JMRGilbertson - Timaru

GilbertsonJMR Round 3 Timaru Podium!

We had a tight turn-around between Ruapuna and Timaru. The car was serviced at a Porsche specialist in Christchurch and our list of jobs just kept growing... We spoke to Germany a few times to discuss our issues with the fuel system. Also talking to Kiwis and Aussies who have raced the 991 Porsche we found out that the Main Fuel pump is a weakness and proved to failure if it runs low on fuel. Our engineer also revised our suspension set-up as the Michelin tyres seems to last well with an increasingly aggressive set-up.

On arrival in Timaru we stopped in at round sponsor The Front Store. Little did we know they would become a major contributor to us making the race on Saturday...twice!

Friday...the 13th

Friday at the track is always an early start for the team and we arrived at the track at 7.30AM to prepare for a 9.00AM practice session. Our plan was to run on old tyres and set a benchmark lap time and then start working on our brakes and fuel consumption. The first run went well and on old tyre’s we turned a 1.01.7 sec lap. That was exactly 1 second slower than the Camaro from last years practice, but importantly the Porsche could keep doing that lap time for more than 5-10 laps, the Camaro lap times would start to increase as the tyres wore.

So just as we were thinking this weekend would run smoothly and we would get through a full Friday practice, we had a major incident to overcome. The team had just changed our rear brake components and Simon was sent out to check them. He went out and came in for a precautionary check. All was good. On the next full lap under full braking at 240km/h the car’s rear brakes locked and sent Simon into a wild spin, through the inside of the circuit on the grass, backwards across the track, through the gravel trap and into the barriers. The circuit has added foam filled “cushion” barriers that sit infront of the tyre wall. They were primarily there for Motor Bike competitors. Luckily for us the circuit decided to leave them there for the cars.

The above image is taken from our team video. It shows the ensuing fire that started when the car rode up onto the cushion barrier and the barrier caught fire from the exhaust. Thankfully Simon was uninjured from the accident and was out of the car quickly. He immediately went to the back of the car and started to fight the fire with our handheld extinguisher. Three of our team members grabbed a ride in the Ambulance and took with them 2 extra fire extinguishers. When they arrived the circuit Fire Crew were busy trying to put out the cushion and tyre wall, while the car was starting to catch fire!!! The team did an amazing job to get the car fire extinguished and the car towed away from the fire. I was in the Pit Lane watching this all unfold and all you could see was a massive ball of flames near the car, we thought the worst that the car was in the fire!

All of this action and it was only 10.30AM on Friday. The car was towed back to the pits and the team took it straight to the scrutineering shed to assess the damage. It didn’t look too bad from first glance but in any high speed accident there is always more hidden damage. If the car was in the fire for another 10-15 seconds we could not have repaired it, that's how lucky we were. Several parts were taken to Timaru to be repaired and the team just didn’t stop working until we were ready to run the car at 4.30PM. It didn’t have a wing on it and it wasn’t perfect but we wanted to make sure all the running gear worked well and the brakes were safe. I had the honor of taking it around for approx 10 laps, the car felt very strange without the rear wing but it seemed to be working well, the brake issue had been fixed.

The team now turned their attention to getting all of the parts back on the car, rear bumper, rear wing and doing a full suspension alignment. They even had time to start making the car look a bit “pretty”. We slept well that night knowing that it so easily could have been the end of the season and potentially worse.


Our plan for qualifying in the first session was to put old tyres on and assess the car again at higher speed. I managed one clean lap that was good enough for pole in that session. On my way into the pits some of the team we clapping for the effort our team had made. The front of the car felt strange though and after Simon confirmed the same feeling we bought the car in to look for a potential front suspension issue. The team quickly assessed that our left front wheel bearing had play, and that it would get worse if we left it. Without a spare it was possible that after all of that drama, car on fire, rebuilt, on pole position, that we would not start the race. But not this TEAM!!! No, three of our guys pulled out the left front suspension and jumped in the van heading to The Front Store Washdyke. They had 2.5 hours to try and machine the wheel bearing so they could tighten it up more than the factory setting. They did it, we even had time to go into the scrub session, a 10 minute session prior to the trace. The car wasn’t perfect but the wheel bearing was fine.

In qualifying two we had slipped to 3rd place but we knew we had the pace for pole on new tyres. The team had no chance for practice pit-stops and so we decided on a 2-stop strategy to play it safe, just in case the fuel issue came back during the stint.

I started and the car was just mega, getting the lead on the second lap and pulling away. I set the fastest lap of the race 1.01.1 sec that would have put us on pole! The best part was knowing the car would keep its pace on the same set of tyres. After 30 minutes we had lapped the field including the 2nd placed Mercedes GT3 FIA.

