John de Veth will not be racing in this year’s South Island Endurance Series, with Nick Chester slotting alongside Glenn Smith at SBT Motorsport.
Last year, De Veth underwent knee surgery, which resulted in a total knee replacement.
He claimed the 2020 North Island one-hour series despite bearing some discomfort levels with a clean sweep of wins.
This year, he successfully defended his one-hour title and joined long-time co-driver Smith in a McLaren 650s GT3 for the three-hour series.
The two were then planning on contesting the four-round South Island series, which begins at Teretonga next month.
Unfortunately, a knee joint infection picked up earlier this month means De Veth will not be racing in the mainland.
“I will be out for some time while drugs try to get rid of the infection,” De Veth said.
“I was so gutted and couldn’t believe it and got a bit down.
“But since [then I’ve] been watching the Paralympics from the sofa. I am in awe of a lot of them, so that has probably been good for me.”
Taking De Veth’s spot is experienced New Zealand touring car and V8 driver Chester.
Chester is perhaps best known for his viciously fast souped-up Holden VZ Commodore.
He has won several national V8 races and the 2019 New Zealand one-hour endurance championship in the car.
Chester and Smith are now the latest confirmed line-up to tackle this year’s South Island three-hour series.
Their McLaren 650s will be up against a profusion of exotic GT3 rivals, including a rival McLaren 720s GT3 run by International Motorsport.
“I wish I could be there and wish them well,” De Veth said.
“At least I will be able to watch it live on Sky Sport. I will be cheering for them.”
Main Image: Matt Smith