John McIntyreMcIntyre and Gibson in SuperTourer podium battle

Battling for podium honours became a reality for John McIntyre and Mark Gibson – driving the #47 Blackwoods Protector Ford Falcon NZ SuperTourer to successive fourth place finishes during the weekend's opening round of the endurance championship.

Held at the Taupo Motorsport Park Nelson's McIntyre (formerly from the Hawke's Bay) and Auckland's Gibson (formerly from Taupo) put in to practise their pre-season plan of being a dominant pairing for the coveted V8 title.

Mixing with a number of visiting V8Supercar drivers drafted in to the three-round endurance series the upping of the competition stakes was taken in the pair's stride as they finished with two fourth place finishes and one fifth placing.

Wet weather during Sunday's two races added to the John McIntyre Racing Team's workload – with its crew having to perform multiple tyre changes during the racing. The combined driver and team performance kept the car at the sharp end of the competition.

"It is the best overall round result we've had since the first round of 2013 – so it's a long time ago that we were this competitive and had such a good car. It was a huge weekend for everyone including the several hundred supporters we had and the hospitality guests - who all got to see us get so close to the podium in two of the races," said team owner McIntyre.

In the season's opening race – held on the Saturday afternoon the team fought with back-to-back sprint champion Greg Murphy in the opening laps – who was also hunting for a podium result.

"We had a really good battle with Greg (Murphy) in the first race and got down the inside of him at one point before he tried closing the door on us - causing him to spin out. That was a shame for him and while that incident slowed us up a little that's racing and we look forward to footing with him again," added McIntyre.

For Gibson – who'd raced the car during last season's sprint championship, it was reward for all the learning of how to race the 575hp SuperTourer car.

"Being up the front of the field fighting with the top guys really helps pick your pace up and while I'm a bit gutted we missed out on two of the race podiums the battles were very very close. Where we are in the championship keeps us in the hunt for that goal of winning."

The team are fifth overall in the standings on 314 points – 65 behind the leaders.

Returning to their Taupo based workshop after the final race the pair have one month until their next outing. The second round will be held at Waikato's Hampton Downs circuit 1 – 2 November.

McIntyre tops standings at 3-hr enduro

Paired with Simon Gilbertson for the Taupo round of the 3-Hour North Island Endurance Race Series John McIntyre steered the Porsche GT3 to the top of the touring car category.

Finishing second overall in the race, behind the points ineligible Juno sports car, there were challenges that kept McIntyre busy when he took over at the half-way mark.
Starting from third position in damp conditions, car owner Simon Gilbertson kept ahead of trouble to pit at the 1hr 25min mark for McIntyre to take the car to the finish. Unfortunately another team had wrong-parked in their pit area costing two minutes while the kerfuffle was resolved.

McIntyre joined the race in fourth position – a lap down on the car ahead. Pegging back that gap he was able to overtake the leading touring cars for the top spot and the points reward.

It was McIntyre's first race since December 2013.

The third and final round for the 2014 season will be held at Hampton Downs on 26 July.

JMR and John McIntyreMcIntyre to drive winning Porsche

Nelson's John McIntyre kick-starts his endurance season of racing this Saturday 5 July aboard the recent 1 Hour North Island Endurance Series race winning Porsche 997 GT3 car of Simon Gilbertson.

Pairing with the Hawke's Bay racer, McIntyre returns to racing duties in preparation for the 27 September start to the 2014/2015 V8 SuperTourer endurance series, having won the inaugural sprint title in 2012.

This weekend's event, at the Taupo Motorsport Park, is familiar territory to McIntyre, who runs his JMR V8 SuperTourer operation from the adjacent business park.
Entered in to the three-hour category, the pair will be up against 30 other teams including several other similar 997 Porsches, GT and Sports Cars in the increasingly popular North Island Endurance Series.

"I'm really excited to be getting behind the wheel again," says McIntyre, who took leave of racing his #47 Ford V8 SuperTourer late last year, after 14 consecutive national championship seasons of motor racing.

"Owning, running and financing the JMR V8 SuperTourer team had affected my driving and I needed to redress the balance. Putting Mark Gibson in my car and focussing on bringing him up to speed gave me the space to build the team in to a formidable package ahead of the three-round V8 SuperTourer endurance series.

"To finish last year off I competed in nine endurance races over ten weeks. I was physically and mentally drained.

"Now I'm itching to get back to racing – and the opportunity to join Simon is the perfect build-up to the V8 SuperTourer season.

"Our JMR CircuitWorx preparation business has been maintaining and running Simon's Porsche and I have been able to drive the car at Taupo and Pukekohe in testing with him. He drives the car very well."

McIntyre has also hinted a return to Australian events, such as the 12hr Bathurst race for GT cars and V8 Supercar endurance rounds are on his radar.

"One thing my layoff has given me is a real desire and hunger to get back into racing again. I am really excited about the rest of 2014 and will be aiming at driving in more endurance races.

The three round North Island Endurance Series follows in the footsteps of the strongly competitive South Island Endurance Series – which McIntyre also raced at last year.
Following the Taupo event, the series concludes at Hampton Downs, 26 July.

Coverage of the event will be highlighted on next Thursday's SKY Speed television show.

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