Pukekohe JM TullochEndurance title win for McIntyre and Tulloch at Pukekohe

Winning today’s three-hour endurance race at the Pukekohe Park Raceway cemented the overall 2015 North Island Endurance race title for Nelson’s John McIntyre and Southland’s Ian (Inky) Tulloch.

Heading a field of 36 cars the Tulloch Motorsport German built Sareni Reiter Camaro GT3 ran to a precise plan – including the winning margin of 4.81sec.

Completing 142 laps of the 2.91km circuit came with numerous challenges the team had to overcome.
Noise restrictions resulted in a late change to the circuit configuration – a pill readily accepted by the teams’ ahead of the afternoon race start. That on top of the Tulloch team working through to 2am re-readying the car to be noise compliant added spice to the intensity of competition.

Tulloch started the race and encountered four safety car periods during his stint before handing over to McIntyre after the half-way mark.

“Fact is Inky stretched the car’s fuel out past where I could complete the race without needing to stop,” said McIntyre. “The one-stop strategy gave us the best chance at being competitive at the finish without needing to take risks.”

Needing to finish ahead of the reliable and potent DeVeth/Smith V8 SuperTourer prototype car to take the series title, the Tulloch Motorsport team kept their race strategy in play despite a late safety car period that bunched up the field behind them.

During the closing laps the dash to the line came with increasing sun-strike, interspersed with cars struggling to make their way round the track.
“It was a risk game I had to minimise the odds on – so I dropped the pace to improve our chances of finishing.”

Winning by a margin of 4.81sec over the Ferrari 430GT of Lester and Smyth, their title rivals finished third.

“Today was a hard-fought result,” said McIntyre. “Getting the race win against such world-class machinery while driving such a special car was a real buzz. Although it really sank in when I got back to the team and could see what it also meant to them – all of them – that we had won the title.

“It was a tough series with hard competition – and we overcame all of that as a team.

“Every race we had lots of challenges – it was never straightforward. And I believe it was the team’s unity that gave Inky and I our best shot at winning.

“Today highlighted how critical it is to finish every race if you want a shot at the title. It is a classic age-old scenario.

“Endurance racing is here to stay and if you’re going to be successful you have to have a good car and a good team.”

Multiple New Zealand champion Tulloch was humbled by the team’s results across the three-round season.

“Our highlight was being competitive against some of the best GT cars in the world. Against Ferrari’s, many late specification Porsches, 2015 Audi R8’s and a Mosler - we out qualified them all and beat them all. While our car is far from perfect you measure things by results.

“We had to overcome a lot of adversity and while the car gave us an equal opportunity to run in the series I think to be fair the team work was pretty seamless. They are all there for that common purpose – it was fun for them. It has been a long time since I’ve been in a team like that.”

McIntyre also picked up on the attention adorned by a swelling fan base: “People see these cars in racing games and on TV – as the elite and cars to aspire to – and here we are, racing them in their backyard. It is starting to get peoples interest – to see what they awe at in the virtual world here in the flesh. It is definitely a new era of racing here in New Zealand.

The pair will return to competition in September for the three-round South Island version – the driving force behind the success of the North Island series.

Victory for McIntyre and Tulloch at Hampton Downs three-hour race

JMR at Hampton Downs

Nelson’s John McIntyre and Southlands Ian (Inky) Tulloch claimed an Australasian first today at Waikato’s Hampton Downs motor race circuit by winning the three-hour endurance feature.

Driving the Tulloch Motorsport German built Sareni Reiter Camaro GT3 car the pair claimed a lights-to-flag result, finishing 40 seconds ahead of an Audi R8 and endurance specification SuperTourer. Only three Reiter Camaro’s exist in Australasia and today’s result is the first race win for the purpose built car.

The second of three rounds for the 2015 title, today’s win and the opening round second placing puts McIntyre and Tulloch at the top of the series standings.

