Next weekend’s penultimate round of the 2023 Super Sprint Motorsport New Zealand Championship at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon will bring 143 cars to the circuit to compete in six different classes.
The Toyota 86 Championship will be joined by the Golden Homes GT New Zealand Championship, V8 Utes Championship, GTRNZ, and the final round of the 2022/23 North Island Formula Ford Series. D1NZ will also once again join the schedule.
Action begins on Friday, April 14, with a full day of practice sessions. Saturday brings qualifying sessions for each class and some race action before ending with the top-24 battle session for D1NZ.
Sunday sees a morning of race action and the D1NZ top-eight duels. That afternoon concludes the action with more racing ahead of the final rounds of D1NZ, which ends the event.
There’s plenty on the line in each of the championships competing, with New Zealand’s summer of motorsport beginning to wrap up.
The Manfeild round acts as the penultimate of the Toyota 8 Championship, which sees Brock Gilchrist holding a commanding 90-point lead over Clay Osborne, with Dion Pitt a further 86 points behind in third.
Tom Bewley will also be in the thick of the action, his Tom Bewley Motorsport team hosting a flood-affected family, providing accommodation, tickets and highly-sought hot-lap around the circuit.
GTRNZ bring the largest contingent to the venue with 50 competitors in total, divided into four classes split across two individual race groups. There are 19 competitors in the GT1 and GT2 field and 31 in the GT3 and GT4 group.
There’s a solid local influence in the GTRNZ entries, with Cameron Jones (Mazda RX7), Ross Thurston (Mitsubishi Evo), Nicola Van Rooijen (Mazda RX8), and Greg Browne (Honda) all looking to capitalise on a home-track advantage.
Kerry Jones currently leads the standings in his Corvette Tranzam, 47 points to the good of Wayne Conder (Corvette). The Hyundai SuperTourer of Todd Murphy sits third.
The GT New Zealand Championship concludes its season at the meet, with Marco Giltrap looking to close out the Open Class title in the Sixt Porsche 991, leading Mana Malmezac (Porsche 991) by just 32 points, who has Luke Manson (Porsche 991) close behind in third.
The always-quick Jono Lester will also return to action, partnering Francois Beziac.
Jono McFarlane (Mercedes) currently leads the GT4 category over Nigel Cromie (McLaren 570S) and Stephen Harrison (Aston Martin).
Dylan Grant has the opportunity to wrap up the North Island Formula Ford Championship at the event; the 18-year-old Aucklander currently leading Blake Dowdall by 33 points. Mason Potter also remains in the mix, just 2 points behind in third.
The championship remains open for the best performer over the weekend, with 302 points up for grabs. The season-finale, a 12-lap feature race, is also for double points meaning the championship is likely to come down to the very last race of the season.
Brad Kroef enters the Manfeild Super Sprint leading the V8 Utes Championship over Phil Ross, with Kroef’s father, Greg Kroef, sitting third.
Local Geoff Spencer is also included in the mix of what’s expected to be an extremely fast round of the age-old Ford vs. Holden battle.
Finally, D1NZ is currently being led by defending champion ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse. Ten competitors remain in contention for the title, with the Manfeild Super Sprint also acting as the penultimate round of the series.
While Woolhouse has the added pressure of entering the event as series leader, his experience will be of benefit on a track that traditionally favours the more experienced competitors. The final corner, which starts fast and tightens on the exit, will be an area of interest throughout the weekend.
Sunday’s action will all be televised live on Sky Sport from 9 am and free-to-air on TV3 from 1 pm.
Header Image: Mana Malmezac’s Porsche 991, which sits second in the GT New Zealand Championship. Image: Shots by TayB (Tayler Burke)
Additional Reporting: Supplied (NZ Motorsport Group)