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Jonny Reid makes international return with Tony Quinn, wants B12 Hour drive

Jonny Reid has become the latest New Zealander to sign on for a drive in the Australian GT Endurance Championship. The former A1GP ace will partner Tony Quinn in the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park owner's STIX McLaren 650S at this weekend's 501km Sydney Motorsport Park Australian GT enduro. 

 

“With the strong pedigree of the McLaren name, it's pretty cool to get in behind one and see what they're all about,” Reid told velocitynews.co.nz.

 

The deal to drive with Quinn came via a series of texts and phone calls between Reid, Quinn, and one of Quinn's former co-drivers Daniel Gaunt. 

 

“We [Gaunt and I] were talking on the phone, and I just sort of sowed the seed and said 'the North Island Endurance Series has finished in New Zealand, could you let me know if anything comes up on the other side of the Tasman'. The phone went down, and I didn't think too much more of it,” explained Reid.

 

“Then, Dan texted me asking if I was available since Tony Quinn was looking for somebody. So I gave Tony a call, and it was really that simple!”

 

The 33-year-old has a strong history at Sydney Motorsport Park, having scored multiple podium finishes there in the mid-'00s when the A1GP series regularly visited the facility. 

 

“It is a circuit that I enjoy. It's quite low grip, and it has a mix of fast corners, is slightly bumpy; all round it's a neat track to drive on. Really challenging. [...] The biggest hurdle will be adapting and getting comfortable in the car. But, not withstanding, it's a fun weekend. So I've got to keep that in the back of my mind. It's easy to get too competitive when you've been out of it for a while.”

 

Since departing from the Supercars Championship in 2013, Reid's spent most of his time on the sidelines supporting his young family and tending to his business in Auckland. However, growing interest in GT racing both at home and across the ditch has seen him return to the track to compete in the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series with International Motorsport and Neil Foster. And while this weekend's drive in the STIX McLaren is “a bit of fun”, Reid hopes that it will help him build up towards securing a drive in next year's Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

 

“For me it's all a bit of fun; my family life and my working life in Auckland are what I'm fully committed to these days, but it's good to get behind the wheel and steer some of these fine cars. 

 

“I'm a fiercely competitive person, it's only natural with the background that I've come through in the sport and the level I've been able to compete in. For me, staying in motorsport as long as I can is essential to my life. It's a passion of mine.

 

“[But] I'm pretty selective of the opportunities come my way. Driving with Neil Foster this year at International Motorsport was one that I really enjoyed, and I was able to give Neil a lot of my skill set and direct him with his driving and car set-up. And I also got to drive a neat car and build a great relationship.

 

“But driving this car, it could lead on to the Bathurst 12 Hours or something like that, which I certainly would look at. There's some stuff potentially happening in the background that may or may not come off, but that's part of the excitement of the process.”

 

Reid is one of seven New Zealanders that will compete in the endurance event; joined by Craig Baird, Dominic Storey, Graeme Smyth, Daniel Gaunt, and round-one winners Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans. The numbers are representative of a growing interest from Kiwis in GT racing. 

 

“To see Hampton Downs now hosting a 12-hour event potentially next year, that's just fantastic. We need more of that. To bring that all together, it starts to align an Oceania/Asia alliance within the GT categories, which I think is really important. There's plenty of interest, and plenty of money to be fair that the sport needs, and potential sponsorship opportunities that could spin off from events like that,” said Reid.

 

“I think it's really great, and the more it builds the better. The cars are phenomenal, it takes a lot to get one or even drive one ... they're expensive cars, but that sort of makes it the level it is. For a lot of people these cars are untouchable, I'm just fortunate enough with my previous experience I'm able to continue on today.”

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