Pukekohe 'would be really cool': NZ IndyCar rumour gains traction
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It may sound like a far-fetched fairy-tale at first glance, but rumour that the Verizon IndyCar Series could travel to New Zealand could become a reality.
There has been talk since last year that Pukekohe Park is trying to bolster its calendar with the signing of a new major international event. Now the rumour has taken on a new wind after Scott Dixon confirmed he’s aware of it in an interview with velocitynews.co.nz.
“I heard similar rumblings. To get something to work it would be financially a lot more feasible if you could split it between two countries, and especially if they could do an Australian and New Zealand round,” he said.
And he’s right. The only way an event in New Zealand could hope to happen is if we share the costs with Australia. The American open-wheel circuit once included our transtasman buddies on their calendars annually, via the popular Gold Coast Indy 300.
The event ran from 1991 (back in the days of CART) to 2008, before negotiations for a new deal fell through and it was replaced with A1GP — which went into liquidation shortly after. However, there’s been chatter over the past few years that the event could be coming back. Various media outlets were tipping it to return in 2017, thanks to support from a “private consortium” which, at the time, were engaging in talks with Tourism and Events Queensland.
The Gold Coast 600 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship round and Pukekohe’s ITM Auckland 400 are scheduled two weeks apart starting in late October, while IndyCar’s schedule finishes in September.
Pukekohe Park’s central issue has been a bumpy track surface, but resurfacing has smoothed out many of the bumps (and perhaps some of its rough-around-the-edges charm).
“I think it would be really cool,” said Dixon. “To be honest, with how the other races have fared and worked in Australia, it would be huge, man. I don’t think they’d have a problem with ticket sales for one, or even getting people to the track.
“I know they were talking about maybe some resurfacing areas, but I haven’t been there [recently]. I think I did a drive day there four or five years ago so that was the last time I was there. A lot of my early career started at Pukekohe and it’d be a lot of fun to drive an IndyCar around there.”