Shane Helms and Greg Murphy have been confirmed to run a Renault R.S 01 in this year’s Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series.
Helms, who has owned the car for the past two-and-a-half years, will get his first opportunity to put the R.S 01 through its paces in a race meeting.
His co-driver, Murphy, is a four-time Bathurst 1000 winner who steered a Mercedes AMG GT3 in the South Island Endurance Series last year. However, Murphy’s experience behind the wheel of the R.S 01 remains minimal.
“We haven’t tested the car much at all,” Race Lab team manager Neil Garner told Velocity News.
“Shane is very much a gentleman driver and is still getting up to speed with the car and all the aero.
“Greg has only done a few hotlaps with customers. So, we are a little on the back foot.”
The R.S 01 features a V6 twin-turbo engine from a Nissan GT-R with a full carbon chassis designed by Italian manufacturer Dallara.
The car was initially built for a one-make championship over in Europe starting in 2015.
At the time, the car was quicker than its GT3 rivals. However, the series shortly disbanded after two seasons.
Renault then chose to expand the R.S 01 into global GT3 racing, meaning the car was detuned and given added weight. The car’s ride height and aerodynamic package were also modified to comply with international GT3 rules.
The R.S 01 that Helms and Murphy will race in the four-round series is the same GT3-spec package that it was in Europe.
“It will be interesting to see where we are,” Garner said when asked how competitive he believes the R.S 01 will be. “I don’t think we run away with it at all.
“We are not huge on horsepower. The unrestricted GT3 cars also racing in the series will have more power. But the car does have a lot of aero to help it.
“The car has also never been to Pukekohe. So, we don’t know how well it goes with all the bumps.
“But we are all excited to see how the car goes. It will be nice to be up the front and winning races, but I don’t know where we are.”
This year’s North Island Endurance Series also brings about new technical rules to level out the playing field.
The most significant of these include banning carbon fibre brake rotors and the right for the series to restrict the performance of any car they believe makes the competition unfair.
Round One of the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series will be at Pukekohe Park on May 8-9.