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Highlands Motorsport Park Celebrates Ten Years

Ten years ago the Highlands Motorsport complex was a barren piece of land on the outskirts of Cromwell.

Today, thanks to the influence of entrepreneur Tony Quinn the facility has become a destination in its own right and is celebrating a decade of operation as a high profile Central Otago adventure tourism activity.

Tony has been a motor racing enthusiast since he was a teenager racing vehicles in his native Scotland. Investing $25 million from his successful Australian pet food venture into creating the 4.1 kilometre Highlands racetrack in March 2013 his vision was more about leaving a legacy than making a key business decision.

“While Highlands began as a race track it has grown exponentially with the development of 15 new experiences from scratch over the ten years making it the most innovative tourism facility in the South Island,” says CEO Josie Spillane. “Innovation is an integral part of our business strategy and nowhere else boasts the multi-dimensional offerings we provide. From race cars, tourism experiences and events to private memberships, an Innovation and Technology Park, café, museum and our standout ‘loo with a view’ the facility is continuing to both evolve and surprise.”

Highlands expanded its business with the purchase of Waikato’s Hampton Downs in 2015 and the Taupo Motorsport Park 2021 and Josie says this has been a winner for their membership.

“Members now have unprecedented access to the top three racetracks in New Zealand. Investing in the two North Island tracks has also assisted in awareness and we have skill sets from all three tracks that complement each other ensuring we stay positioned as market leaders both in motorsport and tourism.”

Cromwell has benefited from the presence of the Highlands Motorsport Park which is a significant employer, supporting young people in particular, and even funding a social worker in local schools.

“We believe we have also played an important role, along with other companies locally, in putting Cromwell on the visitor map as a destination rather than just a place tourists drive straight through,” says Josie. “Tony’s vision to create a legacy at Highlands has undoubtedly been achieved during our first decade.”

6 Hour Enduro

Highlands is marking its 10-year anniversary with several events including a community birthday party and a members’ gala dinner but the highlight is the inaugural 6 Hour Enduro scheduled for November 3-5.

CEO Josie Spillane says the event continues the proud history of the renowned Highlands 101 created by owner Tony Quinn nine years ago.

“The enduro has the largest prize pool ever seen in New Zealand motorsport and is by invitation only and will include Aussie Racing Cars in action while Tony himself, along with other Highlands team members, will compete.”

“This event is not to be missed and it would not be a race at Highlands without our highly anticipated Le Mans start. The high point for race goers is the draw for a Lamborghini Huracan,” she says. “What fixture do you go to in the world where you can win a Lambo by simply buying a ticket?”