Invercargill's Teretonga Park retains marquee New Zealand motorsport event
The Invercargill City Council and the Invercargill Licensing Trust have thrown their support behind the Southland Sports Club to help retain a round in New Zealand's marquee motorsport series.
It was revealed last month Invercargill's Teretonga Park was under serious threat of losing a round of the Premier Motorsport Championship. The Championship includes the Toyota Racing Series which features many of the world's most promising drivers.
The South Island is allocated two rounds of the five round series and Christchurch had already locked in one of those rounds for 2018.
The South Canterbury Sports Club, with the $25,000 backing of the Timaru District Council, made a big play at grabbing the other South Island round from Invercargill's Teretonga Park.
It set up a tense bidding process for the Southland Sports Car Club but with the support of the Invercargill Licensing Trust and Invercargill City Council they were able to remain a part of the Premier Motorsport Championship.
The economic benefit for Invercargill from hosting the round is regarded considerable. Each year around 180 competitors and their crews visiting the city for a minimum of four nights.
Among those competitors are a number of international drivers and it is not uncommon for the odd private jet to be parked at Invercargill Airport while the series is in town.
The Invercargill City Council and Invercargill Licensing Trust put up $10,000 each to help retain the event.
ILT marketing and sales manager Chris Ramsay was pleased they were able to 'help the Southland Sports Car Club in their hour of need'.
He said when they got wind that there was a threat of losing the event they helped put together a funding package 'at the 11th hour'.
"We're thrilled our help has kept this premier motor racing event in the south. The vibrancy this event brings to Invercargill is unquestionable and we can't wait for January 2018."
Invercargill City Council Events Committee chairman Darren Ludlow also believed it was well worth backing.
"I'm delighted to hear the Southland Sports Car Club has successfully secured the summer series at Teretonga.
"We recently confirmed funding that was tied to the event being retained, and the committee is aware of the significant financial impact that major racing weekend has for the city.
"There are a large number of visitors that stay for several days prior to the event, plus the influx for the racing weekend – plus the outstanding international quality sport available for both locals and visitors to enjoy at an outstanding facility."
The funding package along with Invercargill's track record in regard to generating big crowds at Teretonga Park was enough to ensure the venue again were selected for a round.
Southland Sports Car Club president Dean Maw said the club is "stoked to have the national series back again.
"We are indebted to our many supporters, particularly the Invercargill Licensing Trust and the Invercargill City Council....
"We also thank our spectators who turn out in their droves each year to enjoy top class motorsport."
In recent years two current Formula 1 drivers, Russian Daniil Kvyat and Canadian Lance Stroll, have raced at Teretonga as part of Toyota Series.