The unique format of the four-round series at the Cromwell race track, which attracts any make and model of car, is grass-roots racing at it’s best. Most competitors are relatively new to motorsport and take part to enjoy the thrill of racing.

Each competitor chooses one of the four classes to enter, these classes are based on lap times and not by the make or horsepower of their cars.

It is this relaxed and friendly format that attracted Queenstown-based Service and Motorsport business M-Developments to sponsor the series, complimenting the entries from their customers.

“Although we race ourselves in endurance racing with our motorsport team, it’s really rewarding for us to see people come along and give it a crack, starting fresh and enjoying the experience,” said Laura Moore, who co-owns M-Developments with husband Barry.

“I’d like to see more females experience the sport and have a go,” said Laura. “You don’t need a massive budget or an expensive car to take part. This series is for everyone and it’s really exciting to see people come in and enjoy the series for what it is.”

The unique M-Developments Highlands Sprint Series features such innovations as Fast and Furious 8-lap races, in which the racing is interrupted at any time with a ‘safety car’ period, which bunches all the cars back together after the race start and then releases them for a final dash to the chequered flag.

Another feature of the series is the Joker Round. Competitors can choose one round of the series in which they score double points.

Two of the four rounds are standalone events while the other two rounds are part of feature meetings on the Highlands Motorsport Park calendar.

The sprint series opens as part of the South Island Endurance Championship meeting scheduled for Sunday October 3rd.

Highlands Motorsport Park CEO Josie Spillane says they identified the need for people who had never experienced motorsport before to have an opportunity to ‘have a go’ in a relaxed, club-style atmosphere.

“We wanted an event that enabled people to come along in a non-threatening environment to enjoy the thrill of racing while at the same time taking them on a bit of a journey of learning racecraft. It’s been a remarkable success,” said Spillane.

“It’s as much about the racing on the track as it is the camaraderie in the pits and the social activities. We have our drive team on hand to give tips and tricks, everybody is there to make it a really supportive event.”

For current Highlands Sprint Series champion Shane Hodgson, he says the chance to take part has been one of the most enjoyable experiences he’s had so far competing in motorsport.

“First and foremost it’s so well organised, like a well oiled machine. The guys and girls down there that run the series are super helpful, you know exactly what’s happening when it’s happening, on top of being at probably the best track in the country,” said the Auckland-based Porsche 997 driver, who is hoping to compete again if Covid-19 restrictions allow.

Each year the format of the races can change. One year the racing may be rolling starts, another year can be standing starts.

Highlands Motorsport Park welcomes competitors and spectators alike to the M-Developments Sprint Series, with free admission to the complex all day.

After the opening round on October 3rd, there are two standalone events on November 13th and February 26th, 2022 before joining as part of the festival of Speed on 2-3rd of April, 2022.

Rd 1: October 3rd, 2021 (part of the South Island Endurance Series)
Rd 2: November 13th, 2021
Rd 3: 26 February, 2022
Rd 4: 2-3 April, 2022 (part of the Festival of Speed)