Could NZ host two Supercars rounds?
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An contract extension to stage a Supercars round at Pukekohe Park Raceway beyond this year seems like a formality but there's a chance the series could visit New Zealand twice a year in the future.
The 2017 Auckland SuperSprint was launched at an event in Auckland on Tuesday with ITM confirming it had secured naming right sponsorship of the event for the next three years.
Supercars Managing Director Matt Braid said he is confident a deal with ATEED [Auckland Council's events arm] will be reached in the coming weeks and that the future of the event remained in Pukekohe.
"There is intention from everybody to keep it going," he told The Herald. "There has never been a discussion of it not happening. It is just putting everything in place.
"We do have calendar pressures but ATEED and ourselves are in the midst of discussions and we hope to have an announcement in the coming weeks."
ATEED was disappointed with a reduced crowd at last year's event and said at the time it would evaluate the landscape before committing to a contract extension.
Pukekohe Park Raceway needs some work and there has been a school of thought that the series and ATEED could look at alternative venues but Braid said he can't see it moving away from the South Auckland track any time soon.
"I don't think so. You never say never but we have such a good relationship with the circuit, it is close to Auckland and it is the iconic home of New Zealand motorsport so we want to stay at Pukekohe.
"There is possibility down the track - we are looking to expand the championship in the years to come; that is no secret. Could there be another event in New Zealand? We don't know. Certainly not in the immediate future but in the longer term who knows where we might expand the footprint?"
While there have been hints at a second New Zealand round for a number of years it is hard to see the idea stacking up when you consider commercial support, the quality of venue, cost of getting teams and cars there and the population base to support an event.
Braid disagrees however.
"I think the sport is so popular here it could support two races," he said. "It is more just how it fits in logistically to the championship but never say never. We wouldn't say no to looking at it."
The Supercars championship has made it clear expansion is on the cards with Asia are more likely concept in the shorter term. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand would seem the most likely fit.
"The fan base and viewing audience we already have in Asia plus the time frame from a broadcast perspective in that region makes sense.
"We hope to make some announcements shortly on where the future might be in Asia for us - if not right not then certainly long term."