Scott McLaughlin is backing a petition to have the circuit he claimed his first Supercars win at, Pukekohe Park, immortalised virtually before it is bowled.
On Wednesday, it was announced that motorsport at the famed New Zealand circuit will halt in April next year to intensify horse racing activities.
It means the forthcoming ITM Auckland SuperSprint on September 9-11 will be the last visit for the Repco Supercars Championship to the facility.
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Supercars has confirmed plans are already afoot to find a suitable replacement in New Zealand, which is likely to be at one of Tony Quinn’s three facilities.
In the meantime, calls are growing for Pukekohe park to be immortalised virtually before being torn up.
A petition launched after the announcement has already gathered more than 2000 virtual signatures and garnered the support of three-time Supercars champion McLaughlin.
“Reckon we can sort something @iRacingMyers this would be big for NZ fans!?” wrote McLaughlin, tagging iRacing executive vice president Steve Myers.
If scanned, it would be the second circuit across Australasia after Oran Park in Sydney’s west to be recreated virtually in iRacing before being turned into housing.
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The simulator, iRacing, is touted as the most realistic consumer-grade product that uses laser-scanning technology to recreate cars and tracks.
Pukekohe Park has plenty of special meaning for McLaughlin, who grew up on the sidelines watching the likes of Greg Murphy dominate the Australian opposition.
“Really sad to see Pukekohe Raceway being told their time as a motorsport venue will finish in early 2023,” McLaughlin posted to social media.
“I’ll never forget watching Murph on the hill in 2001, it was the first time I’d seen a V8 Supercar live.
“It lit a fire in me that’s still burning today to be the best racing driver I can be. Some of the memories I have there racing myself I’ll never forget.
“Thank you Pukekohe and thank you to the NZ fans that always made it special racing there!”
This year’s Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park takes place across September 9-11.
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