Address: South Canterbury Car Club, PO Box 4008, Timaru 7942, New Zealand
PH: +64 3-614 7514
Circuit type: Permanent road course
Timaru is now New Zealand's second-oldest continuously running circuit, with a history stretching back to 1967. The FIA Grade 3 circuit now hosts New Zealand's Super Truck Series alongside a bustling calendar of club racing.
The circuit is owned by the South Canterbury Car Club, which first formed in 1947 to run hillclimbs and paddock events, before progressing to organising the Waimate 50 Street Race. This continued until 1966 after which the race organisation passed elsewhere and the South Canterbury Club organised its first race in Timaru in early 1967, on the streets around the Craigie Avenue area. This proved a success but was only a stopgap measure as plans were already being put in place for a permanent circuit.
In July 1965, the club decided to purchase 35 acres of land at Falveys Road, Levels, at a price of £100 an acre. It was originally part of a plot used for the the Timaru airport terminal. Indeed, the former air traffic control building was used by the club into the early 2000s when it was finally demolished and replaced.
Work on the circuit commenced in 1967 and within a matter months a 1.6km circuit - christened the Levels Raceway - sprang up. The first event was held in December of the same year featuring, among others, reigning saloon car champion Robbie Franceivic in his new Ford Fairlane and Ford Mustang men Red Dawson and Rod Coppins.
Since those early days the club never looked back. Development has continued year on year, with club and National Championship racing the mainstay of activities.
In 1988 it was decided that it was time to move up a level and increase the length of the circuit. A new loop was added to its northern end, bringing the total lap length up to 2.4km. In addition, the chicane at Turns 5 and 6 was bypassed by a sweeping curve leading on the start/finsih straight, although the previous layout was retained for use by motorcycle racers.
Minor changes have primarily involved reconfigurations of the pit lane in 1990s and again in 2013, when it was extended to allow additional pit bays. Gradual resurfacing has also taken place around the entire length of the circuit.
The full circuit is now licenced to FIA category 3 which allows the club to run international events up to GT classes as well as National Championships including the NZ Touring Cars (though these are not currently on the schedule) and Super Truck Racing.
Timaru International Motor Raceway is located near to the port city of Timaru on New Zealand's South Island. The nearest airport is Timaru's Richard Pearse Airport, five minutes down the road from the circuit, offering regular passenger flights to Wellington. Alternatively Christchurch International Airport is a two-hour drive to the north east.
The circuit is located 8km to the north of Timaru, accessible from either State Highway 1 or Timaru-Pleasant Point Highway.