Motorsport is set to stay in Tauranga with the completion of a new $200,000 semi-permanent track build inside ASB Baypark Stadium.
Tomorrow and Saturday the new 2018 New Zealand Xtreme Motorsport Series will debut at the speedway stadium bringing with it drifting, rally, UTV racing and supermoto.
The Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship has been a staple of the summer event calendar at ASB Baypark Stadium, which has been held at the venue since 2013.
Up until last year the series ran around the speedway carpark, but moved inside the 19,800-capacity stadium in 2017 for the first speedway-based drifting competition.
After the success of last year's event, New Zealand Xtreme Motorsport Series promoter Brendon White began work with Bay Venues and local speedway promoters to build a permanent circuit inside the stadium.
"Ever since we first began coming to Tauranga five years ago we've always had huge support from the locals year-on-year," White said.
"Part of the new agreement with Bay Venues means we're here for the long haul. As part of the new series structure, we're focused on building permanent fixtures around the country that will benefit both the venues and the series.
"At the first round in Wellington this year we built a circuit and the concrete is still there. What it allows us to do is come back year after year, set up the track in a few days, and bring fans as close to the action as they could possibly get."
Last year the series built two circuits, one inside Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium and the second at ASB Baypark Stadium. Both circuits were torn up at the end of each event. However, a new deal with Bay Venues will allow the concrete to stay.
What it means for the speedway is that the clay will be put on top of the concrete circuit for the rest of the year. The inner loop will stay for a while too, but will only be removed for the annual Jetsprints Stadium Cup in 2019.
White said he was keen to recognise the importance of speedway at the venue. With so many events on each year around summer, it was imperative to get the concrete pour done right and keep speedway promoters happy.
"A lot of thought and effort went into how we could do it all without hindering the speedway crews.
"We are bringing extra clay in from an hour away to build their track up in low areas which hasn't been done in three years. Each night they race and a bit of clay leaves with each car, so we have to do it right."
In total, 19 concrete trucks were used in one day to pour the new track, which was completed on Monday. Another 50 volunteers helped to get the circuit prepared and built, with several excavators used to dig up the speedway.
Complementing the drifting action will be the addition of the New Zealand Rally X Series, UTV Series and Supermoto Cup.
It will be the first time all four disciplines have shared the Tauranga stadium. While the drifting will remain inside the stadium, the rally drivers, UTV racers, and supermoto riders will race inside and outside the stadium on a purpose built layout.
The competitors will literally jump out of the stadium by virtue of a ramp built by local Rally X driver Sloan Cox and his family's business Taslo Engineering. He'll also bring his Mitsubishi Evolution hill climb monster, which he dominated the first round in.
Dirt jumps will also play a big feature in the weekend's action, with spectators getting their first taste of high speed off-road racing.