IN­TENSE RAC­ING RE­TURNS

NZ Performance Car - - Circuit Talk -

One of the sto­ries of the cir­cuit-rac­ing sea­son so far has been the high qual­ity of the rac­ing in sev­eral of the na­tional-level cat­e­gories in the Speed­works Pre­mier Mo­tor­sport Cham­pi­onship.

With two rounds down at the time of writ­ing, the Cas­trol Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries has pro­duced sev­eral of its usual breath­lessly ac­tion-packed races, but along­side that there have been fan­tas­tic en­coun­ters in the Toy­ota 86 Cham­pi­onship, the Porter Group V8 Utes, and, as peo­ple have come to ex­pect, the Ssangy­ong Ac­tyon Ute Se­ries.

The key to the Toy­ota 86 se­ries is that all the driv­ers race identical cars, and those lucky enough to be at rounds at Pukekohe Park Race­way, Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Mo­tor­sport Park, Christchurch’s Mike Pero Mo­tor­sport Park, and In­ver­cargill’s Tere­tonga Park have seen some great scraps in both wet and dry races. Reid Harker sits at the top of the points race for the Toy­ota 86 Cham­pi­onship, but he has had it far from his own way.

Changes to the Porter Group V8 Ute se­ries have reaped huge ben­e­fits in re­cent times, and the cat­e­gory’s full re­verse-grid sec­ond race for each event, com­bined with a field of well-matched Ford and Holden utes, has pro­duced some se­ri­ously good races. The third points-based race has also con­trib­uted to the ac­tion. Throw in the learn­ing curve that all the driv­ers are go­ing through with new-spec­i­fi­ca­tion clutches, and you have the fac­tors that have made the dif­fer­ence. At Taupo, a 10-car nose-to-tail train did bat­tle through­out, and it was the same at Christchurch, and then again at Tere­tonga for the fi­nal race in very wet and chal­leng­ing con­di­tions, where four driv­ers — Richard Moore, Paul Manuell, Matt Spratt, and Peter Ward — were lit­er­ally nose to tail for the en­tire race.

The se­ries car­ries on at the New Zealand Grand Prix meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary at Man­feild, which will fea­ture the last round of the Cas­trol TRS sin­gle­seaters. The tour­ing car fi­nal will be at Hamp­ton Downs over the week­end of 11 - 12 March.

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