Wellington 500

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Wellington Circuit Map 1987. Used For The Wellington 500 From 1987 to 1992.

The Wellington 500 was a 500 km (310 mi) street race for touring cars which took place at Wellington City in Wellington, New Zealand. The race was first proposed in 1984 and first took place a year later with a different layout from that to the original proposal.

Initially dubbed the Nissan Cue 500, the first event in 1985's title was changed at the last minute to the Nissan Sport 500 due to Cue Magazine's demise in the week preceding the event. The following year Mobil became a naming sponsor and the Nissan Mobil 500 name was born.

The Nissan Mobil 500 was actually a two-event series with the first round being held at the Wellington Street Circuit and the second at Pukekohe Park Raceway south of Auckland.

For the first race in 1985, the FIA delegate who inspected the Wellington Street Circuit was 1960 Armstrong 500 winner John Roxburgh from Australia. He voiced serious concerns about the narrowness of the circuit as well as safety and the circuit did not pass inspection. For the race to be able to go ahead the promoters had to re-write the regulations turning the event from an international race to a national race, thus eliminating the need for FIA approval.

In 1987, the Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington Street Race was a round of the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Championship. The WTCC lasted only one year and was a victim of its own Group A rules. Both the factory backed BMW Motorsport (Schnitzer) and Ford (Eggenberger) teams were disqualified from some races for technical infringements. Also, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone had been given power over the WTCC at the last minute over the original organisers, the NZ based Strathmore Group. Ecclestone imposed a US$60,000 registration fee per car which saw only a small number of cars eligible for championship points. With some races decided by stewards hearings, the WTCC generally descended into a farce by the end of 1987 and the series was not run again in 1988.

Wellington Street Circuit Used In 1993, 1994 and 1996 For The Australian V8's.

The race went through four different types of touring cars classes from Group A to Supertouring then the category now known as V8 Supercar. There would not be another race after 1996 due to political reasons, despite being a popular event for both drivers and spectators. During 1985-1996 the Track changed layout many times. The circuit ran along Cable Street to the Taranaki Street Gates, This was extended to the Hurd Street Loop for 1987. Also The extensions for 1987 included Horseshoe Hairpin being lengthened. By 1991 the back straight(Jervois Quay) was modified to make a safer turn onto Cable Street. Come 1993 and the Layout had once again changed, the Queens Wharf Events Centre and Te Papa were in the process of being built thus ending "Traditional" layout. In 2004, there were plans to revive the race as a V8 Supercar event, to feed on its high popularity in New Zealand with many popular New Zealand drivers competing in that series in Australia. As the roads where the circuit used to be have now been demolished to make way for a museum and other buildings, it would have to be run on a new course. There was a new proposal in 2006 with a new layout.

Wellington Street Race 2006 Proposal Number 1 For The New Zealand Round Of The V8 Supercars.
Wellington Street Race 2006 Proposal Number 2 For The New Zealand Round Of The V8 Supercars.

Both of the 2006 Proposals were revoked through the Resource Management Act.

The proposed race has now been dropped in favour of the street circuit of Hamilton.

Winners list[edit]

Year Driver Car
1985 Belgium Michel Delcourt
New Zealand Robbie Francevic
Volvo 240T
1986 Australia Peter Brock
Canada Allan Moffat
Holden VK Commodore SS Group A
1987 Feb. Australia Peter Brock
Canada Allan Moffat
Holden VK Commodore Group SS A
1987 Nov. West Germany Klaus Ludwig
West Germany Klaus Niedzwiedz
Ford Sierra RS500
1988 Italy Emanuele Pirro
Italy Roberto Ravaglia
BMW M3
1989 Italy Emanuele Pirro
Italy Roberto Ravaglia
BMW M3
1990 Italy Emanuele Pirro
Venezuela Johnny Cecotto
BMW M3
1991 Italy Emanuele Pirro
Germany Joachim Winkelhock
BMW M3 Evolution
1992 Australia Tony Longhurst
Australia Paul Morris
BMW M3 Evolution
1993 New Zealand Owen Evans
Switzerland Bruno Eichmann
Porsche 911 RS Cup
1994 (race 1) United Kingdom Tim Harvey BMW 318i
1994 (race 2) Germany Joachim Winkelhock BMW 318i
1996 Australia John Bowe Ford EF Falcon

External links[edit]