“Absolutely stoked,” said McIntyre, who started the race at the front of the 39 car field.
“It was special to be the first to get a win in this GT race car.
“We had to work hard all day against some tough competition and came through with a faultless performance.”

Rain early in the day left the track damp for the race qualifying session. Swapping times with a debuting Mosler car McIntyre snared the fastest time at the end of the 30 minute session – setting a time 1/10second quicker.

Due to the large number of cars starting the race the field was held under yellow caution conditions until the lead car got to the fifth turn.
“It made the start of racing very safe and emphasised how critical it was to be that front car if you wanted to win.

“Our plan for the race was to sprint for the first two hours and get as much of a lead as possible so at the driver swap Inky could focus on getting to the finish first by a comfortable margin.”

Effecting that plan, a safety car period while they were a couple of laps ahead then negated the team’s gains. Back to a margin of three laps at the pit stop driver swap Tulloch quickly settled in to a race winning pace as the remaining hour un-wound.

Regarded as New Zealand’s toughest circuit for brakes the Camaro started to run short of stopping ability in the closing minutes. A close call just prior to the finish allowed the second placed car to close to within a lap.

Taking the finishers flag first the Tulloch Motorsport crew cheered as reality sank in at what the team had achieved.

For McIntyre the car’s reliability allowed him to focus on setup gains in a quest to produce an even quicker car.
“We’ve got a much faster car this weekend compared to the opening round. As the competition is heating up we need to get even more from it.”

The top ranked team has four weeks until the third and final round for the season. The final race will be held at Pukekohe on Saturday 25 July.

McIntyre returns to racing with top result

McIntyre incarNelson’s John McIntyre finished Saturday’s three-hour endurance car race second overall at the opening round of the 2015 North Island Endurance Race Series.

Held at the Taupo motor race circuit McIntyre and Southland car owner Inky Tulloch started and finished as fastest car – despite an unscheduled five extra laps in the pits.

Entered for its first full race season the German built Sareni Reiter Camaro GT3 car is still being developed to suit the atypical New Zealand conditions – including its first time to the Taupo location.
One of five in the world the car suffered an engine oil heat exchanger failure early in the race, setting the team back as they fought to construct a solution to keep the car running.

“We are really happy to have recovered from losing five laps to finish second,” said McIntyre.

“Which is the key to endurance racing: you don’t always have to be fastest car to win. Plus it highlights this car is in a development phase compared to the Ferrari and Porsche cars we were competing against – with their ten plus years of competing at GT3 level. So this was the perfect shakedown and we were lucky to get a result as well.

“Also; if there were ever an advocate for the ideal team this was it. We had to stop two extra times and in-between the crew designed a solution they fitted in the final pit stop. That took me from driving a car hazed in Castrol oil to being a nice clear cabin with a working gearbox. It was one of the best team efforts I’ve ever seen actually.”

Back behind the wheel of a European built race car McIntyre has paired with Tulloch and the Tulloch Motorsport GT3 Camaro for the three-round North Island series and will also contest the parent South Island three-round contest later in the year.

“We have learned so much this weekend. If we’d had a dream run, in a way we would have come away in a weaker position. We have got issues we know how to address and that is what makes the difference in endurance racing. The car that beat us is a car that has done a full season of endurance racing last year.”

Featuring a ‘Le Mans’ style start, Tulloch began the three-hour race once McIntyre completed the 200m dash from pit lane to tag the race-ready driver. Working through to fourth position by the end of the first hour despite the compounding issue of the oil heat exchanger, multiple New Zealand racing champion Tulloch handed the car over to McIntyre. The freshly serviced car allowed McIntyre to easily set fastest outright lap time early in to his stint. Following the repeat and unscheduled stops McIntyre took the chequered flag one lap behind the leading car and two laps clear of the third placed finisher.

Four weeks until the series second round (Hampton Downs, 27 June) the 35 car field is to expand with the inclusion of a Mosler and Audi R8.

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