New Zealand jeopardises V8 Supercar future with bewildering decision New Zealand may be left out of international expansion plans of the V8 Supercar Championship Series following the perplexing decision to reject a race through the streets of...
New Zealand jeopardises V8 Supercar future with bewildering decision
New Zealand may be left out of international expansion plans of the V8 Supercar Championship Series following the perplexing decision to reject a race through the streets of Auckland.
Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company (AVESCO) Chairman Tony Cochrane was bewildered and amazed by the decision of the Resource Management Consent commissioners to veto the Auckland race.
"This is an incredibly bizarre decision," Mr Cochrane said.
"It is bitterly disappointing for the sport in New Zealand and the hundreds of thousands of fans who are passionate about motor racing but now denied the chance to see the best touring car category in the world race at what would have been an incredible circuit.
"I can't understand what sort of process would turn down an event like this based largely on objections that had been withdrawn during the resource consent process.
"Considering Transit New Zealand, whose traffic concerns began this whole process, had withdrawn all of its objections and agreed to support the event, I find the decision extremely peculiar to say the least.
"The other bewildering aspect is that the Auckland City Council bid for the race and was awarded it ahead of other New Zealand cities. Why stick your hand up for it in the first place if this is the outcome?
"It must also be remembered that this event was to be for three days out of 365 in a year. Sure there are going to be disruptions with an event of this size but they are far outweighed by the positives.
"We know that the region would have benefited from some $20 million economically each year, that Auckland would be showcased around the world and that New Zealanders would have prided themselves on it.
"We have seen the benefits in Australia through the three biggest sporting events we have -- the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and the Gillette 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 each economy each year. And they are all street races, just like Auckland should have been.
"We would have at least wanted it to go before the council to vote on, at least then it is the voice of the city and those who represent the interests of it."
Mr Cochrane said that with the expansion to China next year and the addition of up to two more international venues as part of the sport's long-term global strategy New Zealand stands to lose.
"The Auckland street race was an integral part of our international expansion plans as it would have been such a fantastic event shown to more than 700 million people on television across the globe," he said.
"Rarely do any cities across the world get an opportunity to host international events of this magnitude and the chance to showcase their attractions to a huge worldwide audience.
"I would now consider it unlikely that other major international events could with any confidence consider Auckland as a location as the process is not only costly but fraught with problems such as this.
"The damage this has caused may be irreversible."