Motorsport: Craig Baird - Kiwis to be blown away by Hampton Downs 101

By Dale Budge

New Zealand motorsport fans will be blown away by this month's Hampton Downs 101 according to our most successful domestic racer.

Craig Baird has won more New Zealand championships than any other driver and the veteran racer is expecting the motorsport community to be impressed with massive fields, well-known drivers and the biggest name cars on the planet.

The October 28-30 event serves as round three of the Australian GT Endurance championship before the final round of the series sees cars and drivers head to the South Island for the Highlands 101 a fortnight later.

"This will probably be the best showcase of motor cars that you will ever see in New Zealand," Baird tells herald.co.nz.

"Some rounds we have had up to 36 current FIA GT3 cars running - that is everything from Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Audi, Lamborghni right through the range.

"You won't only have seen a field that full but also full of cars and drivers that are absolutely world class."

Big name drivers to feature in the event are four-time Bathurst winners Greg Murphy and Steven Richards, well-known V8 racers Michael Caruso, Tony D'Alberto, Dean Canto, veteran touring car driver Tony Longhurst and drifting star Mike Whiddett.

Baird will line-up alongside Scott Taylor in a Mercedes AMG for the inaugural event on the new international layout circuit at the North Waikato track.

It will mark the first time the 1km extension to the existing track has been used in competition and Baird believes the challenge for drivers will make for exciting racing.

He says the facilities at both Hampton Downs and Highlands Motorsport Park are as good as anywhere he races.

"Both of those two circuits are better than a lot of the tracks in Australia. Especially Hampton Downs now with the extensions.

"Those two circuits in New Zealand are terrific tracks.

"It is certainly a facility that V8 Supercars should be looking at in the future."

The Hampton Downs 101 event starts next Friday with the 101 lap race staged next Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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