After a sensational few weeks in his new Team Williams Racing Honda Civic Fk7 TCR car, Invercargill driver Jordan Michels has taken the Class B Championship in the Carter’s Tyre Service 1 Hour South Island Endurance Series.
Michels achieved the feat by winning the class in the first three rounds of the series at Teretonga Park, Highlands Motorsport Park and Timaru International Motor Raceway before brake problems at the final round in Christchurch prevented the clean sweep. However he took the class title for the series and in turn qualified for the New Zealand Endurance Championship at Hampton Downs in North Waikato on Saturday 16 November.
While Michels results might suggest a trouble-free series, the reality was far from that. Four and a half weeks prior to the opening round he broke his collarbone and it was touch and go whether he would even make the startline for the opening round. He did but was still in a fair degree of pain and discomfort during the series.
Despite that the opening race at Teretonga Park went well, the only problem coming late in the race when the splitter brackets snapped causing the splitter to drag. However, Michels cruised to the finish to take victory in Class B and finish seventh overall.
Just two weeks later Michels had his first ever laps at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell at Round 2 of the series. Radio issues meant Michels missed the pit window and started from the pit lane. He carved his way through the field, keeping his nose clean throughout. After his scheduled pit stop a safety car appeared which disadvantaged him but not enough to stop him from winning the class and finishing thirteenth overall.
Round 3 at Timaru was one Michels was looking forward to as he has had much success there. After a strong qualifying he was first in class and relatively high up the grid overall. Traffic was the biggest factor in race but it turned out to be an area where Michels was strong. Michels did exceptionally well passing some of the bigger, more powerful cars in the race and was running strongly when his power steering overheated, pitching him off the end of the back straight at 200km/h.
He gathered it up but without power steering in a front wheel drive car he had to work hard to bring the car home, finally crossing the line first in class and twelfth place overall despite suffering real pain towards the end of the race. He was now three from three in the class and holding a 25-point lead with one round to go.
Two weeks later the final round took place at Mike Pero Motorsport Park at Ruapuna in Christchurch.
After taking pole position in the class by 3 seconds in ninth overall Michels made a strong start to the race, moving up a few spots until the brake pedal started getting softer. The situation got worse and a couple of pit stops were required, dropping Michels to sixth in class. More importantly though he was still able to clinch the South Island title by 1 point.