High­lands set for a big 101 race

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

The High­lands rac­ing course in Cromwell is ready to host a world­class event on the week­end.

Mo­tor­sport gi­ant Greg Mur­phy, drifter ’Mad Mike’ Whid­dett and High­lands owner Tony Quinn will be tak­ing to the track among the Aus­tralian GT rac­ers.

Quinn said he was look­ing for­ward to the big­gest event of the year, start­ing on Fri­day and run­ning un­til Sunday.

The cars in the line up in­cluded Audi, As­ton Martin, BMW, Fer­rari, Lam­borgh­ini, Nis­san, Porsche, McLaren and Mercedes, which will race in the fea­ture race on Sunday as the fi­nal round of the Aus­tralian En­durance Cham­pi­onship.

Drivers will also com­pete in the Rad­i­cal Aus­tralia Cup, which will be raced for the first time in New Zealand, with an hour-long and one lap race on the week­end.

Quinn said Mad Mike would show his drift­ing to the au­di­ence dur­ing lunch time on Satur­day and Sunday, after do­ing the same at the re­cent rac­ing at Hamp­ton Downs.

‘‘He was an ab­so­lute pro­fes­sional and he’s ob­vi­ously a very tal­ented guy. There’s no doubt if he put his mind to it he could fur­ther his ca­reer in cir­cuit rac­ing. He’s one cool char­ac­ter and he brought a real en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm to the pits.’’

Quinn would team up with Kiwi racer Greg Mur­phy in the As­ton Martin Van­tage V12 GT3.

High­landers 101 changed ’’dra­mat­i­cally’’ since Mur­phy par­tic­i­pated three years ago, he said.

‘‘It’s a very im­pres­sive cham­pi­onship now and it’s re­ally found a niche in Australasia. It’s not just in this part of the world ei­ther.’’

Last year’s star per­former, Shane van Gis­ber­gen, who com­peted in sev­eral dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories in Europe, the US and Australasia and had driven the world’s pre­mier mo­tor rac­ing venues, rated the 4.1 km track at High­lands as one of his favourites.

‘‘It’s just a cool place. The track has got great views and the lay­out was in­spired by some of the best cor­ners from tracks all around the world,’’ van Gis­ber­gen said.

Tick­ets are avail­able from tick­et­mas­ter, on the High­lands web­site or at the gate, with un­der 16-year-olds get­ting in for free.

The ticket gives ac­cess to all ar­eas.

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