McIntyre sets sizzling time for pole in NZV8 opener

John McIntyre blitzed the opposition with an ultra-quick qualifying time to take pole position in the BNT V8s Championship opening round at Pukekohe during Saturday’s top ten shootout.

The popular two-time New Zealand V8 champion started his tenth campaign with the best possible result from the day’s revised qualifying programme. With just one twenty minute qualifying session, McIntyre’s first objective was to set one of the ten fastest lap times – he did, piloting the Blackwoods Paykels Protector Safety Falcon around the high speed Franklin district circuit with a time just a fraction behind Tim Edgell. In the top ten shootout, McIntyre’s one flying lap was perfect, his time of 1.01.037 under the lap record and comfortably seven-tenths of a second quicker than Edgell’s.

“We came here wanting to be on pole,” said McIntyre, who lives in Nelson. “It’s the ultimate performance to come and do it again. This is the second year in a row we’ve been on pole and it’s the best way to start out at Pukekohe with everyone chasing you.”

McIntyre lines up for the first 12-lap race on Sunday, using the new NZV8s brake package for the first time in competition.

“We just want to get out in front and see what everyone’s got. That’s what we did last year. Essentially we’re pioneering the new brakes so we’ll just have to play it smart.

“Today JMR [John McIntyre Racing] has a better handle on them now than we’ve had, but no one’s raced on them yet. We’ll run at whatever pace we need to win tomorrow!”

After Sunday morning’s first race, McIntyre contests a second 12 lap race early in the afternoon before the late afternoon full reverse grid 22 lap race to complete the first round of the seven round championship.

John McIntyre Racing thanks its sponsors: Blackwoods Paykels, Protector Safety, Amcor, Talley's, Castrol Edge, BP Ultimate, NZ Ceiling and Drywall Supplies, Ideal Electrical, Websters Hydrated Lime Co, Squawking Magpie Wines, Dynamic Fluid Systems, EATON, Ford New Zealand, Irwin Tools and Showquip.

McIntyre fired up for NZV8 season opener

Drawing on his recent success with Kiwi V8 Supercar star Shane van Gisbergen in Australia, top New Zealand V8 touring car racer John McIntyre is rearing to get on track in his own V8 Ford.

Starting at Pukekohe’s opening round on 5 November, McIntyre heads into his tenth season of the tough BNT V8 Championship fighting fit and fired up. The two-time NZV8 champion finished second and third as co-driver to van Gisbergen in the two demanding races of the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar endurance event.

“You can not beat actual racing miles as the best preparation for top level racing,” says the 33-year-old from his home in Nelson. “The Gold Coast enduros were arguably the toughest races of the V8 Supercar season when you look at the unforgiving street circuit, the heat and the intensity of competition. Shane and I delivered a fantastic result for Stone Brothers Racing and Ford with our two podium finishes. There’s definitely a boost in confidence from this kind of success.”

This is the fifth season that McIntyre’s own team, John McIntyre Racing, has been in operation and the small, Hawke’s Bay-based, highly-skilled crew is more determined than ever to take their third championship title.

“It’s a fresh start, a new season of seven championship rounds with three races each round,” says ‘Johnny Mac’.

“We’ve got fresh new livery on the #47 Blackwoods Paykels Protector Safety Falcon and everyone’s reenergised and focussed on winning the championship again after the disappointment of losing a whole round’s worth of points last season which took us out of contention for the title.”

Pukekohe’s opening round sees McIntyre focused on starting the season with the best possible points’ haul.

“I’ve had 51 race wins in this class – race wins mean good points and I want to nail this first round by scoring pole position and the first two race wins. Do this again at the following round at Ruapuna in Christchurch late in November and we’ve set ourselves up for the rest of the season and potentially the championship title.”

McIntyre holds the current lap record at Pukekohe (with a time 1:01.159 set in November 2009) and draws on his previous successes at the Franklin district circuit. He set pole position there last year and has won at least one race on the high speed 2.8 km circuit at each round in the last four seasons.

McIntyre regards the new brake package available to NZV8 competitors as this season’s biggest challenge.

“Certainly the new optional brake package is stronger than our previous set-up. I think how competitors adapt to the new brakes – learning how to make the most of them – will be the deciding factor for this season’s championship.”

The new brake set-up involves larger brake rotors and single piece calipers on all four wheels. Brake pads also increase in thickness with the same compound used front and rear.

“Brakes are so important in a race car and I think the new set-up with provide fans with even more exciting racing. There will be more passing under brakes and the confidence to pass under brakes later in the race when our previous brake package might have been running out of steam.

“The key will be how quickly each team learns how to set the brakes up for qualifying, then the top ten shootout and then races. Those minute set-up changes can make all the difference. Other than the brakes, there haven’t been any other major changes to the cars this season, so our other preparation has been more of checking and replacing key components for maximum strength, power and speed.”
With his own team, McIntyre has an enviable record in New Zealand’s premier race class – the team won the NZV8 championship in 2007 and 2008, and placed second in 2009 and 2010.

