Sunday, Sep 22 06:50pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Rookie racer Rhys Gould wins class on debut

Rhys Gould has burst onto the endurance racing scene with a dominant South Island Endurance Series class win alongside Gene Rollinson for Team Racer Products. 


Driving the first Hyundai i30 N TCR to arrive in New Zealand, Gould and Rollinson began their four-round campaign in the series on Saturday with sixth overall, first in Class B, and four laps clear of their nearest class rivals. 


The pair finished eight laps down, but ahead of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, V8-powered touring cars, and ex-World Touring Car Champions cars. 


Rollinson is set to contest the inaugural TCR New Zealand Series in 2020 as part of a two-car team. They’re currently awaiting the arrival of a second TCR car, which will debut next year in the five-round series. While Rollinson is confirmed, the Gould car is up for lease for next year's Sprint Series. 


Round 1 of the series took place at the world’s southernmost circuit, Teretonga Park, where Gould got his first chance to race the car. 


If the name sounds unfamiliar, it’s largely because Gould hasn’t had much motor racing experience before his South Island Endurance Series debut. Gould owns several late-model rear-wheel-drive muscle cars and has taken part in track days, but until now hasn’t raced competitively. 


“It’s all new to me, I haven’t done any racing ever, It’s probably the first race car I’ve sat in,” Gould told


“I wasn’t that nervous, but there was a little bit of the unknown at the back of my head. I’m not used to dealing with traffic and trying to understand how quick some of the top-end cars were. 


“We were doing a lot of passing as well because our car was quite quick through the corners so we were able to keep up with some of the faster cars. That’s all new to me, it’s quite close racing.”


It was a big undertaking for the newcomer who was thrown straight into the deep end with a long stint. Fortunately, Gould got up to speed quickly and was lapping in the low 61second bracket, not far off Rollinson’s class lap record-setting speed of 59.2seconds. 


Despite the car being new to him, Gould said he found the transition easy enough.


“It’s a magic car,” he said.


“I found it reasonably easy to drive. Adapting from a high horsepower rear-wheel-drive car, it’s certainly different. I enjoyed the challenge. A lot of it is seat-of-the-pants and dealing with it.


“My goal was just to finish. I didn’t have any other expectations other than hoping to finish. I’m pleased to have survived through an hour and a half in the car.


“It’s absolutely excellent to get a class win. I went as quick as I could but I was aware that it was an endurance race and I had to look after tyres as well. 


“I’m definitely looking forward to the next round and seeing how we go there.”


CLICK HERE for full Three Hour Series results




CLICK HERE for full Three Hour Series class results




Photos: Euan Cameron Photography