Motorsport fans are in for an action packed season of racing as the newly formed NZ Touring Cars class prepares for its first hit out at Taupo for the Ssangyong Super Racing Weekend, October 17-18.
With Motorsport NZ Championship status, the formation of the new NZ Touring Cars class is the combining of three classes together - the V8 SuperTourers (V8ST), NZV8 TLX and NZV8 TL.
Category manager Gary Lathrope says the newly formed class is a reunification for premiere V8 racing in New Zealand.
“It’s no secret that top tier motorsport has had some struggles in recent years, however we are confident that by uniting the three categories it will provide not only better racing for the competitors but better entertainment for the fans,” says Lathrope.
“There is an absolute commitment from all three previous categories to make it a success. Its been too confusing for the fans as to which series to support, we have all listened and we are now determined to put on the most exciting and entertaining touring car races the country has seen for some time, all together as one with a good sized field.”
“The three classes raced together earlier in the year in April at Pukekohe and it was a huge success. There were people on the hill standing on their feet cheering on the last lap, something we hadn’t seen at Pukekohe for many years.”
“We are confident that the fans will get behind the new class and support it.”
The NZ Touring Cars will comprise of two classes all racing on the same grid. Class One will feature both V8ST and NZV8 TLX cars, while Class Two will be for the older NZV8 TL cars.
Fans will also be able to watch different marques go head to head with Fords vs Holdens vs Toyotas vs Nissans.
Lathrope says the point’s structure of the category puts two trophies up for grabs.
“The car and driver that accumulates the most points in Class One will win the overall NZ Touring Car Championship and the NZ Touring Car Cup. The car and driver that accumulates the most points in Class Two will be awarded a NZ Touring Car Championship Class 2 Cup. It’s a great way to show recognition to the champions in both classes.”
With entries coming in, the category is expecting a field of 20 plus cars for round one at Taupo. Current NZV8 champion and former Bathurst 1000 winner Jason Bargwanna is set to compete in his Toyota Camry, while current V8ST champion Simon Evans will also line up on the grid in his Holden Commodore.
Add to that former NZV8 champion Craig Baird (V8ST) who will be joining the newly formed series, as will regulars Angus Fogg (V8ST), Nick Ross (TLX), James McLaughlin (TLX) and Mitchell Cunningham (V8ST) and Gene Rollinson (V8ST).
In Class 2, look for returning TL champion Kevin Williams with prominent front runners Steve Taylor, Brad Lathrope and Brock Cooley also returning. Making her debut in Team Kiwi Racing colours will be young Dunedin teenager Alyssa Clapperton.
A full list of entries for both classes will be announced prior to the October 17-18 Taupo weekend.
With Dunlop committing to the new series as a new major sponsor, Class One cars will race on a new Dunlop 280/680-18 tyre which is the same size as the Hankook previously used by V8ST and a larger tyre than the one TLX were using. The Class Two tyre is the same as it has been in the past.
Gull will also be the official fuel supplier for the class.
Starting at Taupo next month, the class will undertake a seven round championship; including running as a support class to the V8 Supercars at Pukekohe in November.
Photo by Matt Smith.