Matt Halliday and Wade Cunningham secured for Taupo enduro
Kiwi V8 SuperTourer team International Motorsport has signed US-based New Zealanders Matt Halliday and Wade Cunningham for the endurance rounds starting with the Father’s Day 400 at Taupo from September 1-2.
Halliday, who has a wealth of touring car experience including regular seats with V8 Supercar teams, will partner young Ant Pedersen in the #96 Falcon.
Indy 500 starter and Indy Lights winner Cunningham will side with Jonny Reid in the #2 Falcon.
The latest signings come as the V8 SuperTourer category prepares for the first of three endurance rounds with Pukekohe Park Raceway the second round from October 27-28 while Powerbuilt Tools Raceway in Christchurch will hold the finale from November 24-25.
The completion of the pairings are a major boost for International Motorsport which enjoyed success in the maiden V8 SuperTourer Sprint rounds earlier this year.
Team manager Nick Williamson is confident that Halliday and Cunningham give his squad the best possible chance of success.
“Matt and Wade have both driven and worked for the team before and have complementary skills in terms of the drivers we are pairing them with,” Williamson said.
“Matt, for instance, has quite a long history now of co-driving in the V8 Supercar series in Australia, and though Wade is still very much known as a single-seater specialist we liked what we saw when we ran him in an endurance race at Hampton Downs a couple of years ago so we think he will adapt fairly quickly to a purpose-built race car like the V8SuperTourer.”
Halliday bases himself in Los Angeles but he is a frequent commuter to Australian V8 long distance races and also competes in Europe where he has driven in the FIA Gt1 championship where he won from pole position at Belgium’s Zolder circuit earlier this year.
The 33-year-old Halliday has a busy schedule coming up as he is also booked to drive with Dean Fiore in a Dick Johnson Racing-prepared Jim Beam Falcon at Sandown and Bathurst.
Cunningham is a single-seater specialist where he has the unique double of winning a World Karting Championship (2003) and and Indy Lights title (2005).
He has won the Freedom 500 Indy Lights support race at the Indianapolis 500 three times.
Cunningham qualified in the Indy 500 back in May but was an earlier retirement with mechanical issues.
Both drivers are buoyant about being part of the V8 SuperTourers show in its first year which has become New Zealand’s premier touring car class.
“International Motorsport is a great team and I have driven for them many times over the years. The series looks very strong and I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Halliday said.
“It’s a new challenge and one I’m also looking forward to,” said Cunningham.
“It’s a purpose-built race car with a decent amount of power and International Motorsport is a professional team so I know I will be looked after.”
The Father’s Day 400 at Taupo’s renamed Ricoh Motorsport Park comprises two 200km races with a break in between for refuelling and car inspections.
There remains a handful of co-driver seats yet to be announced however the category is confident more key international signings will be revealed soon.