Teretonga set for a spectacle

By Lindsay Beer on Thu, 10 Jan 2013 | Motorsport
| Image 1 of 1 |
Lower Hutt driver Shane Gray in his Team Quality Kenworth 408 SAR. Gray will be a leading runner in the Super Truck races brought to Teretonga by Mobil Delvac 1 this weekend. Photo: Euan Cameron

All roads lead to Teretonga Park near Invercargill this weekend as the premier summer series race meeting takes place at the circuit with Super Trucks, NZV8s and the Toyota Racing Series heading the bill.

A fantastic weekend is in store with several exciting features including the return of Super Trucks after a long absence, the debut of new generation cars and the introduction of new brands to the NZV8s Championship and a field of some of the worlds most promising young drivers in the Toyota Racing Series.

The support of Mobil Delvac 1 has allowed the behemoths of motorsport - the Super Trucks - to return to the south with a tinge of Trans Tasman rivalry.

Top Australian Steven Zammit of New South Wales is the current New Zealand and Trans Tasman Champion as well as a former Australian Super Truck Champion and as such will be the man to beat. Up against him is New Zealand's top hope Shane Gray of Lower Hutt who will take the battle to Zammit in his Team Quality Kenworth 408 SAR. Gray was on target to win the New Zealand Championship last season when, needing only a finish to take the title, a frost plug blew at the final.

John Hepburn of Timaru will take the wheel of John McGinty's very successful W900 Kenworth this weekend. Hepburn needs no introduction to motorsport fans. He is a former NZ Motorcycle and Super Truck Champion and a regular in the NZV8s in recent times and will add some real spice to the battle.

Troy Wheeler of Papakura will line up in the ex-Denny Hulme Scania T114 while Brent Jones of Ashburton in a Bedford and Ken Rowe of Hamilton in the Eagle Spares Kenworth have also made the trip south.

Teretonga will be the scene of the championship debut for the new generation NZV8 cars plus also the first appearance of a manufacturer other than Ford or Holden in the class.

Former Australian V8 Supercar star Jason Bargwanna will be the favourite for this years championship in the new generation Tulloch Motorsport Holden Commodore after coming so close to the title last season. Hamilton driver Nick Ross is also in one of the new Commodores while Albany driver Hadyn MacKenzie may be present in a new generation Falcon.

A lot of interest will focus on the performance of the new V8 Toyota Camry this weekend. Hamilton driver Martin Short will debut the car after showing fine form in last years championship.

In the older NZV8s, which are contesting the NZ Gold Star title, much interest will centre on Suzuki Swift Sport Cup graduates, Turua brothers AJ and Brad Lauder, aged just 18 and 16 respectively. AJ is the current Suzuki Swift Sport Cup Champion. Also making his NZV8 debut is 15-year-old Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald in a Falcon.

The Toyota Racing Series has again attracted drivers from around the globe with an outstanding line up of young talent.

Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Austria, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Singapore, Thailand, England, Colombia, Malaysia and Norway are all represented on the grid with just three kiwis - defending champion Nick Cassidy, Invercargill's Damon Leitch in his Post Haste Couriers Tatuus and newcomer Michael Scott. Leitch was outstanding last year finishing third in the championship against a large international field who race all year round.

Brendon Leitch, the younger brother of Damon, begins his NZ Formula Ford Championship campaign at Teretonga after also finishing third last year in his EH Ball / ITM Stealth.

Also on the programme are the Sports GT and Production GT classes which should provide some outstanding racing.

To celebrate the return of trucks to the circuit a Show n Shine for trucks will be held on the outfield along with a competition where children can win rides in some of the vehicles on display.

Tickets are available from Auto Centre, 105 Tweed Street, Invercargill, E Hayes & Sons 168 Dee Street, Invercargill or online at teretonga.org.nz

A full weekend pass pre-purchased is just $30 while at the gate the weekend pass will cost $35. A Sunday only pass is $25 while a Saturday only pass is $15.00. Children under 14 are free.

The action is due to get underway at 9am on booth Saturday and Sunday.

Full information on the Southland Sports Car Club 2012/2013 season can be found at - www.teretonga.org.nz