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The ITM 500 Auckland V8 Supercars, the biggest annual trans-Tasman sporting event, will honour the tradition of Anzac that binds the two nations. The 2014 event will be staged over Anzac weekend at Pukekohe Park Raceway with the support of the Returned and Services Association (RSA).
V8 Supercars made a successful return to Pukekohe Park Raceway this year with 117,167 patrons attending across the three days, while the independent consultants Covec reported a regional impact of $7.5 million into the economy and over 36,000 visitor nights.
The only New Zealand round of the V8 Supercars Championship will be staged from Thursday 24 April to Sunday 27 April with a later start proposed for Anzac Day. “The bond between Australian and New Zealand is built of legend,” said V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton. “It is an honour to stage this event on Anzac weekend, which holds enormous significance on both sides of the Tasman. With Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), our event partners, and the RSA we will ensure the legend of the Anzac is respected and remembered.”
New Zealand’s RSA National Office has endorsed the event and will work closely with organisers and Pukekohe RSA to prepare a programme of Anzac Day celebrations and ancillary events. "The RSA welcomes the V8 Supercars to Pukekohe over ANZAC Weekend 2014 and the respect accorded to the national day of commemoration on both sides of the Tasman," said Dr Stephen Clarke, RSA National Chief Executive. "Anzac Day is about honouring the service and sacrifice of Australians and New Zealanders past and present, and celebrating the Anzac spirit that lives in all our hearts. We look forward to working with organisers of the V8 Supercars to both honour and celebrate that spirit on Anzac Day 2014." Tickets will go on sale through www.ticketek.co.nz on 31 October with discounts of up to 20 per cent for pre-purchase tickets and early bird offers.
V8 Supercars also announced a move to three categories of events – SuperSprint, SuperStreet and the PIRTEK Enduro Cup – to standardise and simplify race formats into a consistent package. The 60/60 format of this year has been scrapped. SuperSprint events are two 100km races on Saturdays with a single 200km feature race on the Sunday, with the exception of the Auckland race which will include an additional 100kms race across the ANZAC weekend.
A programme and event details for Auckland has yet to be confirmed. However it’s likely that a practice session will be scheduled on Thursday at Pukekohe Park Raceway with a later start to racing on the Friday.Full details will be released from next month including transport information and plans for the return of the Fan Trail which proved so successful this year.
New Zealand will be the fourth stop on the 2014 V8 Supercars Championship calendar following the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, Tasmania 400 and Winton 400.
V8 Supercars has announced ground-breaking changes for 2014, building on a year which has featured multiple race and rookie winners, captivating racing and new generation V8 Supercars. Innovation is the key to further broadening the appeal of V8 Supercars and making it accessible to more people than ever.
Key initiatives for 2014 include a shift towards prime time twilight racing and new standardised race formats; and an exciting new ANZAC Day weekend in New Zealand. Sydney will host three events in 2015.
“We have the opportunity to continue with an entrepreneurial approach, with high levels of innovation and commitment to our fans,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said. “There is a chance to build on the energy and passion of the business created through the course of this year; taking it to the next level in 2014 and even further in 2015. “We have had the period of consolidation, now is the time for innovation, growth and building for the next five to ten years.”
A minimum of five Saturday twilight races are possible in 2014. V8 Supercars will announce timings of all races early in the New Year in consultation with host broadcaster Seven.
As a precursor the first 250km race at the Sydney 500 this December will run from 5.10pm to 7.30pm. The ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 next month will also be staged later on Saturday afternoon. The prospect of racing at twilight has received unanimous support from fans with 85 per cent supporting a Saturday evening race and almost 50 per cent more people would attend or watch a twilight race. V8 Supercars also announced a move to three categories of events – SuperSprint, SuperStreet and the PIRTEK Enduro Cup – to standardise and simplify race formats into a consistent package. The 60/60 format of this year has been scrapped. Accordingly the Townsville 500 and ITM 500 Auckland become 500km events in line with the SuperStreet formats, while all SuperSprint events are two 100km races on Saturdays with a single 200km feature race on the Sunday. All SuperSprint races will count towards the Championship.
The 2014 V8 Supercar calendar consists of 16 events including the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and the hugely popular sydney.com V8 Supercars Test Day at Sydney Motorsport Park. The Sydney 500 was locked in for a further three years earlier this month by the New South Wales Government, with an option for a further two years. This followed the recent the extension of the three Queensland events, also for a further three years. Additionally, V8 Supercars will return to Sydney Motorsport Park for a Championship event in 2014 in August, meaning Sydney will host three events in 2014. In New Zealand the ITM500 Auckland will be held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the ANZAC weekend.
V8 Supercars believes racing on ANZAC weekend in New Zealand is a huge drawcard for the event that will encourage fans to travel to Auckland on the long weekend. The blockbuster Clipsal 500 in Adelaide kicks off the Championship year once again.
V8 Supercars will delay a return to Texas until 2015 because of a clash of dates with the recently signed X Games and the composition of the V8 Supercar and COTA calendars. “The timing of COTA securing the X Games next year led to the mutual agreement of a gap-year before consolidating, planning and returning to Texas in 2015,” Warburton said. “The first Austin 400 was an enormous success at all levels and a tremendous platform to build into the future; in conjunction with developing an extensive international strategy for 2015 and beyond. “The prospects are virtually limitless; there is that much potential in the sport.”
