I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Hampton Downs 101 last weekend, as a guest and as a reporter – each had their individual merits and yet both were outstanding.
This is the first time the Australian GT’s have been on NZ’s NI soil and with ten manufacturers represented (AMG, Ferrari, Audi, Aston, Nissan, Porsche, McLaren, Chevrolet, BMW and Lamborghini) the diverse field of Supercar entries was mouth-watering.
First up Qualifying on Saturday. As a guest of Mercedes-AMG it was always going to be very hospitable event and they didn’t disappoint. We picked up several AMG’s from head office and travelled in convoy style to the track. The Corporate box was above the AMG Pit garage and we had more than ample access to both. A special thanks to Peter Hackett for his tour of the Pit garage and the impressive AMG GT3. I have to tell you that watching the plethora of cars (Muscle, Miniature, GTs etc) hoon down the straight as I nibbled on canapés and drank cold refreshments makes for a very refined motorsport experience.
When lunch was brought out (Beef kabab’s, delicious petite pies, Salads etc), Hamptons had their own excellent display going on – Mad Mike in all his burning rubber drifting glory followed by some hot laps showcasing the Aston Martin Vulcan.
The afternoon saw the return of the muscle and midget cars followed by the all-important top ten shoot out – a perfect way for us to finish off the day.
Sunday raceday. I donned the mandatory pink press vest and went trackside. The morning was more of the previous day’s fun but there were of course, plenty of differences from the Saturday. Firstly most of it was witnessed from behind a camera lens and lunch was a Pita Pit on the run. However; with ‘open access’ I did get chance to venture into all the pit garages as they frantically made last minute changes to their car’s set up.
National anthem, Haka, engines roaring Game on!
Going the other side of the fence as supercars worth millions of dollars fly past at breakneck speeds is a thrill I hope I never grow out of. Spills, hits, crashes, safety cars, tow trucks, V8s, V10s, Tyre squeals and the scent of high octane fuel – you have to love Motorsport.
The final few laps brought about the heartache and frustration that is motor racing followed by Lamborghini’s elation at taking podium – the entire event was sensational and I hope it’s a regular feature on the NZ calendar.
The Hampton Downs 101’s
10 Manufacturers, 10 corporate boxes, 24 cars, 48 drivers, 1 racetrack, 1 x Kidzone, 1 press pass, 1 x ViP ticket, 5+ Safety car equals 1 hell of a racing event!
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