IRC: Series Taupo preview

IRC SUMMER OF THUNDER TOUR HITS TAUPO THIS WEEKEND The 2010/11 IRC Series has an exciting weekend in store for the second round of the championship at Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend. Building on the successes of the opening round of the ...

IRC: Series Taupo preview
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The 2010/11 IRC Series has an exciting weekend in store for the second round of the championship at Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend.

Building on the successes of the opening round of the championship at Manfeild, Taupo's Labour Weekend Spectacular headlines the championship opener for GTRNZ -- made up of the GT1, GT2 and NZGT classes.

After a shakedown run for a number of GTRNZ competitors at Manfeild, some of New Zealand's fastest racing cars will line up at Taupo including Nick Chester's V8 Supercar and Andy Greenslade's new Jaguar battling it out for GT1 honours.

Wayne Condor returns in his Chevrolet Camaro to defend his GT2 title, while the NZGT class is open slather with a number of last season's entrants having progressed up into the GT2 class.

The event also marks the Centenary of the Pre 65 saloons, celebrating countless years of classic motorsport in a diverse setting where Ford Anglias do battle with Chevy Novas and Ford T-Birds, but to name a few of the 25 car field.

Given the hype surrounding these two classes, entries have swelled more than 220 cars for the Labour Weekend event.

The Formula First battle will continue between youngsters Ryan Hellier, Matt Higham and Kyle George; who leads the championship by one point from multiple national champion and class stalwart Michael Shepherd.

George and Shepherd split the Manfeild victories two-to-one at the opening round and Taupo will again be hotly contested.

Similar rivalries will recommence in the Formula Suzuki and Sports Car races, with V8 Ute and V8 Supercar regulars Caine Lobb and Gene Rollinson leading the way in the 'wings and slicks' Suzuki Hayabusa-powered single seaters and Todd Sherley and Mark Galvin in the Sports Car series.

Locked in battle in the Bridgestone Porsche Championship are Ian Hayr and Conal Dempsey in a classic new vs. old Porsche showdown. Dempsey has the upper hand after Manfeild in his Porsche 964 Turbo, while defending Bridgestone Porsche Champion Kevin Etches is his beautiful Porsche 944 continues to lighten and modify his machine and is setting some terrific lap times.

For the NZ6 Series, two standouts have already emerged in the Super 6 field, with Adam Newell and Shane Wenzlick sharing the round one victories. However, threats from series regulars Steven Bennenbrook and Dave Dovey and impressive newcomer Murray Brook will keep the pair on the toes around the 3.5km Taupo circuit.

A similar scene is set in the HQ Holdens, with Darren Swinburn leading the series after the opening round, challenged closely by Jeremy Hoskins and Manfeild pole sitter Harrison Lingard. With ten HQs joining the twelve Super 6 entries, expect close and exciting racing from the NZ6s.

Manfeild ran like clockwork for Pro 7 Plus driver James Parker with pole and three wins. Challenged by Dean McMillan and former NZV8 Ute champion Matt Lockwood, Parker aims for more of the same at Taupo while the chasing pack of Pro 7 cars battle in the trio's wake.

The SS2000 class is again wide and varied for the 2010/11 season. Standout performances so far have come from Justin Herbert in his Honda Integra and David Geraghty Mitsubishi Lancer.

There are exciting prospects to watch out for right down the field, however, including 12-year old rookie driver and former motocross rider Todd Prujean, learning the ropes of motor racing in his Toyota Starlet.

With four separate classes within the Super Mini Challenge, the racing always causes a surprise or two. Chris Parkinson and Mark van Swet both dominated the Mini 7 and Miglia classes respectively at Manfeild; however the Super class battle between Rich van Swet and Richard Silver will resume at Taupo with the pair dicing, ducking and diving in true Mini style!

The Taupo Labour Weekend event is the second of a seven round calendar for the 2010/11 IRC Series, which includes a Trophy Round at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in November and six other event spread across the North Island, from Pukekohe Park in Auckland to Manfeild in the Manawatu.

The action kicks off at 09:30am on Saturday, and 09:00am on Sunday; each class with a qualifying session and one race on Saturday, and two races on Sunday.

Tickets are available on the gate for $20, while a special group pass of up to five adults is just $40 for a full weekend pass. Children under 17 can enjoy the action for free.


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