McIntyre and Richards expect performance lift at V8SuperTourers’ Christchurch round
V8SuperTourer drivers John McIntyre and Steve Richards are focused on qualifying well in their two FG Falcons when New Zealand’s newest V8 touring car series hits the track in Christchurch at Easter.
McIntyre, a three-time New Zealand V8 touring car champion, is very happy with the progress John McIntyre Racing has made in the last few weeks since completing the first-ever V8SuperTourer event in February.
“Collectively, as a team, we agree we didn’t perform as well as we expected at the opening round at Hampton Downs,” says Nelson-based McIntyre, who is currently sixth on the V8SuperTourers’ points-table.
“However sixth is still a strong position in a field of 17 and we’re really looking forward to racing at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway when the second round takes place in Christchurch over Easter.”
McIntyre adds: “Qualifying is the key to success in any high level motor racing championship. Once you are behind, you can only catch those in front by a very small margin each lap.”
Both McIntyre’s #47 Blackwood Protector Falcon and Richard’s #556 CRC Falcon have been completely stripped and put back together since the first round. McIntyre says JMR has upgraded some parts, like the gearbox, as have all V8SuperTourer teams.
“We were behind the 8-ball at round one when we were given a minimum weight for the cars just 30 minutes before qualifying and found our efficiently-built cars needed additional weight. Then Richo and the CRC car sustained damage from another driver in qualifying and then both races.
“Since then we’ve had a chance to press the reset button, taking the time to go over what we did wrong at Hampton Downs. We now have additional weight in the car where it balances the car correctly. Essentially we wanted to try to get the car back to how it was when we first tested at Taupo in January and fortunately had the opportunity to get out on our test track at Taupo for 15 laps yesterday [29 March] – that’s one of the beauties of having our race-shop just a few metres from the circuit in Taupo. I’m really happy with the progress we made and the resulting lap times.”
McIntyre has also added a full-time employee, a very experienced race mechanic Nathan Latham from Taupo, to the team.
With the V8SuperTourers competing at the tight, technical Powerbuilt circuit for the first time, McIntyre believes he’ll have the most fun he’s had at the Christchurch race track since he drove a Porsche GT3 car there in 2004.
“What’s needed at this circuit is grip, power and brakes and that’s what the V8SuperTourers have.
“Both Steve and I will keep building on our championship points. For me sixth is a good base to start from, and now we need to qualify up the front and race there – that goes for both cars. We would love to get our first win of the series, so with two cars and three races over the weekend, we have six chances as a team to win!”
Prior to the two-day Christchurch event, McIntyre is taking a road trip with both JMR FG Falcon V8SuperTourers and the two-car JMR transporter from Taupo, through his home region of Hawke’s Bay and hometown Nelson to visit sponsors and fans.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing fans in these areas – our Hawke’s Bay fans can look forward to seeing the V8SuperTourers in action at Manfeild at the end of April – and I’m sure there will be plenty of Nelson fans who head over to Christchurch for our event at Easter.”
For Richards, a Melbourne-based Kiwi, it will be his first-ever event at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway. “This is the first time that I've been to this circuit, so the two day race meeting format will provide some good challenges getting up to speed,” says the two-time Bathurst winner.
Richards is currently tenth on the V8SuperTourers championship leader-board.