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BNT NZ SuperTourers Ready to Roll at Taupo

BNT NZ SuperTourers Ready to Roll at Taupo

As the BNT NZ SuperTourers roll into Taupo this weekend for the Rush Security Taupo 400, Simon Evans will be counting on V8 Supercar winner Shane Van Gisbergen to help him claim his first BNT NZ SuperTourers championship.

Evans, a young Aucklander, finished second to Greg Murphy in the shortened 2014 championship and believes he is now at the point where he can realistically aim for the very top of New Zealand motorsport, despite the fierce competition from both other Kiwis and Australian Supercar aces.

“Last season we were knocking on Murph’s door quite a bit there; we were probably a bit unlucky in a couple of races,” Evans says. “We’re searching for that tiny wee fraction of a second and that’s going to make the difference. We’re really close to it.”

Kiwi hero Van Gisbergen, who stands fourth in this year’s V8 Supercar championship, brings great experience in fine-tuning cars’ setups to get the most out of them and Evans expects to benefit from the input of his old friend.

“Even if we find a tenth [of a second per lap] or even half a tenth, that’s going to be the difference between getting pole and not getting it,” Evans says.

“The cars are so close that any little advantage you can get makes the difference.”

Double champion Murphy comes fresh from finishing second in the Sandown 500 V8 Supercars race, co-driving with James Courtney for the Holden Racing Team. In New Zealand he again teams up with Jack Perkins, a full-time Supercar driver.

“Greg and Jack and still going to be our number one pair to beat,” Evans says. “They’re fresh off Sandown and race-fit. Greg did a pretty impressive job and showed that he hasn’t lost it.

“There’s some great co-drivers coming over from Australia. I think this year it’s going to be really close.”

Murphy agrees that the racing is going to be tight – and fast.
“We look forward to it being tough – that’s what we want it to be, a competition where we all have to fight for it,” he says. “It hasn’t at any stage been a walk in the park for anybody and it certainly isn’t going to be at Taupo.”

Although these are long races – one of 45 minutes on Saturday and two races each of 70 minutes on Sunday – Murphy reckons it will be pretty much flat-out all the way.

“They are really sprint races, and that’s similar to in Australia to be honest,” he says. “You’ve got to push real hard the whole way through and in some ways it’s a little easier in SuperTourers just because of the way the car responds and the durable tyre as well.

“I think the guys probably find these cars a little bit easier to push harder for longer. With a Supercar you don’t need to be far off in setup and you really notice the difference.

“It’s still a little bit tricky because you’ve got to find that balance where the car has a really good consistent pace and it has to be a fast pace without burning up the tyres.”

Besides Van Gisbergen, Murphy and Perkins, other drivers who are also contesting the V8 Supercar endurance events include Tim Slade, Dale Wood, Tony D’Alberto, Steve Owen, Cameron Waters and Paul Morris.

As well, Kiwis Ant Pedersen and Andre Heimgartner will be racing in the Bathurst 1000km classic with the new Super Black team, and Daniel Gaunt, Jonny Reid and John McIntyre have raced Supercars before.

Pedersen won the BNT NZ SuperTourers endurance series last year, with Australian Chaz Mostert. Now sharing his Falcon with former A1GP hero Reid, he is again one of the favourites.

Other fast pairings include Richard Moore-Tim Slade, Andre Heimgartner-Paul Morris, Angus Fogg-Tony D’Alberto, Tim Edgell-Steve Owen, Mitch Cunningham-Cameron Waters, Dominic Storey-Dale Wood, Paul Manuell-Shae Davies and Mark Gibson-John McIntyre.

The endurance series has two more rounds, at Hampton Downs and Pukekohe in November, and the overall championship continues with four sprint meetings in the early part of 2015.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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