Taupo Motorsport Park renamed for brighter future

An aerial shot of the track. Photo: brucemclarenmotorsportpark.com

 

To honour one of New Zealand’s most revered motorsport stars, New Zealand’s only FIA Grade 2 racetrack – Taupo Motorsport Park (TMP) – has been renamed Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.  

The park’s board confirmed the name change after receiving permission from McLaren’s family and the McLaren Technology Group. The circuit’s chairman, Richard Izard, said the change is a great way to honour McLaren

“While his career highlights undoubtedly occurred overseas, Bruce started his racing career in New Zealand and would surely approve of supporting the local sport in this way,” said Izard.

Those highlights include becoming the youngest Formula One race winner in 1959, aged 22, and winning the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hour alongside fellow Kiwi Chris Amon. Also an engineer and inventor, in 1963 he founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing.  

Izard is hopeful that the park’s renaming will help it boost its international reputation, with McLaren one of the motorsport world’s biggest brands.

“We have the highest FIA rating in the country, and we’ve also proposed the building of a New Zealand motorsport museum that could become a new tourist destination,” said Izard.     

Tough times

The changes come following reports the circuit has gone through some tough times. In 2008, it was revealed TMP was heavily in debt and, earlier this year, shareholders voted to turn down an offer to buy the park from Highlands Park and Hampton Downs owner Tony Quinn.

Companies Office records show the track is owned by TMP Ltd, known previously as MIT Development and Taupo Motorsport Park Ltd.

Taupo Motorsport Park’s history

An approximately $13 million upgrade in 2006 made the circuit one of the best in the country. It included four alternative configurations, ranging from 1.3-3.4km in length with seating for up to 30,000 spectators.

It also features driver-training facilities, a motorsport business park with 13 first floor corporate suites, and a second floor race control, corporate and catering complex. The circuit also contains a drag strip designed to National Hot Rod Association specifications, with viewing for up to 12,000 spectators.

From 2007 to 2009, the track hosted three consecutive rounds of the A1 Grand Prix.

 
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