Motorsport: Baird looking forward to Legends of Speed night

Craig Baird celebrates on the podium at the Highlands 101. Photo / Matthew Hansen
Craig Baird celebrates on the podium at the Highlands 101. Photo / Matthew Hansen

Former Carrera Cup and touring-car cham​pion Craig Baird is gearing up for Auckland's upcoming Legends of Speed event at Vector Arena.

"It's always good to come back," said Baird while at the Highlands 101 enduro.

"We did the Gathering of Geezers function here the other night, and it's nice to have [these events] that put something back into our own sport.

"Anything for a good cause, especially based around motorsport or children."

Baird will be one of a long list of New Zealand motorsport stars to attend the black tie gala dinner; including Brendon Hartley, Scott Dixon, Hayden Paddon, Shane van Gisbergen, and many others from the sport's international stage.

Profits from ticket sales to the one-off dinner will go back into domestic motorsport via funding the New Zealand Elite Motorsport Academy, as well as the drive to get the World Rally Championship to return to our shores.

The 11-time Porsche Carrera Cup champion is fresh from winning the final round of both the Australian GT and Australia Endurance Championships at Highlands Motorsport Park.

The 46-year-old praised the growth of GT racing in New Zealand, as well as Tony Quinn's pro-am driver system.

"When you look around the world, GTs as a format is really popular.

"Quinny's come up with a really good system, even though it probably sounds like I was moaning about it before.

"The pit-stop window; it works. Because I'm a pro, and I can't buy a car - and I never will. Whereas some of the guys up and down the pit lane are in positions to buy a car.

"Well if they want to buy a car and go racing and give them a chance at beating me, they have to push on beyond their limits sometimes, and I have to push on beyond mine, so we're all out there doing the best we can and what it is is what it is."

The driver though subsequently lamented the current state of New Zealand's touring-car scene.

"It's a shame, because we don't have a natural touring car class here anymore. It's sort of bits and pieces for whatever reason. But when you've got over 30 current GT cars on the grid, it's pretty self explanatory."

The inaugural one-off Legends of Speed event takes place on Friday the 25th of November.

- NZ Herald

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