Taupō Super400 cements a place on the calendar

All 24 Supercars parked up at Taupo's lake front as part of the Track to Town event prior to the Taupō Super400 Photo / Supercars.

The Taupō Super400 looks set to become a permanent feature of the Supercars Championship calendar with the town impressing all those involved.

Supercars chief operating officer Tim Watsford says it was obvious the event was going to be a success after the huge welcome that the parade of cars and drivers received when visiting downtown Taupō on Thursday afternoon.

“I think from that moment we knew this weekend was going to be pretty special.”

He says the plan was to do the Taupō event well before looking at any further events in New Zealand.

Given the logistics of moving the whole event across the Tasman, some teams had expressed a desire to add a second weekend of racing in New Zealand.

“The plan was to do this one and do it well ... We will never say never (to a second round in NZ).

“We have got to walk before we can run so we want to cement Taupō and this region into our calendar forever more, so to say, and then see what’s next.”

He says it had been just one year since they had “boots on the ground” looking at the Taupō venue so it was a huge undertaking for the community and the owner of Taupō International Motorsport Park Tony Quinn and his team.

The event was initially locked in for three years.

Tens of thousands of race fans stick it out in the rain during Saturday's racing at the Taupō Super400, race 7 of the Supercars Championship.

“We offer what other sports don’t in our travelling circus so to speak so reports that Hawkes Bay and Rotorua were all full is what we set out to achieve ... It has all been positive and we can’t wait to come back really.

“It has been a real shot in the arm for the category and great to be back into New Zealand.

Australian-based Tony Quinn, who is also major shareholder in race team Triple Eight - the weekend’s winning team - says Taupō was “one of the prettiest towns that I’ve been to” and he was planning other major motorsport events for the town.

“Taupō has got everything and it’s got a racetrack that’s five minutes from the coffee shop and the lake. You can sit having a coffee, overlooking the lake.

“This is the V8′s. We are probably going to announce a motorbike thing shortly – a Trans-Tasman thing maybe - and we are also going to develop the Historic Grand Prix in January.”

He says the event appeared to go off without a hitch.

There was plenty of accommodation for everyone and even the wet weather on Saturday was good for the championship.

“I’m unaware of anybody who didn’t have a good time or had an issue or a problem or broke a leg or fell down the stairs or whatever.

“People said last night it was surreal and that pretty much sums it up.”

He wanted to put on an even better event next year, and would look to try and get some of the teams to stay longer.’

“So many mechanics and crew that came over from Australia, flew in on Wednesday and are flying out today (Monday) and every one of them said, ‘what the hell this is really good, I want to stay a bit longer next year”

One of New Zealand’s most Successful Supercars drivers Greg Murphy praised a “huge effort by the team at Taupo Motorsport Park” to provide a “sensational” venue and the fans for making it special.

“I take my hat off to all those hard Supercars fans that stood there and dealt with that (Saturday rain).

“It was amazing to see. It was a very successful event and something we can’t wait to build on.”

-Dan Hutchinson, Rotorua Daily Post

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