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Supercars wants New Zealand return in 2024

Supercars says it has "every intention" to return a New Zealand round to its schedule as soon as 2024.

Will Davison, Dick Johnson Racing Ford

Edge Photographics

The Australian series traditionally stages one round per season across the Tasman, although the pandemic meant this year's Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe was the first since 2019.

While a sold-out crowd underlined the importance of an NZ event on the schedule, the impending closure of Pukekohe as a car racing venue has thrown a significant spanner in the works.

A number of factors have complicated the search for a new venue, the primary issue funding, given Auckland effectively funded the event at state level.

While Hampton Downs is the logical choice to replace Pukekohe, it is in neighbouring Waikato, which means a revised funding deal needs to be put in place.

There are also thought to be logistical issues that need to be sorted for Hampton Downs to host Supercars.

Efforts to get those issues sorted for 2023 have fallen short, with NZ not included on next year's schedule.

However Supercars has reiterated its desire to race across the ditch, with talks to continue about reinstating an NZ round in 2024.

“We are still in progressive talks with our counterparts there for an event in the future, however as they continue it is in the best interest of all parties involved to focus on 2024 and beyond," said Supercars CEO Shane Howard.

“We have every intention to return to New Zealand and we are confident of an announcement in the new year regarding a partnership with a new venue.”

A new deal to race in NZ will likely need federal government backing given Auckland Unlimited won't pay, at least to the same extent that it has in the past, for an event that's not in Auckland.

Interestedly, today's calendar announcement included quotes from the events department in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“Major international events generate significant economic, social and cultural benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand," said the MBIE’s Manager NZ Major Events, Kylie Hawker-Green.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has previously supported the V8 Supercar events with $2.2 million over five years from the former Major Events Development Fund and will continue to liaise with event organisers to consider how the government could support the event returning to Aotearoa New Zealand in future.”

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