NZV8 Touring Cars return to Pukekohe for more fast paced action

Jason Bargwanna 1st overall in the NZV8 Touring Cars TL opening round at Hampton Downs. pic:  Simon Honey

Jason Bargwanna 1st overall in the NZV8 Touring Cars TL opening round at Hampton Downs. pic: Simon Honey

Round Two of the NZV8 Touring Cars TLX and TL Goldstar Championship is already upon us with a return to Pukekohe Park Raceway where the series closed with a jaw dropping final round in April earlier this year.

Both the TLX and TL titles went to the heart of the North Island with Cambridge’s Nick Ross claiming the former and Hamilton’s Ian Booth the latter.

Both defending champions Ross and Booth will be competing in TLX cars this weekend with stiff rivalry coming from the Toyota garage where Australians Jason Bargwanna and Scott Taylor are teamed up ready for an action filled weekend.

Bargwanna, a well known and respected V8 Supercar driver, has been teamed up with Scott Taylor from the Gold Coast who has just completed his debut season in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup.

The pair will be aiming at giving Toyota their first ever NZV8TC title while Cambridge driver Nick Ross is striving to not only defend his title but become the first driver in New Zealand to win that same title for Nissan.

Earlier this month the NZV8 Touring Cars kicked off their six round season with their very first visit to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park south of Auckland.

The opening round wins in the two tier series went to Toyota Camry TLX driver Jason Bargwanna and Craig Baird in the Team Kiwi Racing Holden Commodore TL.

Bargwanna returns for his third season in the series looking to reclaim the title from Ross which he won in the 2012 season when the New Generation TLX race cars were introduced.

Australian based but Kiwi driver Baird receives a very warm welcome with his return to the NZV8s adopting a mentoring role for TKR’s academy driver while himself chasing the Goldstar Championship which he currently leads after one round.

Other returning drivers to the NZV8 Touring Cars include Aucklanders Kevin Williams who won the previous round at Pukekohe and the aggressive Andrew Anderson who remains the only driver to win a race outright against the newer TLX cars which he did in a very exciting reverse grid race at Manfeild in 2013.

In only his second year in the series Lower Hutt’s James McLaughlin has put out the challenge to the returning drivers and the rest of the field eyeing up this season’s championship which was in his grasp last season only to lose touch with it after an ill fated final round.

He demonstrated much speed and talent in his rookie season where he won the most rounds of anyone including Pukekohe, Timaru and Taupo but losing the title to Booth in the return to Pukekohe for the final.

As well as the usual excitement always offered by the NZV8 Touring Cars in both categories, a stronger and fiercer trans-Tasman rivalry has now been instigated with driver Scott Taylor taking the wheel of the Richards Team Motorsport Toyota Camry this weekend to partner with Jason Bargwanna.

An incredible battle is expected to erupt between the two Toyota drivers as they take on not one but two defending champions in Nick Ross and Ian Booth both driving rival NZV8 Touring Cars TLX race cars.

We can also expect current third placed driver Lance Hughes from Hamilton to become embrolied in the commotion throughout the weekend as he works hard to hold position or move up the table.

In the TL category is where we will be most likely to see more thrills and spills as the traditional Ford and Holden rivalry comes to life with drivers from around New Zealand all on the hunt for the NZV8 Touring Cars Goldstar Championship.

Veterans such as Baird, Andrew Anderson and Kevin Williams will be under much pressure from new comers to the NZV8s such as James McLaughlin and Brock Cooley from Wellington who both competed their first season last year.

After many years the older spec Holdens and Fords of the NZV8 Touring Cars continue to offer much in the way of thrills and spills with NZV8TC Chairman Ian Booth expecting it will not be so cut and dry this weekend in the hotly contested TL category.

“I’m hinging by bets on both Kevin Williams and James McLaughlin to give Craig Baird a run for his money. This is Kevin’s home track and will be very hard to beat plus James has shown speed at this track over the past couple of seasons.” he said.

Other drivers coming on board bringing their talents from other formulas are Brendan Murphy, Brad Lathrope, Nathan Pilcher and Steve Taylor all drivers who have the talent to compete for the title if they can come to grips with the NZV8 Touring Cars style of racing.

The weekend will most definitely be an exciting one with the swesome sounds of V8 powered Holdens, Fords, Toyotas and Nissan as they roar around the fast paced high speed and always full of action Pukekohe Park Raceway.

credit Simon Honey (NZV8TC)

NZV8 Touring Cars Schedule – Pukekohe Park Raceway

Friday
13:20 20 mins NZV8 Touring Cars Practice Session 1
15:40 20 mins NZV8 Touring Cars Practice Session 2
Saturday
11:35 20 mins NZ V8 Touring Cars Qualifying
15:30 Race 4 NZ V8 Touring Cars Race One 12 Laps
Sunday
11:45 Race 12 NZV8 Touring Cars Race Two 14 Laps
16:10 Race 19 NZV8 Touring Cars Race Three 20 Laps

Championship Standings (after Round One)
Jason Bargwanna Toyota Camry TLX 217
Nick Ross Nissan Altima TLX 209
Lance Hughes Holden Commodore TLX 174
Ian Booth Holden Commodore TLX 114
Scott Taylor Toyota Camry TLX 0

Craig Baird Holden Commodore TL 217
Kevin WIlliams Holden Commodore TL 209
James McLaughlin Holden Commodore TL 174
Steve Taylor Ford Falcon TL 143
Brad Lathrope Ford Falcon TL 138
Nathan Pilcher Holden Commodore TL 129
Brendan Murphy Holden Commodore TL 117
Andrew Anderson Holden Commodore TL 114
Brock Cooley Ford Falcon TL 90

NZV8 Touring Cars Schedule
November 1-2 Hampton Downs (completed)
November 29-30 Pukekohe Park Raceway
January 17-18 Ruapuna Raceway
January 24-25 Teretonga Park
February 14-15 Manfeild Park
April (tba) Pukekohe Park Raceway