V8s Headline Championship Racing At Ōtautahi Christchurch This Weekend
Ōtautahi Christchurch hosts the first ever trans-Tasman V8 TA2 Muscle Car Challenge event at the Euromarque Motorsport Park this weekend 9-11 February for the fifth round of the Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship series.
In support of the championship categories, headlined by the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (CTFROC), the weekend will also include the awarding of the Lady Wigram Trophy. It was first presented to the Motor Racing Club in 1951 by Lord Wigram the founder of the Royal New Zealand Airforce airfield in Christchurch.
Last won in 2018 by Christchurch’s Marcus Armstrong its 73-year history includes many of the world’s greatest names including Bruce McLaren, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart.
Current Formula One driver Lance Stroll won it in 2015. It will also be the first time the Toyota FT-60 car competes for the trophy.
The fourth of five rounds for the 2024 CTFROC series is currently led by Poland’s Roman Bilinski. Kiwi Liam Sceats is second with countryman Kaleb Ngatoa third.
For V8 fans it’s a clean-sheet as 16 TA2 Muscle Cars arrive having never contested the 3.33km Ruapuna circuit. Joining the eight car cars being freighted from Australia are eight local teams. The entry list has a depth of talent from two-time Australian champion Nathan Herne to 18-year-old Ben Stewart from Wellington. Contested across two consecutive weekends (the second weekend being held at Cromwell’s Highlands Motorsport Park) the team with the highest points will also be awarded the Jason Richards Memorial trophy.
The weekend’s schedule is also double-header for the Toyota 86 Championship and Summerset GT New Zealand Championship. Their arrival to the South Island brings a healthy grid of 25 of the Toyota TR86 cars, currently headed Hunter Robb. In second by the slender margin of two points is Tom Bewley with William Exton in third.
For the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship their field of 19 has several changes to its line-up and will also include local driver Steve Brooks in the #88 Woolfbrook Porsche.
Auckland’s Sam Filmore holds a narrow lead in the Open Class (Porsche 992) ahead of Rick Armstrong of just half a point. In the GT4 Class, the McLaren 570S of Brock Gilchrist holds a 92.5 point lead over the Mercedes AMG of James Sax.
The Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series brings close to thirty cars with Chris White of Prebbleton currently leading both the North and South Island Championships.
Also with healthy numbers is the Formula Ford category – the undisputed stepping-stone for all successful race drivers. Where names like Shane van Gisbergen, Liam Lawson and current CTFROC debutant Alex Crosbie all graduated from, over half the grid of 20 cars is Christchurch based.
Ahead of the on-track action is a park and display Thursday 8 February, outside Te Pae Convention Centre (Oxford Tce) in central Christchurch. At 6:45pm will be the unveiling of a world first motorsport project.
Attention then turns to the track where all categories have Friday for practice, ahead of Saturday’s qualifying and first race.
Racing continues Sunday with the weekend concluding Lady Wigram Trophy race from 4:18pm.
Both days are televised live to Sky Sport in New Zealand and Fox Sports/Kayo in Australia, on Pasifika TV and via motorsport.tv.