The date and location of next year’s 67th edition of the New Zealand Grand Prix has finally been officially announced by Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ.
First revealed by Toyota to Italian press last month, the grand prix will take place at Hampton Downs for the second time in its history and do so on the full international layout of the track on February 5. It will be the third race of the penultimate round.
The most recent edition of the grand prix ran at Hampton in 2021, with the race being called off last year due to the country’s strict COVID-19 restrictions, and was won by Shane van Gisbergen from a pitlane start in a thriller.
Several local drivers are anticipated to be announced in the next few weeks as being on the grid, with Callum Hedge the only Kiwi confirmed so far. Four other drivers have been signed and announced.
“There’s a significant number of very talented youngsters coming through the ranks which is particularly impressive for a small country,” said TGR NZ’s motorsport manager Nicolas Caillol.
“Some of the very best are set to join Callum on the grid alongside significant international talent and that’s great news for the sport in New Zealand.
“It’s going to be great to be back with a full international field at the Grand Prix and great that the venue for that will be the international Hampton Downs circuit, which is just a perfect challenge for the drivers and teams.”
Last year a three-segment qualifying format had been planned for the grand prix, with Q1 setting the grid for the Dorothy Smith Memorial Cup race. Q2 and Q3 then were both be used for the grand prix, with all drivers competing in Q2 and then the eight fastest from there progressing to the next segment to fight for NZ GP pole and a prize of NZ$500.
Parts of that plan are already confirmed to be carried over into 2023, including splitting qualifying into three segments. The change is the top 10 fastest drivers from Q2 will progress to Q3 a la Formula 1.
There will be a $5,000 prize for the NZ GP winner, with second place earning $3,000 prize and third bagging $2,000.
Before the grand prix weekend, TRS goes to Highlands Motorsport Park (January 13-15), Teretonga (January 20-22) and Manfeild (January 27-29). Folowing the NZ GP, the season concludes at Taupo on February 10-12.