The fallout over the return of the V8 Supercars to Pukekohe continues as Auckland mayor Len Brown is questioned over why the Australian series did not relocate to the Hampton Downs circuit instead.
Up to $6.6 million is being spent on revamping facilities at Pukekohe Park at the expense of ratepayers which has caused a storm in the New Zealand media since the announcement earlier this month.
According a report in the New Zealand Herald, Waikato region leaders have written to the Auckland mayor stating that it would have been a more financially beneficial option to look at running the V8s at Hampton Downs which is just 15km further south.
“We understand Hampton Downs has adequate length to run the V8 Supercar series and does not require $6 million to $7 million spent on it as does Pukekohe,” the letter said.
It was also questioned whether the current resource consent rights at Pukekohe allowed for the return of the V8 Supercars.
Mayor Brown attempted to simmer down the backlash saying that the decision to opt for Pukekohe was made by the Gold Coast-based V8 Supercars Australia that will shoulder any potential financial risks involved in the five-year plan by underwriting the event.
Much criticism has been made of the fact that the council, which voted 9-5 in favour of the Pukekohe V8 Supercar deal, made their decision without being privy to a detailed risk assessment document.
There has been a groundswell of support for the V8 Supercars to run at the relatively new Hampton Downs circuit which is 65km south of Auckland.
However there are resource consent issues relating to the fact that the circuit can only cater for a crowd of up to 20,000.
V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane remains bullish about the New Zealand situation and says that Pukekohe was the only viable option.
Cochrane has said that if a deal had not been done to re-establish Pukekohe as a V8 Supercar venue then the category would have had no option but to pull the plug on New Zealand altogether.