Drivers compete on track
Speedster Andrew Waite is feeling confident going into this weekend’s TR Group 250 meeting for the BNT V8 SuperTourers because he has been getting so much track time over the past few months.
The Pt Chevalier resident has been racing a Toyota TR 86 coupe and working at the new Highlands track in Central Otago.
‘‘I’m working at Highlands as their resident professional driver, with driver training and hot laps,’’ the 24-year-old says. ‘‘I’ve been driving all sorts of exotic cars – Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, you name it really.
‘‘I’m definitely confident going into Pukekohe because I’ve done quite a few miles lately.’’
Waite contested four rounds of the championship last year but this is his first 2014 outing in the BNT V8 SuperTourers.
He drives for the Tasman team run by Steve Horne, who has run Indycar and Indy Lights teams with success in the United States.
‘‘We had the pace in the endurance races last year and the car’s had a full goingover for this season; it’s pretty much a brand-new car again so I’ve got all the confidence I need in the team,’’ Waite says.
He used to work as a DJ but gave it up to focus 100 per cent on his racing.
The drivers all know that beating reigning champion Greg Murphy this weekend is a very big ask.
Murphy has won all six races this season and his Supercar successes at Pukekohe have earned the track the nickname ‘‘Murph’s Turf’’.
Murphy, now living back in Hawke’s Bay, enjoys fast tracks like Pukekohe, as his four victories in the Bathurst 1000km classic attest.
His strongest competition is likely to come from Aucklanders Andre Heimgartner and Simon Evans, both in Holdens, and Hamilton Ford driver Ant Pedersen, who came so close to winning the championship last year.
Only bad luck stopped Evans from beating Murphy at Manfeild and Heimgartner, second in the championship, is benefiting from a new policy of reducing risk in order to gain championship points with consistent high finishes.
Fifteen of the 550hp V8s are entered, with qualifying on Saturday and all three races on Sunday.
Andrew Waite leads Andre Heimgartner during V8 SuperTourer action.