Top V8 names on form for tough tussle in Kiwi event

Fans of big-banger racing will be able to watch some of the best exponents of Australasian V8 racing on Kiwi tarmac this weekend.

Hampton Downs hosts round two of the endurance component of the 2014-15 NZ SuperTourer series.

The championship will be supported by NZV8 Touring Cars, Central Muscle Cars, V8 Utes, NZGT, GT1s and GT2s, Actyon Ute Racing and Formula Libre.

The V8 Supercars co-drivers will be match-fit, having contested the final Pirtek Enduro Cup round at the Gold Coast 600 last weekend.

Advertisement

Shane van Gisbergen, Tim Slade and Tony D'Alberto were on the podium.

Two weeks before that, Paul Morris flourished the Peter Brock Trophy after winning the Bathurst 1000 with Chaz Mostert.

• For more car news go to nzherald.co.nz/driven

Add four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy, main-game drivers Dale Wood and Jack Perkins, and Pirtek co-drivers Steve Owen, Cameron Waters and Ashley Walsh into the mix and the racing is sure to be doorhandle-to-doorhandle.

Van Gisbergen had a stellar weekend on the Gold Coast, setting pole, winning race one and finishing fifth in race two. The second race of the weekend was the eye-opener.
The Kiwi came flying through the pack from last after receiving a drive-through penalty and is keen to triumph with co-driver Simon Evans.

"We've had debrief about last weekend and I've had a couple of days off, so now it's time to get back into it," said Van Gisbergen. "I won't be the only one who's match-fit, as Tim [Slade] and some of the other Aussies will be on it as well.

"Simon and I had a good result in Taupo last time we raced, and we now have a good points lead. We have to keep building on that for Simon's championship. I just have to keep it clean for him and make sure I help set him up for the rest of the series."

The NZ series is a bit of a change for Van Gisbergen, because he's the co-driver rather than the main man.

"You certainly think a little bit differently not being the main driver, but when you get in the car you still try to do the best you can.

"You still have to be quick because the co-drivers have their own qualifying session as well so you have to be fully on it."

Taking an early series lead is always the best way to start a championship year, and Evans is looking forward to building on his success at Taupo.

"I think it's going to be close," said Evans. "A few of the co-drivers hadn't been to Taupo before, but a lot have been to Hampton Downs.

Follow Driven on Facebook and Twitter for the latest road tests and motoring news.

"We rolled up to Taupo with everything well prepared and it worked. This weekend some of the other teams have had a bit more time so it'll be a lot closer. The car's good and every time we leave the track we learn something new for the next round."

The pairing of Andre Heimgartner and Morris will be quick, but look to Richard Moore and Slade who'll be out to make amends for a less than successful weekend in Taupo.

Moore is quick at Hampton Downs and got his first race win on the circuit.

"I made a few small mistakes at Taupo and we had a pretty average weekend," said Moore. "I like Hampton Downs and we're eager to get back into it. I'm sure that after Tim's last weekend he'll be keen to get back into a race again.

"I think we should have been on the podium in the races at Taupo and we'll be aiming for the top spot at Hampton Downs."

The Kiwi pairings of Ant Pedersen and Jonny Reid, John McIntyre and Mark Gibson and Shaun Varney and Andrew Waite will have a battle.

Pedersen and Reid probably have the best chance as Pedersen had his first yahoo around Bathurst in a V8 Supercar (with Heimgartner) and Reid has an enviable racecar pedigree.


NZ SuperTourers after round one
1. Shane van Gisbergen - 404
2. Simon Evans - 391
3. Ant Pedersen - 339
4. Andre Heimgartner - 335
5. Jonny Reid - 333
6. Tim Slade - 324
7. Richard Moore - 318
8. Paul Morris - 317