Round two of the Mahindra North Island Endurance Series (NIES) at Hampton Downs Raceway saw the series once again front up with an excellent field of race cars full of variety and ingenuity. Here are five of our favourite cars from the event.
Nissan R35 GTR
Squint and you could be convinced that the Endless Nissan R35 GTR is a GT3-specification race car. You’d be wrong, but it is still one of the most advanced R35s in the country. MoTeC race-engine management, in-car adjustable ECU, an Albins Australia GR6 net-retention gear set, and many more additions complement its already potent underpinnings as one of the most competent track cars money can buy. The Remraf Racing squad have had to spend a lot of time fighting electrical gremlins with this car, but a solid performance at Hampton Downs Raceway, until a late race incident, helped place them in good stead for the finale at Pukekohe.
BMW 3 Series E36
If you’re an avid fan of New Zealand endurance racing, then you’re probably aware of what this unassuming BMW E36 is capable of doing. Peddled by Kayne Barrie and Colin Jones, the red-going-on-pink BMW is one of the most reliable regular campaigners in Kiwi endurance circles. Facing a list of far glitzier entries at round two in the six-hour race, the Barrie/Jones BMW finished an exceptional second overall. Not bad at all for something that looks almost eligible for the 2KCUP series we featured on The Motorhood last week.
OCL Toyota Corolla Levin
Charles Rollo’s highly modified and frequently well-presented OCL Toyota Corolla Levin goes like it looks — fast. Built by the guys at Hitech Motorsport in 2013–’14, the Corolla sports a turbocharged SR20 engine, massive AP and Wilwood brakes, the diff from a Toyota Hilux, and an unmistakable aero and guard package — check out that rear wing! Unfortunately for Charles, technical dramas prevented him and the Corolla from completing the one-hour race. But, he will no doubt be back for round three of the NIES, as well as the upcoming SS2000 season.
Audi R8 GT3 LMS Ultra
The sheer fact that there are two of these gorgeous race cars residing in New Zealand is enough to draw tears from the eyes of many circuit racing fans. But not only are there two in the country, both were being put through their paces at Hampton Downs Raceway. The two vehicles are both GT3-specification race cars, neither could help but attract attention from passers-by in pit lane. While they couldn’t quite reach the top step of the podium, the twin R8s helped capture the imagination of circuit racing fans hoping for a brighter motorsport future. International Motorsport earns bonus points for reigniting the historic red, grey, and white Audi motorsport colours on Neil Foster’s entry.
SaReNi Camaro GT3
When you utter the characters ‘G’, ‘T’, ‘3’, most motorsport fans immediately conjure thoughts of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and the aforementioned Audi R8s. But these days the GT3 formula goes much deeper than that, and the SaReNi Camaro is a case in point. While the above Audi R8 V10 produces a stunning harmonic ballad from its exhaust pipes, the nightmarishly imposing Camaro makes an archaic V8 rumble unlike any other race car in the country — one capable of prompting a shiver up the spine of any enthusiast lucky enough to feel it. It is a truly remarkable race car.
For more coverage from round two of the Mahindra North Island Endurance Series, be sure to grab issue No. 225 of NZ Peformance Car magazine, available in stores on August 3!