Aussie GT Championship race at Hampton Downs extended
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The Australian GT Championship will return to Hampton Downs this year but with a change in format that should lead to better racing.
The Hampton Downs 500, complete with Laser Plumbing & Electrical on board as naming rights sponsors, will replace the 101 format used in the inaugural event last year. An additional 20 laps to 121 will mean a significant change in strategy.
"That may not sound a lot but it means there will be a third pit stop and two driver changes which will mean a change in strategy for the teams," Hampton Downs owner Tony Quinn said. "It will also have implications for tyres and fuel.
"We're also getting rid of the compulsory timed pit stops which were used to handicap the faster drivers, which means it will be a true endurance test."
Quinn will line up in the event himself in what is the penultimate round of the Australian GT Championship and will feature some of the finest GT production cars in the world, including Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Nissan, McLaren and Mercedes.
Last year's event was well-received, with a number of leading Australasian drivers featuring, as well as Kiwi stars such as Greg Murphy and Mad Mike Whiddett while a good crowd attended.
Quinn said the commitment from the Laser Group is a good reflection on the event.
"It shows that we delivered last year and we're planning an even bigger and better event this year.
"They've committed to us, so now we have to deliver and give them value for money."
The Hampton Downs 500 is confirmed for October 28-29 at the North Waikato track, while the championship concludes a fortnight later at Quinn's spectacular Highlands Motorsport Park near Cromwell.
Quinn is calling the back-to-back events the New Zealand 1001.
"The Bathurst 1000 has always been a special race for me and I liked the idea of going one better, hence the New Zealand 1001," he explained.