Defending endurance race championship team headed by Ian (Inky) Tulloch will contest both the North and South Island endurance titles for 2016 in the Tulloch Motorsport German-built SaReNi Reiter Camaro GT3, starting 4 June.
Having won the three-hour New Zealand Endurance Race Championship event in early March the team's future received a setback when Gore based owner Inky Tulloch suffered serious injuries following an accident a week later.
Recuperating, Tulloch has committed the team to continue with its plans in his absence, continuing with title sharing driver John McIntyre (Nelson) and newly drafted Simon Gilbertson (Hawkes Bay).
Speaking on behalf of the family, Annette Tulloch, Ian's wife, said the decision to continue was not hard to make.
"Ian enjoys his racing and has a desire to fulfil his and the team's passion to win the North and South Island titles. His recovery following the accident in March will have him out of the car for some time so it was a simple decision to put a replacement driver in the car and run the team as it was planned," said Mrs Tulloch.
"As a family we are grateful for the support shown to us all following the accident and appreciate being in the position where Ian can enjoy the privilege of defending their title.
The season starts at Taupo 4 June, the first of three rounds for the North Island championship, which concludes 23 July at Manfeild. The team then return to the South for the three South Island rounds, starting at Invercargill's Teretonga circuit 10 September. The season finale will be held at Timaru on 15 October.
"The best part of going into the new season is Inky recovering well," said team co-driver John McIntyre. "Along with support from Annette and the Tulloch family to continue we also have the full backing of the team. So it's a real honour to be again representing the team and look forward to bringing home a few trophies to Inky.
"We have just tested with Simon, who has driven the car for the first time - in the wet, and cold at Teretonga. Along with track time we've been through driver change-over and pit stop procedure - now we are prepared to get to the track and focus on winning the title, again.
For Gilbertson the opportunity came at the suggestion of McIntyre - having mentored the Napier based businessman. The pair raced together and finished second overall in 2014 at the Taupo round of the North Island series.
Gilbertson has continued his late blooming racing career since, having done double duty in the Pirelli Porsche Championship and the NZGT2 category.