It’s been a long time between drinks for the ASKO Appliances South Island Endurance Series competitors as their topsy-turvy season gets ready for its Grande finale at Powerbuilt Ruapuna on Saturday 27 November 2010
The series has already has a visit to Ruapuna this year which was then cancelled after the Sept 4th Earthquake. Incredibly their scheduled Round 2 at Teretonga was also cancelled, this time due to snow. The Series finally got underway at Timaru on 2nd October, thankfully under perfect conditions. Now, after a nearly 2 month wait, the shortened Series final will get battled out at Powerbuilt Ruapuna.
To add to the intensity of this 3 hour race, it will also double as the first round of the inaugural NZ Endurance Championship Series, which means the race has been added to Ruapuna’s Motorsport NZ Premier Championship Series (Tier1) Race meeting.
With two false starts to the series all the competitors are itching to go and the race has some excellent entries to date. Fans will get to see the best cars from Germany and Italy, Australia, America and Japan, and in fact it’s the only series in the world where you see a genuine Australian V8 Supercar go head to head with the Porsche GT3. Add in the ‘homebuilt’ Kiwi ingenuity V8’s and horse powered turbo Jappa’s, and there will be races within races right throughout the field.
Fans are in for a real treat as one of Ferraris latest racing machines, the F430 Challenge, seeks both Allied Lubricants GT Class and overall ASKO Series honors in the hands of Tim O’Conner & TRS pilot Sam McNeill. Also looking for GT class and overall glory will be the Round One winning Porsche 996 GT3 of Dippie/Aitken and also the McFarlane/Bushell twin turbo GT3 that made its racing debut at Levels, finishing on the podium. Add to this the 2009 ASKO Series champions & Altherm 1000 winning Carter/Carter BA Falcon V8 Supercar, the very fast O’Donnell/Neale Porsche GT3 RSR, top NZ Motorsport teams International Motorsport and Triple X Motorsport who are both looking to field front running cars in the race, plus a handful of other ultra reliable GT3 cup cars and the Allied Lubricants GT class will be one hell of a battle.
Allied Lubricants also support the 3501cc+ Class 1, which will see the Kiwi ‘hybrids’ in both V8 and turbo guise. GM will be represented by the V8 powered Corvette & Commodore, whilst the 427ci powered GT Radials Ute waves the Ford flag. Add in the twin turbo powered Japanese cars plus the class cross breed V8 powered RX7 and picking a class winner here will be impossible. After Levels, the Davidson/Garden C5 Corvette comfortably lead the class, however the Levels race leading McDermid/Dunn twin turbo Corolla return with an new powerplant for Ruapuna, plus a new driver combination with Chris Dunn being replaced by Scott McDermid. Another to look out for here is the RX7 V8 of Rhodes/Rickerby who are out of contention to win the class, but are likely to put on a strong showing.
The Hagley Aluminium 2001-3500cc Class 2 is likely to be the most hotly contested, with 6 cars still in contention for the class win. This class sees the turbo 4 cylinder cars including Toyota, Subaru WRX, including a WRX for NZ rally sensation Emma Gilmour, & Mitsi Evo’s, taking on a host of BMW’s in various forms as well as three Mini Challenge cars and a lone Porsche Boxster. This class includes the ultra quick ex-World Touring Car of Round One runners-up Good/Black and a host of BMW’s from the legendary M3’s through to the fast Nissan FJ20T powered version of Hyde/O’Brien. As well as class honors, most of these cars will also be vying for the Matt Heagney Memorial Trophy for 1st 4 cylinder car home.
The 1600cc-2000cc & 0-1600cc Classes 3 & 4 will be combined under the Hagley Aluminium banner and again sees the Japan & European brands go head to head. The class will be dominated by the Japanese V-Tec Honda Integra’s including an ex-European Touring car whiles the European flavor comes from the class leading factory built Renault Megane Cup car of Beatson/Ransley.
With 10 cars still in with a chance of taking out the overall ASKO Series honors, the racing will be nail biting and Series secretary Chris Dunn expects another close result “our 2009 Series went down to the wire and a count back required to declare a winner. The top 3 teams all finished the series with the same points tally, and the top 5 were only covered by a 7 point gap after 3 rounds” he said. There will definitely be a new Series champion crowned at Ruapuna and out of the 10 cars in the running only the McFarlane/Bushell GT3 have won the SI Endurance Series before.
The overall ASKO Series champion will be awarded the ‘South Canterbury Toyota Cup’, plus the series organizers have over $17,500 to give away in prizes and prizemoney, with all prizemoney being paid per class. Prizes include an original watercolor painting donated by High Country artist Norman Sinclair, which will be one of the many items given away as spot prizes at the Clubs prizegiving held after the Ruapuna race.
Entries are still available for this big Three Hour race and for more information on the South Island Endurance Series, entries, or to be added to the South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club’s e-mailing list, please contact Chris Dunn via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org ph 021-107-9293.