While summer has seen the Speedworks Premier Motorsport Championship series blazing a trail around the country — namely Pukekohe, Taupo, and Christchurch — the Speedworks Motorsport Championship heads to Invercargill on January 21–22 for a packed weekend of racing at Teretonga Park circuit.
Six New Zealand championship classes, including the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, BNT V8 Touring Cars, Super Trucks, the Toyota 86 Championship, Porter Group V8 Utes, and the wild OSCA, will highlight one of the year’s biggest motorsport events at the track over the weekend.
Castrol Toyota Racing Series
irst up, the international single-seater Castrol Toyota Racing Series is back for its second round, which began in Christchurch over the weekend of January 14–15. The series will conclude with the 62nd New Zealand Grand Prix at the Chris Amon circuit, Manfeild, in February — that’s five back-to-back weekends.
Kiwi drivers Marcus Armstrong and Taylor Cockerton both scored popular race wins over the Christchurch weekend, while local boy and third Kiwi in the international series, Cromwell's Brendon Leitch, will have the crowd on his side as he goes for a home victory.
To date, international drivers fill all but three of the 20 places on the grid. Pedro Piquet — son of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet — F1 team Force India junior Jehan Daruvala, and Ferdinand Hapsburg from Austria head the international cast, but it was Red Bull junior driver Richard Verschoor who came away from round one with the series lead.
BNT V8 Touring Cars
Reigning BNT V8 Touring Car champion Simon Evans heads the entry for the category at Invercargill in his Holden, with former Bathurst winner Jason Bargwanna (Toyota), Christchurch's Tom Alexander (Holden), Nick Ross (Nissan), and Sam Barry (Toyota) all likely to make a challenge for race and round honours, with Bargwanna particularly fired up after a first win of the season at the Christchurch round.
These are New Zealand's fastest V8-powered tin-tops, with a fat field complemented by a second class for older Ford and Holden cars. This class-two battle is being headed by South Islander Liam MacDonald, who has put the cat amongst the pigeons with a commendable performance on North Island tracks that were new to him.
Running at tracks he knows well on the South Island will be to his distinct advantage, and is sure to attract a lot of local support. He will be coming to Teretonga focused on winning and making it one step closer to the class title.
Toyota 86 Championship
The Toyota 86 Championship has a reputation for close racing and plenty of action. Young driver Ryan Yardley is the man of the moment in his Carevets example, running under the guidance of former A1GP Black Beauty driver Chris van Der Drift. He left Christchurch with his points lead intact after some keen racing.
Porter Group V8 Ute series
The Porter Group V8 Ute series is running at the Teretonga track for the first time in five years. Several drivers in the series were in the category the last time it raced here, so it is likely that they will go well and challenge series leader, and reigning champ, Paul 'Auto' Manuell. Watch out for Geoff 'SOS' Spencer and Peter 'Kaos' Ward in their Holdens to upset the formbook this weekend.
The man who has won the last two rounds, however, is Richard 'Danger' Moore in his Holden, and it appears he is keen to keep his winning streak going.
NZ Super Truck
Last season, the NZ Super Truck racing made global motorsport headlines, and took social media by storm when a video of Dave West's monumental shunt on the main straight was released, although this time around the series is hoping for a quieter weekend on track. Just as spectacular as always, the trucks have four races in total for the weekend.
F1600 will bring together all of the up-and-coming single-seater racing hopefuls, and it is Pukekohe's Liam Lawson blazing the trail. Catching the eye after only two rounds is Liam Lawson, although Michael Scott has pushed him hard in an older chassis.
Local boy Jordan Michels will be hoping for a home advantage having put in a strong performance in Christchurch.
The national championship’s categories will be supported at the two-day event by three of the strongest South Island categories, hosting the ‘anything goes’ iconic OSCA category and the New Zealand Six field.
Testing takes place on Friday, with qualifying and racing on Saturday, and racing all day on Sunday.