V8 Supercars Australia and the Hamilton City Council have agreed to a new seven year contract to jointly manage the successful ITM400, New Zealand's largest annual sporting event, in the City.

An agreement was reached this week that means V8 Supercars Australia's will deploy its enormous expertise in promoting the event in conjunction with the Hamilton City Council, which will continue to support the event through infrastructure and promotional support.

The V8 Supercars Australia Board unanimously supported the decision to promote the event, recognising the massive New Zealand support base and the importance of the event to the sport. The Board also acknowledged the strength of the New Zealand market and its great passion for motorsport, and to this event.

With Hamilton City Council's backing, V8 Supercars Australia will underwrite the ITM400 across the seven years and assume all financial risk, as well as provide the infrastructure to manage the event.

Hamilton has successfully hosted the event for three years after winning hosting rights in 2006.

It is the largest single sporting event in New Zealand, and despite the recent economic downturn in the country, still attracted more than 100,000 people through the gates over three days last month.

The ITM400 has given the region and New Zealand massive economic benefit year on year. A post-event survey in the Waikato Times after last month's event showed 75 per cent of the local community wanted the race to remain in the City and continue for the long term.

A number of new features to broaden the appeal of the event from 2011 include the unique 'rock'n'race' format which will see concerts held in either Seddon Park or Waikato Stadium.

Other new initiatives include exploring moving the event from April to November from 2012, and substantially increasing the spend promoting the ITM400 in New Zealand and Australia.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock welcomed the new partnership: "The city has already shown it is capable of staging the V8 Supercars, which is no mean feat, and having V8 Supercars now running the event means it is well positioned to go from strength to strength."

V8 Supercars Australia COO Shane Howard will lead his events team along with many of the current locally based staff and contractors, re-affirming the unwavering bond between V8 Supercars and New Zealand.

"The ITM400 is a keystone of our sport, as is New Zealand," Howard said. "It's with great pride that we can bring our expertise to the table in conjunction with the Hamilton City Council and the team of wonderful people already in place for the event.

"Over time we will put together the best team on both sides of the Tasman to reinvigorate this event and continue Hamilton's proud tradition of being able to boast the largest sporting weekend in the country each year.

"This event has the potential for enormous growth beyond what is already a highly successful weekend. We plan to introduce new elements immediately in line with our overall philosophy of world class racing, entertainment and immense appeal to all people."

As part of the deal former promoter Caletta Street Management has stepped aside.

"Dean and Steve have done a good job in the past three years from a strong first event right up until this year which still produced a strong crowd despite the tough economic circumstances," Howard added.

"V8 Supercars Australia is in great shape to run the ITM400, adding it to its big portfolio of what is now nine major events in Australia and New Zealand. In fact we look very much forward to it."

V8SA will secure key local staff, suppliers and contractors, and planning is already well underway next year's ITM400 around a street circuit in Frankton.