They say it is set to ‘Wow’ Kiwi race fans this summer and it has the potential to happen. The new Super GT Series has the right ingredients for success and the launch, last evening, was well received by many of its potential stakeholders and competitors. An important key for this success is that there are plenty of eligible cars already here in New Zealand. Organisers expect full grids across the four-round series.
Organisers believe that there are 84 cars in New Zealand that meet the criteria to race in the series this summer. Arguably, it is only a matter of getting these race cars out of their sheds.
Last night’s presentation outlined entry, racing details, TV and hospitality packages.
While not yet a New Zealand championship, the new category will include Porsche 997 and 991, GT4 and Ferrari Challenge cars on the same grid, competing at two Speed Works rounds in the South and two in the North Island.
Both Porsche 991 GT3 Cup and 997 GT3 Cup Gen 1 and 2 will be eligible but not the new 992 (yet), Ferrari 458 and 430 Challenge but not the 360 type. GT4 cars, such as McLaren, Aston Martin and Ginetta are eligible as well.
It is envisaged that the three-day weekend (round) will include three practice session on a Friday, qualifying and a 30-minute race on Saturday, a second 30-minute and a 60-minute race on the Sunday.
All races will have a compulsory pit-stop with the length of this tied to a Balance of Performance (BoP) equation with the intention of creating close racing and not allowing the fastest or latest car a distinct advantage. BoP will be determined by times set in both practice and qualifying.
Each entrant (car) can elect to have either one or two drivers competing at a round. For two drivers, each will compete in one 30-minute race and both in the 60-minute.
Driver points for the series will be from their best 30-minute and the 60-minute race at each round. For two-driver teams, each can score points from their 30-minute and again from the 60-minute races.
A TV package will come with the series with delayed highlights to be shown on TV3’s CRC Motorsport. Track-side hospitality for teams and sponsors.
A set number of tyres will be allowed per round.
A key obstacle for organisers may well be convincing drivers to race. A number of eligible cars may already be contemplating competing in the three-round Super Production Championship which offers a NZ title.
Many eligible cars have been brought into the country just to compete in the North and/or South Island Endurance Series’, with little interest in competing in any other format. Although, with the rise and rise of very quick and expensive GT3 cars now competing in endurance racing, Super GT offers another alternative for drivers and teams in what could be perceived as a more even and competitive environment.
The organisers have the right recipe for a successful summer of racing. The ingredients are already in New Zealand so now it may just be a matter of getting the race cars out of their sheds to ‘Wow’ Kiwi race fans.