John McIntyre has confirmed he’ll be making a full-on bid to take out the 2009-10 BNT V8s Championship title
Having put together dominant back-to-back championship victories after the formation of his own team, John McIntyre Racing (JMR), in 2006, the two-time New Zealand V8 champion admits he was gutted after losing the 2008-09 title to Kayne Scott in March this year.
“There’s no disrespect intended to other V8 competitors, but second place means nothing in the overall scheme of things for me. I’m a racing driver and as such have an insatiable desire to win races and win the championship title again,” says the Nelson-based 32-year-old.
“I’m completely re-energised about contesting the BNT V8s again. It’s an intensely-fought series with some of New Zealand’s very best touring car drivers in the field. Our team exists to win the championship, so taking out our third title is the aim for this season.”
McIntyre has spent the last few months considering options to further his racing career. Of significance was the announcement in April that Stone Brothers Racing (SBR), the highly successful Kiwi-led V8 Supercar team, had signed McIntyre as one of their endurance drivers for 2009.
McIntyre is currently travelling across the Tasman to participate in official test sessions with SBR in preparation for the first of the two ‘enduros’, the Phillip Island 500 which starts on 11 September. The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 takes place 8 to 10 October.
One of the options also considered by McIntyre was a change to a Porsche GT3 Cup car, a purpose-built race car that he enjoyed driving at the Hamilton 400 event in April.
“But in my heart, I’m a V8 racer. That’s what I enjoy. It’s how my fans see me and where my sponsors see the best fit,” says McIntyre.
With some significant changes to the race schedule for each weekend of BNT V8 racing, McIntyre says there’s an even greater emphasis on professional preparation and team-work.
No longer can V8 teams practice on the Friday before the weekend’s racing at each round. Saturday’s schedule include two practice sessions, then the three-part qualifying sessions – all cars, top 20, then a top ten shoot-out with each of the top ten drivers getting just one flying lap to determine their grid position. On Sunday, working with the new same day television broadcast package from TV3, the BNT V8s have three sprint races – two 12 lap races and a reverse grid 22 lap race to close the day’s action.
McIntyre intends launching a fresh-look #47 Ford to sponsors in early September as the team prepares for the six round championship season.
Round one is at Pukekohe Park Raceway over the weekend of 7 and 8 November, before JMR packs up for the first South Island round at Powerbuilt Raceway outside Christchurch on 28 and 29 November.
Early in 2010, JMR heads south again for round three at Teretonga outside Invercargill on 16 and 17 January, then, Timaru on 23 and 24 January. The weekend of 13 and 14 February sees JMR at their home-track of Manfeild near Palmerston North. The sixth and final championship round is in Taupo on 13 and 14 March.