SOUTHLANDERS will more than likely be watching a future Formula 1 star or two when they attend this weekend’s SpeedWorks Events Motorsport New Zealand Premier Championship race meeting at Teretonga Park.
Over the past few years drivers such as Daniil Kvyat of Russia, Kiwi Brendon Hartley and Canadian Lance Stroll have all competed there before going on to Formula 1 stardom, while others such as Lando Norris are close to that achievement. This year Richard Verschoor of the Netherlands, part of the Red Bull Junior Team, and New Zealand’s own Marcus Armstrong, who is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, are two who could make the same progression. Local driver Brendon Leitch has shown that he can be more than competitive at this level and would dearly love to bounce back after a tough opening round at his home circuit. Drivers from the United States, France, Russia, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Guyana and of course New Zealand grace the grid.
The BNT V8s and the NZ Super Trucks are two other headline categories at the event. Southlanders love the big V8s and this year former Australian Supercar star, Jason Bargwanna, and his team-mate in the Toyota team, Andre Heimgartner, who is destined for a full-time Supercar drive with Nissan in this year’s Australian Supercar Championship, are the men to beat in the class.
Chasing them hard will be Nick Ross, from Cambridge, in his Nissan Altima and Australian Jack Smith in a Commodore. In Class 2 Southlanders will have Liam MacDonald, the defending champion, to cheer on as he leads the series again this year. His main opposition this season comes from Chelsea Herbert, of Auckland.
The NZ Super Trucks always attract a crowd with their unbelievable racing. Defending Champion Troy Wheeler returns while local hopes rest with Garry Price, of Winton, a winner at Teretonga last season.
Southlanders will be to the fore in the F1600 Championship with Jordan Michels and Ethan Anderson frontrunners along with their chief rivals, 13-year-old Callum Hedge, of Pukekohe, Josh Bethune, of Auckland, and Bailey Paterson, of Christchurch.
Southlanders also feature in the class battles with Noel Atley and his grandson Joseph Oliver prominent in Class 2 and 3 respectively.
After spending much of the Christmas period testing his Australian Formula Ford car at Teretonga, Australian Tommy Smith will race a leased car at this round.
The Toyota 86 Series will be a hard-fought category where many more of New Zealand’s up and coming young stars can be found.
Racing should be extremely close around Teretonga with plenty in the field capable of winning.
Other classes include OSCA Saloons with some very fast saloons, and the Pirelli Porsche Series, while a new addition this year is the Speedworks Rush Hour race utilising the southern twilight on Saturday evening. The Rush Hour is expected to bring some spectacular machinery to the grid.
Southlanders generally support this meeting in big numbers and that sort of support will help the Southland Sports Car Club continue to host this international event in years to come. The Southland Sports Car Club is indebted to the assistance of the Invercargill Licensing Trust and the Invercargill City Council to enable this event to be brought to the south.
Discounted presale tickets are available at www.speedworksevents.co.nz Auto Centre, Tweed St, Invercargill, E Hayes & Sons, Dee St, Invercargill, Russell Keeler Automotive, 20 Gorton St, Gore, and at Hansens Auto Services, Industrial Pl, Queenstown.