Thirty-four cars have been confirmed for this year’s Golden Homes North Island Endurance one-hour season-opener at Hampton Downs this coming Saturday with drivers excited to hit the track.
The one-hour often sees an impressive field of GT and V8 machinery battling among a mix of home-built race cars. This year has also seen the introduction of pro-drivers to the series for the first time.
Previously reserved as a championship for amateur drivers, event organisers decided to open up the event eligibility in bid to entice more entrants in the Covid-enforced delayed start to the series.
The first ‘Pro’ driver that agreed to contest the series is ex-New Zealand SuperTourer driver Tim Edgell. Campaigning his ITM-backed modified Holden SuperTourer, Edgell says he is a fan of the all-comers concept and is expecting a competitive race.
“In regards to car changes we have made from the standard SuperTourer V8 are an exhaust system, intake manifold and camshaft. I am now running on a Michelin tyre,” Edgell said.
“I am very excited to be running in the NIERDC series as I love the all-comers concept. Also, the field for the one-hour race is very competitive which should make for a great race.”
V8 muscle might be a little down on horsepower than the GT3 cars which have proved to be the car of choice in recent seasons.
But ENZED Central Muscle Cars former champion Dean Perkins says that won’t affect his race preparations as he wheels out his ground-shaking Ford Falcon XD.
“Just the same old muscle for me,” said Perkins. “I just change it over to touring car wheels and we put a bigger fuel tank in and just have a bit of fun.”
The one-hour is also known for playing host to some rare race cars scattered across the country, and this year will see a 2008 Seat Leon Supercopa take to the grid.
A modified version of the Seat Leon, the Supercopa was used for a one-make race series that ran in Europe between 2002 and 2015.
For driver Allan Sargeant, this weekend won’t only be his debut race outing in the Supercopa but will also be the first ever time he grids up for a race.
“This is my first-ever car race, so just starting and finishing will be an achievement for me, anything else will be a bonus,” Sargeant said.
“I purchased my car in February from Highlands and finally got it to Auckland in May. It’s a 2008 Seat Leon Supercopa and the livery will be completed tomorrow.
“I never knew if I would be any good [with the car] but turns out I’m more than capable. This was the first race car I have ever driven but given the practice I’ve had, I was given some positive comments so decided to enter.
“You only live once, so why not give it a go.”
The one-hour field will have a 30-minute qualifying from 9.40 am which will determine the grid for the main race which gets underway from 11.30.
Main Image: Matt Smith