McIntyre V8SC PukekoheMcIntyre back in winning groove at NZV8s

Nelson’s John McIntyre made a successful one-off return to the NZV8 category he and his team won three championship titles in, by emphatically winning the round held at last weekend’s Pukekohe ITM400 V8 Supercar event.

The category’s most successful driver, McIntyre wasted no time on showing his intentions - rocketing to pole position in the JMR #47 Falcon by a margin of 0.8 seconds to his closest competitor.

Driving the same championship winning Falcon used to secure his last title, the Taupo based and prepared car showed it had the goods in the right hands. McIntyre said he was enjoying being back in his old ride and working out how to negotiate the new and slower section of the revamped Pukekohe track.

“The circuit changes took a bit to get used to as our set-up was better suited to the fast corners than the new slow section, but we proved our car is still very quick,” he said.

In the weekend’s opening race, held on Saturday morning, McIntyre was passed early in the race by another former NZV8s campaigner – Andrew Anderson.
After a very close battle the #47 Blackwoods Protector Falcon, McIntyre regained the lead on lap four going into what is now the fastest corner on the track: turn one. McIntyre then eased away, taking a comfortable 4.5 second win.

Now a full-time driver in the V8 SuperTourer series it has been a couple of seasons since McIntyre had experienced a reverse-grid field similar to the top-six swap around experienced on the Sunday morning. Describing the conditions as ‘torrid’, McIntyre passed all but one car by the fifth lap. Following a safety car break that bunched up the field McIntyre was hit at the hairpin. Dropping two positions as McIntyre returned to the racing line he re-passed JMR development driver Mark Gibson but ran out of laps to catch eventual race winner Kevin Williams.

In the third and final race McIntyre experienced his first ever standing start in the category of aged cars – where he leapt from the line. Finishing the 12 lap race with a winning margin of nine seconds McIntyre’s cumulative results rewarded the team with the weekend trophy.

“Winning the first and third races increased my total to 62 in the category in what is likely to be my last time in the car. It’s always nice to win and do so in front of such a big crowd.”

“I really enjoyed myself and the car’s performance is a credit to our team in Taupo who prepared it to the exact specification that I raced it at Pukekohe back in 2010. These older TL spec cars have a strong future and I can see plenty of young drivers who are already learning their craft in these cars. Our winning car is now available to lease for the next V8 SuperTourer round in May.”

McIntyre’s focus now turns to the V8SuperTourers third round, also to be held at the Pukekohe circuit on May 25-26.

John McIntyre V8ST RuapunaMcIntyre takes heart from two top ten finishes 

Leading V8 SuperTourer driver John McIntyre takes heart from scoring two top ten finishes at the BNT V8 SuperTourers’ second round in Christchurch.

The Nelson-based multiple V8 racing champion says the V8 SuperTourer category is the toughest motor racing series that New Zealand has ever seen. 

“That is no stretch of the imagination. When you have a bad weekend and finish in top ten twice, that’s still something,” says McIntyre who adds that he was very frustrated not to be able qualify better than 12th in the 19-strong field. 

“We were very comfortable and fast in the Blackwoods Protector Falcon in Saturday’s practice sessions, finishing the two sessions second and third respectively. But we made mistakes in the intense 20-minute qualifying period with both the car and our plan, so to a large extent that sets up the rest of the weekend.”

McIntyre says the car was good enough to improve from 12th to seventh in the first 12-lap race. 

“The car wasn’t brilliant in race one, but it was good enough to achieve that.

“Then I got shuffled in the first few corners of the second race, a 16-lapper.  Sometimes the inside line works, sometimes it’s better going outside and whatever it  was, it didn’t work for me this time. But then I got into a good rhythm and had quite good car speed, although couldn’t really use it for much of the race.”

A mid-race tussle with Shane Van Gisbergen left McIntyre with nowhere to go, the two tangling and spinning to leave both cars carrying damage. Van Gisbergen was given a drive-through penalty but had already pitted due to the damage while McIntyre continued racing at the back of the field, rear bumper flapping. 

“We were shown the mechanical flag and there used to be some leniency if you’d been hit by someone else so we decided to carry on. Right at the end a drive-through penalty was given because we hadn’t come in, so I served that on last lap to finish 15th. It was just one of those things.”

McIntyre was happier with what he describes as “…a really magic start from 16th and I was quite quickly up to eighth in the feature race, a 25-lapper. I could take advantage of several others dropping out during the race to finish sixth and secure some decent points.”

Overall it was an up and down day for John McIntyre Racing which resulted in McIntyre slipping slightly on the championship leader-board from fifth to seventh.

“It was a weekend of missed opportunities, but we continue to learn and gel as a team after running such different setups last year. In some ways we’re starting again where other teams have a proven package.  You certainly need to have everything working for you in the right way to really succeed in this series as is evident from the struggles of plenty of talented competitors this weekend.”

There is an 11 week break until McIntyre and the V8 SuperTourer field are next on track at Pukekohe Park Raceway over the weekend of 25 and 26 May.

John McIntyreMcIntyre hungry for next win at Ruapuna

Champion V8 driver John McIntyre is chomping at the bit to score his next V8 SuperTourer victory at this weekend's second round of the BNT V8 SuperTourer championship in Christchurch.

"The first and only time I've won a V8 SuperTourer race was at the Ruapuna circuit at the second round last season," says McIntyre. "I'm hungry to win again, there's no doubt.

"The first round at Hampton Downs went really well and we managed to get a good result – fifth overall on points – from what could have been a disastrous day after being turned around while running third in the first race. We'd like to start further up the field at Ruapuna; we've got a lot of good car speed to race with and with the confidence we have as a team, we're looking forward to trying to secure a second race win this coming weekend."

With practice and qualifying running Saturday 9 March, the BNT V8 SuperTourer drivers grid up for three races on Sunday 10 March at the tight, technical Ruapuna circuit.

One of just three V8 SuperTourer drivers who reside in the South Island, Nelson-based McIntyre says he's looking forward to racing in front of a 'home crowd'.

"It's particularly good to see the special offer from BNT SuperTourer series and Mike Pero Real Estate offering Christchurch schoolchildren and their families free tickets for Saturday's exciting line-up of on-track action. I hope we'll see lots of people take up the offer.

"I've moved on from the crash on this circuit which prevented me from contesting the final round of the 2012 season. At the first round, I was apprehensive to do three races," says McIntyre, referring to the shoulder injured in the high speed crash. "But my shoulder has been really good and I've continued to work hard on overall fitness and shoulder strength."

The #47 Blackwoods Protector Falcon is looking sharp with panel damage from round one now repaired.

"Other than that, the team has just been working on general maintenance and small detail changes. It's been good to have time to work on the smaller details because with everyone having virtually the same car, it's the small details that you've got to understand and get right."

The weekend's schedule for V8 SuperTourer competitors comprises two 45-minute practise sessions and a 20-minute qualifying session at 3:10pm on Saturday. The three races on Sunday are: 12 laps at 10:40am, 16 laps at 1:15pm and 25 laps at 4pm. Ticket information and race schedules are available from the series website www.v8st.co.nz.

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