Supercars 2020: Pukekohe Raceway dropped for Hampton Downs in 2020

Kiwi Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin won in Pukekohe last year.
Kiwi Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin won in Pukekohe last year. Photo credit: Photosport

Hampton Downs will host the New Zealand leg of the Australian Supercars championship, replacing Pukekohe Raceway as the venue.

The race has changed locations due to Auckland Council's Unitary Plan, which restricts motorsport noise at Pukekohe on ANZAC Day. 

With the Auckland Super400 scheduled from April 24-26 this year, organisers' hands were tied and they decided to switch to Hampton Downs, just south of Auckland.

This will be the first time the Supercars have shifted to a venue other than Pukekohe since the series raced on the streets of Hamilton between 2008-12.

Speaking to Speedcafe, Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer said that when they swapped the dates, they didn't realise that racing couldn't take place on ANZAC Day. 

"Unknown to us and the folks at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development [ATEED] at the time was that there'd been changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan that required an extended period of consultation, public consultation in order for us to run on ANZAC weekend at Pukekohe," he said. 

"We weren’t aware of that until very late, almost just before Christmas, but we're very fortunate that there’s a world-class facility just 15 minutes down the road that isn't beholden to the Auckland Unitary Plan requirements that we can go racing at.

"But it'll be the same date and same format.

"Obviously, we’re not going to have the benefit of the dedicated grandstands you get at Pukekohe, but our operations team are looking at what grandstanding we’re going to put in, how we’re going to build corporate. 

"Keep in mind a lot of what we do at Pukekohe is built-in, so a lot of the corporate around the pit building, grandstands, there is a considerable amount to build for Pukekohe.

"Yes, obviously we have the luxury of a dedicated grandstand and we may not have as much grandstand capacity, but there’s still plenty of GA viewing and some great GA viewing."

This year's schedule moved the New Zealand leg of the championship from November to April.

ATEED destination general manager Steve Armitage said Hampton Downs would be a good venue. 

"The restrictive nature of the changes that have happened as a result of the Unitary Plan being changed in 2016, we’ve not been able to work our way around.

"In order to provide certainty that the event could proceed, we wanted to find an alternative option and we’re just extremely fortunate that there was a great world-class facility like Hampton Downs just outside the southern boundary of the city."