Gibson PukekoheGibson top rookie in V8 SuperTourer series

Auckland based V8 SuperTourer race car driver Mark Gibson rounded out the 2014 sprint season as top rookie following the four race weekend held at the Pukekohe V8 Supercar weekend.

Driving for multiple championship winning John McIntyre Racing and the #47 Blackwoods Protector FG Falcon V8 SuperTourer, Gibson exceeded expectations to finish seventh overall in the 2014 sprint standings – ahead of three other rookies.

Contested across four events in four months, Gibson stunned on debut at the Highlands South Island season opening round in late January. Recording a third place finish in the weekend's final race, behind V8 racing legend Greg Murphy, jumpstarted his points chase in New Zealand's premier touring car category.
Continuing to score points against other New Zealand champion race drivers, Gibson's season ran to a steady rhythm as he came to grips with the 575 horsepower car.
Of the 13 races held for the title Gibson scored one podium finish, six top-eight results and ten top-ten placings.

Under the guidance of 2012 sprint champion and team owner John McIntyre, the 22-year-old Gibson has made incremental gains, surpassing the season's competition target.

"Mark has beaten our goal that I set for him and the team. It was to be in the top-eight on points and he has gone one better with seventh. That's come from improvements in lap times and how he's getting used to drive a purpose built race car. Plus his ability to race and steer clear of trouble are critical to our success at the V8 SuperTourer endurance title," said McIntyre.

Starting at Taupo in late September McIntyre will return to racing as the team's second driver.

"As a team we are making progress at catching and passing teams and drivers in front of us in the championship. We will not be satisfied until we are winning races consistently and in this series with identical equipment and multiple driver champions it's tough. Competition has never been so challenging here in New Zealand, boosted by a number of Australian V8 Supercar drivers having a crack too."

With the aim of driving in the V8 Supercar series Gibson says the season has been important at getting the experience and expertise to be competitive at the world class level.

"It's been a great four rounds for me since making my debut in the SuperTourer series full time. I have learnt so much from the whole team and know there are still plenty of improvements yet to master every time I get in the car. I had a goal of a top-eight for the sprint rounds and to be seventh and top rookie it has gone to plan nicely," said Gibson.

"Now the focus is on keeping up the training and putting that valuable seat time to use for the enduro's, where I can't wait to team up with John and have a good crack at the title."

Based at Taupo's motorsport park, the John McIntyre Racing team will have a home weekend of sorts when the series resumes following the winter break. Gibson grew up in Taupo.

The three-round series starts 27-28 September, that's followed by Hampton Downs (1-2 November) with the title decider at Pukekohe (29-30 November).

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Gibson_Manfeild14_CopyrightWeekend of top-ten finishes for Gibson at Manfeild V8 SuperTourer weekend

Finishing all three races for the Manfeild round of the V8 SuperTourer series keeps John McIntyre Racing driver Mark Gibson in the top-six group of drivers for the 2014 season.

The Auckland based Blackwoods Protector FG Falcon driver again improved on his weekend qualifying base – steering clear of incidents that arose ahead of him to continue his 100% finishing record.

Running as a support to the New Zealand Grand Prix weekend at the Manawatu located circuit, its 3.03km track is well liked by drivers internationally. Having to contend with changeable weather conditions was another factor that kept the Taupo based race team on its toes throughout the three days of action. That added up to a weekend tougher than the 22-year old Gibson expected.

"The pace is so fast it's critical to be reliable. Our lap times meant I could stay in touch with the front runners but to have the backing of the team and car to get it to the finish is the result that keeps us in the game," said Gibson.

For team owner John McIntyre it was again a result that cements the decision to put Gibson in his car for the sprint portion of the series.

"The pace is coming as Mark fine tunes himself and the car. Keeping his 100% finishing record after what was his second round against the likes of Greg Murphy, is a result that keeps the team in a solid position. Mark brought the car home in perfect running condition, meaning the team can concentrate on performance rather than fixing it," commented McIntyre.

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