Motorsport park opens near Queenstown

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A multi-million dollar race track near Queenstown has officially opened.

More than 7000 spectators attended the opening festival of Cromwell’s Highlands Motorsport Park last Saturday.

Owned by Scots entrepreneur Tony Quinn, the track, museum and restaurant is regarded as the best facility in New Zealand.

Motorsport legend Jim Richards cut the ribbon and declared the track open before driver Craig Baird set the first lap record in Quinn’s McLaren 412C-GT3.

Baird lapped the 4.5km circuit in one minute 49.1 seconds.

Quinn, who lives on Australia’s Gold Coast and has built an estimated $350m fortune through his pet food business, is believed to have invested $20m in the facility.

Quinn became sole director of Cromwell Motorsport Park Trust Ltd – agreeing to buy out local directors after they asked him to invest – in January last year.

Thousands who attended the Easter opening weekend on Saturday were treated to an array of cars, wiht many representing more than 100 years of New Zealand’s motorsport history.

The cars included 1906 Darracq, 1927 Buick Raceabout, Ferrari 288 GTO, M8A McLaren, Yardley McLaren, 1970 Mustang Boss, Nissan GTR, Aston Martin, NZ Supertourer, NZV8, Possum Bourne WRC and many more.

The museum was opened by Sir Colin Giltrap on Sunday.