by Alberto Fernandes
Having spent my Sunday afternoon at the New Zealand GP in Hampton Downs, here’s what I discovered.
First of all I must tell you that I have been to Hampton Downs a lot over the past 6 to 7 years both as a driver and as a spectator. I have been there on GA tickets, been hosted in the corporate hospitality box (and of course been on the grid), however, I do not ever remember to have seen the track so full of people. I am not particularly good in guessing crowds, but talking to my friends that were there with me we estimated around 10 to 12 thousand people.
The TRS race itself was exciting, a thrill to watch with SVG coming from the pits to finish first – the guy is a machine – but the support series’ were exciting too. There was plenty of action in the BNT V8s series, the TradeZone GT1-GT2 and the GT3-GT4. Plus, as a bonus I has friend’s dad racing on the Ryco 24.7 V8 Utes, so there was obviously a high interest in that.
But to be honest what excited me the most was the way the event was organized. From buying the tickets, ease of parking and facilities to getting in and out of the track and back to Auckland all with no issues or jams.
Having ‘cleared the way at home’ my friends and I arrived at the lunch break, so obviously the food and drink stalls were a bit busy. But after the races resumed we were able to grab a bite to eat and a couple of beers barely any wait and what’s more, the options for food were good, from the good old burger caravan and dumplings through to mussel fritters, even my fussiest of friends could find something to eat.
Suitably fed and watered the big issue of the day was ‘where to watch the racing’ and here (thanks to some advice from one of the supporting people in the paddock) is my top tip of the day. The best place to watch the race (or in fact any race on the International track) is on the bank of the Porsche dipper, to the right of the entrance tunnel. From there we could see a lot of the track (including the tricky parts), hear the racecars at near full noise and breathe in the unmistakeble scent of burning high-octane gasoline on a racetrack.
With its big names and thrilling racing, the NZ GP showcases all that is good in NZ Motorsport and if Hampton Downs is planning on hosting the V8s (whenever they can come to NZ again), last weekend proves that it’s more than up to the task – See you there, you know where to find me.
Pics Gazoo Racing NZ