Richards Team Motorsport will once again field two cars in the BNT NZ Touring Cars Championship, albeit with a new driver and brand.
Waipukurau’s Sam Barry will take the wheel of the Toyota Camry previously raced by Jason Bargwanna, with Bargwanna set to drive a Ford Falcon TLX recently purchased by the team.
Having enjoyed much success behind the wheel of the Camry, Bargwanna says he will relish the opportunity to race the Ford Falcon.
“We have worked hard on the Camry over the last few seasons and made the car a race winning, pole position scoring, lap record holding and championship winning combination. The Richards Team have what it takes to do the same with the Falcon so bring it on.”
Bargwanna expects the Falcon to be relatively similar to the Camry as the championship heads to Pukekohe in November for its opening round.
“I have driven this car many moons ago, but the reality of the rules means it should be very similar. It won’t have that Camry ‘bark’ we have grown to love, but it’s the same under the skin, the same gearbox, suspension and brakes. So I am very confident we will be there or there abouts with the rest of the field.”
Bargwanna says he is looking forward to working with new team mate Sam Barry, who proved to be fast in his Camry debut last season.
Jason Bargwanna (centre) celebrates a win at Taupo last season
“As the old bloke in the team now I am excited about sharing the info rattling around in my head. Sam has proven to be more than capable and fast, so I am looking forward to the challenge and both of us working to make the Richards Team champions again.”
“It’s a close team; they work hard and produce great racecars. Sam and I will push the competition and hopefully deliver a one-two. Over the years in New Zealand I have been fortunate to have Simon Evans, AJ lauder and Scott Taylor as teammates, and now I looking forward to working with Sam.”
For Sam Barry, the 2014/15 NZ V8 Ute Champion, who substituted for Bargwanna at the final round of the championship last season aboard the Camry, he has high hopes of his first full season in the class.
“After racing for Richards Team Motorsport in the Toyota Camry at the tail end of last season I have committed to race with the team in the 2016/17 season, due to the fact that I believe the team and the Toyota Camry are true Championship contenders,” says Barry.
Waipukurau’s Sam Barry
“Following on from my Class One debut last season and from also being taught so much by the team in regards to data and set-up, I believe we can hit the ground running at Pukekohe and run at the front end of the field.”
“I have set myself some goals for the season - finish every race, win multiple races, win a round and a Championship podium finish.”
“To have a teammate of Jason’s caliber is going to be unreal. I will be picking Jason's brain to help get every tenth out of the Toyota. With two cars in the team that are very similar, its going to really help aid my step up to the top class in NZ Motorsport.”
The BNT NZ Touring Cars will compete in a six round 2016/17 championship season starting at the Pukekohe V8 Supercar event November 4-6