Supercars are set to drive millions in the Taupō economy

New Zealand driver Shane van Gisbergen won the final at Pukekohe in September 2022. File image.
Photo: Photosport

Fast cars have accelerated the number of fans and dollars flocking to Taub from as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

Supercar racing returns to New Zealand and is held for the first time at Taupō International Motorsport Park.

The ITM Taupō SuperSprint kicks off on Friday and runs until Sunday.

Taupō Mayor David Trewawas said securing the event was a career highlight and exciting for the district.

Hotels are fully booked in Taupō and nearby Tūrangi, and event attendees are also staying in Rotorua, Napier and Hamilton.

Along with domestic fans, many visitors come from Australia – almost 66,000 are expected.

Trevavas said it is expected to bring in $6m to $7m a day for the region.

Taupō District Council events manager Steve Giles said it was great to play host after a tough few years for the tourism industry.

He believes his current three-year contract with Supercars will be extended.

„Ultimately, we want to become the new home of Supercars in New Zealand, which Pukekohe has been so successful for over the years until 2022,” Giles said.

„As a country, we missed Supercars last year in 2023 and we can't wait to build a new relationship with Supercars going forward.”

'Overcrowded area'

Taupō International Motorsport Park chief executive Josie Spillane said excitement levels were high at the park and the town was thriving.

Around 25,000 visitors are expected to visit the park daily.

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„The community has embraced it wholeheartedly. The area is full of people.

„The bars, the restaurants, the activities, they're all thriving and many people who have traveled across the chasm are extending their time here and they're leaving to explore more. New Zealand has to offer.”

Scott McLaughlin crossed the line ahead of fellow Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen at Pukekohe in second in the 2018 Supercars event.

Scott McLaughlin crosses the finish line to win race two of the 2018 Supercars event at Pukekohe. File photo.
Photo: Photosport/Mark Horsburgh

Spillane said it was incredible to see such a big event in Taupō.

„We're blown away and I think it's a testament to Kiwi race fans that we were able to put a Supercars sold-out sign on the gates of Taubay International Motorsport Park on Saturday and Sunday.”

There are still a few tickets left for Friday's show.

The Taupō Car Club is hosting a team of 400 volunteers in the park this weekend.

Its president, Damian White, said they were hosting volunteers in their club rooms.

Those volunteers are as young as 13-year-old Jian Theda, an upcoming member of the club.

“I am very happy to help with such a big event,” he said.

Meanwhile, fellow volunteer Paul Crawford, who has been with the club for 30 years, will spend some time at the track as a spectator following the cars on the first lap of the track this weekend.

„Basically we cover them on their first lap if there's an incident.”

Richie Stanaway (Mobile Holden Commodore Boost).  2019 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Round 11. Mount Panorama, Bathurst NSW Wednesday 9 October 2019. Photo Clay Cross / photosport.nz

Richie Stanaway.
Photo: Photosport Limited 2019

New Zealand driver Richie Stanaway said no drivers had driven the Taupe track.

It put everyone on a „clean slate,” he said.

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He was thrilled to have the opportunity to race closer to home.

„As a New Zealander, having the opportunity to race on home soil once a year gives us a chance to feel what it's like for all the Australian drivers who race at home at all the other circuits. So that's something we really appreciate. .”

Traffic congestion is expected

Waka Kotahi spokesperson Andy Oakley said those going this weekend should expect heavy traffic.

„Anyone traveling on SH1 and SH5 through the Central North Island should allow plenty of time and expect delays as they approach Taupō.”

Both Broadlands Rd exits from SH1 are closed from 6am to 2pm, with parking only available from the Centennial Ave interchange.

Traffic management is there to direct visitor vehicles and manage traffic flows.

The transport agency advises anyone staying in Taupō to use the SH1 East Taupō interchange rather than Wairakei Dr for easier access to the city.

Trewavas said buses also run regularly from the CBD for people who want to travel to the event.

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