said.

"I have seen an independent report released by Market Economics saying that the race will generate an extra $NZ48.5 million of added value per year for the regional economy.

"We have seen these benefits first hand in Australia through the three biggest sporting events we have -- the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge on the Gold Coast.

"These are three massive events that attract crowds in excess of 240,000 people each and input more than $40 million into the economy. And they are all street races, just like Auckland should be."

-avesco-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Tony Cochrane