Track walk: Taupō International Motorsport Park up close

19 Apr
This weekend marks a new dawn for Supercars in New Zealand, with Taupō making its championship debut
2 mins by James Pavey

This weekend's ITM Taupō Super400 marks a new dawn for Supercars in New Zealand, with Taupō International Motorsport Park making its championship debut.

Taupō International Motorsport Park is New Zealand's only FIA Grade 2 rated motorsport circuit, and is one of only 61 circuits of for a total of 72 layouts in the world.

Supercars will race on the 3.32km International Circuit configuration, which is tight and technical. An anti-clockwise circuit, Taupō has low-speed corners and fast sections, and a long 830m back straight. It is hard on tyres, given drivers spend much of the lap turning.

Ahead of the weekend, Supercars.com conducted a pre-event track walk to get to know the circuit, which becomes the 35th different circuit to host an ATCC/Supercars Championship round.

The basics


The Taupō circuit is set to have the slowest average speed of the championship tour at approximately 145km/hr. It will also have the highest percentage of turning at 75 percent.

There are 14 turns, but it's split down the middle, with seven left turns and seven right turns.

The circuit has a tricky pit entry, which comes off the Turns 13/14 chicane before a sharp left bend, before drivers have a 50m blast to switch on the pit limiter.

Pit exit will also offer challenges in the races, with drivers returning to the track on driver's right around the Turn 1 hairpin.


An abrasive surface, and many surface changes


The 3.32km layout has an abrasive surface, and there are several surface changes, particularly at the apexes of corners in the first sector.

The surface is very patchy, with the many surface changes from resurfacing and repairs around the different circuit layout intersections.

High tyre degradation is expected, on both front and rear tyres. However, unlike the last-start Albert Park circuit, there is no chance to 'rest' either side tyres at Taupō.

The track will improve with rubber down, and the cars will respond to low fuel levels. However, rubber marbles offline towards the end of the race might be difficult to avoid.

There circuit has low kerbs, so expect lots of flying dirt. The run-off areas at Taupō have rich, red pumice-like stones, unlike the sandtraps in Australia.

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