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Endurance racing returning to NZ


Two new 500km endurance races will be held at Hampton Downs during Queen’s Birthday weekend this year

The Altherm 1000, officially launched this week at Hampton Downs by promoters, The MotorSport Company, will take place over the 5-6 June and encompass two 500km races to contest six national endurance titles.

Each day will feature a 500km, four hour limit race with a minimum of two drivers per car. Saturday’s race will be an open class no-holds barred competition for top open class honours and will also include the GT3 Porsche title. The V8s, NZ’s premier class, will race on Sunday with Production, Mini and Suzuki classes for individual class titles.

The first car in the open or in each class to cover 500km or the first car to cross the line at the expiry of four hours will win the event.

“Hampton Downs is an exciting new circuit where everyone wants to race,” TMC sponsorship manager Geoff Short explained. “We want to build an iconic event, like Bathurst, that will become a permanent fixture on the calendar that everyone will look forward to.”

Drivers will cover 179 laps of the 2.8km Hampton Downs circuit, negotiating 1071 corners in the process. Success will require consistency and reliability. Teams will require to refuel and most likely fit at least two new tyres during the race. Pit stop information will be part of the regulations. The classes will have different stop allocations depending on fuel tank capacities.

“Motorsport New Zealand has not awarded any national endurance titles since the Castrol GTX Series and Benson & Hedges Series were discontinued in 1986. We know it’s going to be a popular event because we’ve had huge interest already. It will be well organised and promoted and for the competitors there’s the lure of national titles up for grabs,” Short added.

For sponsors Altherm Window Systems™ the new event was a good fit, according to APL marketing manager Shane Walden.

“We have had an association with circuit racing over a number of years, so the opportunity to become involved in the inaugural New Zealand Endurance Championship event was too good, to pass up.

“We see this event becoming New Zealand’s 'Bathurst' over time and with extensive TV coverage with several packages on 3Sport and Fujitsu Motor Show, the public profile and associated branding for Altherm Window Systems™ should be huge,” he said.

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