The Auckland SuperSprint (formally known as the ITM Auckland SuperSprint) was an annual motor racing event for Supercars, held at Pukekohe Park Raceway in Pukekohe, New Zealand. The event was a regular part of the Supercars Championship—and its previous incarnations, the Shell Championship Series and V8 Supercars Championship—since 2001.
The event was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supercars returned to New Zealand and the Pukekoke Park Raceway circuit on September 10–11 for Round 10 of the 2022 season.
The event was staged over a three-day weekend, from Friday to Sunday. Two thirty-minute practice sessions were held, one on Friday and one on Saturday. Saturday featured a three-part qualifying session which decides the grid positions for the following 120 kilometre race. Two separated ten-minute qualifying sessions were held on Sunday, which decided the grid for the following 120 km races.
Jason Richards Memorial Trophy
Since 2013, the driver who scored the most points across all races during the weekend has received the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy. The trophy was introduced at the 2013 event in honour of Jason Richards, a one-time New Zealand Supercars race winner and Supercars Hall of Fame member who died of cancer in 2011.
Pukehohe Park was one of New Zealand's most historic race tracks, and has long seen links with Australian motor racing. This dates back to the famed Pukekohe 500, which originally ran from 1984 to 1993 for touring cars and dates back to 1963 for production cars. Several Australian teams, along with local and international teams, competed in the endurance Group A event with Australian-based teams winning the event several times. The event was often twinned with the Wellington 500, on a street circuit in Wellington City. In 1996, twelve cars from the Australian Touring Car Championship raced in the Mobil 1 Sprints, a two event series at Pukekohe and Wellington. In a precursor to his later Supercars success at the track, all three races were won by local driver Greg Murphy for the Holden Racing Team.
The first championship round at Pukekohe Park for what was then known as V8 Supercars was held in 2001, entitled the Boost Mobile V8 International. It was the first round in the history of the Australian Touring Car Championship and Supercars not to be contested in Australia. Mark Skaife sealed the 2001 Shell Championship Series in the first race, while Greg Murphy won the event, taking pole position and winning all three races for the Kmart Racing Team. Murphy maintained strong form at Pukekohe, winning again in 2002, 2003 and 2005. The 2002 event contained the 500th race in championship history, which was won by Skaife. Jason Bright was the only other driver to win the event in the first five years, doing so in 2004, while Murphy finished third. In 2005 there was a major accident involving Craig Baird and Paul Dumbrell during the third race. Jamie Whincup slid off the track at the final corner and Baird and Dumbrell squeezed together as Whincup returned to the circuit. However, Baird and Dumbrell came together and spun, both hitting the wall before coming to rest on opposite sides of the track with severely damaged cars. The race was red flagged as a result.
Supercars returned to a slightly modified Pukekohe layout in 2013 and the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy was introduced. Jason Bright and Brad Jones Racing, Richards' last teammate and team respectively, were the first winners of the trophy. In 2014, Ford's Mark Winterbottom was the event winner, marking the first win at the event for Ford in its ninth running. The event was run over the Anzac Day long weekend, including a race on a Friday for the first time in championship history. In 2015 and 2017, Jamie Whincup, who was a teammate of Jason Richards in 2005 at Tasman Motorsport and co-drove with him to a second-place finish at the 2005 Bathurst 1000, won the trophy. In 2016, Shane van Gisbergen became the first New Zealand driver to win the trophy. In 2018, championship combatants van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin each took a first and second in the two races, with McLaughlin winning the event on a countback due to his higher Sunday result. The same two drivers won races in the 2019 event, which moved to a September date, with van Gisbergen this time winning the trophy. In winning the Sunday race, which included a controversial safety car that shuffled the field, McLaughlin surpassed Craig Lowndes' 1996 record of 16 wins in a season.
2020 move and cancellation
As in 2013, the 2020 Pukekohe event was scheduled on the Anzac Day weekend. It was later discovered that an amendment to Auckland Council's Unitary Plan in the intermediary period prohibited racing on the public holiday. As such the event was to be moved to the nearby Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, and was to continue to be known as the Auckland Super400 despite being located in the neighbouring Waikato region. The event was later postponed, rescheduled to January 2021 (within the prolonged 2020 championship) and then cancelled altogether - all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 event was similarly cancelled due to the border issues arising from the pandemic.
Events which were not championship rounds are indicated by a pink background.
Wins which did not count towards the championship season are indicated by a pink background.
|5||Greg Murphy||1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005|
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||2016, 2019, 2022|
|2||Jason Bright||2004, 2013|
|Jamie Whincup||2015, 2017|
|5||Triple Eight Race Engineering|
|4||HSV Dealer Team1|
|2||Holden Racing Team|
|Paul Weel Racing|
- ^1 – The HSV Dealer Team was known as Kmart Racing Team from 2001 to 2004, hence their statistics are combined.
Event names and sponsors
- 1996: Mobil 1 Sprints
- 2001–02: Boost Mobile V8 International
- 2003–05: PlaceMakers V8 International
- 2006–07: PlaceMakers V8 Supercars
- 2013: ITM 400 Auckland
- 2014–15: ITM 500 Auckland
- 2016–22: ITM Auckland SuperSprint
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- Chapman, Simon (2 December 2020). "Supercars reveals long awaited 2021 calendar". Speedcafe. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
- Chapman, Simon (29 July 2021). "Supercars confirms new dates in revised 2021 calendar". Speedcafe. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Adam, Mitchell (3 November 2017). "Flashback: When Murphy ruled Pukekohe". Supercars.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
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- Pavey, James (26 August 2021). "20 years on: How Supercars looked in 2001". Supercars. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
- Dale, Will. "The Milestone Races as Supercars Reaches 1000". v8sleuth.com.au. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
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- Lynch, Michael (18 April 2005). "Murphy Hat-trick Amid The Wreckage". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- Jackson, Ed (5 July 2012). "V8 Supercars to return to Pukekohe Park in deal that ensures the sport's presence in New Zealand". Fox Sports News. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- Phelps, James (14 April 2013). "Emotions run high as a tearful Jason Bright claims Jason Richards Memorial Trophy". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (8 November 2015). "Whincup wins, Winterbottom wobbles in Race 30". Speedcafe. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- "No Supercars edge for Whincup in title bid". SBS.com.au. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- Long, David (6 November 2016). "Emotional van Gisbergen wins Jason Richards Trophy, moves closer to Supercars title". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- Herrero, Daniel (4 November 2018). "McLaughlin wins Race 29, Whincup gives van Gisbergen second place". Speedcafe. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- Howard, Tom (15 September 2019). "Safety Car drama can't take gloss off McLaughlin's record-breaking win". Speedcafe. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- van Leeuwen, Andrew (15 September 2019). "Pukekohe Supercars: McLaughlin wins amid Safety Car chaos". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- van Leeuwen, Andrew (13 January 2020). "Supercars forced to move NZ round to Hampton Downs". ""Motorsport.com"". Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Supercars postpones three events, launches Eseries". Supercars. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- Chapman, Simon (17 May 2020). "Supercars releases revised 13-round 2020/21 calendar". Speedcafe. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
- Pukekohe Park Raceway cease Motorsport Activities Speedcafe.com 20 July 2022