V8SuperTourer driver Andy Booth savoured three strong second place results in last weekend's fourth and final round of the V8SuperTourer sprint championship to finish fourth overall in the new series.
Racing at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, midway between Auckland and Hamilton, Booth battled for the lead with round winner Scott McLaughlin in the intense action at the front of the field throughout the weekend's three races.
"It's been a very successful weekend for the Woodstock Racing team," says Booth, from Auckland's North Shore. "To have moved from seventh in the sprint series' standings to fourth highlights the incredible effort that the team has made since our less than successful round at Manfeild in April."
Booth says the poor results at Manfeild highlighted the team's relative lack of testing. "Since Manfeild, AV8 Motorsport had two very constructive days of testing at Hampton Downs, and this weekend's results proved the value, especially in terms of how all our team members work together."
Booth was fifth quickest in the all-important qualifying session on Saturday morning and swiftly took advantage of McLaughlin's nervous start and the typical turn one chaos at Hampton Downs to take the lead on the opening lap of race one, a 20-lapper. But the Woodstock Honey Holden driver didn't have any answers for McLaughlin's bold passing move on the second lap. While lapping with similar times to McLaughlin, Booth wasn't able to catch the teenager despite holding off then-championship leader Jonny Reid to score a solid second place.
"We had good pace in the second race too," says Booth. "Although the safety car interventions – five of them – were frustrating, they did help preserve my rear tyres.
"And in the final 35-lap race, we were again second after having felt at our most competitive. Those first few laps racing with Scott McLaughlin were fantastic! But once again the safety car came out and Scott got the advantage once we restarted.
"Overall the racing was hugely enjoyable to be part of, to be able to race with such confidence with Scott was very enjoyable. You can race with a lot of confidence in the V8SuperTourer, right to the very end of a race.
"Our thanks to the whole team for a fantastic weekend of racing. There was a huge Woodstock Honey presence at Hampton Downs which says a lot about the whole series and it creating a great situation at which to launch a new product by a nationwide brand like Woodstock.
"From here, we're all looking to the three-round endurance race series which starts in Taupo in September. Andy Booth Racing is looking to announce our co-driver within the next month."
The V8SuperTourers endurance championship visits Taupo, Pukekohe and Christchurch between September and November.