Glen Chappel is raring to get back behind the wheel of his unique Diesel-powered BMW E87 150D for this year’s Golden Homes North Island Endurance Championship where he once again will be partnered by Shaun Varney.
The pair ran together in the New Zealand Endurance championship round at Hampton Downs late last year where they finished second in class, right behind the TTRS VLN Audi.
This year they are planning to go one better, with Chappel insisting the drivability and reliability of the car should put them right up the pointy end as championship contenders in the two-round series.
“The car is incredibly consistent, reliable and easy to drive,” Chappel told Velocity News.
“The car has had some minor tweaks between seasons with new brakes to solve some of the issues we were having last year.
“My aim with Shaun is to win our class in the three Hour. We know we can’t touch the likes of the Golden Homes Audi but have proved we are fast enough to beat the other guys in our class.
“With some superior reliability, we should be able to jump on any mistakes the Audi makes.
“For a diesel, we certainly are a lot faster than people think.”
Due to its broad power band and strong fuel economy, diesel has proven to be advantageous in endurance racing globally with diesel-powered cars winning illustrious events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Nürburgring, as well as the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Developed in by Saxton Motorsports in the UK, Chappel’s 150D was designed with the involvement of high-class Mercedes Formula 1 engineers.
Only three were reportedly made in the world with one costing roughly half-a-million dollars. For Chappel, he says the car is a blast to drive and it was immediately on the pace from its debut outing last year.
“The first race I entered the car in was the one hour at Hampton Downs last year in torrential rain,” he added. “But the car was incredible, and I came to grip really fast to end up ninth.
“I then ran at the second round of the South Island series at Highlands with Mike Eady and surprised a lot of people getting 10th overall and 1st in class, earning the best performance award overall for the round.
“Bit of a fun fact – we only consumed 114-litres for the entire race.
“It is so cool to drive and I feel confident we have a shot at winning our class. But I just love the New Zealand Endurance Series, both the North and South Island, because of the great range of cars from homebuilt rockets to modified V8 Supercars to brand new GT3s.”
Chappel has also run the 150D in the BMW Race Driver Series one hour and Bathurst All-Comers at the latest BMW festival from Hampton Downs.
The car is not the first diesel machine to have entered the North Island Endurance series with Maurice O’Reilly and Wayne Moore having previously run a VW Jetta TDI. But Chappel and Varney will be the only diesel-powered car on the 2020 grid.
The pair will also be contesting the one hour together in Varney’s BMW E46 which can deliver a powerful punch from its small-block LS7 engine under the bonnet.
The opening round of the North Island Endurance Championships will be on September 19 from Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.