Southland’s Inky (Ian) Tulloch and Nelson’s John McIntyre added another New Zealand championship title to their respective collections following their three-hour HRC Endurance Event win at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on March 13.

Piloting the Tulloch Motorsport German-built SaReNi Reiter Camaro GT3 to the chequered flag first, the South Island pairing delighted at adding another MotorSport New Zealand championship award to their respective resumes.

“It is a great feeling; there is nothing like having a New Zealand title. Even with five Australian ones, a New Zealand one is special. It has been a long time since the last one and I am really excited we are able to compete at that level — I’ve been very blessed and very fortunate. As long as we are still enjoying it and are competitive we will continue,” said Tulloch, a four-time New Zealand truck champion.

Having set the fastest time in qualifying, Tulloch took the car from the race start to the 1hr 13-minute mark before handing over to McIntyre. Concentrating on sticking to the pre-race plan to keep the car clean, McIntyre had a 20-minute spell late in the race behind the safety car that altered their tactics. He still finished a lap ahead of the next-placed car.

“We hadn’t planned on two stops, so we had to adapt, and I think that was the strength of the team — the team were able to think on their feet and with a half-lap warning made the decision that got us to the finish first. It was a big call. Luckily the other race-win contending SuperTourer (Evans/Rollinson) and Ferrari (Fillmore/Stutterd) had to add a second stop to their race — otherwise it would have been very tricky,” said McIntyre, who has three V8 titles under his belt.

“In full reality we had the fastest car in the race with the fastest times for both of us as drivers. So as a combination we were faster.

“It was a really hot day as well, so we ended up using more fuel, plus we were really roasting inside the car and toward the end, for the last hour, I had to have the cool suit turned off — so it was getting really hot. Then we had a big safety car period right near the end where everything was getting hotter and hotter. The five laps at the end we had to call on a bit of experience, keep the lap advantage we had, keep it on the track and know we would have the title. That’s what we did and [we] are really pleased for the team as it’s a title in recognition for a year and a half’s work since Inky bought the car.”

The win kicks off a further six events planned for 2016: the three-round North Island endurance series, followed by the three-round South Island endurance series.

This season the team have Active Electrical as naming-rights sponsor alongside the return of Waterloo Business Park Christchurch, Talleys, USG Boral, Castrol Edge, Energizer, Philips, and Schneider Electrical also join the team for the new season.

Words: Lance Hastie Photos: Matt Smith