Kiwis play a V8 wildcard

By Eric Thompson

If New Zealanders secure a Bathurst contract it will add to excitement on the grid, writes Eric Thompson

The Mt Panorama circuit at Bathurst last hosted a Kiwi team in 2009.
The Mt Panorama circuit at Bathurst last hosted a Kiwi team in 2009.

A Kiwi V8 Supercars team is applying for wildcard entry to October's Bathurst 1000.

Likely to run a Ford Performance Racing-prepared car as Super Black Racing, it would be the first New Zealand-based outfit to tackle the endurance race since Team Kiwi Racing competed from 2000 to 2009.

Bathurst organisers are expected to make a decision next week.

At the V8 Supercars Pukekohe round in April, motorsport star and two-time Bathurst runner-up Paul Radisich hosted the soft launch of Super Black Racing.

He suggested a consortium was looking at the idea of fielding a Kiwi V8 team within 18 months.

Wildcard entries for the biggest endurance race in Australasia closed this week and now it's up to the category organisers to choose who gets the green light.

When Radisich was approached about the accelerated plan to get a car ready for October he said: "I really have nothing to say about what's happening with Super Black Racing. There will be an announcement in the next 10 days that will confirm what's happening either way.

"At the moment there's a lot of conjecture but nothing has been agreed, or confirmed."

The consortium has been at pains to say there will be a lot of due diligence, groundwork and research to ensure a team would be sustainable for several seasons -- if that's what they want to do.

Nobody involved in the project wants it to be hastily thrown together.

Team Kiwi Racing, with Radisich as its marquee driver, ran from 2000 until a messy demise in 2009.

It provided a stepping-stone for Kiwi drivers who included Jason Richards, John McIntyre, Craig Baird, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen.


Super Black Racing plans this smart livery for its proposed entry.

TKR's heart was in the right place but was too under-funded and under-resourced to stay in the competition, let alone make an impression.

Committed backers want a Kiwi team back in the series and see it as a gateway for our young V8 drivers.

Chief among those is Tony Lentino, chief executive of Kim Dotcom's Mega file storage company since last year.

Lentino, a motorsport enthusiast, has competed in Targa rallies and drove a Subaru Impreza WRX in a rally on his Springhill Farm at Wellsford.

The V8 Supercars category remains a crowd favourite, especially on this side of the Tasman, with nearly 130,000 fans turning up across the three days of Pukekohe this year.

The three New Zealand drivers in the competition -- Coulthard, Van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin -- are all in the top 10, so adding a Kiwi team would spice up the transtasman rivalry.

Three V8 Supercars Racing Entitlement Contracts are up for grabs this year.

American racing royalty Roger Penske is taking a hard look at one and Nascar owner Richard Childress is reported to be showing interest.

If a Kiwi team can get its hands on the remaining contract it should make for some interesting times on the grid in 2015 and beyond.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 21 Sep 2014 13:35:50 Processing Time: 566ms