The ENEOS North Island Endurance Series often pushes drivers and teams to their limit on the track, but it was some off-track commitment which has put one team in good stead for Saturday’s competition at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
Touring car racers Callum Quin and Simon McLennan suffered a race ending engine failure during round one of the series at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo. It was an unfortunate end to what had been a productive weekend in the GT B class.
The team had hoped they’d be able to get the car ready in time, but with parts yet to arrive they were about to call it quits on contesting round two.
When the team were told they’d not be racing, Simon’s father Colin McLennan decided to take the engine from their M2 Motorsport Holden Commodore V8 SuperTourer to put in the Callum Quin Racing car.
McLennan drove from the Kapiti Coast just north of Wellington through the night to Auckland to do the engine transplant.
“Callum’s team have done a mammoth job trying to get the engine ready for this weekend, but it was always going to be touch-and-go,” Simon McLennan said.
“At the 11th hour we got the call from the guys that engine wasn’t going to be ready. I got the note from Callum and his team, gave dad a call and explained to him the situation.
“The next message I got from dad was ‘we’ll be leaving Kapiti Coast at 4pm, engine on its way’.”
With the engine strapped into the back of their van, McLennan made his way up to Auckland to have the engine ready on Thursday morning.
From there, the team quickly got to work on putting the engine in the surrogate Commodore. Fortunately, with the setup between the two cars almost identical, the team had little worries getting it in quickly.
With little hope of getting the car ready, Quin was settling into his study. However, when the call came that McLennan was bringing up an engine he was soon back to preparations.
“The guys did a pretty big day on it from about 8am in the morning, then I was just down in the afternoon starting to pack the truck and get the car ready,” Quin said.
Former M3 Racing engineer Kerry Holland and Royce McCort from Autospeed Engineering helped in getting the engine fitted into the car.
“Between Dad, Royce and Kerry a lot of work was put in. Especially trying to source the parts out of the United States.
“Getting the engine sorted with Colin coming up was a pretty big job.”
The team are confident the car will be up and running for testing, but will be tuning the car ‘on the fly’.
With the weather likely to play its part on the weekend, McLennan said their priority is just to finish.
“Come Saturday, all things going well, we’ll just have a safe programme just to make sure everything is okay to get us through three hours.
“Given the weather and the conditions, Callum and myself both have to get through safely as well. We know that from Taupo strategy wise everything got thrown at every single team.
“Before we had the drama we were sitting in a nice comfortable place, so we know as a combination and with the car beneath us we can keep our nose clean and be there at the end of three hours we’ll be there or there abouts.”
Round two of the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series takes place at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on 24 June. Action begin at 9:30am on Saturday morning with the first qualifying session, before the One Hour race kicks off at 11:00am.