Reigning Class B New Zealand Endurance Champion Lochlainn Fitzgerald-Symes will be teaming up with international TCR endurance racing exponent Rowan Shepherd in an Audi RS3 LMS TCR for his debut Carters Tyres South Island Endurance Series campaign.
The car will be run by the Highlands-based team Track Tec Racing who will be benefitting from the Covid-disrupted plans of Shepherd who initially was set to contest TCR 24-hour races with Holmgaard Motorsport in Spain, Italy and Portugal.
A respected endurance racer, Fitzgerald-Symes competed in a Honda Civic TCR last year in the North Island Endurance Series and this year will be running double duty as he zig-zags up and down the country between both the North and South Island championships.
He will then look to stay with Track Tec in the Audi TCR for the national endurance grand finale from Highlands Motorsport Park on November 7.
Fitzgerald-Symes first contested the North Island Endurance Series in a SEAT Supacopa before stepping into a Honda Civic TCR, twice finishing as runner-up in his class before finally snaring that elusive maiden crown in 2018.
His North Island Championship campaign last season was abruptly halted due to a road crash but he returned to the New Zealand championship held from Hampton Downs rejuvenated with determination and together with Matt Penney was able win the three-hour national title.
A fan of the TCR platform, Fitzgerald-Symes says he is excited to share his South Island campaign alongside the knowledgeable Shepherd and believes with some clean races that they should be a formidable opponent in their class.
“[TCR] cars are super competitive and can really push the more powerful cars in the other classes with our superior braking and cornering speeds,” he said.
“I’m super excited to be sharing the drive with Rowan, racing for Track Tec Racing and truly believe if we keep it clean and stay patient have every chance of taking out the titles”
Track Tec Racing team manager Carmen Doran also added praise to Fitzgerald-Symes, suggesting she doesn’t expect the unfamiliar South Island circuits will prove to be too much of a challenge for the experienced TCR pilot.
“Lochlainn and Rowan make a great pairing in the TCR category having clocked many, many endurance miles between them.
“The South Island tracks will be new to Lochlainn so we, at Track Tec Racing are looking to support his learning curve and give him a new challenge all at the same time.”
Husband and wife team Debbie and Dennis Chapman are also set to return to the South Island series in a sister Track Tec-prepared TCR.
This year’s South Island Endurance Series will be staged over three rounds kicking off from Teretonga Park on September 12 before races at Ruapuna and Levels Raceway on October 3 and 17 respectively.