A new chapter: Supercars history in New Zealand

20 Aug
Supercars' New Zealand story continues at Taupō in 2024
3 mins by James Pavey

A new chapter of Supercars’ New Zealand story will be written in 2024, with Taupō confirmed as the venue of the championship’s return across the Tasman.

It was announced Monday that, with support from the New Zealand Government and Taupō District Council, Supercars will return to New Zealand and race at Taupō from 2024.

The New Zealand Government via the Major Events Fund has confirmed its backing for an event to take place at the North Island circuit until at least 2026.

The Taupō round will be the 21st Supercars Championship round held in New Zealand, with Taupō International Motorsport Park the third Kiwi venue to stage points-paying racing.

Taupō International Motorsport Park joins the historic Pukekohe and the streets of Hamilton to host championship Supercars racing.

It is also the 35th different circuit, and the seventh international venue after Shanghai (China), Circuit of the Americas (United States), Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi) and Bahrain.

While the first Supercars championship round was held at Pukekohe in 2001, the seeds were sewn of the series’ popularity years earlier.

Non-championship rounds were held at Pukekohe and the Wellington street circuit as part of the 1996 Mobil NZ Series.

Run in November after the 1996 ATCC, the Mobil NZ Series brought 12 Supercars to Pukekohe and a revived version of the Wellington street circuit.

The home fans were treated to a spectacle as local hero Greg Murphy — who won Sandown and Bathurst — slotted into the Holden Racing Team in place of Craig Lowndes.

Murphy was the hero once again when the very first international championship round was held in 2001 at Pukekohe, which hosted 15 championship rounds in total.

The Auckland venue debuted in 2001 and hosted Supercars to 2007 before returning between 2013 and 2019, before an emotional farewell in 2022.

The streets of Hamilton hosted championship rounds between 2008 and 2012.

New Zealand has an incredibly rich history in Supercars, producing four champions — Jim Richards (four times), Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin (three each) and Robbie Francevic (once).

New Zealand-born drivers — 13 in total — have won 227 races, van Gisbergen (79) and McLaughlin (56) combining for 135 of them.


An Aussie, however, has won the most championship races on Kiwi soil — Jamie Whincup with 10, four coming in Hamilton, and six at Pukekohe.

A new story will be written when lights go out at Taupō next year, with Supercars CEO Shane Howard reiterating the importance of returning the series to its passionate Kiwi fan base.

"We are honoured to receive the New Zealand Major Events and Taupō District Council's endorsement for the Supercars Championship's return in 2024," Howard said.

"A key priority for Supercars has been the Championship’s return to New Zealand and its passionate fan base.

"This support is a great step forward in ensuring we can begin a new chapter of racing at the world-class circuit in Taupō.

"With the support and the availability of Taupō International Motorsport Park, Supercars is now focused on identifying a suitable date for the event in 2024.

"The championship looks forward to collaborating closely with all stakeholders, series partners and fans, to ensure the successful return of the Supercars Championship to New Zealand.”

New Zealand in Supercars

Supercars/ATCC champions from New Zealand (11 titles for four drivers)

4: Jim Richards3: Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin1: Robbie Francevic

Championship race winners from New Zealand (227 wins for 13 drivers)

79: Shane van Gisbergen56: Scott McLaughlin28: Greg Murphy23: Jim Richards13: Fabian Coulthard10: Steven Richards8: Paul Radisich5: Robbie Francevic1: Craig Baird, Simon Wills, Jason Richards, Richie Stanaway, Andre Heimgartner

Championship race wins in New Zealand (13 drivers in 56 races)

10: Jamie Whincup9: Greg Murphy8: Shane van Gisbergen6: Garth Tander4: Mark Skaife, Mark Winterbottom, Jason Bright3: Scott McLaughlin, Will Davison2: Rick Kelly1: Marcos Ambrose, Todd Kelly, David Reynolds

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