Something that is becoming a trend in motorsports is that of racing series leaving the tracks they have either historically run well at, or that have without question supported and sold tickets to their events. The IndyCar Series left Nashville Superspeedway, Formula One has left Indianapolis & Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and now we get to add A1GP to the list.
After 3 solid years of great racing at Taupo Motorsports Park in New Zealand the A1GP series has decided to leave them for someone younger.... a not yet completed new racetrack that will be closer to Auckland & Hamilton slated to be called "Hampton Downs Motorsport Park". The new HDMP track is reportedly being built by Indy Lights/A1GP driver Johnny Reid's father Clayton. Go here to see a video of the projected design. The only reason A1GP gives is the better proximity to Hamilton and Auckland, cause there is no track layout to rate as better or past event history to compare.
Taupo is of course crushed by the decision and fears the worst in lost jobs and revenue to the city as evidenced in Mayor Rick Cooper's statements: “It’s a real bomb-blast for us. I’m extremely disappointed; gutted would be a better word, Especially after we were voted best venue by the drivers last year.” It is of course a real shame for the city of Taupo but TMP has a great racetrack too.
I guess we can at least take solace that A1GP isn't leaving TMP for another horrible street circuit. Whether you think any of the decisions above have any merit to them, the fact remains that all of these series are screwing over tracks that were not failing at the task of promoting and having positive sales for their events. I do understand trying to work your series into a better opportunity, but I do not understand screwing over perfectly profitable events for series and city alike to try out unproven new tracks or events; especially for a series like A1GP who has so much trouble with something so simple as consistency.
You would think with all the karma that has hit A1GP in the past; such as the Mexico City cancellation after they took MC's race away from Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez or the Indonesia mishap and numerous other failed attempts at going to "brand new" tracks, that they would be a little more cautious about leaving proven tracks for brand new ones.
Now I'm sure Clayton Reid will build a great facility and it will most likely be finished in time for the November event this year... but if history tells us anything about A1GP, I would keep monitoring that progress.
Now I don't need to say much except that the following video is the coolest thing you will ever see done with a Blackberry Storm: