V8 young guns’ rivalry resumes in NZ
Media release from V8 SuperTourers
Thursday 5 September
V8 young guns’ rivalry resumes in NZ
The two hottest young drivers in Australasian V8 racing will go head to head in the BNT V8 SuperTourers endurance series, starting at Hampton Downs on September 28-29 as headline act in the Hankook Super Series.
Kiwi Scott McLaughlin, just 20, won the overall SuperTourers championship in 2012 and this year has won races in his debut season at the top level of V8 Supercars.
Aussie Chaz Mostert, one year older, came into the V8 Supercars main game after four rounds this year, as the struggling Dick Johnson Racing team looked for ways to turn its fortunes round. He quickly achieved exactly that, moving the team to the front and even winning a race.
McLaughlin and Mostert are well acquainted, having fought out the Dunlop V8 Supercars Development Series last year. McLaughlin prevailed narrowly.
Now their rivalry crosses the Tasman as Mostert has been recruited to partner Hamilton driver Ant Pedersen in the three-round endurance series which will complete the overall BNT V8 SuperTourers championship.
Pedersen, 25, is a rising star of New Zealand motor racing and he stands second in the championship after the four rounds of sprint racing.
Pedersen says Mostert has one very useful attribute when it comes to sharing his Ford: “He’s the same height as me, about 1.84 metres.” In long-distance races it is desirable to have drivers the same size, because adjusting the seating position can cost valuable time during driver changes at pit stops.
Mostert is delighted with the opportunity to broaden his experience with international events. "I've been watching the series for the last year or so and it looks like it is pretty close and obviously Ant is doing really well this year so I'm excited to be involved," he said.
McLaughlin has yet to announced the co-driver for his Holden, but it can be expected that he will have a fast driver lined up. Appalling luck in the sprint series – notably collisions that were not his fault – has left McLaughlin only ninth in the championship but winning the endurance series would make him a lot happier.
Another Supercar regular crossing the Tasman is Tim Slade, who this year races for the Erebus Mercedes team. He is linking up with young Christchurch driver Richard Moore and they make a formidable pairing in their Holden.
“We’re really excited to have him in the car and in a rain-limited test he got himself up to speed incredibly fast which is very promising,” Moore said.
Two more Supercar drivers, Jack Perkins and Paul “The Dude” Morris, are coming to co-drive Holdens with Greg Murphy and fast Auckland teenager Andre Heimgartner respectively. Both are now in the V8 Supercar Development Series though they have experience in the top category.
Murphy and Perkins were very fast in last season’s endurance races and Murphy – who leads the championship after winning the sprint series -- is a great fan of the format.
“It’s a great thing, it brings more drivers into the enduros for three rounds and it’s great to have that vibe in the pit lane with 40-odd drivers in there competing,” he said. “We’ve got some great names coming for the enduros. It’s exciting times.”
Mitch Cunningham is making it a family team as he brings older brother Wade back from the US to co-pilot his Ford. Wade Cunningham is a former world kart champion and Indy Lights champion and he has contested some Indycar races including the Indianapolis 500.
Former A1GP star Jonny Reid rejoins SuperTourers to partner fellow Aucklander Simon Evans in a Holden, while 2012 sprint series champion John McIntyre of Nelson has again engaged Auckland-based Jono Lester, who has enjoyed success this year racing a Mercedes in a Japanese GT championship, to drive his Ford.
Aucklanders Daniel Gaunt and Andrew Waite share the Tasman Ford, Pukekohe Holden racer Paul Manuell brings in Aucklander John Penny, and Craig Baird’s Ford has quick young Kiwi Matt Lockwood as co-driver. Dominic Storey brings in Mark Gibson to help race his Ford.
Some other pairings have yet to be revealed; Angus Fogg says only that his partner will be “a quick Australian guy”.
The long-distance races bring in extra strategy considerations such as how hard to push the tyres, trying to save fuel and working out the best timing for pit stops. Teams enjoy them because the pit stops mean the crew get to work during the race rather than just watch their driver circulating.
The endurance series starts at Hampton Downs on September 28-29 with the Waikato 400 meeting, resumes at the same track on October 19-20 and concludes at Pukekohe on November 29-December 1. The first two events will consist of two races each 200km in length and the Pukekohe 500 features two 150km races followed by one of 200km. In each race teams have to make at least one stop for fuel and a driver change.
The Pukekohe 500 also concludes the overall 2013 BNT V8 SuperTourers championship.