50 car grid limit set for ASKO One Hour Series finale
Press release attached for immediate release.
50 car grid limit set for ASKO One Hour Series finale at Highlands
The ASKO One Hour Race Series has another capacity field for its Grand Finale at the new Highlands Motorsport Park this Saturday with a massive field of close to 50 cars ready to battle it out on the unspoiled circuit, where a new ASKO One Hour Race Series champion will be crowned.
Grant Williams (RX7 V8) has taken three wins from three starts for a clean sweep to date. Although he currently enjoys an overall Series lead of 19 points there are still a total of 95 points up for grabs, leaving seven competitors still in with a sniff of overall Series glory. Williams's narrow victory at Levels Raceway was just 0.336 of a second over championship rival Hayden Knighton (Porsche 997 GT3) and these two will again be going head to head on the Highlland Park circuit. An interesting fact will be if this brand new circuit favours handling or horsepower and how fast drivers can come to grips with this modern & challenging circuit. Add into this its unique figure of 8 layout including corners copied from some of the best circuits in the world and this race, and series finale, will be a tru nail-biter.
Knighton currently leads the exotic GT class from Danny Whiting (Porsche 997 GT3) who is just a few points ahead of the similar car of Phil Hood. This class also includes the beautiful Ferrari 458 of Tim O’Connor, the return of young gun George McFarlane (Porsche 997 GT3) and Porsche 996 GT3’s for Phil Mauger and the lady of the Series Sue McLaughlin.
Williams leads the Class 1 (3501cc & over) but just 24 points cover the next three with Tony Head (Toyota Altezza), Brian Scott (Corvette C5) and Barry Kirk-Burnnand (BMW 135i) all locked in their own battle for the class podium positions, or the class win should the Williams machine strike problems. Also look out for the insanely fast AE86 V8 of Chris Henderson in this class that includes everything from a Nissan Skyline Turbo to a Ford Mustang Cobra.
Class 2 (2001-3500cc) sees Hamish Ellingham (Evo 9) currently lead, but his lead has been slowly diminishing as Chris White (BMW M3) has taken the class win for the past two consecutive rounds and would be the class leader if it wasn’t for a dismal opening round at Teretonga. There are currently 8 cars that can still win class 2, but this class will be invaded by two fast new cars at Highlands with Series Secretary Chris Dunn’s Hayabusa turbo powered Toyota MR-S and the Nissan Silvia of Ron Shelton set to shake up this class. Class 2 also sees a huge variety of man & machinery including the Series youngest competitor 16y.o. Josh Perkins (RX7) to a hoard of BMW M3’s and various turbo charged & rotary machines.
The combined class 3&4 (0-2000cc) is the closest of all the classes points-wise, with a mere 10 points covering the top 3. This class will include the driver who undoubtedly has the most experience at the Highlands circuit, ‘Fast Laps’ owner Grant Aitken, who will be trying to break the domination of the class leading old school Toyota’s of Bradley Dawson (Trueno), Stu Black (Starlet) and Jeremy Dawson (Starlet) whilst heading off the top Honda challenger Warren Walker/James Marshall (Civic). This class also features John Cottier (Starlet) who, at close to 80 years old is one of the series favourites, especially as he has nearly 10 years seniority over Kenny Smith!
So with 75 championship points on offer, plus 20 bonus points, the overall championship is still wide open and every class is still to be decided, and on this brand new multi million dollar facility all teams are heading into the unknown. But a couple of things are guaranteed and that is with close to 50 cars competing in the race anything can happen, and regardless of what does unfold a new ASKO One Hour race Series champion will emerge and whilst some teams consolidate their championship positions there are others who can throw caution to the wind in the pursuit of class or race glory plus the prestige of obtaining new race and lap records.
With so much still to be decided, the Highlands race will certainly be a cliff-hanger, as the whole series can change in a heartbeat. A slight misfortune either on the track or during their compulsory pit stop, where drivers all need to exit the car & change drivers or run around the car before re-entering, can make or break a driver’s entire series. As well as the silverware on offer for both overall & class winners, thanks to Series sponsors Mobil 1, Hagley Aluminium, Paul Kelly Motor Company and Southern Finance Ltd there is a total of $30,000 in prizemoney being paid out across the ASKO Endurance Series. Also up for grabs is an original watercolour painting by Dunedin artist Norman Sinclair valued at approx. $10,000-00, and a set of Michelin race tyres which will be given away as a spot prize to a competitor in either the Three Hour or One Hour Series at the SIERDC annual prize giving held at Highlands Park.
Points to date:
ASKO ONE HOUR RACE SERIES
Points after Levels - Round 3 of 4
1st Grant Williams (Mazda RX7 V8) 305 points
2nd Hayden Knighton (Porsche 997 GT3) 286 points
3rd Phil Hood (Porsche 997 GT3) 257 points
4th Tony Head (Toyota Altezza Turbo) 242 points
5th Danny Whiting (Porsche 997 GT3) 217 points
6th Hamish Ellingham (Mitsi Evo 9) 215 points
7th Chris Henderson (Toyota AE86 V8) 212 points
8th Brent Buist (RX7 V8) 210 points
9th Brian Scott (Corvette C5) 196 points
10th Chris White (BMW E36 M3) 195 points
11th Bradley Dawson (Toyota Trueno) 194 points
12th Stu Black (Toyota Starlet) 193 points
13th Jeremy Dawson (Toyota Starlet) 188 points
14th Adam Glass (BMW E36 M3) 182 points
15th Barry Kirk-Burnnand (BMW 135i TT) 179 points
1st Hayden Knighton (Porsche 997 GT3) 300 points
2nd Danny Whiting (Porsche 997 GT3) 279 points
3rd Phil Hood (Porsche 997 GT3) 274 points
4th Tim O’Connor (Ferarri 458) 188 points
5th Sue McLaughlin (Porsche 996 GT3) 158 points
1st Grant Williams (Mazda RX7 V8) 305 points
2nd Tony Head (Toyota Altezza Turbo) 278 points
3rd Brian Scott (Corvette C5) 262 points
4th Barry Kirk-Burnnand (BMW 135i TT) 254 points
5th Mike Robb (Ford Mustang Cobra) 233 points
Class 2 (2001-3500cc)
1st Hamish Ellingham (Mitsi Evo 9) 291 points
2nd Chris White (BMW E36 M3) 272 points
3rd Adam Glass (BMW E36 M3) 255 points
4th A Brunton/J Parmenter (Mazda RX7) 227 points
5th Chris Fleury (Porsche 911 SC) 221 points
Class 3&4 (0-2000cc)
1st Bradley Dawson (Toyota Trueno) 290 points
2nd Stu Black (Toyota Starlet) 283 points
3rd Jeremy Dawson (Toyota Starlet) 280 points
4th Grant Aitken (Toyota 86) 274 points
5th Warren Walker/James Mitchell (Honda Civic) 260 points