Sign Up

Our Privacy Policy identifies how we handle personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act. Read it prior to submitting your information.

By clicking “Register” you agree to our Terms Of Use and Privacy Policy.

When the world came to Taupo

As the dust settles from a successful debut for the Repco Supercars Championship at Taupo International Motorsport Park, The Garage reflects on when the A1 Grand Prix of Nations contested multiple rounds at the venue during the late-2000s.

Already represented in the field by Matt Halliday and Jonny Reid, New Zealand was also part of the calendar as Taupo took centre stage. The field for the 2006-07 A1 Grand Prix season included Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg, French gun Loic Duval, Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, Alex Yoong from Malaysia, Swiss representative Sebastien Buemi, American Ryan Hunter-Reay and Indian Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan.

In this first visit, Hülkenberg dominated proceedings by taking pole and sweeping both races.

However, New Zealand fans were thrilled with the results on the next visit in January 2008 as local hero Reid scored pole and converted this into the Sprint Race victory.

Although he failed to repeat the feat in the Feature Race as France’s Duval took the win, Reid still finished fifth and most importantly beat the Australian team quite convincingly.

Hard times hit the category as money problems began to be revealed and rounds were cancelled ahead of the category being abandoned prior to the 2009/10 season. Once of these rounds was supposed to take place on the Gold Coast.

One more visit to Taupo took place in 2008/09 and it was Ireland’s Adam Carroll battling Switzerland’s Neel Jani for the win. In the end both left with a victory apiece, Carroll the Sprint and Jani the Feature in what turned out to be A1GP’s final visit to Taupo.

New Zealand’s fortunes were spearheaded by Chris van der Drift as he scored fifth and 13th in the two races, while Australia’s John Martin scored fourth in the Feature.