Top V8 SuperTourer driver John McIntyre regards the massive crash during practice for last season’s final event at Ruapuna outside Christchurch as one of the best things that’s happened to him and his team.
McIntyre, 35, is preparing to compete in the upcoming seven-round series of the BNT V8 SuperTourers, starting at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over the weekend of 15 to 17 February.
"People probably think I'm crazy to say this, but the crash has been positive because it made me think about what I really want from my racing over the next few years," says McIntyre who lives in Nelson and runs his team, John McIntyre Racing (JMR), from the Taupo Motorsport Park.
Having finished last year's inaugural V8 SuperTourer season as the sprint round champion and third overall behind Scott McLaughlin and Greg Murphy, 'Johnny Mac' has been working hard during the 11 weeks since the crash. Not only has the popular V8 champion been healing from his injuries – an anterior shoulder dislocation and rib damage – he's been rebuilding his team and the severely-damaged #47 Blackwoods Protector Falcon race car.
"It took me two weeks to even be able to write. I'm not saying I want to crash again, but you do look for the positives in any situation and ending last season in this way helped me see we had overcomplicated how we were running the team and the two cars."
McIntyre recently sold the second JMR-built V8 SuperTourer to Dominic Storey and his Auckland-based iSport team.
"When you consider everything that was going on last year, it highlights what an amazing achievement third overall was for JMR. Scaling down to run just one car and easing back from my responsibilities as a director of V8 SuperTourers are all part of refocusing for this season.
"We now have the highly-experienced duo of Richard Lester as team manager and Craig Russell as head engineer and we're working with a very simple philosophy for the car – it's a great car and I had no real apprehension about driving the now-repaired Falcon when we tested last Thursday.
"I'd enjoyed some seat-time testing our championship-winning NZV8 for JMR development driver Mark Gibson who's competing in the full V8 Challenge Cup this season before I got in our SuperTourer. I had no trouble from the shoulder during the test, although it's not perfect yet. All in all, our test session was very positive and I'm already further ahead with the car then I was last year. We're running our engine 'as is' from last year and found a few minor things we needed to sort on the car. We wanted to get our testing done early so we have this week to tidy things up."
Looking ahead to the new season, McIntyre is buoyed by the experience and fresh sets of eyes of his revamped team.
"It's more exciting coming into this season knowing how competitive it's going to be and it's great to have what we think it quite a well thought-out game plan. Of course everyone wants to win and so do we. The crash helped us focus on a few things that weren't going right and now we think we've got them right now, but the competition will be the deciding factor."
The sprint event schedule has also been revamped to focus the V8 SuperTourer on-track action into Sunday's timetable.
"We start the season at Hampton Downs with two 60-minutes practice sessions on Friday and another one early Saturday afternoon. On Sunday we're straight into qualifying at 10am with a 15-lap race at 11:25am, a 20-lap race at 1:45pm and wrap up the day with a 30-lap race at 4pm.
"The BNT V8 SuperTourers will again screen on TV3's CRC Motorsport show, so we're looking forward to going racing for what is going to be another huge season of V8 SuperTourer action."
More details about McIntyre and his team can be found on www.jmr.co.nz