Motorsport: Homecoming for McIntyre at Manfeild this weekend

Tulloch Motorsport's John McIntyre and Simon Gilbertson in action at Taupo. Photo / John Cowpland
Tulloch Motorsport's John McIntyre and Simon Gilbertson in action at Taupo. Photo / John Cowpland

It will be a homecoming for now Nelson based driver John McIntyre who returns to his home circuit of Manfeild near Feilding for the season's final round of the three-hour North Island Endurance Race Series, in the Tulloch Motorsport Camaro.

Joined by Hawke's Bay based Simon Gilbertson for Saturday's 23 July title decider, it will be the first time the pair will race the German built SaReNi Reiter Camaro GT3 at Manfeild - the circuit where McIntyre began his multi-championship winning career.

"It will be fastest car I have driven there," says McIntyre. "Of all the cars I've raced at Manfeild the Tulloch Motorsport Camaro has the most horsepower and grip - I can't wait. It's been an honour to have the opportunity to race alongside Inky (Ian) Tulloch and in his absence it is our quest to turn this opportunity in to a result at a place I know so well."

The then Hawke's Bay based McIntyre made his racing debut 26 years ago at the age of 13. McIntyre says Manfeild is a circuit that will suit all types of car.

There are 32 entered to the three-round endurance championship series. McIntyre and Gilbertson won the opening round at Taupo, and clawed back to finish third in the previous round at Hampton Downs.

"The Camaro will be hard to beat on the three straights at Manfeild whereas the likes of the lighter-weight Audis will have an advantage under braking. So the racing will be very very close and I predict the title will be won or lost in the strategy decisions around the pit stops.

Each driver must drive a minimum of one hour and a maximum of two, so the aim is to stop only once in the three-hour long race."

McIntyre last raced at Manfeild in 2012 - in the JMR V8 SuperTourer.

"In the first race of that weekend we came home in second place behind Jonny Reid - the winner of the previous endurance race at Hampton Downs (Audi R8). So Jonny and I have a bit of history that I'm keen to reverse at Manfeild - particularly since we are now tied on overall points."

The defending title champion team sits at the top of the table alongside Reid with 181 points, McIntyre highlights the third placed car (Ferrari) isn't far behind.

"There is a lot at stake and it's more than just being the fastest car. With so many cars on the track all at different speeds the first focus is on finishing," added McIntyre.

The race is to start at 1pm with the season champion to take the chequered flag at 4pm.

- NZ Herald

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