McIntyre races Dixon, Villeneuve and Franchitti at Gold Coast event

Top Kiwi race driver John McIntyre lines up beside former Formula 1, Indy Car and British Touring Car champions at the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar event running from 22 to 24 October.

John McIntyre at Bathurst 2010The two-time New Zealand V8 champion is again signed as Shane van Gisbergen’s endurance race team-mate in the #9 SP Tools Ford Falcon run by leading team Stone Brothers Racing.

Each V8SC team must include an international co-driver in one of their cars for this third endurance race of the Australian V8 Supercar season. McIntyre and van Gisbergen are the only all-Kiwi pairing with SBR opting to keep ‘Johnny Mac’ with ‘the Gis’ as the duo continues to develop sound experience and speed together after the recent Phillip Island and Bathurst endurance races. Other teams have lined up co-drivers like US-based New Zealander Scott Dixon, 1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and Dario Franchitti, Dixon’s Indy Car team-mate and fellow former winner of the ultra-competitive North American Indy Car title.

McIntyre, from Nelson, is excited to tackle the concrete-lined, ocean front Gold Coast street circuit again.

“It’s great to be paired with Shane for our third event this season. We’ve got stronger and stronger as a driver pairing despite not getting the results we hoped for – and felt we deserved – at Phillip Island and Bathurst.

“We’re more determined than ever. We have been close to some good results and are looking for a little luck to go our way this time. This is a great opportunity for the team and our combination to do well.

“Not only have I co-driven with Shane in this car before, I raced on this circuit in 2004 with WPS. While there is a different track configuration this year, I do have valuable experience on the track, with my co-driver, with the car and with the team that the other international co-drivers do not.

“Street circuits are always challenging, and this one, in particular, doesn’t allow any time to rest, if you can call it that, between corners.”

The weekend’s schedule sees four practice sessions take place on Friday with McIntyre keen to make the most of the one 30-minute session specifically for co-drivers as he fine-tunes his own performance in the SP Tools Ford. Saturday sees the lead drivers head straight into qualifying, before the top ten shootout decides the final starting positions for the afternoon’s 300 km race. Sunday’s schedule follows a similar structure.

McIntyre notes that each co-driver is required to complete 30% of each of the two races. “So I’ve got two bites at the cherry this weekend which I’m looking forward to immensely.”

Coverage of the Gold Coast 600 screens in New Zealand on TV3. Check their screening schedules for full details.

Steering failure seals Bathurst fate

This year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 provided slim pickings for Shane van Gisbergen and Stone Brothers Racing teammate John McIntyre, steering failure late in the race seeing the pair drop from sixth to 21st.

It was a cruel end to what could well have been a podium finish for the drivers of the SP Tools-backed #9 Ford Falcon, van Gisbergen lying sixth and ready to move forward when the Safety Car was deployed with just 22 laps to go.

Unfortunately it was not to be, a steering arm bolt breaking on the re-start, sending van Gisbergen off the track at the Chase and, after wrestling the car back onto the track, into the pits to replace it.

Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9

“I'm shattered. We had a really good race car, probably not good enough to challenge for the win but the way we had positioned ourselves all day we were looking alright for a while there. We were up against it all day but managed to be up there towards the end when it really mattered and to have that (the steering fail) happen is devastating. I have never finished inside the top ten here so I would have settled for 6th although I know we were capable of a podium at the end.”

John McIntyre – Co-driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9

“It's hugely disappointing. It seemed like every time we were going good something would happen over the weekend whether it was practice or qualifying. In the race it was really tough, I seemed to have the knack of ruining or delaminating tyres but we managed it really well, although it did cause me to make contact with the wall early on at Forest Elbow. I also ended up getting forced off track by another car at the restart and we think that may have attributed to the bolt coming out on the steering arm at the end.

“I think Shane and I deserve a decent run at the Gold Coast event, we were quick at Phillip Island but had an engine problem and then had what happened today, I thought a two out of three ain’t bad scenario here but it’s all going to come down to the Gold Coast. We are going to be very switched on, we are getting stronger and stronger as a driver combination so we will do a good job there.”

Sunday's result has seen van Gisbergen slip one more place in the overall series points standings, from fifth to sixth.

The SBR team will now head back home to QLD to begin preparations for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 October 22 – 24.

Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 - RESULTS

1 888 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes/Mark Skaife
2 1 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup/Steve Owen
3 2 Toll Holden Racing Team Cameron McConville/Garth Tander
4 14 Trading Post Racing Jason Bright/Matthew Halliday
5 18 Jim Beam Racing James Courtney/Warren Luff
6 51 Castrol Edge Racing Greg Murphy/Allan Simonsen
7 33 Fujitsu Racing/GRM Lee Holdsworth/David Besnard
8 39 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall/Paul Morris
9 5 FPR - Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon Mark Winterbottom/Luke Youlden
10 34 Fujitsu Racing/GRM Michael Caruso/Greg Ritter
21 9 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen/John McIntyre

SBR’s Kiwi duo has form for Bathurst

Driving for expat New Zealanders Ross and Jimmy Stone at Stone Brothers Racing, the driver pairing of Shane van Gisbergen and John McIntyre is rated by many as the all-Kiwi team with the best chance of winning Australasia’s most famous motor race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, which runs on Sunday 10 October.

John McIntyre and Shane van GisbergenMcIntyre, who has twice won the New Zealand V8 championship, says it’s exciting to be lining up with van Gisbergen at ‘the great race’, the star endurance events of the Australian V8 Supercar championship.

“The bookmakers have us as the top rated all-Kiwi driver pairing, so we’re not the only people expecting us to do well!” says the Nelson-based McIntyre.

“This is the first time that I’ve been driving in a car classed as one of the potential winners, so that’s a real highlight for me. It’s also the first time I’ve been contracted to drive at Bathurst two years in a row, so that gives me a lot of confidence that, together, Shane and I can do a great job in the #9 SP Tools Falcon.”

McIntyre says that they haven’t dwelled on not finishing as well as they’d hoped at the Phillip Island endurance round in September due to a misfire in the engine that started on lap seven. Despite that, the car continued running, albeit not at peak pace, for the entire 113 lap race.

“The team’s sorted the car, so you just get on and focus on your next race. For me, that’s been about continuing to push hard with my fitness as the main thing I can do to benefit my race preparation. Bathurst can have varied weather – if it’s hot, then your own fitness and ability to endure the heat are vital elements of your preparation.”

McIntyre says he and van Gisbergen want to win. “It’s that simple. We want to win Bathurst and together with the team we’ll develop a game plan in the day or so before the race on Sunday 10 October.”

McIntyre leaves New Zealand on 5 October to meet up with SBR in Sydney before heading to the famous Mt Panorama circuit in the New South Wales town of Bathurst.

The team has three practice sessions on Thursday, two practice sessions and a qualifying session on Friday, another practice and the top ten shootout on Saturday before Sunday’s 1000 km race starting at 10:30am, Australian time.

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