Hampton Downs Motorsport Park is set to play host to some of the fastest and most advanced racing machinery in the country this weekend.
The North Waikato circuit is the shortest on the calendar, but will no doubt provide some of the best racing across the three-round ENEOS North Island Endurance Series.
A wide variety of racing’s new and old will to take to the grid, with the One and Three Hour races set to feature nearly 60 cars across the two fields.
From the fastest purpose-built FIA homologated GT3 cars by Audi and Mercedes, to the perhaps less luxurious Ford Falcon V8 Utes, Honda Civics and everything in between. The fields this weekend feature an eclectic mix of New Zealand’s best home-built machines too.
Fans of the V8 will be properly impressed by the Three Hour grid.
An Audi R8 LMS GT3 will be fielded by International Motorsport, which will face off against another two Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3s from the MIKE Racing stable.
Glenn Smith will once again bring his Reiter Engineering SaReNi Camaro to the park. At the New Zealand Endurance Championship he and John de Veth nearly took out the win in a thrilling finish to the Three Hour epic, but were pipped at the post.
It’s the winners of this year’s national final that will again be throwing a cat among the pigeons. Newly named Wet & Forget Racing will bring back their face-lifted ex-V8 SuperTourer Holden Commodore VF to the party in hopes of winning once more.
Simon Evans will be joined by new co-driver Chris Hanley who raced in the now defunct V8 SuperTourers and more recently campaigned in the PORTERGROUP V8 Ute Series.
The duo will no doubt be giving the GT3 runners a good hurry up having proven their long-distance pace earlier in the year.
Another V8 runner who has yet to find the top spot is Nick Chester who will pair up with Cameron Jones. Chester’s ex-V8 Supercar Holden Commodore VZ has been a staple of the North Island racing scene for a good decade. A recent foray into endurance racing has yet to see him get to top spot, though he has nudged first position with podium finishes.
Simon Gilbertson and John McIntyre will fly the Porsche flag in their 911 991 Manthey Racing special. At least two other Porsches will race for GT-B honours, though they’ll be hard pressed to beat the likes of the Chesters and Evans outfits.
A host of FIA GT4 machinery as well as several Toyota 86 Championship racers will also take to the grid. The One Hour has proven to be a popular place for young up-and-coming racers to get needed racing miles under the belt.
At least seven prospective racers for the forthcoming Toyota 86 Championship will compete this weekend.
All of Saturday’s racing will be broadcast live on Youtube and Facebook courtesy of The Fast Files. Visit www.nierdc.com for more information or the North Island Endurance Series Facebook page.Round 1: North Waikato – Hampton Downs – 18-19 May 2018
Round 2: South Auckland – Pukekohe Park – 15-16 June 2018
Round 3: Feilding – Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon – 20-21 July 2018