When motorsport activities cease from April 2023 at New Zealand’s Pukekohe Park, it will witness the end of over 60 years of racing heritage.
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing will be pushing through a $40 million-plus redevelopment plan to focus on the horse racing facilities that currently sit alongside the asphalt.
But the circuit is set to live on – virtually at least – within the simulation platform iRacing.
Ahead of this weekend’s Supercars Auckland SuperSprint event, it has been announced that the driving title recently agreed on terms to laser scan the Kiwi venue for prosperity’s sake.
Laser-scanning techniques for current-day simulation platforms are millimetre-accurate, meaning every undulation, surface change and kerb is set to be faithfully represented within iRacing for anyone with a PC and active subscription to the service.
“Within a few hours of the announcement about Pukekohe Park’s repurposing, we reached out to iRacing to scan the circuit and they agreed almost immediately,” said MotorSport New Zealand CEO, Elton Goonan.
No release date has been scheduled, however once completed it will join Oran Park as an Antipodean circuit that has since been redeveloped yet lives on within iRacing.
Sandown was added to the service in June but is also under threat in the real world with potential redevelopment plans in the works.
“By bringing the track to iRacing, future generations will have the opportunity to lap the famous circuit exactly as it was before its closure, giving them a sense of what made this track so beloved to 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 point-paying visit in 2001. The series last visited in 2019, before COVID-19 restrictions put paid to both the 2020 and 2021 events.
In turn, iRacing has a partnership with Supercars. The platform hosts the official Supercars Eseries, alongside offering the current 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 today.
Image source: Motorsport Images
Featured image: Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford, 2019, Pukekohe Park Raceway – Dirk Klynsmith, Motorsport Images