BNT V8 SuperTourers 2014 series champion, Greg Murphy, being handed his trophy by MotorSport New Zealand President Shayne Harris.
Photo credit: Andrew Bright
An unusual email was received by bosses of New Zealand’s premier racing categories, V8 Super Tourers and NZV8 Touring Cars, suggesting a unanimous decision had been reached that V8 SuperTourers, NZV8TC TLX and TL should come together and compete as one race otherwise find the categories banned from race tracks New Zealand wide.
The email was sent by Shayne Harris, MotorSport New Zealand’s (MSNZ) president, on Thursday, May 22 after attending the Circuit Owners Group meeting at the Motorsport Annual General Conference. MSNZ and track owners meet at this AGM.
V8 SuperTourers CEO Ray Noonan was shocked to believe that, as suggested in the email, circuit owners had unanimously decided that the categories should merge as a single V8 race otherwise there wouldn’t be a track available to compete.
However, the response back from track owners suggests this isn’t the case with several track owners already denouncing the email and saying it didn’t correctly represent what had been discussed and decided at the AGM.
Noonan said many of the track owners had been in contact with V8 SuperTourers to confirm existing contracts are still valid with many seeking multi-year deals.
“The tracks are mostly private businesses which are not under the control of MSNZ,” says Noonan. “The MSNZ executive needs to understand that its role is governance, and should get out of trying to operate as a promoter and controlling the actions of people that have invested their own money.
“MSNZ’s feeble attempt to try to ban us from tracks is laughable,” says Noonan. “They have become irrelevant to us all, and are desperately trying to prove that they still have some power. The MSNZ circuit commission, of which Shayne Harris is the leader by virtue of being president of MSNZ, absolutely passed a resolution to ban us from all tracks in New Zealand.”
The stoush is the latest chapter in an ongoing saga that started back in 2011 when, in the absence of any leadership or planning from MSNZ, the new V8 SuperTourer category emerged and went on to quickly dominate the V8 landscape in New Zealand. The split away from the then tier one NZV8 category by most of its teams and drivers to join V8ST ignited what has been reported as a ‘war’ between the two parties. Noonan is adamant there is no war.
“The ongoing belief, held by a small, uninformed, but vocal minority, that there is an ongoing ‘war’ between V8 categories is simply nonsense,” says Noonan.
“Before the MSNZ meeting even occurred, NZV8TC and V8ST had already agreed on calendar cooperation, in the absence of any leadership from MSNZ, going back many years — we simply got on with it.
“MSNZ have simply become irrelevant to the sport at tier one level. There are many V8 categories in New Zealand, including V8ST, TLX, TL, Central Muscle Cars, Formula 5000, and so forth. They all have their own strengths but are fundamentally different. V8ST is about controlled cost parity highlighting the emergence of drivers, but with limited engineering difference, TLX has a significant focus on engineering and design which we genuinely respect. For anyone to suggest that any category should abandon its core reason to exist is arrogant and simply unfair. All car owners, and in the case of SuperTourers, the category itself, are privately owned. It is inappropriate for anybody to try to dictate to owners how they should spend their money.”
Noonan thanked circuits that quickly confirmed their support for V8 SuperTourers and stated for the record that the sporting philosophies of NZV8 Touring Cars and V8 SuperTourers are completely different, and that V8ST will not entertain NZV8s running in the same races, nor would having muscle cars, GT1s, nor F5000 in the same race be considered. However, V8ST’s position for well over a year has been that all categories are welcome at its meetings.
V8 SuperTourers resume competition from 27 September 2014 with the start of a new seven round season, beginning at Taupo’s Motorsport Park.
2014/2015 BNT V8 SUPERTOURERS CALENDAR
ENDURANCE ROUNDS (Endurance portion of Championship)
ROUND ONE: September 27/28 Taupo 400
ROUND TWO: November 1/2 Waikato 400 – Hampton Downs
ROUND THREE: November 28/29/30 Fuchs 500, Pukekohe
SPRINT ROUNDS (Sprint portion of Championship)
ROUND FOUR: TBA Either Pukekohe or Manfeild
ROUND FIVE: March 7-8 2015 TIMARU 250, Levels Raceway
ROUND SIX: March 21-22 CHRISTCHURCH 250, Mike Pero Motorsport Park
ROUND SEVEN: April 24-26 GRAND FINAL: PUKEKOHE, with V8 Supercars