Revved up and ready for 101 race
Hampton Downs race track is about to host its first major event marking the completion of its 18-month transformation.
The upgraded track, half way between Hamilton and Auckland off State Highway 1, will host one of the two New Zealand rounds of the Australian GT Series.
The latest Audi, Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Porsche and BMW cars will contest the AGT Endurance title, in the inaugural Hampton Downs 101 from October 29-30. The event will double as the official reopening of the circuit.
The Hampton Downs 101 is modelled on the Highlands 101, where competitors complete 101 circuits of the 4km track.
Changes made to Hampton Downs include a new 1.2 kilometre track extension, a 850m international go-kart track, a 4WD track, new corporate and members’ suites, new garages, a pit lane building and some major landscaping work has given it a much needed facelift.
The Hampton Downs track was a project started in 2004 by Tony Roberts and Chris Watson. Scottish entrepreneur Tony Quinn entered negotiations with Roberts in early 2015 to buy the track.
‘‘It was always my dream to have a race track in the North Island,’’ he says.
‘‘There were heaps of issues to sort out at Hampton Downs, but I liked the challenge. ‘‘I like competition and I like winning.’’ Quinn is a passionate motorsport man and a five-time winner of the Targa New Zealand rally.
In 2013 he built a world-class racetrack in Cromwell in Central Otago, where the Highlands 101 is held.
‘‘People thought I was crazy to buy Hampton Downs but there was method in my madness,’’ he says.
‘‘Having two racetracks means that if any of the big motorsport categories are considering coming all the way to New Zealand for an event, we can offer them two world class racetracks.’’