ASKO Appliances SI Endurance Series starts at Ruapuna
ASKO Appliances SI Endurance Series starts at Ruapuna this weekend
It’s a split grid for the 2012 ASKO Appliances South Island Endurance Series as the One Hour Race Series kicks into gear at Powerbuilt Ruapuna this Sunday. With the Ruapuna 3 hour race set for the November V8 SuperTourer Enduro weekend, this Sunday’s one hour race is the feature billing at the Canterbury Car Club race meeting. There is a bumper lineup for the opening race of the series with over 40 cars to take the grid, and entries are yet to close!
There are a handful of top teams taking part in the race as a shakedown for the 3 Hour Series, whilst others will be trying to gain valuable points in the first of the three round ASKO One Hour Race Series. Entries are wildly varied and range from late model Porsche 997 & Ferrari race cars to little Starlets & Hondas, so no matter if you’re a fan of V8s, turbos, rotaries, 2wd, 4wd, big, small, Japanese or European cars you will definitely be able to cheer on a favorite!
The driver line-up is equally as varied, with drivers ranging from 15 y.o. Mitchell van Eekelen through to one of NZ’s oldest competing drivers, John Cottier who is closer to 80 than 70. Two female competitors will also take the grid with Alexandra Meiling and Sue McLaughlin lining up for the race that will see drivers ranging from novice level to highly experienced. Plus with most of the top 10 cars from the 2011 ASKO One Hour Race Series returning, it is sure to be another series long battle for the Silverware in both the overall & class standings.
The GT class is likely to be where the race leading battle will be, as the Porsche’s of Seadon Baker, Phil Mauger, Peter van Eekelen, Danny Whiting & Bill Young take on the Ferrari F430 of Tim O’Connor. Also running in this class for this race will be defending 3hr champion Paul Kelly getting in some valuable miles for the 3 Hour ASKO Series and young charger George McFarlane with a new Porsche 997 on debut.
Class 1 (3501cc and above) will see a pair of powerful RX7 V8s with current 1 Hour Series race and lap record holders Grant Williams/Brent Buist lining up against the similar car of Graeme Rhodes/Paul Rickerby as the latter prepare for their assault at the 3 Hour Series. The class will also contain the immaculate time attack Subaru WRX of Daniel Currie, Mike Baker’s older Porsche Carrera, Marcus Stewart’s Porsche 964 and the NZSix spec Commodore of Nathan Pilcher/Gary Baker which could easily be the tortoise amongst the hares.
The competition will be as fiercely fought right through each class within the Series and Class 2 (2001cc-3500cc) will see Mini Challenge cars for Steve Grant, Richard Knowles and Gavin & Cameron McDermid take on 2010 3 Hour Series champion Grant Aitken’s Mitsi Evo 10, the returning John Petrie’s WRX, the Mazda rotary of Mal Walters, and a handful of BMWs of various shapes and sizes.
Class 3 (1600cc-2000cc) will see the giant killing but fragile S2000 powered Toyota Starlet of Dougal MacGibbon as the likely pacesetter with a hoard of BMW E30 class cars competing for both the Class 3 title and their own E30 class. Throw into the mix Ruapuna specialist Mark Wederell’s Integra plus seasoned campaigner Garry Cliff in the ex Team Nurburgring Civic and picking a class winner is impossible.
Class 4 (0-1600cc) sees the ultra reliable Peugeot 106 of Ken Sinclair up against numerous Toyota’s including 2011 One Hour Series Champion Jeremy Dawson and 2011 Teretonga One Hour race winner Stu Black. This class seen some fantastic, down to the wire, racing in 2011 and expect nothing less in 2012.
After the opening round at Ruapuna the ASKO Appliances SI Endurance Series moves to Invercargill’s Teretonga Park on Saturday 29th September, with the One Hour Series Grand Finale at Levels Raceway in Timaru on 13th October. Both these rounds will also include the opening two rounds of the 3 Hour series races as well. The One Hour Race Series is seen as a fun and affordable way to enter endurance racing but still experience the thrill & strategy of the old fashioned tortoise and the hare battles that endurance racing is renowned for.
Thanks to Series sponsor ASKO Appliances as well as class sponsors Allied Petroleum / Mobil 1, Southern Finance, Paul Kelly Motor Company & Hagley Aluminium the Series will again have the richest prize money pool in NZ Motorsport, with $30,000- that will be paid out as prize money for 2012, as well as major spot prizes up for grabs to a competitors in either the one hour or three hour Series.
With the One Hour Race being held at Canterbury Car Club’s ‘Club day 2’, it is likely that additional entries will be accepted on the day, however anyone interested in competing should make contact promptly. For more information, entries, or to be added to the South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club’s e-mailing list, please contact Chris Dunn via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Club information can also be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/sierdc, for more information on the series sponsor ASKO, please visit www.asko.co.nz. Racing starts at 1pm on Sunday with the ASKO One Hour Race set to go at 3pm, plus gate entry is only $5!