One of New Zealand’s premier motorsport venues is due to be rebuilt in 2023, but before that iRacing will be reproducing it for simulation purposes.
When motorsport activities cease at New Zealand’s Pukekohe Park from April 2023, it will mark the end of over 60 years of racing heritage.
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing will be enforcing a $40+ million redevelopment plan to focus on horse racing facilities that are currently off-tarmac.
But the track should – at least virtually – live on within the iRacing simulation platform.
2015 V8 Supercars Round 12, Auckland 500, Pukekohe Park Raceway, Jamie Whincup – Daniel Kalisz, LAT Photographic, Motorsport Images
Ahead of this weekend’s Supercars Auckland SuperSprint event, it was announced that the Drivers’ Championship recently agreed on terms of laser scanning the Kiwi venue for the sake of prosperity.
Laser scanning techniques for current simulation platforms are accurate to the millimeter, which means that every bump, surface change and curb in iRacing is faithfully represented for anyone with a PC and an active subscription to the service.
“Within hours of the announcement of the Pukekohe Park repurposing, we reached out to iRacing to scan the circuit and they agreed almost immediately,” said Elton Goonan, CEO of MotorSport New Zealand.
No release date is planned, but once complete it will join Oran Park as the Antipodean racetrack, which has since been redeveloped but lives on within iRacing.
Sandown entered the service in June but is also under threat in the real world with potential recovery plans in the works.
“By bringing the circuit to iRacing, future generations will have the opportunity to drive the famous circuit exactly as it was before it closed and give them a sense of what made this circuit so loved by so many,” said iRacing Executive Vice President Steve Myers.
Pukekohe has a long association with the Supercars Championship. It first held non-championship Auckland Sprints in 1996, before the first points-paying visit in 2001. The series was last visited in 2019 before COVID-19 restrictions quashed both the 2020 and 2021 events.
Kiwi Greg Murphy took all three race wins in his Holden Commodore VX, V8 Supercars, Pukekohe Park, 2001 – Dirk Klynsmith, Motorsport Images
iRacing, in turn, has a partnership with Supercars. The platform hosts the official Supercars Eseries and also offers the latest Gen2 Holden ZB Commodore and Ford Mustang GT.
Shell V-Power Racing driver Anton De Pasquale topped Friday practice at this year’s event earlier this morning.
Image source: Motorsport Images
Featured Image: Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford, 2019, Pukekohe Park Raceway – Dirk Klynsmith, Motorsport Images