Motorsport: Hartley's endurance form continues

By Eric Thompson

Brendon Hartley came home third at the Six Hours of Donington last weekend. Photo / Supplied
Brendon Hartley came home third at the Six Hours of Donington last weekend. Photo / Supplied

Brendon Hartley continues to show good form in his newly-chosen endurance racing disciplines.

The Kiwi, with team-mates Warren Hughes and Jody Firth, powered to third overall at the Six Hours of Donington in the UK at the weekend, the last round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).

His team, Murphy Prototypes, ran in the top five for most of the six hours after Firth qualified the Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 in eighth. Hartley scored the fastest lap of the race, won by the OAK Racing team of Oliver Pla, Bertrant Baguette and Dimitre Enjalbert.

The team fought back from a lap down to make the podium and Hartley set the fastest lap to yet again show he's a serious contender in sports car racing.

"There is some disappointment because we had really high hopes for the race, but I think that we should be happy with our result," says Hartley.

"Obviously for the team, it's their second podium in four races, so we all should be proud. It was a really tough race; I really enjoyed battling it out with the class, and it was a quality field too.

"Jody did a great job on the first sting, but we had a bit of a problem on the pit stop which put us a lap behind, so I think that we did well to un-lap ourselves and get right back into contention.

"It was a tough race car to drive, we really had to push it, but I did manage to get the fastest lap of the race. It was a really good effort all round to come back to third and the team did a great job all weekend."

The next round of the overall ELMS championship is Brno, near Prague, September 7-9.

SuperTourer seatThe V8 SuperTourer endurance series is attracting interest across the ditch. V8 Supercar driver Tony D'Alberto has even put in a request to co-drive with Andy Booth, who finished fourth in the sprint category of the new series and D'Alberto is 22nd in the 2012 V8 Supercar championship.

D'Alberto approached Booth looking for a V8 SuperTourer team to link up with for the enduros. He and his engineer want the experience with a SuperTourer team with this type of race car, which is similar to the V8 Supercars' "car of the future", that the category will adopt next year.

Aplus for D'Alberto racing in the enduro rounds is that he'll fizz around Pukekohe in preparation for the V8 Supercars NZ round returning there. He hasn't raced there before.

The V8 SuperTourer endurance rounds are: Taupo, August 31-Sept 2; Pukekohe, October 26-28; and Ruapuna, November 23-25.

NZV8s get new ChevThe board of NZV8s has outlined changes that will make it cheaper and more competitive to race a current schedule TL Holden Commodore in the upcoming NZV8 Gold Star Championship.

The Chevrolet LS3 engine has been approved as a replacement for the current ageing engine. They are available as a ready-to-race package and will cost around $10,000. It's the same powerplant that powers the new generation NZV8 Holden Commodore.

"This is a significant step forward for the class," says category manager David Slater. "This year's championship will be strongly contested in both TL and TLX schedules and we can expect to see some very spirited drives.

"The ability of the Holdens to access this engine will dramatically improve their performance and we will see even closer racing."

- NZ Herald

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