Glenn Smith and John de Veth will have to overcome a 55kg Balance of Performance in this weekend’s North Island Endurance one-hour finale.
Smith and De Veth have comfortably won all three one-hour races this season in the SBT Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3, a testament to their driver skill and the sheer speed of the car.
With the one-hour title almost now a certainty for the pair, their push for a clean sweep of victories this weekend at Pukekohe will now face a new hurdle.
Series organisers announced at the start of the season a change to the regulations that allowed them to handicap cars they believe make the competition unfair.
The measures are to ensure the playing field is level and allowing more drivers to win races.
Smith and De Veth are the first entrants to face the handicap.
This weekend’s finale at Pukekohe is set for another mammoth grid for its one-hour, with 33 confirmed entries.
Second in the championship, Anthony Leighs heads to a circuit he experienced earlier in the year on his debut in the Blackbull Markets Audi R8 GT3.
He will be hoping to pounce on the McLaren’s weight disadvantage in pursuit of a breakthrough win.
A host of SuperTourer and NZV8s have been confirmed for the one-hour race.
These include Simon Evans, who is co-driving with Brady Wild in his former souped-up Commodore, and Richie Stanaway in a V8 Toyota Camry on his return to racing since exiting the Supercars championship.
Interestingly, Stanaway’s co-driver for this year’s Bathurst 1000 wildcard, Greg Murphy, will be racing in the three-hour race in an Audi TT RS VLN.
Thirteen cars are confirmed for the three-hour finale.
However, the absence of championship leaders Jonny Reid and Neil Foster this weekend will make for an interesting series points conundrum.
The Heart of Racing Aston Martin steered by Alex Riberas and Darren Kelly are hot favourites for the win given their form this year.
The pair also claimed their sole victory this season at the South Auckland venue last month.
Smith and De Veth will pilot their second McLaren 650s GT3, while Lance Hughes and Chris van der Drift aim to capitalise on their impressive speed at Pukekohe in round one for a competitive finale in the Nissan GT-R.
Andrew Fawcett and Sam Fillmore will drive the lone Audi R8 LMS this weekend.
Action begins on Saturday with practice and qualifying, while racing is on Sunday.
Trackside entry is free for all spectators, and the one- and three-hour races are broadcast live on Sky Sport.
Main Image: Matt Smith