Confirmed: Supercars swap Pukekohe for Hampton Downs for ITM Super400
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In a surprise twist to the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship calendar, it's been confirmed that this year's April 24–26 ITM Auckland Super400 will be hosted at Hampton Downs International Circuit instead of its traditional home Pukekohe Park.
The shift is due to the Auckland Unitary Plan, which prevents "any use of the track by motor vehicles, except for vehicles undertaking maintenance" on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Anzac Day as had been scheduled. Hampton Downs, being in Waikato, isn't held to this legislation.
It's the first time the Supercars have shifted to a venue other than Pukekohe Park since the series raced on the streets of Hamilton between 2008 and 2012. Since it returned to Pukekohe in 2013, the old-school circuit has been a popular fixture with both drivers and fans alike.
Speaking to Speedcafe, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer stated that nothing else is set to change for the weekend apart from the location. Support card categories and race format will remain the same.
“Same date, same format, same plans for Anzac weekend. Still working obviously with the army here in Australia and New Zealand, just a change of venue,” he said.
“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.”
Among the biggest challenges now will be for Hampton Downs to erect more comprehensive spectator areas and parking spots to cope with what's most likely to be its biggest foot-traffic challenge to date. The Waikato facility currently only has resource consent to host 20,000 spectators, which pales in comparison to the six-figure weekend crowds that attend Pukekohe annually.