Munro Well Placed For Step Up
11 JANUARY 2013
Munro Well Placed For Step Up
Christchurch teenager James Munro is well placed for his New Zealand Formula Ford Championship debut after testing today at Teretonga Park in Invercargill. Munro was second fastest in the opening session and topped the timesheets in the second as he and his championship rivals completed a days testing at the 2.64 kilometre track in preparation for Round 1 of the championship at the country's southernmost circuit this weekend.
Munro will take to the grid in his Mygale as the least experienced driver in the field as he embarks on his rookie season in the championship. The 15-year-old, who will return to Christs College to begin his Year 12 studies shortly, had never sat in a racing car until May last year. Since then he has made a stunning impression, winning every race he has completed in the South Island Formula Ford Championship and setting several new lap records in the process. Prior to his transition into cars the youngster had demonstrated his talents in karting, often overcoming mechanical issues to record some top results including second place in the ultra-competitive Rotax Max Challenge, just one point behind the winner.
As he prepares for his national championship debut Munro, the son of former Toyota Racing Series competitor Mark Munro, is looking forward to the challenge. "This will be another step up from anything I have done before. The competition will be pretty close." Despite James' inexperience the team has set the championship as it's goal. "It will be hard and I expect to make some mistakes in my rookie season but if it all comes together I should have a good chance," said Munro during a break in his schedule today. Looking ahead to Round 1 at Teretonga this weekend he said, "it's a nice track. It is quite fast and flowing and good to race on. There are plenty of opportunities to pass and a nice long straight."
Munro will run with Neale Motorsport in the championship under the watchful eye of team manager, respected former driver and engineer, Andy Neale. "I have worked with James since he came out of karts and I am looking at carrying him through the single seater categories. This will be a big learning year for him."
While he was on the pace at Teretonga today James has had a far from ideal build up to the event. Illness curtailed his training at the time of his end of year exams but he has bounced back well and is ready for his biggest challenge to date.
James will contest a twenty minute qualifying to determine grid positions for the opening race of the round at 10.35am tomorrow. The first of three races takes place at 3.20pm on Saturday afternoon over 10 laps. The following day James will contest two more races, the first over 10 laps at 10.14am and the third and final race of the round over 12 laps at 1.08pm.
CALENDAR -- 2013 NZ FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 1: 12-13 January 2013 - Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 2: 19-20 January 2013 - Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels, Timaru
Round 3: 2-3 February 2013 - Hampton Downs, Waikato
Round 4: 9-10 February 2013 - Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 5: 9-10 March 2013 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo