07/11/2017

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Not content with bringing top-class motor racing action to Central Otago, Highlands has teamed up with AJ Hackett Bungy to introduce a new concept to bring fans even closer to the action.

The AJ Hackett Bungy Van Dash will debut at the Highlands 501 from November 11-12. The 40-seater bus will do laps of the track with high-speed cars whizzing past during the lunchtime entertainment at Highlands this Saturday and Sunday.

While the bus is cruising around the track, some of the drivers in the Highlands 501 will be doing hot laps in the Highlands fleet of sports cars (including a brand new Ferrari 488 GTB) so passengers on board the bus can get a feel for how fast these cars really go. Kiwi motorsport superstars and Red Bull global athletes, Shane van Gisbergen and ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, will also be on board the bus as your tour guides.

“It’s a great way to combine two of the cornerstones of our business, motorsport and tourism,” says Josie Spillane, Chief Operating Officer at Highlands. “This is a very unique and innovative way to experience the circuit and we’re stoked to have such a strong Kiwi tourism brand on board. AJ Hackett has its bridges and we’ve got our race circuit; it’s what we do with them and the experiences we offer that makes us iconic.”

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder and Managing Director, Henry van Asch says: “At Bungy we’re in the business of getting people up close and personal with adventure. We’re delighted to team up with Highlands - another iconic Central Otago business offering adrenaline pumping experiences - for the Highlands 101 and to bring event goers closer to the action with the Bungy Van Dash.”

Highlands and AJ Hackett Bungy will run competitions on their Facebook pages with ten seats on the bus up for grabs, along with free entry to the Highlands 101. The other seats will be filled at random at the event. Anyone wearing Highlands or AJ Hackett merchandise is in with a chance of being selected from the crowd.

A similar concept is popular at the Nissan NISMO Festival in Japan — where it's known as the Kamikaze Bus — and it made its debut in Australia at the Sandown 500 earlier this year. This is the first time it will be done in this country, thanks to the support of Motorsport New Zealand.

As well as the chance of a ride in the AJ Hackett Bungy Bus, anyone with a pre-purchased ticket for the Highlands 501 goes in the draw to win a hot lap in the $4.3 million Highlands Vulcan. A lucky fan from the crowd will also get the chance to pull on a helmet and strap into the passenger seat for the ride of their lives. Also, listen out for the commentary on how to win a Fast Lap in the Ferrari during the lunchtime entertainment, or look out for the Highlands staff, who will be giving away tickets.

Make sure to take a walk down pit lane during the weekend, where you can watch the teams work on the cars, and who knows, if they’re not too busy you may even be able to snap a selfie with your favourite driver.

Join in the free grid walk before the main feature races and watch out for the famous Le Mans start before the Highlands 501 on Sunday, a running race featuring drivers more used to sitting behind the wheel than stretching their legs!

As well as the fantastic action on the track, there’s plenty of fun and entertainment right around the circuit. The Highlands Hop On-Hop Off bus will be running all day to ferry spectators around the circuit, making it easy to check out the different spectator viewing areas or visit the Jurassic Safari Park and adventure playground in the Highlands forest for the kids to explore.

There’s lots of entertainment for the whole family in the RJ’s Twisters Family Fun Zone including a variety of organised games like tug of war, sack racing, egg and spoon races, gumboot throwing and three-legged races. Plus there’s giant Twister, Jenga and Connect Four games, hula-hoops and face painting.

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a digger driver, you can get behind the controls in the BWC Digger Challenge or if you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Shane van Gisbergen you can test your skills on the driving simulators in the marquee and set your personal best around the Highlands circuit.

For tickets or more information visit www.highlands.co.nz