Manfeild Park Trust acting chief executive, Chris Boyle, says having the crowd-pleasing BNT NZ V8s on the race card for this weekend’s New Zealand Grand Prix meeting is “a particular positive”
Last year, the V8s didn’t run at the inaugural Manfeild GP meeting where the Toyota Racing Series cars were the top draw on a programme that otherwise resembled a club meeting.
At issue was that both categories regard themselves as the top of the sport, and TRS supporters felt that having the V8s there would detract from their class and from the Grand Prix. V8 boosters didn’t want their category playing second fiddle to the open-wheelers.
The problem was that without the V8s the gate was down, and this year commonsense has prevailed and both categories will be on the grid.
"TRS is the pinnacle (of NZ motorsport),” says Boyle. “It's about pace, precision and purity.
“The V8s are more visceral. It's Ford versus Holden and V8 thunder. We think one complements the other, and both are pretty damned exciting."
Reigning V8 champion John McIntyre agrees. Racing a TRS car at last month's A1GP meet at Taupo was his first experience of a single-seater of any kind.
"The TRS car couldn’t be more different to my V8, but it was just as much fun," he says. "It was a truly memorable experience."
McIntyre says he was tempted to have another go for the Grand Prix, but decided he needed to focus on his V8 campaign.
He heads to Manfeild second on points behind Kayne Scott, but says the Hamiltonian's 32-point lead is hardly safe with six more races to run (at Manfeild and then Pukekohe).
McIntyre says he used to have “a bit of a hold on (Manfeild). For three or four years I won the round, had the lap record and won pole."
But last year, Angus Fogg set the pace, and though he has too few points to affect this year's championship, he could still make life interesting, says McIntyre.
“I wouldn't like to see him (Fogg) between my car and Kayne's, but I can't exactly ask him to pull over."
Photo caption: John McIntyre (right) and Manfeild boss, Chris Boyle.