Glenn Smith will reunite with long-time co-driver John De Veth for this weekend’s second round of the Carters Tyres South Island Endurance Series at Ruapuna.
The pair are the reigning North Island Endurance Series three-hour champions. But they split at last month’s opener as De Veth continued to elevate his recovery after two knee surgeries.
In De Veth’s place was three-time Porsche Carrera Cup champion Chris van der Drift. The Hampton Downs-based driver instead slotted into the second SBT Motorsport McLaren 650s for the one-hour race where he dominated from start to finish.
Smith and van der Drift would go on to win the three-hour race by an emphatic two laps.
De Veth has since declared himself fit enough to join Smith on the team’s venture south, adding to the growing list of the top GT E Class machinery.
The other addition from the North Island is the International Motorsport-run Audi R8 LMS of Andrew Fawcett and Sam Filmore. The two were the next across the stripe behind the SBT McLaren at Hampton Downs a fortnight ago and will link up with the sister R8 of Johnny Reid and Neil Foster.
Reid and Foster got the edge on Smith and De Veth in last year’s National Championship race at Hampton Downs. Still, the McLaren duo will be out for revenge after their double crushing performance in the North Island round.
After a disappointing North Island opener, current points leaders of the South Island championship Darren Kelly and Alex Riberas will be hoping for another consistent performance in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.
John McIntyre and Simon Gilbertson experience an oil leak in the final hour of the first South Island round in their V8 Camaro. But the team were buoyed by their one-lap pace demonstrated at Teretonga. They will be eager to unleash the car’s full potential this weekend.
As confirmed by Velocity News earlier in the week, four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy will partner with Dwayne Carter in the Carters Tyres Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the remaining two rounds of the championship.
This weekend will have free entry for spectators and will be live-streamed via The Heart of Racing Team.
The third and final round will take place at Timaru International Raceway 17 October.