McIntyre and Gilbertson win endurance race title

GilbertsonJMR at ManfeildNelson based three-time New Zealand V8 race car Champion John McIntyre and Hawke’s Bay based ex NZ Porsche Champion Simon Gilbertson added the Three-hour North Island Endurance Race title to their portfolio’s in the weekend.

Based on points across the three-round series, the second place at Feilding’s Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon rewarded the newly formed team with its first major title.
At just seven races old, the GilbertsonJMR 911 GT3 Porsche clinched the title in perfect weather conditions. McIntyre’s home track from his formative days growing up in the Hawke’s Bay, the 41-year-old cites the win was a result of team cohesion in the face of ever-strengthening competition.

“The series keeps growing and is getting harder to be at the forefront of competition.”

“Against the McLaren GT3 of the Smith team, the two SLS Mercedes of Palmerston North’s Mike Racing and the Auckland based Super-Commodore you already have four cars that on paper are significantly quicker than our 2016 991 GT3 Porsche.”

Having debuted last year as a partnership with Simon Gilbertson, the team is a hybrid of the championship winning Tulloch Motorsport and John McIntyre Racing, pooling personnel that have previously enjoyed success together.

“We’ve learned a lot in a short space of time – from a win at the first round this season at Hampton Downs, the fourth at Pukekohe and second at my old home circuit.

“Simon’s driving has just come leaps and bounds, which means in the race we can really fight. The signal that we were starting to feel good is when Simon set a time of 1min06.2 in qualifying 1 – a super impressive lap time for anyone that’s been to Manfeild.”

Describing the competition and pace McIntyre says it’s more a three-hour sprint than race of endurance.

“It all changed in the last 20 minutes of the race when the new race leader put us back into the overall points lead. We just had to hold third position for the race, though the racing was so intense we had a great duel to close and grab second overall for the race – cementing our overall series win.”

The team now turn their attention to the three-round South Island series, plus the one-off New Zealand Endurance Championship event, being held at Highlands on 24 November.

“Building on our solid driving combination, which is going from strength to strength, our next ambition is to win South Island series.”

Calendar: 15 September – Invercargill, 29 September – Christchurch, 13 October – Timaru.

CRC Speedshow back Leading Porsche for Pukekohe

JMRGilbertson - SpeedhowCRC Speedshow organisers will become the naming rights Sponsor of the GilbertsonJMR Porsche 991 MR at this weekend’s second round of the North Island Endurance Series at Pukekohe.

Drivers Simon Gilbertson and John McIntyre are currently second in the three round series after a stellar performance at round one at Hampton Downs three weeks prior. However the race result is under protest and the fledgling team may just get their first Win if the results are amended.

Either way, the team and drivers welcome the support of CRC Speedshow for this important Pukekohe Round.

“It’s fantastic to have CRC Speedshow as our naming rights sponsor for the weekend, joining our existing family of Sponsors. I have been a big supporter of CRC Speedshow and have exhibited many times over the past 10 years.

This weekend we will bring some more attention to the show by way of the signage on the car captured during the LIVE stream coverage thanks to The Fast Files. We are really hitting our straps as a team and driver pairing, so we hope for a bit more of that lovely Pukekohe rain to help us mix it up with the more powerful GT3 cars and Hybrid Commodores” commented John McIntyre.

The North and South Island Endurance Series' have enjoyed continual growth over recent seasons and now see some of NZ’s best teams, drivers and endurance machinery gridding up at each meeting. This Saturday over 25 cars will take on the 3 Hour race at the high speed South Auckland circuit.

Fans will be able to tune in live on The Fast Files Youtube Channel from 9AM this Saturday and see all of the action as it unfolds. www.thefastfiles.com

CRC Speedshow, NZ's ultimate automotive show on the weekend of 21 22 July is coming fast, and while the show is keeping with the trend of past years, there is also new exhibits being show cased by the shows new owners.

Retro-o-rama market, Motorsport seminars, and your chance to meet the original Top Gear STIG, Perry McCarty, and the Century Batteries Ultimate Garage Competition, just to name a few.

CRC Speedshow wants to be more than just a two day show, and aim to develop relationships within the Motorsports scene with CRC Speedshow TV, a fortnightly online motoring show.

GilbertsonJMR is proudly supported by;

CRC Speedshow, Links Winery, Talley’s, Castrol Edge, The Tyre General, ProBrands, Men at Work, Endless, Big Brown Industries, Vortex Racewear and Printhouse.

To watch the 1 Hour and 3 Hour event on Live STREAM visit www.thefastfiles.com at 9AM this Saturday.

Schedule for Saturday

SATURDAY 16th JUNE 2018

Race Day Programme

Qualifying – ALL Drivers must qualify:
9.15 – 9.35am: Qualifying Session 1 for 3 Hour Race
9.40 – 10.10am: Qualifying for 1 Hour Race
10.15 – 10.35am: Qualifying Session 2 for 3 Hour Race
11.00am: One Hour Race Starts
12.00pm: One Hour Race Finishes
1.00pm: 3 Hour Race Starts
4.00pm: 3 Hour Race Finishes

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.

Saturday

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.

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