Significant changes are being made to this year’s Waimate 50 motorsport event.
Now known as the Waimate 50 Motorsport Festival, the event, which was previously held over Labour Weekend, will now take place over two weekends, October 15-16, and October 22-23.
Event organiser Rob Aikman said the idea was to create a “festival” atmosphere.
“Essentially, we have spread the event a bit more. We’ve encompassed it over two weeks now, with a focus on gravel in week one and tarmac in week two, and some things in the middle.
“The plan is for it to be a bit of a festival, I guess.”
Two new events, one each on tarmac and gravel, have also been introduced for 2016.
One of those is a tarmac hill climb, which will start in the town centre and run up to the Vines Restaurant, and the other is a downhill stage on gravel, which Mr Aikman described as a “reverse hill climb”.
“It’s going to be a hard challenge for the drivers. It’s going to reward the brave … it will be a great leveller.”
The street circuit event will include a new start line and pit layout, which will make for better viewing for spectators, while the street attack will be raced on 2.5km of track, the longest in the history of the event.
With several other events to be confirmed and favourites such as drifting events again on the programme, Mr Aikman hoped this year’s edition of the popular event, which draws more than 10,000 fans to Waimate each year, would be the best yet.
“We always look at improving all the time, but this year we’re doing more than what we’ve done in the past.”
He said it was essential the event was sustainable, financially viable and improved year on year.
The first Waimate 50 event was held in 1959, when the feature race, 50 laps of a 1.3-mile (2.1km) circuit, was won by motorsport great Bruce McLaren.