It’s one GT-R out and another one in for this Saturday’s South Island Endurance Series at Levels Raceway as championship leaders Hamilton Motorsport are forced out of the event.
As the team’s name gives away, the squad are based in Waikato and went back to the province after the Highlands season opener.
Consequently, the team are now stuck there because of a recent change in Covid Alert Levels, isolating Waikato from the rest of the country.
What it means is there will be a different winner in the three-hour this weekend.
And filling the vacant hole is another Nissan GT-R GT3, driven by Anthony Leighs and Tom Alexander.
SBT Motorsport’s Glenn Smith steered his McLaren 650S GT3 to third place in Highlands. The team claimed pole position but struck misfortune in the race with an inexplicable tyre puncture.
Smith will have Damon Leitch as his co-driver this weekend.
Scott O’Donnell and Allan Dippie return in the Porsche 991 GT3R, which proved handy in round one after being out of action for a few seasons.
Collins Motorsport have recently finished installing a new gearbox for their MARC II V8. The team and their driver pairing of Nick Ross and Sam Collins were quick at Highlands and expected to be a darkhorse again this weekend.
Hayden Paddon and Martin Dippie also suffered mechanical issues in race one. Both will be gunning for a big bounce back in Timaru.
Ryan Wood dominated the Class C and D one-hour opener. The 17-year-old was competing in his first endurance race but looked right at home in his first-generation 991.
He returns with another win solely on his mind.
Brothers Chris and Johnny Small will be out to spoil Wood’s party on their home turf. The Timaru locals incurred a brake drama in round one, which ended their day early.
Andre Simon won the Class A and B one-hour, albeit with some luck with a safety car.
He has never driven at Levels before and has put in some work on his home simulator to get up to speed.
He was hard pushed by Scott O’Donnell in the Hyundai i30 N TCR, who eventually finished third after a radio problem hindered their race.
Testing is on Friday before qualifying begins on 9 am, Saturday.
Main Image: Euan Cameron