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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