An outstanding line up of machinery will contest the second round of the new GTRNZ category at the Thunder In The Park meeting at Pukekohe this weekend
Sixty-eight cars will line up across the three classes - an amazing array of exciting cars and talented drivers.
Since the class made a stunning debut in Taupo at Labour Weekend even more competitors have joined the ranks of this spectacular saloon car category. GTRNZ is split into three classes - GT1 and GT2 who run together and NZGT. The classes bring together a variety of high-tech cars such as those used for Transam racing alongside rotary and turbocharged cars as well as hybrid machines. The large, colourful fields are reminiscent of the halcyon days of New Zealand saloon car racing.
After the series inaugural round at Taupo Grant Brennan of Tauranga leads the GT1 point standings in his Brennan SB2 Corvette. Brennan, a multiple New Zealand Super Sedan Champion, won all three races at Taupo, banking 285 points. That has him 17 points clear of New Plymouth driver John Rae in a C5 Corvette. Cameron Jones of Palmerston North sits third after debuting his ex- Paul Pedersen Camaro, now powered by a rotary engine. Others expected to be to the fore are Dayne Running of Drury, another former New Zealand Super Sedan Champion, in his ex-Petch Chev Corvette and Nick Chester, the 2005/2006 Super GT Champ in his potent, specially built Holden Commodore Supercar. Meanwhile Tauranga drivers Tim Rooney and Andy Greenslade will both be looking to bounce back after opening round troubles in their Ford Mustang and Chev Corvette respectively.
The GT2 Class arrives at Pukekohe with Mark Ross of Taupo leading the points. Ross, a former classic competitor, took his Ford Musatang to two race wins at his home track in October and has a 30 point buffer over Craig Corliss of Auckland. Corliss secured two seconds and a fourth in his Falcon V8 Supercar at Taupo while the others to emerge from the round with a healthy points haul were Aucklander Wayne Conder in his Camaro and Te Puke driver Peter Stewart in a Chev Cortina. Another to stand out at Taupo was Nick Ross, normally an NZV8 driver, who was the other GT2 race winner at the opening round in a Toyota Altezza. Dwayne Carter of Auckland joins the field this weekend in another Falcon V8 Supercar after recently winning the South Island Endurance Series with his brother Matt.
The NZGT Class has attracted another massive entry for Pukekohe. The track limit at the South Auckland circuit is 40 cars and currently there are 42 entries. NZGT was one of the most hard fought classes at Taupo with three different race winners. Greg Kilworth (Mazda RX7) was one of those victors and he arrives at the second round with a 28 point lead over another race winner from Taupo, former dirt track racer and Porsche 964RS driver Conal Dempsey of Whitford. Brent Lander of New Plymouth lies third in the points with 183 points and just one point further back is Kevin Cantwell of Kohimarama and Andre Cowan. Others who figured prominently at Taupo were Feilding driver Graham Barnes in a Capri, Brock Cooley of Wellington who won the other race in his EVO, Stephen Brown-Thomas of New Plymouth in a Subaru WRX, Tauranga's David Brennan in his Nissan Cefiro and Brent Dickson of Kawarau in his ex-NZV8 AU Falcon.
Grant Brennan, President of GTRNZ is thrilled with the response to the category. "Having been involved in this sport for 36 years, thirty of those as a competitor, I guess you could say I have done my apprenticeship and implementing what was learnt in those years, certainly what to do and what not to do, and applying it to this class with a constant monitoring of competitors has led to the success that we saw at Taupo and the competitor numbers for the coming Pukekohe round. This is very rewarding - not only for myself but also the entire committee. GTRNZ really does cater for those that just want to go motor racing."
This type of saloon car racing has always been a firm favourite with kiwi motorsport fans and with huge grids in just the second weekend of competition GTRNZ is ready to create some memorable racing in the coming months.
2009/2010 CALENDAR - GTRNZ
Round 1: 24/25 October 2009 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Round 2: 5/6 December 2009 - Pukekohe Park Raceway, Pukekohe
Round 3: 2/3 January 2010 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Round 4: 23/24 January 2010 - Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 5: 20/21 February 2010 - Pukekohe Park, Pukekohe
Round 6: 6/7 March 2010 - Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 7: 3/4 April 2010 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo