Motorsport: McIntyre gets best of three worlds

By Eric Thompson

Racecar driving, management and mentoring go together

John McIntyre (left) and Mark Gibson will be a powerful combination this upcoming V8 SuperTourers season Pictures / John Cowpland / alphapix
John McIntyre (left) and Mark Gibson will be a powerful combination this upcoming V8 SuperTourers season Pictures / John Cowpland / alphapix

Three-time New Zealand V8 champion John McIntyre has decided to take a step back from fulltime racing this year and concentrate on the endurance rounds of the V8 SuperTourers series.

At the Taupo launch of McIntyre's campaign, Mark Gibson was announced as the man to take over the wheel as the primary driver for the series. Meanwhile, McIntyre will concentrate his efforts on building the team into something more robust and creating new opportunities.

"At the level V8 SuperTourers is at now it makes it very difficult for me to have my driving head on at the same as having my team owner head on," said 36-year-old McIntyre.

"You just don't have the time to put [as much] preparation into actually driving the car as you would like to. I get reminded of that when I go across to Australia to race, and with the Porsche in the South Island, where you just turn up and drive the car.

"In those instances it's a lot easier to get more out of yourself as a driver. On a positive note on my decision to step back a bit, our partners are growing and are very stable and as a result there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and I enjoy that as well."

McIntyre is setting himself up for the best of both worlds - still doing a fair amount of competitive driving, developing his race team business and mentoring a young driver along the way. Not only will McIntyre be able to talk to young Gibson on in-car radio, he'll also be sharing the racing during the endurance rounds of the V8 SuperTourer series.

Being a race team owner and a competitive racer is a big ask and McIntyre has decided rather than trying to keep all the balls in the air, he'll spend more time running and developing his team than behind the wheel. It doesn't mean he's only going to have the occasional yahoo out on the track; he'll spend a bit more time racing Porsches where he turns up, races and then goes home.

"It's becoming more and more complicated trying to run the team and race competitively full time. It was great to be able to test the car recently with Mark and get two sets of feedback rather than just mine. We were able to try quite a few different things and I feel we are already gaining more insight about the car.

"Having Mark race the V8 full time allows me to spend more time racing the Porsche and exploring other GT options," said McIntyre.

Gibson will contest all seven rounds of the series as the primary driver, with McIntyre co-driving at the three endurance races that carry most of the season's championship points. McIntyre will also participate during the practice sessions at the sprint rounds, which will keep him fresh when the endurance rounds roll around.

"Every aspiring young driver at some stage needs a bit of a leg up and that's what I'm trying to do with Mark. I was fortunate for a number of years to have had help, and been given loads of opportunities that were critical to me to be able to continue in the sport. It's a good fit having Mark in the team and it's funny having Richard Lester as the team manager because when I was 15 he helped me get a leg up when I start racing."

McIntyre's picked a pretty useful young racer to mentor in Gibson. He was at New Zealand's golf academy for two years and last year represented New Zealand at the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) Young Driver Excellence Academy. Gibson finished in the top three drivers selected from the Asia Pacific Region, and set fastest times during testing.

"With the opportunity John has offered for 2014 it provides the perfect stepping stone to compete at the highest level in New Zealand alongside V8 Supercar drivers," Gibson said. "Best of all I get the full attention and resources of a driver and team that has won championships."

McIntyre is looking forward to the new challenges ahead and reckons he may just have the best of three worlds - team management, racecar driving and mentoring the next generation of young Kiwi V8 drivers.

- NZ Herald

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