ay the name ‘Tony Quinn’ to any New Zealand car lover or motor sport fan, and they’ll immediately think ‘big business’. And yes, the man has money behind him and knows how to spend it, but more importantly, he has the know-how and can-do to get things done.
Among his many achievements is hosting the hugely popular Highlands 101 event at his Cromwell, Otago-based Highlands Motorsport Park.
The event sees the world-class facility play host to a wide range of classes, but the one that gets the attention, and rightly so, is the
Words: NZV8 NZV8 archive, Adam Croy
Australian GT Championship series. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the series is made up of late-model exotics from the likes of Aston Martin, Mclaren, Audi and Porsche — essentially, cars that most people would be far too precious about to ever consider racing, but the GT drivers certainly don’t take it easy.
In a rather fitting twist, the winner of the first two 101-lap Highlands 101 races was Quinn himself, partnering with Fabian Coulthard the first time and Garth Tander the second. The third time the event ran his son, Klark, took home the title in partnership with Shane van Gisbergen.
The Hampton Downs 101 will run the same format as its South Island counterpart with the 101-lap main endurance race as well as a Top Ten Shootout. Just two weeks after Hampton Downs 101, the GT Championship heads to Highlands Motorsport Park for the final round of the championship series. For added spectator appeal and driver difficulty, the 101-lap race at Highlands features a variation of the traditional Le Mans start, where the car is parked in traditional Le Mans formation with the co-drivers positioned about 250 meters from the circuit, and they must run to
their car. It’s proved a popular feature with the crowds and drivers to date, and certainly adds something a bit different.
“We held the first Highlands 101 in 2013 and it was an amazing event,” Quinn said. “This year, it’s going to be a real spectacle, with a bigger field and bigger crowds. And, of course, we can’t wait for people to come and see the GTS at Hampton Downs for the first time. We’re looking forward to showing race fans what we’ve done with the place. It’s a truly world-class facility now, and it’s only getting better and better. We’re so proud of what we’ve achieved already, and I think people are going to be very impressed.”
Part of what Quinn is referring to is the recently extended track, which will be used competitively for the first time during the event, as well as the rest of the newly completed facilities the venue now offers.