Kiwi driver lines up for Australian GT event
Kiwi driver lining up for second Australian GT racing championship event
Former New Zealand V8 Touring Car champion John McIntyre has landed his second Australian GT racing opportunity of 2015.
Nelson-based McIntyre has been called up by Interlloy M Motorsport to drive with team owner Justin McMillan at this weekend’s fifth round of the Australian GT Championship at Melbourne’s Sandown Park.
The Sandown opportunity follows McIntyre’s GT3 racing debut with Kiwi Ferrari team Trass Family Motorsport at the Bathurst 12-Hour in February and a winning campaign with Southlander Inky Tulloch in the recently completed North Island Endurance Series at the wheel of the new Tulloch Motorsport Camaro GT3.
It’s the Camaro connection which has put McIntyre into the identical car of the Melbourne-based squad.M Motorsport is the Australasian agent for German company Reiter Engineering which builds both Lamborghini and Camaro GT3 cars.
Tulloch Motorsport’s Camaro was purchased via M Motorsport and the two teams have worked closely on developing the 7.9-litre V8-engined cars.
‘‘We had their team engineer Aaron Zampese working with us at the Pukekohe round and he helped us a lot,’’ said McIntyre.
‘‘We have put a lot of development work into the Camaro and Aaron suggested getting me in their car to continue that work.’’
It’s a one-off drive for McIntyre at Sandown where two 60-minute GT races are on the programme supporting the first V8 Supercar endurance round for 2015.
McMillan teamed with Jack Le Brocq at earlier events but Le Brocq has a V8 Supercar drive with Erebus Motorsport at Sandown.
McIntyre will then team with Tulloch and race against M Motorsport when the Australian GT series finishes it season in New Zealand at the Highlands event in November.
‘‘This is a good toe-in-the-water for me to get into the Australian GT Championship next year,’’ said McIntyre.
McIntyre says the GT3 scene is exploding in Australia.
‘‘There are two new teams at Sandown this weekend and seven new cars already ordered for next year.
‘‘I would really like to be on the grid for the Australian GT series especially as will be at least one — and quite likely two — rounds in New Zealand next year.
‘‘I’ve done a lot of touring cars in New Zealand and Australia and I’d love to have a V8 Supercar endurance drive. But GT is booming and has a wider window of opportunity in New Zealand, Australia and overseas at races like Spa and Daytona.
‘‘The Pro-Am nature of GT3 racing is what is making it work. It’s not set-up for pro driver teams.
‘‘It means a car owner can race the car themselves teamed with a pro driver. It’s a good business case and the mix seems to work really well.’’
In the Australian series that means leads to some complex strategy decisions as a driver rankings system leads to varying compulsory pit-stop times designed to equalise the competition.
‘‘I’m ranked as a Pro3 driver and Justin is Am3. It gives us a compulsory pit-stop of 42secs next weekend which is longer than most. But it will be enough to change tyres if we need to,’’ said McIntyre.
‘‘My job will be getting the car as good as it can be and then it’ll be figuring the best strategy for qualifying and when to take the compulsory pit stop.''
The Australian GT Series has Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning 60-minute races at Melbourne’s Sandown Park. McIntyre’s appearance increases the Kiwi involvement in the series alongside the Trass Family Motorsport Ferrari 458 of Jono Lester and Graeme Smyth.