“Of course, we’re gunning for our third championship title. The competition among the regular top-runners is always intense. It’s probably going to be closer than ever this season and more drivers are going to be knocking on the door of the top ten and top five as they sort their brake set-up.”

McIntyre’s 2010-11 NZV8 campaign sees him contest seven championship rounds: Pukekohe Park from 5 to 7 November, Ruapuna Park in Christchurch from 26 to 28 November, Teretonga Park from 14 to 16 January, Timaru International Motor Raceway from 21 to 23 January, Manfeild circuit in Feilding from 11 to 13 February, Taupo Motorsport Park from 11 to 13 March, with the final on the streets of Hamilton in April. For the first time, the NZV8s’ season final takes place at the ITM 400 where the Kiwis create a hugely popular support class for the Australian V8 Supercar event.

Each round of the NZV8s involves practice and qualifying on Saturday and three races on Sunday. Saturday’s qualifying has a new format this year – all competitors head out for one 20 minute session, then the fastest ten drivers get one flying lap during the top ten shootout to decide final starting positions for the first race. The second race grid comes from finishing positions in race one. Race three sees the drivers’ points from the first two races added together, ranked and then reversed to give a full reverse grid.

John McIntyre Racing has a much-valued family of sponsors, namely: Blackwoods Paykels, Protector Safety, Amcor, Talley's, Castrol Edge, BP Ultimate, NZ Ceiling and Drywall Supplies, Ideal Electrical, Websters Hydrated Lime Co, Squawking Magpie Wines, Dynamic Fluid Systems, EATON, Ford New Zealand, Irwin Tools and Showquip.

McIntyre partners van Gisbergen for Gold Coast success

New Zealand V8 racing star John McIntyre co-drove with fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen to finish second and third in the two races of the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar event.

Van Gisbergen’s battle with defending V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup in the final stretch of Sunday’s 300 km race was the stuff of legends with McIntyre commenting: “Getting to watch Shane race at the end there, he has matured so much, every time he goes out there he just improves so I really enjoyed watching him today.”

John and Shane after finishing second in the second race.McIntyre has partnered the young Kiwi, one of the rising heroes of the intensely-competitive V8 Supercar series, in the three endurance events on this year’s V8 Supercar calendar: Phillip Island, Bathurst and Gold Coast. While McIntyre and van Gisbergen had the credentials to do well as the earlier events, an element of luck and the results they expected eluded the pair. But on the ocean-front Gold Coast street circuit it was time for the only all-Kiwi pairing to shine in the Kiwi-run Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon.

On Saturday van Gisbergen and McIntyre turned a starting position of 13th into third place on the first 300 km race. As predicted there was plenty of biff and barge on the concrete barrier-lined circuit with teams required to run an international driver in their driver line-up. The race had barely started when mayhem broke out on the fourth corner with several cars were caught up in a premature stoush and creating the first of three safety car periods.

Van Gisbergen said: “The first lap was hard to watch, seeing everything go on but Johnny did such a good job, and I’m just so happy to be able to share this result with him after a hard time at the other enduros. He put in such a great drive, you just have to stay out of trouble around here and that’s what he did and now we both have surfboards [the special Gold Coast event tropies] so we will be at the beach on Monday! “

McIntyre was equally rapt with Saturday’s result. “I feel like I can finally put a good result next to my name, I have been trying since 2002 and it’s taken me a while to get in with a good team like Stone Brothers Racing. They have given me a lot of mileage in the car this year and it’s definitely helped. Shane did such a great job in the end there. We had no idea his cool suit wasn’t working so for him to press on like he did is an amazing effort and such a good start to the weekend for us and the team.”

Van Gisbergen qualified the #9 SP Tools Falcon in sixth place for Sunday’s 300 km race and with another strong start and competitive first stint from McIntyre, ‘The Giz’ went on to score his best-ever result in V8 Supercars: second place.

The highly-regarded 21-year-old commented: “It was just a great fight today and great to finally crack second place, we have taken the next step and it’s even better to do it with Johnny Mac!”

McIntyre added: “When you start a deal like this and you know you’re going to be driving with someone like Shane and the goals we set it was never a question of a podium, it was more which step of the podium we would achieve.

“I really enjoyed my stint at the start there running against Warren Luff. We were both having a good go but there was no where I could really pass him safely without jeopardising the car for Shane later on. The whole event was just fantastic to be part of, I can’t wait to come back with SBR next year and try and take the next step with Shane.”

McIntyre now returns to New Zealand, race-fresh and ready to focus on his own bid for a third New Zealand V8 title when the BNT V8s Championship gets underway at Pukekohe over the weekend of 5-7 November.

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