Although Pukekohe Park Raceway is better known internationally as a motor racing circuit, it is primarily a horse racing circuit in New Zealand. It is located 40 kilometres (24.9 mi) south of Auckland City in the North Island.The track is now owned by Pukekohe Park Limited.It was opened in 1963 as a permanent track, replacing Ardmore (an aerodrome) as the host circuit of the New Zealand Grand Prix. Annually for several years, the mainly European based Grand Prix drivers such as Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart, would head downunder for a relaxed Tasman Series during the European winter.
For many years Pukekohe was the venue for New Zealand's premier production car race, the Benson and Hedges 500 mile race (later 1000 km) featuring drivers such as Peter Brock, Dick Johnson and Jim Richards. It held an annual round of the popular Australian V8 Supercar race from 2001 to 2007. However, the New Zealand round moved to Hamilton Street Circuit in 2008. On the 5th July 2012, it was announced that V8 Supercars would return to the circuit in 2013 as part of a 5 year deal with the circuit operators.
In the centre of the circuit there is a horse racing course, which dictates the use of the site as it owned by the Counties Racing Club Inc, who have not invested a large amount of money in the motor racing track over the years and many would say that this is leading to its slow demise, even though the club holds very few horse race meetings each year, but it is used as a stables and training facility.
The circuit is currently 2.82 kilometres (1.8 mi) long, having been shortened from its original combined 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) length when combined with the now defunct club circuit. Its visibility is low because the corridor of Armco barriers is only inches from the track on both sides.It is seen as one of the fastest of all southern hemisphere circuits with the lap record at around 55 seconds and a very long back straight leading into a 50 km/h (31 mph) hairpin. In order to win on this is a track, the driver needs good entry onto the back straight. Furthermore, the driver also needs to drive the car right to its full potential.
In 2008 The V8 Supercars moved to Hamilton Street Circuit so Pukekohe held its final event 20–22 April 2007. Now in 2013 V8 Supercars will return to Pukekohe after the Auckland government confirmed they would put 10.5 Million dollars into making the circuit more suitable for V8 Supercars. These upgrades include a new chicane on the back straight, more pedestrian bridges and a general sprucing up of the circuits' appearance.
The round winners of the Australian V8 Supercars at Pukekohe:
- 2001 - Greg Murphy - K-mart Racing Team - Holden
- 2002 - Greg Murphy - K-mart Racing Team - Holden
- 2003 - Greg Murphy - K-mart Racing Team - Holden
- 2004 - Jason Bright - Paul Weel Racing - Holden
- 2005 - Greg Murphy - Paul Weel Racing/Supercheap Auto Racing - Holden
- 2006 - Mark Skaife - Holden Racing Team - Holden
- 2007 - Rick Kelly - HSV Dealer Team - Holden
Pukekohe Park Raceway
- Formula Ford
- New Zealand V8s
- Toyota Racing Series
- V8 Supercars
- NZ Drift Series
- New Zealand Grand Prix
- Length: 2.841 km (1.765 mi)
- Turns: 7
- Lap Record: 0:54.692 (Daniel Gaunt, Toyota Tatuus TT104ZZ, 2006)