The ITM 500 Auckland has ended with a thrilling final race, seeing Mark Winterbottom winning the Jason Richards Trophy in what is the V8 Supercars Championship’s second year back at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
V8 Supercars, sponsor Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), and the event’s official charity, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association (RSA) agree that ITM 500 delivered a world-class display of motorsport to 128,255 attendees.
“Pukekohe Park Raceway is motorsport’s spiritual home in New Zealand. The crowds have turned up in great numbers and they have been rewarded with a brilliant display of world-class motor racing,” says Auckland Mayor, Len Brown.
“In addition to the expected targets around GDP, visitor nights and attendance, the ITM 500 Auckland brings a series of intangible benefits with the event being broadcast globally providing a huge amount of international television exposure to Auckland as a visitor destination, the extension of the peak tourism season through til the end of April, and the opportunities to raise the profiles of Pukekohe, Ngati Tamaoho and the RSA,” he says.
RSA Chief Executive David Moger says that the RSA also benefitted greatly from the weekend with fundraising including the sale of poppies and merchandise at Pukekohe Park Raceway and a ‘Drivers in the Hot Seat’ charity speaking event.
“V8 Supercars and ATEED have embraced the Anzac spirit and ensured the legend of the Anzac is respected and remembered, through their involvement in civic and fundraising events in Pukekohe over the past week.
“We are thankful to be chosen as the V8 Supercars’ charity of choice. Visitors to our display at the ITM 500 Auckland tell me they are delighted to see us here and how good it is to see V8 Supercars and ATEED supporting a great charity. The funds raised through the generous donations and fundraising events will allow the RSA to further our crucial support work in the veteran and ex-service communities,” says Moger.
Ngati Tamaoho, Chairman Dennis Kirkwood, says they have developed a strong partnership with ATEED and V8 Supercars, providing leadership and guidance for the cultural aspects of the event.
“We started the weekend off with a powhiri to welcome V8 Supercars, the drivers and teams back to Pukekohe, and rangatahi [young people] from Pukekohe North School also took up the offer of performing a haka, which was broadcast internationally, on the starting line before the final race of the weekend. We look forward to welcoming the ITM 500 Auckland whanau back again next year”, he says.
V8 Supercars CEO, James Warburton, was ecstatic with the huge turnout across the Anzac weekend and the associated partnership with the RSA.
“The reception from Kiwis and the thousands of visitors to Auckland from around the country and Australia has been quite overwhelming,” Warburton said.
“To grow this event significantly year on year is testament that it was the right call to come back to Pukekohe and this circuit which is not only a brilliant race track but superb for the fans.
“It has also been an absolute privilege to race on Anzac weekend and assist the RSA with their fund raising endeavours across the weekend.”
Local Board Chair, Andrew Baker, says the ITM 500 Auckland is an important event for the Franklin region.
“Pukekohe has again enjoyed being the focus of this leg of the V8 Supercars annual calendar. The Pukekohe Business Association, RSA, Franklin tourism group, and local businesses and residents, have been great hosts and we look forward to the teams and fans returning again next year,” says Baker.
Independent analysis of the ITM 500 Auckland will be available in June.