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$6.6m upgrade unveiled for Pukekohe

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Latest Motorsport News | Monday October 15 2012 12:23

$6.6m upgrade unveiled for Pukekohe

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The new $6.6 million upgrade has been unveiled for Pukekohe Park Raceway ahead of the return of the V8 Supercars in 2013.

The upgrade will begin next month and will bring the venue up to FIA category two standard.

Three additional turns will be added before the hairpin on the back straight and the pit area will be extended to 32 new garages.

Improved safety barriers, and improved viewing areas will also be installed, and the track will be re-surfaced.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, the Ministry of Economic Development and V8 Supercars are contributing $2.2 million each to the upgrade.

ATEED will be putting in $2.1 million a year over that period, including the one-off capital grant and $1 million annual sponsorship fee.

ATEED spokeswoman Jennah Wootten says the organisation will be putting $10.6 million into the V8s over the next five years.

"The return on that for us is around $35 million worth of new money coming into the economy so that's a great return and something that we're really excited to start working on."

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer is concerned by the promises being made about crowd numbers and economic benefits.

He also thinks the prediction of 50,000 visitor nights is unrealistic.

"Over half of them are actually staying at their friend's place so that's not going to add a lot of economic benefit as much as being promoted."

V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane says it's a relief to get a the deal done after such a horrid time in Hamilton.

"Unfortunate arrangement with the New Zealand promoter and the Hamilton City Council and as you know we stepped up to the plate for the last two years and tried to underwrite the event ourselves and it was probably internally haemorrhaging too much by that stage."

He says changes will include adding three turns to track before the hairpin on the back straight.

"The new layout has to be to FIA safety standards and a terminal speed of our cars on that back straight was too great so we put a series of turns in there which also, I might add, creates a fantastic passing opportunity."

Other improvements include an extension to the pit area, resurfacing parts of the track and pedestrian bridges over the raceway.

Work will being on the track next month, and the event will be staged from April 12-14 next year.

Photo: Getty Images

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