New Zealand Classic Car - - Event Preview - Photos:

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.

When: Tick­ets: More info:

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