Hot competition set for Teretonga this weekend
Hot competition set for Teretonga this weekend.
The ASKO Appliances South Island Endurance Series makes its annual trip to the world’s southernmost circuit this weekend as teams travel to Teretonga Park, Invercargill where the fastest Endurance cars in NZ are set to do battle. As well as the best endurance cars in the country, there are also some of NZ’s best drivers with names such as Gaunt, Hamilton, Lester & Pedersen and others joining the grid for the opening Round of the 3 Hour Series. The Saturday event will also see Round 2 of the ASKO One Hour Race Series take on the fast and challenging Teretonga circuit.
The battle for 3 Hour Series honors is likely to come from the exotic GT class, which is dominated by the Porsche marquee with 11 of the German machines set to take on the lone non-Porsche challenger. 2011 Series champion Paul Kelly (997 GT3) teams up with Daniel Gaunt, but they will have stiff competition from the two International Motorsport 997 GT3 entries of Ant Pedersen/Andrew Bagnall and Matt Hamilton/Rick Armstrong. There is also Jono Lester/Simon Ellingham/Sam Robinson, George McFarlane/Grant Silvester, and Teretonga specialists Scott O’Donnell/Lindsay O’Donnell all in 997 GT3’s, plus a handful of the 996 Cup cars, including past champions Angus McFarlane/Michael Bushell’s twin turbo monster, so it will most certainly be an enthralling duel. The lone non-Porsche entry in the GT class is the Ferrari of Sam McNeill/Craig Innes who will be using the F430 at Teretonga as the new Ferrari 458 is still in transit from Italy. Unfortunately spectators won’t get to see either the Carter brothers V8 Supercar, out due to business commitments, nor the Glen Smith Porsche 997 RSR after a major engine failure at the Hampton 12hr race.
With all the factory built race cars in the GT class, Class 1 (3501cc +) is dominated by the traditional Kiwi Hybrids and picking a class winner here is equally as impossible. 2012 North Island Series champions Craig McDermid/Scott McDermid return with their familiar green Twin Turbo Corolla to take on 2011 Class 1 Champions Graham Rhodes/Paul Rickerby with the awesome Batman RX7 V8. There has been a lot of work done over the off season to the John Wadsworth/Warren Croft VY Commodore and Aussie based competitor Perry Scarfe this year teams up with Dean ‘Wildman’ Perkins in the GT Radials 427ci Falcon Ute. The lone Euro in Class 1 is the beautiful twin turbo BMW 135 of Todd Murphy/Shaun Varney, and it’s unfortunate tthat the much anticipated Corvette C6R of Bruce Davidson/Dave Garden is another that won’t make it to the opening round of the ASKO Series.
A few of the Class 2 (2001cc -3500cc) cars could easily surprise, including the ex-WTCC BMW 320i of Arron Black/Stu Black plus Allan McCormick/David McCormick and 2011 series speedsters Brent Esler/Andy Neale, in BMW GTR’s. This class has a great mix of man and machinery including Pat Heagney/Ryan Heagney (AE86 turbo), Warren Good/Bryan Rusbatch (Mini Challenge), the lone rotary of James Marshall/Russell Mortimer (RX7) plus Andrew Simms/Chris West (Evo 9) and John deVeth/Phil Gill (Evo 8) who will both no doubt be looking for some Teretonga rain. However the real unknown in both Class 2 and the race could come from the Harry Dodson/Danny Stutterd Seat Leon SuperCopa, which could easily surprise many on its South Island debut.
Round 2 of the ASKO Appliances One Hour Race Series will also be held at Teretonga after a highly successful opening round at Ruapuna. After a record number of entries at Ruapuna there is a slightly smaller field making the trip south but it’s still a good field of over 20 cars for the One Hour race. With double bonus points on offer any overall or class contender definitely needs a good result at Teretonga and with the inaugural Teretonga SIERDC One Hour held in the rain in 2011, race and lap records are definitely set to tumble for the second round in a row.
Paul Kelly will again be one of the favorites to lower the One Hour lap and race records and will no doubt be pushed by 3 Hour Series regular George McFarlane trying to clock up valuable miles in his new 997 GT3. Grant Williams will be back with a new diff in his lightning fast V8 RX7 and will be looking for a strong Class 1 result to peg back Nathan Pilcher/Gary Baker’s Commodore. Class 2 will again see a battle between the Evo of Grant Aitken and the BMW M3 of Chris White with Mal Walters (RX7) and Graham McDermid (Mini Challenge) keeping them honest, while class 3 (1601-2000cc) will see Dougal MacGibbon’s Starlet back to full steam taking on the BMW E30’s and MX5 of Ian Wooster. Class 4 (0-1600cc) Ruapuna winner Stu Black will be trying to hold off the Dawson brothers Toyota’s who will have home track advantage this weekend and this class welcomes the return of Grant Molloy (Mirage) who will be looking to make up lost ground after missing round one. But the big talking point for the Teretonga One Hour Race is likely to be the much anticipated race debut of Inky Tulloch’s brand new MRX built NZV8.
After this weekends round at Teretonga, the ASKO Appliances SI Endurance Series moves to Levels Raceway, Timaru on 13 October, for round 2 of the 3 Hour Series plus the One Hour Race Series final. The 3 Hour Grand Finale is back at Powerbuilt Ruapuna at the SuperTourer enduro meeting on Saturday 24th November where the overall 3 Hour Series champion will be awarded the ‘South Canterbury Toyota Cup’ and the series winners cheque for $10,000. The Club has been donated an original watercolor painting by High Country artist Norman Sinclair (value $10,000-00) plus a free set of Michelin race tyres which will both be given away as a spot prizes to a competitor in the series, plus they also give away prizes and prizemoney throughout the five classes of both the 3 Hour & 1 Hour Series with a total of $30,000 in cash up for grabs thanks to series sponsors ASKO Appliances, Southern Finance, Hagley Aluminium, Paul Kelly Motor Company and Allied Lubricants.