COTA President Steve Sexton said he was looking forward to V8 Supercars return in 2015 after a highly successful North American debut in May. “Circuit of The Americas is quickly becoming a year-round destination for a variety of large-scale sports and entertainment properties, and with our packed schedule, we were not able to find mutually workable dates to facilitate a return of V8 Supercars to Austin in 2014,” Circuit Chief Executive Officer Steve Sexton said. "V8 Supercars continues to be one of the most exciting shows in world motorsports. We know our US and international fans really enjoyed the Austin 400 event this year, and we are very excited to have V8 Supercars return to the United States in 2015." V8 Supercars has had preliminary discussions with several venues in the US with a view to „twinning‟ the Austin 400 in the future.
The ITM 400 was an amazing weekend, filled with incredible racing action. For all of you that made it out to Pukekohe to see the racing live and up close we trust you had a great time and like us, are already looking forward to 2014!
The ITM Team has taken hundreds of photos and videos and we will make some of the best ones available shortly.
The Jason Richards Trophy will head to the trophy cabinet of his team after Jason Bright scorched home in the final race at the ITM 400 Auckland at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
A tearful Bright, a former teammate of the late Jason Richards, was delighted not only with the win but his overall performance over the weekend earned him the trophy to return to the Brad Jones Racing team based in rural New South Wales.
Strong performances from Ford’s Will Davison, including victory in the first of two 100km races, earned him the lead in the V8 Supercars Championship, taking over from defending Champion Jamie Whincup.
It gave the beleaguered Ford fans something to cheer about after a slow start to the season.
Bright’s victory also emphasised the remarkable effect of the new cars this year, with four different winners at Pukekohe this weekend featuring teenage Kiwi Scott McLaughlin, Whincup and Will Davison.
The experienced Bright earned the ARMOR ALL pole for the final race, and after slowly hauling in early leader Whincup, he took the lead on lap 11 and from there cleared out.
While the victory was meaningful, it was a special celebration as he hoisted Richards’ daughter Sienna in his arms and hugged wife Charlotte who presented him with the Jason Richards Trophy.
“I got a message from Charlotte during the week passed on from Sienna saying that she wanted to present the trophy to me this weekend – talk about putting the pressure on,” Bright said.
“I think it sums it up. Car 8 wanted to win this race, the whole team wanted to take that trophy back to Albury. I was awake last night thinking about it.
“Yesterday when I got tagged by James Courtney, I think he (Jason Richards) jumped in the car and saved that one for me because there was no way I was going to save that one.
“All I thought about this weekend and all the team thought about was that trophy so it’s very special.”
He even carried the “JR Star” signwritten on his car throughout the weekend.
It marked another strong weekend for Brad Jones Racing, following Fabian Coulthard’s win last weekend in Tasmania with the New Zealander now fifth in the championships, just ahead of Bright.
The third race of the weekend earlier in the day proved a humdinger.
If it was 2-0 in the collision stakes between Whincup and Ford’s Mark Winterbottom based on yesterday’s bash, it is now 2-all after the pair came together twice but the upshot was that both finished at the tail of the field.
It proved a race of drama, with Whincup colliding with Winterbottom on lap 18 allowing Coulthard to slip through into the lead. The Kiwi had to withstand a further Pedders safety car, but he hit the kerb hard on turn three and the resulting loss of speed and flattening tyre allowed Davison and Shane van Gisbergen through.
The race finished on the fourth safety car after Scott McLaughlin, the hero yesterday with the opening win, hit the wall over the ITM Mountain with Davison grabbing his 15th career victory.
It was Ford’s first win at Pukekohe since Marcos Ambrose in 2007.
“It’s a cool stat to break that drought but nine years – we haven’t been here since 07, yeah there is obviously four years in there somewhere where they did it, but I think Muprh may have won all those races, so it’s cool,” Davison said.
“FPR won both races in Hamilton last year. So it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for New Zealand Ford fans. I’m not sure how many cheered me on the hill but hopefully there were a few Ford fans who were pretty relieved, they haven’t seen that here for a while.
He cemented the championship lead that with his fifth placing in the final race to be on 697 points, with Whincup on 681, his Red bull Racing Holden teammate Craig Lowndes third on 591, Holden’s Garth Tander on 553 ahead of Coulthard on 552, Bright on 539 and Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen on 532.
“This time of the year, don’t really want to talk about it (the championship). I found myself in this position last year, three rounds in and everyone is talking about Championship – so much can change so quickly,” Davison said.
“It is definitely encouraging. I expected these first rounds to be a bit tough for us. We don’t have a great handle on the car, but we have dug really really deep at all the moments when it counts and I have been able to have a really clean free run so far, so we will see. I didn’t expect to be leading now so who knows what December will bring – we will certainly be fighting really hard to hold on. “
McLaughlin’s win, becoming the youngest in V8 Supercars Championship history, was mixed with a non-finish and resulting non-start in the final race to drop him to 10th overall in his rookie season in the main game.
It has cemented three New Zealanders in the top 10 with Coulthard fifth, Shane van Gisbergen seventh and McLaughlin 10th.
Watch as the Kiwis take on the Aussies at Sheep Herding at Pukekohe just before the ITM 400. The Aussies claim they don't know much about sheep but they seem to have excellent technique at capturing them and cornering them... technique that could only come from years of experience?