Just at the hour mark there was a safety car, perfect for us. We pitted, Simon got into the car but our cool suit would not work. If we left Simon in the car with this we might “cook” him. So we decided to make a stop straight away to sort the issue. We rejoined in 3rd place and just off the lead lap. Simon had a strong stint and the car was handling well. We decided to do a second Pit-stop at about the 2 hour mark and I would take the car to the finish. By stopping a 2nd time we lost a lap to the Mercedes and the two other Porsche's who were stopping once. We were 4th at this point and so I was on a charge.

On the same set of tyres that Simon had done an hour on I charged through the field unlapping myself several times. In the end we crossed the line in 2nd place just 36 seconds behind the Winning Mercedes. The TEAM were ecstatic! I was ecstatic! From nearly loosing the car, nearly not starting the race and every other drama we have had in our first two race meetings this was like a victory. It also proved to all of us that we have the potential to challenge for Wins, and that is what we go racing to try and achieve.

Our result also put us into the top-20 in the South Island Endurance Series. This means we have qualified for the National Championship Final in March. The location for the final has been confirmed as the Hampton Downs International Circuit. Very exciting.

If ever there was an example of how Motor Racing is a team sport then these three races and in particular this weekend have proven that. I know of plenty of teams that would not have repaired the car for Friday practice and others that would not have re-machined a factory part to make the start line.

We have the car, the team and thankfully to you the support to take this team to the next step, the top step!!!

The car is now being completely stripped and we will be aiming to test the car in December and then in the new year as we gear up for the Nationals.

Thanks for being part of our first South Island Endurance Series campaign. We look forward to updating you with our testing progress and announcing the date for the National final in March.

McIntyre brings Porsche power to Nelson

JMR Porsche

Nelson racing driver John McIntyre will present the 2016 991 GT3 Porsche to sponsors and supporters at Nelson's MS Ford prior to the first race of the South Island endurance series at Invercargill.

Nelson motorsport driver John McIntyre has a new race car – a 2016 Porsche 991 GT3.

While racing at Germany's Nurburgring ten years ago, McIntyre visited the headquarters of Manthey Racing to marvel at the company's development of Porsche racing vehicles.

He is now just days away from racing its 2016 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup MR model at the South Island Endurance Series in Invercargill.

"I never imagined I'd be racing one of their cars in New Zealand, that's for sure," he said.

McIntyre races for Gilbertson JMR and team owner Simon Gilbertson bought the car from specialist European Porsche Team FACH Autotech. FACH Autotech had previously taken Kiwi Earl Bamber to the Porsche Supercup title.

One of only two in New Zealand, the car recently arrived from Switzerland where it had has already raced and won the Porsche Cup race at the Monaco Grand Prix.

"The first drive we had in the car, it's kind of a pleasant surrounding to be in from a race car point of view – It just does things very nicely."

"Being a factory-built race car [Manthey Racing] make a lot of the base cup cars – hundreds of them each year, so you know it's done right."

McIntyre said there had been a number of modifications required to get the Porsche ready for endurance racing in NZ because of different rules here.

As well as cooling systems for body and helmet, some telemetry and GPS sensors had also been installed to get more information out of the car.

"It's a lot of small things that add up to quite a bit ... a huge amount of work and not a lot of time for testing," McIntyre said.

Prior to the first race of this year's South Island Endurance Series in Invercargill, McIntyre will present the car to sponsors and supporters at Nelson's MS Ford on Monday evening.

"MS Motors and Talley's have been my longest-serving sponsors – 18 years and counting – not many race cars come through Nelson of this calibre, so I thought we'd bring it through and get a bit of attention and show it off."

McIntyre said while an opportunity for a joyride was unlikely, he hoped those coming would be interested in the intricacies of the car or the driver aids crucial to long stints behind the wheel.

"The car will only just get into the showroom in regards to how low it sits – you'd probably take the cat's eyes off the centre of the road if it was there."

"Unless they've been lucky enough to go for a ride in a race or hot lap situation, it's really hard for people to comprehend the g-forces, heat and concentration [while racing] – you're always moving one part of your body."

McIntyre will then transport the vehicle to Invercargill for two days of testing before racing on September 9.

McIntyre hoped the Southland leg would provide him with a successful return to driving Porsches, three years since his last race in the sports car.

"It should come back to me pretty easily – it's easily the fastest Porsche I've driven – it's always exciting to be going faster than slower as you get older."


Homecoming for champion McIntyre and Tulloch Team

Tulloch team 2016It 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.”

Sitting 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 (admission is FREE) with the season champion to take the chequered flag at 4pm.

Schedule SATURDAY 23rd JULY

9.45 – 10.05am: Qualifying for 1 Hour Race
10.15 – 10.50am: Qualifying for 3 Hour Race
11.00am: One Hour Race Starts
12.00pm: One Hour Race Finishes
1.30pm: Three-hour race start
4.30pm: 3 Hour Race Finishes

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Tulloch Motorsport is supported by Active Electrical as naming rights sponsor, plus Waterloo Business Park Christchurch, Talley’s, USG Boral, Castrol Edge, Energizer, Phillips and Schneider Electrical also join the team for the new season.

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