When Scott Dixon wakes up Thursday morning, his mind will likely be 8,200 miles away and he’ll likely feel sad.
The five-time IndyCar Series champion will likely mourn Thursday’s official closing of Mt. Wellington, the Auckland, New Zealand go-kart track where Dixon learned how to race on four wheels.
After 51 years in business at the location, Mt. Wellington is closing after landlord Panuku Development, which owns the land the track sits upon, decided not to renew its agreement with the track and the KartSport karting group.
It’s expected that the land will be redeveloped, likely for a commercial enterprise.
“Without Mt. Wellington, it’s quite easy to say that I maybe wouldn’t have continued in my career, it might not have even got started,” Dixon told New Zealand website Stuff.co.nz.
Dixon said he first went to Mt. Wellington as a 7-year-old to watch his cousins race karts. It wasn’t long before he climbed behind the wheel – and the rest is history.
“That’s what started it all off,” Dixon told Stuff. “Had a go, loved it and then two weeks later we had a go kart of our own and had been racing there ever since.”
Panuku officials are reportedly making efforts to relocate Mt. Wellington to another location in Colin Dale Park in Auckland, but it’s uncertain whether that will happen because it’s expected it would take 2-3 years to build a new course, or whether Mt. Wellington will be no more.
“For me, of course I’m disappointed to see it go,” Dixon told Stuff. “I’ve got so many great memories from that place as do many people before me (and) I’m sure many after.”