It may have rained, but the V8s still roared at the Hamilton 400 yesterday.

Fans queued for a glimpse of local heroes Fabian Coulthard, Greg Murphy and Shane Van Gisbergen, with dozens clustered around pit garages for autographs.

While most were holding out for a win by a Kiwi driver, Holden fans were happy to settle for Australian Jamie Whincup's first place in race seven of the championship.

Promo girls were also in high demand."Everyone just wants to chat, it's been an amazing time," said Jim Beam representative Nicola Stephenson.

She was thrilled by her chance to line up on the grid with the cars before racing: "You get so exhilarated. It's just a really cool feeling."

Greg Apiti has been to every race since the championship came to Waikato in 2008 and had no complaints about crowd numbers being down.

"The first year you could hardly move through the crowd. This year it's quite sparse."

Outside the track, Hamiltonions perched on balconies and roofs for a glimpse of the action. Graham Commerer's house on Seddon Rd, behind the pit lane, was crowded with friends soaking up the atmosphere and watching racing on a big screen.

"When you live here you've got a lot of friends," he said.

Commerer said organisers did a good job of looking after residents along the route. "We've had no trouble at all."