The first of the V8 SuperTourer enduro races – the Father’s Day 400 at Taupo over the weekend of September 1 and 2 and the inaugural Ashley Stichbury Trophy that goes with it – looks to be wide open after the final driver line up for the event was confirmed last night.
The mouth-watering list includes both rising and established V8 stars and a selection of single seater racers with experience right up to Formula One and Indycar. Some of New Zealand’s best domestic series racers have also made the final list.
Christian Klien – former Jaguar, Red Bull, BMW and Hispania F1 race and test driver- heads the stars from single seaters. He has vast experience in Le Mans prototypes to back that up and will pair with Russell Ingall at Bathurst this year. Klien will drive with Geoff Emery in the second Supercheap Auto Holden Commodore.
Also lined up is Indycar racer and former two-time Indy Lights Champion Wade Cunningham. Matt Halliday – teamed with Ant Pedersen at International Motorsport – is another with extensive experience including CART single seaters and A1GP. Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen – who raced extensively and successfully for Team Holland in A1GP and twice European Porsche Cup champion joins ex-pat Colin Corkery in the Koba Batteries Ford Falcon V8ST.
NZ’s youngest Formula Ford champion and V8ST regular Andre Heimgartner is in the field with the vastly experienced Paul Morris, and of course, so is series title challenger and Black Beauty ace Jonny Reid, who is teamed up with Cunningham. Several of the other drivers also have international single seater experience, including double Toyota Race Series champion Daniel Gaunt in the Tasman car, current NZ V8 Ute Champion Andrew Waite, and last year’s Toyota Race Series champion Nick Cassidy, teamed with Jack Perkins in the iconic Number 51 Mike Pero M3 Racing Holden Commodore.
Big names from Aussie and New Zealand V8s include Craig Baird, Bathurst winner Steven Richards, John McIntyre, Kayne Scott, Andy Booth, Tony D’Alberto, Jono Webb, Angus Fogg and up and coming Kiwi ace Scott McLaughlin, who dominated the last V8 SuperTourer race meeting at Hampton Downs in the lead MPC Supercheap Auto Holden Commodore. Some 16 drivers in the field will be expected to be on duty at Bathurst in a few weeks.
The event – which features 40 drivers in 20 V8 SuperTourer Holden and Ford machines – will open with a unique qualifying format and back-to-back races on the Sunday, both featuring compulsory driver changes.
Testing on Saturday morning will comprise two one-hour sessions. In the first session either regular driver or the co-driver may drive the car, however, in the second session only the co-driver is permitted out on track. In the afternoon two qualifying sessions – one for each driver – will be run with a short 20 minute break in between.
Each driver must complete a qualifying session and times set by each will denote the team’s starting position for the two races on Sunday. In the races themselves, each driver must start a race before a compulsory driver swap between laps 30 and 40 occurs. Both races will be in excess of 200km and the teams can decide how much of that distance each driver completes within the defined 10 lap pit window. Whilst teams may change wheels, no refuelling is permitted.
FATHERS DAY 400 ENTRIES
Nick Cassidy/Jack Perkins M3 Racing Mike Pero Mortgages Holden Commodore V8ST
Paul Manuell/Scott Harrison M3 Racing ORIX Holden Commodore V8ST
Richard Moore/Owen Kelly M3 Racing Skinny Mobile Holden Commodore V8ST
Craig Baird/Chris Pither PSR West United Video Ford Falcon V8ST
Simon McLennan/Craig Innes M2 Motorsport Holden Commodore V8ST
Steve Richards/Will Bamber JMR CRC Motornews Ford Falcon V8ST
John McIntyre/Jono Lester JMR Blackwoods Protector Ford Falcon V8ST
Angus Fogg/Huge Gardiner Angus Fogg Racing Hydraulink Holden Commodore V8ST
Ant Pedersen/Matt Halliday International Motorsport Driven Ford Falcon V8ST
Jonny Reid/Wade Cunningham International Motorsport Driven Ford Falcon V8ST
Mitch Cunningham/Dean Canto International Motorsport Ford Falcon V8ST
Scott McLaughlin/Jono Webb MPR Supercheap Auto Holden Commodore V8ST
Geoff Emery/Christian Klien MPR Supercheap Auto Holden Commodore V8ST
Andre Heimgartner/Paul Morris AV8 Pink Batts/Superlux Holden Commodore V8ST
Andy Booth/Tony D’Alberto AV8 Woodstock Holden Commodore V8ST
Kayne Scott/Simon Evans Farmer Racing Services Peak Oil Holden Commodore V8ST
Colin Corkery/Jeroen Bleekemolen Racing Projects Koba Batteries Ford Falcon V8ST
Eddie Bell/Peter Sharmach Eddie Bell Racing Independent Fisheries Ford Falcon V8ST
Daniel Gaunt/Andrew Waite Tasman Motorsports Group Autotrader.co.nz/Valvoline Ford Falcon V8ST
Tim Edgell/Nick Chester Edgell Performance Racing Holden Commodore V8ST