V8 Supercars: Kiwi Jonny Reid's tough mission

By Eric Thompson

Reid faces a battle as his team struggle to get it right

Former A1GP and Porsche Carrera Cup racer Jonny Reid joined Dick Johnson as a late call-up a week before the opening round of the V8 Supercars championship in Adelaide.

It is the 29-year-old New Zealander's first full-time stint in V8 Supercars, but he has been getting valuable big banger experience in the New Zealand V8 SuperTourers series and has been an endurance co-driver with Tekno Autosports.

Reid always knew it was going to be hard yakka at the beginning, as Dick Johnson Racing were behind in building and preparing cars for this year's season.

But with three race weekends under the team's belt, things are starting to look up and Reid is confident things can only getbetter.

"It's been a hell of a journey so far in my career and I'm really pleased and excited to be at DJR," he said.

"The guys at DJR were working day and night to get the cars ready for the start of the season and the future is getting brighter by the day.

"We tried a lot of things in Tasmania, and this weekend will be important for us to reset and take the good things from Tasmania and forget the bad bits.

"I know the circuit, well except for the new bits, and I know we can be competitive."

Reid's time in the V8 SuperTourers helped him get to grips with the new generation of V8 racecars, as the Kiwi version isn't greatly different to the Australian chassis.

"International Motorsport and Lyall Williamson have been a huge part of my motor racing career," he said. "They have been a great contributor to me and the SuperTourer opportunity last year served me well.

"We were second in the sprint series, which was great for my V8 career, as was all the testing I did as a co-driver with the Tekno Autosports team" said Reid.

Reid believes he can win in the category and just needs a bit of time for him and the team to get the car the way he wants it so he can be as fast as the others.

"It's going to be like it is for a while yet, but we're making good progress and Pukekohe will be the first circuit I'll have been on before since the series started.

"Nearly half the field hasn't been here before so we should do all right. I'm confident in my own ability - it is a bit frustrating but it's all about getting the car right.

"The team is working hard to get the car right and we know we're not there yet. We're in a rebuild phase at the moment, but I'm hoping to be at least in the top 15 this weekend and if we're not we need to have a look at ourselves."

It's a big ask to challenge for a podium place in this class in a sorted car in anyone's book. Maybe not so much for Reid though - he's built a reputation as a driver who can quickly come to grips with what a car is doing right, and what it might be doing wrong.

On top of that, he has the ability to explain succinctly to engineers where a problem might be, and can offer a solution. He's also a damn fine driver of racecars having won in everything he's raced.

Aussie up for NZ title

While most eyes will be on the V8 Supercars, fans of big banger racing should also keep an eye on what's happening in the national NZV8 championship.

The Kiwi V8 versions are fighting it out this weekend in the last round of the domestic series and Australian Jason Bargwanna has the upper hand.

He leads Martin Short by 61 points going into the final three races at the weekend, when almost 30 NZV8s will be competing.

''I've won Bathurst and other V8 Supercar races. I've been second in the Australian Formula Ford championship, the Australian drivers championship and NZV8s, but in 20-odd years of motor racing I haven't won a national championship,'' said Bargwanna.

''Winning the NZV8s championship would be an exciting thing to do.''

Solid finishes in the three races would clinch the title for Bargwanna and his new-generation Holden Commodore. But the car has had a mysterious electrical fault, which every now and again causes the engine to lose power or even stop.

Bargwanna and Short cannot expect to have things all their own way in the TLX class for the fast new-generation cars. Cambridge driver Nick Ross has been in hot form with his
Commodore, and Timaru's Brent Collins in the second Camry and Aucklander Haydn Mackenzie in his Ford Falcon are also contenders.

The TL class for the original-specification cars has attracted a huge entry. Teenage brothers and V8 rookies AJ and Brad Laude are leading the older generation title race.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 20 Dec 2014 02:15:00 Processing Time: 581ms