Giant-killing Kiwi combo hoping for Highlands repeat
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New Zealand-driven Nissan GT-R one to watch at the Highlands 101
Following a notable 11th-place finish at the Hampton Downs 101 late last month, Kiwi drivers Clark Proctor and Andrew Porter are looking to learn even more about their newly acquired Nissan Nismo GT-R GT3 this weekend at the Highlands 101 event in Cromwell — the final round of the Australian GT Endurance Championship.
“Andrew and I were both absolutely wrapped with the result that we achieved,” Proctor told Driven.co.nz.
“We made no bones about, we thought if we were able to get a top 20 we'd be doing good. Then quite a few cars went out prior to the start of the race, and we thought well 20th was where we were wanting to aim — but all of a sudden there was only 23 cars. So we thought to try for 15th — so to get 11th was fantastic.
“But oh for a safety car 50 meters earlier and we would've finished seventh, which would've been stunning.”
While the pairing's striking GT-R GT3 is one of a large selection of GT3-spec cars competing at this weekend's meeting, it's also one of the only ones that will stay in the country — as one of only a handful of locally owned examples.
While Proctor is a veteran to competing in R35 GT-Rs, having raced them many times in Targa New Zealand competition, the GT3 beast represents a whole new challenge.
“One thing that was interesting was that at Hampton Downs our road cars, our souped up road cars, were actually going 20kmh faster over the start-finish line than this GT3 thing. But of course it all gets ugly on a standard car to brake, whereas these things the braking force is so great.
“In fact we were losing a significant amount of time even in the fastest corner last weekend to the top guys —up to two seconds to some people just in one corner. So it's just learning the braking technique and understanding the corner speed using the aerodynamics that these cars possess.
“It's just a confidence thing, it'll come with time.”
Proctor aims to expand his motorsport program for next season to include racing the GT3 in the North and South Island Endurance Series', as well as the New Zealand Endurance Championship that comprises the quickest entries from each series.
“We want to do New Zealand endurance events; both North Island and South Island, and New Zealand championship. And we intend to take the car on a road trip around certain dealerships for Nissan New Zealand.
“So far it's been a great association to have with Nissan, and we're really impressed and pleased that they've come on board with us.
“It's really important for us to acknowledge all of our sponsors; Porter Group, Logical Repairs and Maintenance and Storage, STA who have been a long-term sponsor of ours, ITM down here in Cromwell, RJ's Licorice — everybody that's been involved with the car.
“Without everybody putting in their little bit it would've made this very difficult for us both. Thanks to everybody that's helped us with this journey.”
The Highlands 101 weekend kicks off today, with the final round of the Australian GT sprint season taking place on Saturday and the 101 endurance showdown on Sunday.