John McIntyre and Daniel Gaunt will be the only all-New Zealand driver pairing in this year’s two Australian V8 Supercar endurance races where they will be driving for leading race team Stone Brothers Racing.
SBR team principal Ross Stone has announced that the team’s two main drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Alex Davison will drive together at the Phillip Island 500 and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. This sees McIntyre and Gaunt paired in the team’s second car. Stone says the team’s key sponsors, Irwin Industrial Tools and SP Tools, have shown a fantastic commitment to working together to ensure that Van Gisbergen and Davison can drive in the same car during the high profile endurance races and give the team the best possible chance to win the hard-fought Bathurst 1000.
“The result is a very strong lead car with Alex [Davison] and Shane [van Gisbergen], and our second entry with John [McIntyre] and Daniel [Gaunt] who I know will represent our team very well indeed,” says Stone.
McIntyre and Gaunt will drive the #4 SBR car normally driven by Davison. The car will carry exactly the same joint Irwin Industrial Tools and SP Tools livery as van Gisbergen and Davison in the #9 car.
McIntyre, a two-time New Zealand V8 champion, is looking forward to getting back into the SBR Ford for the Phillip Island 500, which runs 11 to 13 September, but first McIntyre and Gaunt joined the team at a driver evaluation day last week (on 31 August).
McIntyre says the evaluation day couldn’t have gone any better. “Daniel and I were both quickly up to speed and were able to complete a number of laps in both the #4 and #9 cars during the day,” says McIntyre upon his return home to Nelson.
“After looking at the data, we made some changes to the #4 car in preparation for next weekend’s race – the Phillip Island 500. These changes will further improve our performance.”
McIntyre is very positive about the level of preparation he’s been able to do with SBR leading up to the two endurance events. “I’ve never been this prepared for a V8 Supercar enduro before. Daniel and I are now comfortable with our slightly different seating positions and we spent time in the SBR workshop on Tuesday sorting out our helmets, radios and drink tubes. It’s a real luxury to have these small, but vital jobs out of the way before heading to the Phillip Island circuit, 128km south-east of Melbourne, on Thursday (10 September).”
At the L&H 500 Phillip Island which takes place from 11 to 13 September, McIntyre and Gaunt will pilot the #4 Irwin Tools-SP Tools Ford Falcon during three practice sessions on Friday, one practice and one qualifying session on Saturday before two short 14-lap races in the afternoon. Sunday’s main race – 113 laps on the 4.4km circuit – starts at 1:35pm local time.
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