The South Islands own World Cup, of the motorsport variety, bursts into life at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park this Saturday with Australia, France, Italy, Japan, USA, Germany and of course New Zealand represented in the ASKO Appliances South Island Endurance Series
With 12 of the top 15 teams from the 2010 Series returning for 2011 Series, it is sure to be another great race for both overall and individual class honors across the 5 different classes as a great field of Endurance cars is set to do battle in the opening Round of the Series.
The exotic GT class is dominated by the German Porsche marque with the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup cars of Paul Kelly/Kevin Bell, Scott O’Donnell/Simon McLennan & Mike Baker/Seadon Baker, set to line up against a handful of the 996 GT3 Cup cars, including defending champions Allan Dippie/Grant Aitken. This class will also feature the hybrid twin turbo GT3 of Angus McFarlane/Michael Bushell, and will be joined at round two by the magnificent Ferrari F430.
Class 1 (3501cc and above) is the domain of the kiwi hybrids, in both V8 and Turbo guise. Leading the charge is Dean ‘Wildman’ Perkins who will team up with Grant Silvester in a powerful V8 BA Falcon. 2010 Series rookies Graham Rhodes/Paul Rickerby will return with the awesome Batman RX7 V8 as will 2010 pacesetters Craig & Scott McDermid with their twin turbo powered Corolla. Add into the mix a similar powered Altezza, a Corvette C5, a pair of ex NZV8 Commodore VY’s and Aussie based competitor Perry Scarfe’s crowd pleasing 427ci powered Falcon XR8 Ute and picking a Class 1 winner is impossible.
Some of the runners in Class 2 (2001cc -3500cc) could easily surprise with their speed and consistency. The up-specd ex WTCC BMW of Warren Good/Arron Black is this year joined by two BMW Gtr’s for Allan McCormick/David McCormick and Brent Esler/Andy Neale. The Pat Heagney/Tony Head AE86 turbo certainly proved its pace and reliability last year and will definitely be a class, and possibly overall, contender. Add in a BMW M3 and a Mini Challenge car and this will be another exciting class.
Class 3 & 4 (0-2000cc) will see the 2010 giant killing Mike Driver/Jarrod Parmenter Integra face some stiff opposition from the rapid Honda S2000 of Steve Parker/Matt Jackson and the North Island based BMW 320i of Mark Holland as well as the ever reliable baby of the field the Peugeot 106 of Ken Sinclair/Dennis Ham. This class will also be joined at round two by the factory Renault Megane Cup car of Brent Beatson/Grant Waters.
The ASKO Appliances One Hour Race Series will also have its opening round at Teretonga Park and is a separate race & championship run alongside the 3hr series. The One hour race series is also set for a fantastic battle with the majority of the cars entered are in the two under 2000cc classes. The entry list is dominated by Toyota Starlets of all shapes and sizes, but also has Toyota Trueno, Honda Civic, Mitsi Mirage, Mazda RX7 and a couple of BMW E30’s represented. The One hour race series is seen as a fun and affordable way to enter endurance racing but still experience the thrill & strategy of the old fashioned tortoise and the hare battles that endurance racing is renown for.
Thanks to Series sponsor ASKO Appliances as well as class sponsors Allied Petroleum / Mobil 1, Southern Demolition, Burnside Contractors, Southern Finance and Hagley Aluminum the Series will have the richest prize money pool in NZ Motorsport, with $30,000- that will be paid out as prize money for 2011. With $10,000- up for grabs for the overall 3hr Series winners, the balance will be paid out on class points across both the 3hr & 1hr Series. As well as a cheque for $10,000- the overall 3hr series champion will be awarded the ‘South Canterbury Toyota Cup’ and there are also numerous other trophies, prizes and awards for the series. The Club has again been donated an original watercolor painting by High Country artist Norman Sinclair valued at approx. $10,000- which will be given away at the Series prize giving as a spot prize to a competitor in either the 3hr or 1hr Series.
After the opening round at Teretonga, the ASKO Appliances SI Endurance Series moves to Christchurch’s Powerbuilt Ruapuna on Saturday 1st October, with the Series Grand Finale at Levels Raceway in Timaru on 15th October
Entries are still available for both the Three Hour and One Hour races and for more information on the South island Endurance Series, entries, or to be added to the Clubs e-mailing list, please contact secretary Chris Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org ph 021-107-9293. Club information can also be found at www.facebook.com/southislandenduranceseries, for more information on Series sponsor ASKO, please visit www.asko.co.nz