Four Australian drivers this week have tested a NZ SuperTourer at Hampton Downs with a view to competing in the series this year. This makes good sense and we need to see more Australian drivers making the trip across the ditch.
V8 Supercar development series drivers Marcus Zukanovic and Renee Gracie, current NZ and Australian V8 Ute champion Kris Walton and fellow V8 ute driver Mason Barbera took part in the NZST organised test day.
One would think that the future success of V8 racing in NZ should involve aspiring V8 Supercar drivers, such is the competition for race seats in the top category. The best example of this is Scott McLaughlin, who is in his third year of driving for Garry Rogers Motorsport. He drove in the Dunlop Series in Australia (feeder category for the V8SC) as well as competing in the NZV8ST.
We need the Australia drivers to increase the grid sizes here in NZ.
Think about why the Toyota Racing Series is so successful. Because it is based on a recipe which involves bringing international drivers to NZ in order to gain valuable race experience in time for their Northern Hemisphere racing program.
It didn’t happen overnight, in fact it took 6-7 seasons before it started coming together and the catalyst was probably Estonian driver Sten Pentus. He competed in 2010 finishing fourth. But then he went back to Europe and was immediately on the pace in Formula Renault 3.5 and people took notice.
Since then we have seen a huge demand for drivers to come down for the five consecutive race weekends that the series offers, and at reasonable expense compared with back home.
Our V8 racing has the potential to offer something similar, but first it needs to get the recipe right!