Family first in three-hour Levels endurance race
History is set to be created Levels Raceway this weekend.
Rod, Andy and Hunter McElrea will be the first trio of family members to compete as a team as they race in the South Island Endurance Series finale at the Timaru International Motor Raceway Levels.
Andy competed against his son Hunter, 17, at Levels in October 2015 as part of the South Island Formula Ford Series.
His father Rod attended the meet but didn’t compete, however fast forward virtually two years and this time he will be out on the track with Andy and Hunter.
They are competing in a Toyota TR86, a car which should do okay but lacks real grunt compared to their competitors.
‘‘It’s a very special weekend for us because we’ve never driven together before at any event, so it’s going to be an awesome day.
‘‘We believe we’re the first to do it, not even Jim and Steve Richards managed it.’’
Andy, 50, who won the 1991 Formula Ford championship and the 1996 TranzAm champs before giving racing away, said it would be good to be back behind the wheel.
‘‘If we can be competitive in our class then we will be happy. We’re not expecting to win it as we’re up against some pretty powerful cars and ours isn’t as possible as a number of them but if we can do well in our class that would be good.’’
Rod won the New Zealand Beach Racing championships, in Nelson, in 1971 and the OSCA championships in 1983, while Hunter finished fourth in the 2017 Australian Formula Ford championships by winning a couple of races, showing the ability to race well runs in the family.
Andy said they attempted to race together sooner but it hadn’t worked out for a number of reasons. ‘‘I had a clash and then something else came up, however we heard about this event and pin- at pointed it as the perfect time to do it.
‘‘We’ve always wanted to compete together in a race, so to do it is going to be very special.’’
Competing together for the first time at Levels will be hugely satisfying for the trio.
‘‘It was dad’s home track for racing, it is my favourite track, I know it really well having grown up in Ashburton and used it as my home track.
‘‘I won the TranzAm here before shifting to the United States, and Hunter had one of his first major races here, so there’s plenty of family ties with the track.’’
Andy and Hunter now reside in Australia where the former runs McElrea Racing which finished the Bathurst 12 hour second overall and won the Pro Am and is the current Porsche Carrera Cup champions.
Racing cars runs in the blood and a day of this significance had been on the cards for sometime.
Rod, 75, is likely to race for around 40-50 minutes before Andy and Hunter do the rest of the driving.
‘‘I’ll start then dad will go and then Hunter will bring it home,’’ Andy said. ‘‘We’d love to have the chance to do this again if dad is still driving.’’
Following this race, Hunter is off for a test run at Indianapolis in America.
‘‘The little sod is doing really well with his racing since taking a step up from carting a couple of years ago.’’
Rod was excited at competing again after 10 years.
‘‘My mum was a huge racing fan and I had a dream one night that we could do that and decided then that it would happen for her. Doing it for her has been the driving factor really.’’
Asked as to who would bring the pace, Hunter wasn’t afraid to suggest himself. ‘‘I should be going the fastest, if I’m not then I’d be pretty worried. It’s something pretty special and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.’’