Tulloch team take race win toward endurance title

Tulloch team win at TaupoWinning today’s first of three races for the 2016 North Island Endurance Race Championship is now reality for Southland’s Tulloch Motorsport team and their German built SaReNi Reiter Camaro GT3.

Held at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park the majority of the three-hour race was held behind the Safety Car as a thick blanket of fog affected visibility. Emerging to take the chequered flag first team drivers John McIntyre (Nelson) and Simon Gilbertson (Hawke’s Bay) worked to a strategic plan – set by team owners Ian (Inky) Tulloch and his wife Annette.

Starting from pole position after dominating the earlier held qualifying session, Gilbertson led the field behind the Safety Car. At exactly one-third of the way through the race he pitted to a strategy McIntyre credited to being the race winning move.

“During that hour Simon had to keep the tyres warm, brakes warm and use minimal fuel to reduce time spent refuelling – just in case there was a break in the weather and the racing started,” said McIntyre.

Taking his turn behind the wheel, McIntyre said the speed at which they changed positions was their edge.

“About two hours 20 minutes in the weather lifted enough we got into racing and it was having that quick stop done that meant we had a time bonus.”

What followed had those present riveted to the action of the two front runners of McIntyre and V8 champion Simon Evans.

“Simon and I had a see-saw battle – it was fantastic racing. We had multiple passing moves on each other plus working around others racing; add the variable visibility and it really made it exciting. It really caught people’s attention – the hard, fair and clean racing – we really had to work for it.”

Lasting for just over 20 minutes McIntyre was focussed on getting a gap on the chasing Evans.

“Our strategy was simple; we had to factor our fuel and pit stop plan would keep us in the lead when and if the fog returned and the Safety Car came out.”

That is exactly what happened. With 14 minutes remaining and deteriorating visibility the Safety Car brought racing to a halt and led the field to the chequered flag at the three hour mark.

“The race officials did the best job at coping with the conditions and allowing racing when it was safest.
For us it was the ultimate result. It was an earned result from a pole position start and the best way to begin our title defence.

“As a team it hands Inky and Annette the trophy they set the operation up to achieve – so has a lot of meaning to me, to be able to deliver that as a team.”

The series second of three rounds will be contested at the emerging Hampton Downs circuit in three weeks’ time. It is the venue where McIntyre and Tulloch scored their first win in the car last season.

Tulloch Motorsport is supported by Active Electrical as naming rights sponsor, plus Waterloo Business Park Christchurch, Talley’s, USG Boral, Castrol Edge, Energizer, Phillips and Schneider Electrical also join the team for the new season.

Tulloch team to defend endurance title

Tulloch Motorsport CamaroDefending endurance race championship team headed by Ian (Inky) Tulloch will contest both the North and South Island endurance titles for 2016 in the Tulloch Motorsport German built SaReNi Reiter Camaro GT3, starting 4 June.

Having won the three-hour New Zealand Endurance Race Championship event in early March the team’s future received a setback when Gore based owner Inky Tulloch suffered serious injuries following an accident a week later.

Recuperating, Tulloch has committed the team to continue with its plans in his absence, continuing with title sharing driver John McIntyre (Nelson) and newly drafted Simon Gilbertson (Hawkes Bay).

Speaking on behalf of the family, Annette Tulloch, Ian’s wife, said the decision to continue was not hard to make.

“Ian enjoys his racing and has a desire to fulfil his and the teams passion to win the North and South Island titles. His recovery following the accident in March will have him out of the car for some time so it was a simple decision to put a replacement driver in the car and run the team as it was planned," said Mrs Tulloch.

“As a family we are grateful for the support shown to us all following the accident and appreciate being in the position where Ian can enjoy the privilege of defending their title.

The season starts at Taupo 4 June, the first of three rounds for the North Island championship, which concludes 23 July at Manfeild. The team then return to the South for the three South Island rounds, starting at Invercargill’s Teretonga circuit 10 September. The season finale will be held at Timaru on 15 October.

“The best part of going into the new season is Inky recovering well,” said team co-driver John McIntyre. “Along with support from Annette and the Tulloch family to continue we also have the full backing of the team. So it’s a real honour to be again representing the team and look forward to bringing home a few trophies to Inky.

“We have just tested with Simon, who has driven the car for the first time – in the wet, and cold at Teretonga. Along with track time we’ve been through driver change-over and pit stop procedure - now we are prepared to get to the track and focus on winning the title, again.

For Gilbertson the opportunity came at the suggestion of McIntyre – having mentored the Napier based businessman. The pair raced together and finished second overall in 2014 at the Taupo round of the North Island series.
Gilbertson has continued his late blooming racing career since, having done double duty in the Pirelli Porsche Championship and the NZGT2 category.

Tulloch Motorsport is supported by Active Electrical as naming rights sponsor, plus Waterloo Business Park Christchurch, Talley’s, USG Boral, Castrol Edge, Energizer, Phillips and Schneider Electrical also join the team for the new season.

McIntyre and Tulloch secure NZ title

McIntyre and Tulloch winSouthland’s Inky (Ian) Tulloch and Nelson’s John McIntyre added another New Zealand championship title to their respective collections following today’s three-hour endurance race win at Hampton Downs.

Piloting the Tulloch Motorsport German built SaReNi Reiter Camaro GT3 to the chequered flag first, the South Island pairing delighted at adding another MotorSport New Zealand championship award to their respective résumés.

“It is a great feeling; there is nothing like having a New Zealand title. Even with five Australian ones a New Zealand one is special. It has been a long time since the last one and I am really excited we are able to compete at that level - I’ve been very blessed and very fortunate. As long as we are still enjoying it and are competitive we will continue,” said Tulloch, a four-time NZ truck champion.

“The team worked well and the result came.”

Having set fastest time in qualifying Tulloch took the car from the race start to the 1hr 13 minute mark before handing over to McIntyre. Concentrating on sticking to the pre-race plan to keep the car clean, McIntyre had a 20 minute spell late in the race behind the safety car that altered their tactics. He finished a lap ahead of the next placed car.

“We hadn’t planned on two stops so we had to adapt and I think that was the strength of the team - the team were able to think on their feet and with a half-lap warning made the decision that got us to the finish, first. It was a big call. Luckily the other race-win contending SuperTourer (Evans/Rollinson) and Ferrari (Fillmore/Stutterd) had to add a second stop to their race - otherwise it would have been very tricky,” said McIntyre, who has three V8 titles under his belt.

“In full reality we had the fastest car in the race with the fastest times for both of us as drivers. So as a combination we were faster.

“It was a really hot day as well so we ended up using more fuel, plus we were really roasting inside the car and toward the end, for the last hour, I had to have the cool suit turned off - so it was getting really hot. Then we had a big safety car period right near the end where everything was getting hotter and hotter. The five laps at the end we had to call on a bit of experience, keep the lap advantage we had, keep it on the track and know we would have the title. That’s what we did and are really pleased for the team as it’s a title in recognition for a year and a half’s work since Inky bought the car.”

Today’s win kick’s off a further six events planned for 2016 - the three-round North Island endurance series, followed by the three-round South Island endurance series.

This season the team have Active Electrical as naming rights sponsor alongside the return of Waterloo Business Park Christchurch, Talley’s, USG Boral, Castrol Edge, Energizer. Phillips and Schneider Electrical also join the team for the new season.

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