Victory for McIntyre and Tulloch at Hampton Downs three-hour race

JMR at Hampton Downs

Nelson’s John McIntyre and Southlands Ian (Inky) Tulloch claimed an Australasian first today at Waikato’s Hampton Downs motor race circuit by winning the three-hour endurance feature.

Driving the Tulloch Motorsport German built Sareni Reiter Camaro GT3 car the pair claimed a lights-to-flag result, finishing 40 seconds ahead of an Audi R8 and endurance specification SuperTourer. Only three Reiter Camaro’s exist in Australasia and today’s result is the first race win for the purpose built car.

The second of three rounds for the 2015 title, today’s win and the opening round second placing puts McIntyre and Tulloch at the top of the series standings.

“Absolutely stoked,” said McIntyre, who started the race at the front of the 39 car field.
“It was special to be the first to get a win in this GT race car.
“We had to work hard all day against some tough competition and came through with a faultless performance.”

Rain early in the day left the track damp for the race qualifying session. Swapping times with a debuting Mosler car McIntyre snared the fastest time at the end of the 30 minute session – setting a time 1/10second quicker.

Due to the large number of cars starting the race the field was held under yellow caution conditions until the lead car got to the fifth turn.
“It made the start of racing very safe and emphasised how critical it was to be that front car if you wanted to win.

“Our plan for the race was to sprint for the first two hours and get as much of a lead as possible so at the driver swap Inky could focus on getting to the finish first by a comfortable margin.”

Effecting that plan, a safety car period while they were a couple of laps ahead then negated the team’s gains. Back to a margin of three laps at the pit stop driver swap Tulloch quickly settled in to a race winning pace as the remaining hour un-wound.

Regarded as New Zealand’s toughest circuit for brakes the Camaro started to run short of stopping ability in the closing minutes. A close call just prior to the finish allowed the second placed car to close to within a lap.

Taking the finishers flag first the Tulloch Motorsport crew cheered as reality sank in at what the team had achieved.

For McIntyre the car’s reliability allowed him to focus on setup gains in a quest to produce an even quicker car.
“We’ve got a much faster car this weekend compared to the opening round. As the competition is heating up we need to get even more from it.”

The top ranked team has four weeks until the third and final round for the season. The final race will be held at Pukekohe on Saturday 25 July.

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.

TFM on final countdown to historic Bathurst 12 Hour start

TFM FerrariThe first all-New Zealand team to take on the premier race at Bathurst - the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest 12 hour endurance motorsport event – will have their million dollar Ferrari on route to Australia by the end of the week.

The Trass Family Motorsport team completed their final shakedown in the Ferrari 458 Italia at Hampton Downs earlier this month and are now in the final stages of workshop preparation before shipping out this Friday.

The campaign represents the first all-Kiwi to complete in A Class for outright honours. The team will be up against the factory giants from all over the world at Mt Panorama between February 6th – 8th. Bathurst is regarded as one of the toughest endurance circuits in the world.

The team’s lead driver is 25-year-old Jono Lester, who is brimming with confidence off the back of two successful seasons of GT3 racing in Japan. He will receive crucial support from multiple NZV8 and NZ SuperTourer champion John McIntyre who is the only team member with significant Bathurst experience from many years of competing in the V8 Supercar endurance races. Rounding out the team is impressive Highlands 101 debutant Graeme Smyth, who at 23 is better known for his Championship wins in KZ2 shifter karts, but in a whirlwind few months has been given the huge Bathurst opportunity as a GT3 Development driver.

The team has also been working off the track to make sure they are in peak physical condition to take on the gruelling 6.2km circuit.

The team is aiming for a top ten finish in the 55-strong field which will feature teams from Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Germany and of course New Zealand. Ferrari enjoys the most outright representation with seven cars followed by Audi (six), Mercedes-Benz (five), Bentley (three), Aston Martin (three), Lamborghini (two), Porsche (two), Nissan (one) and McLaren (one).

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