If last year is anything to go by when the NZV8 Touring Cars hit Invercargill’s Teretonga Park this
weekend there will be plenty of rumble and tumble action for all to see.
Now at the halfway point of their season the pressure is on for race wins and maximum points as the end of the title chase comes into view and where the point differences between drivers become more and more significant.
Invercargill driver Liam McDonald won the round in the NZV8 Touring Cars TL Championship at Teretonga Park this time last year at just 16 years old.
And just last weekend the youngster placed third overall at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna in Christchurch and appears to be in fine form driving the 201112 championship winning Ford Falcon of Angus Fogg.
Another local driver Grant Molloy grabbed everyone’s attention last year at Teretonga when he and Auckland driver Shaun Varney went hurtling down the main straight at full speed but sideways after being caught up in a multiple car incident.
Fortunately and a credit to safety precautions there were no injuries to any of the drivers or spectators but gave an exciting spectacle for the viewing fans adding to the weekend’s V8 powered thrills.
Molloy ran a strong campaign last year finishing sixth even when unable to compete at Manfeild but has missed the first two rounds of this season catching up with the series just last weekend at Ruapuna.
Nathan Pilcher from Winton is another Southlander who has been competing well in this his first full season and currently sits in fifth place in the championship.
Auckland’s Kevin Williams is leading at the halfway point of the NZV8 Touring Cars TL Championship ahead of Queensland based kiwi Craig Baird and Hamilton’s Steve Taylor.
In the NZV8 Touring Cars TLX category Australia’s Jason Bargwanna is currently leading ahead of defending champion Nick Ross from Cambridge and Hamilton’s Lance Hughes.
Both Williams and Bargwanna are on quite the winning streak with each driver claiming the past two round wins in their respective categories with clean sweeps of three race wins from both Pukekohe and Ruapuna.
This weekend promises to be an exciting one with some solid competition throughout the field and also between the local drivers who will be closely matched.
For the leading drivers in the two categories there will be much heat put on them with both having very stiff rivals on their tails.
Returning to the series and now driving a Holden TL for Team Kiwi Racing, iconic driver Craig Baird was leading the title chase after the first round at Hampton Downs only to have it snatched away from him at Pukekohe after suffering a drivethrough and a time penalty in two of the three races.
Last weekend at Ruapuna TKR were forced to change engines in the Holden TL leaving Baird out of race one and contesting the other two races with an engine producing less power than their number one powerplant.
He was unable to secure any race wins from the weekend and now trails Williams in the NZV8 Touring Cars TL Championship by 139 points.
In the NZV8 TLX category Toyota driver Bargwanna and Nissan driver Nick Ross continue to fight tooth and nail over the title, a stiff rivalry which has continued race by race, round by round since the inaugural season of the New Generation TLX cars in 2013.
Both drivers have won the title after two completed seasons but it is Bargwanna that has the upper hand at the halfway point this time around.
Bargwanna’s Toyota has been slightly quicker than the brand new Nissan something that the Concept Motorsport team are working hard on in their first season with the car after moving from their championship winnning Holden.
Bargwanna leads Ross by 667 to 593 with Lance Hughes in third on 456.
In his rookie year Australian driver and Bargwanna’s team mate Scott Taylor sits in fourth place after missing the opening round and made the podium for the first time placing third last weekend at Ruapuna.
The NZV8 Touring Cars action gets underway at Teretonga Park this Saturday the 24th January at 11.40am with a qualification session followed by their first race of the weekend with a 12 lap sprint starting at 3.30pm.
On Sunday the V8 powered action continues with a top five reverse grid 14 lap race at 11.24am and then the final NZV8 Touring Cars race of the weekend starts at 3.59pm and is 22 laps including a mandatory wheel change for the TLX cars.
NZV8 Touring Cars Points Standings
Category TL Championship
Pos Car No. Name Car Hometown Total Rd1 Rd2 Rd3
1 8 Kevin Williams Holden Manukau City, NZ 659 209 225 225
2 21 Craig Baird Holden Gold Coast, Aus 520 217 176 127
3 33 Steve Taylor Ford Hamilton, NZ 448 143 170 135
4 73 Brad Lathrope Ford Auckland, NZ 437 136 168 133
5 55 Nathan Pilcher Holden Winton, NZ 386 129 136 121
6 23 Brendan Murphy Holden Wellington, NZ 379 117 139 123
7 111 Brock Cooley Ford Wellington, NZ 252 90 162 0
8 5 Jamie Gaskin Ford Wellington, NZ 188 0 0 188
9 2 James McLaughlin Holden Lower Hutt. NZ 174 174 0 0
10 69 Liam MacDonald Ford Invercargill, NZ 169 0 0 169
11 99 Grant Molloy Ford Invercargill, NZ 144 0 0 144
12 70 Andrew Anderson Holden Auckland, NZ 114 114 0 0
Category TLX Series New Generation Cars
Pos Car No. Name Car Hometown Total Rd1 Rd2 Rd3
1 02 Jason Bargwanna Toyota Warragul, Australia 667 217 225
2 1 Nick Ross Nissan Cambridge, NZ 593 209 201 183
3 84 Lance Hughes Holden Hamilton, NZ 456 174 168 114
4 22 Scott Taylor Toyota Gold Coast, Australia 321 0 147 174
5 007 Ian Booth Holden Hamilton, NZ 288 114 174 0
6 007 Bronson Porter Holden Hamilton, NZ 67 0 0 67
Updated 18/1/15 after Round 3 of 6
NZV8 Touring Cars Calendar
November 12 Hampton Downs (completed)
November 2930 Pukekohe Park Raceway (completed)
January 1718 Ruapuna Raceway (completed)
January 2425 Teretonga Park
February 1415 Manfeild Park
April 2526 Pukekohe Park Raceway