Super Sprint finale at Hampton Downs this weekend

The Super Sprint Summer Series is back in action with the final round of the season at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park this weekend. Dubbed the ‘Festival of Racing’, it features an indelible lineup where Summerset GT New Zealand champions will be crowned, the penultimate round of the Toyota 86 Championship, plus the Super V8’s, Nexen Tyre Mazda Racing Series, TradeZone GTRNZ as well as the Repco D1NZ Championship.

Brock Gilchrist (GT4)

Summerset GT New Zealand Championship
The fifth and final round of the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship will be at Hampton Downs, March 15-17 and will go down to the wire as both the GT4 and Open category champions are settled.
In GT4 McLaren driver Brock Gilchrist holds a 138-point lead over the Mercedes AMG of James Sax while in the Open Luke Manson has a 13.5-point advantage over Rick Armstrong with Sam Filmore laying in wait, a further 28 points back.

A number of other GT4 machines will line up for the final hit out of the season. The Ginetta G55 of Allan Sargeant returns having clinched wins at Ruapuna and Highlands last month.

The BMW M4 GT4 of Garth Piesse is back for the final encounter, but also watch for circuit owner Tony Quinn in a Porsche Cayman which he will share with Kynan Yu, the duo stringing together some good results in the previous rounds. Sam Cotterill will be looking for more podiums following good results at Highlands.

But also look for a potential spoiler for the two contenders at the front of the field. Last season’s GT4 champion, Jono McFarlane returning for the final round in a Mercedes AMG GT4.

Hunter Robb – Picture Bruce Jenkins.

Toyota 86 Championship
While the world reels from the shock loss of up-comer Brooklyn Horan #89 it will be forward-facing as the remainder of the field chase Hunter Robb as the series leader. Holding a slender four-point lead over Tom Bewley after a fierce and tit-for-tat lead change at the Highlands weekend its third placed William Exton who remains within range of the top-step. As the penultimate round it is still every race that counts.

The Super V8’s Return
It can never be said enough – but the V8s return! Back with a grid of 24 cars it includes the TA2 V8s fresh from trans-Tasman challenge duty. The field includes the Open cars and V8 Utes.
There will be a few surprise entries and expect to see more of the TA2 cars including 18-year-old Ben Stewart. Returning to finish what he started, expect he will be the one the rest of the field has to catch.

Chris White Junior of Prebbleton is chased by Aucklanders Leo Bult #98 and Karl Gaines #61, Wellington driver Simon Baker #1NZ and Warren Crowther #4 – photo Geoff Ridder.

Nexen Tyres Mazda Racing Series
The next round of the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series is Round 3 for the North Island Championship combined with Round 3 of the New Zealand Championship.

In the North Island Championship Chris White of Prebbleton has a healthy lead over Leo Bult with Warren Crowther hanging on to third place.

In the New Zealand Championship Chris White is leading this also, just 50 points ahead of Will Kitching of Timaru.

Karl Gaines of Auckland is sitting in 3rd place following the first two rounds in the South Island.

TradeZone GTRNZ
Again, the TradeZone GTRNZ Cup series is super close. After four of the six rounds they arrive at Hampton Downs with 26 points separating leader Josh Smith (GT2) and GT4s Matt Henney. Then it’s a paltry 32 points to third placed GT3 competitor Logan Childs. With 75 points on offer for a race win its easy to calculate the top-three are needing every race place this weekend.

Brian Gray is back in his 26B FD RX7 after running his series 1 in GT3 for a couple of seasons. Brock Cooley has decided to step up to the big smoke from racing OSCA for the last few months in his FD RX7, while James Parker has done a big rebuild to get his Camaro back out for this round. Brady Wild joins the championship in his modified super tourer for the last two rounds. Sadly Ryan Jarmey has had an operation and will be out of action.

Josh Smith currently leads GT2 with Hayden Gare 153 points behind him. Shane Parsons is a further 8 points back. But keep an eye out, even fourth placed Ben Van Der Werff is in contention for the podium.

Waka Nathan Harris has literally all of his possessions, including his children for sale currently as he is on the hook to upgrade to a new car. Keith Wallace and Steve Wallace join the series for the first time while Louis Kuriger and Ben Goebel both move up from GT4 since breaking out at the last round. Nigel Karl has a new car being unveiled, we are sworn to secrecy but are sure it will be obvious come the weekend.

Cooper Cooley and Kruz Scott are battling it out to impress for the chance to win the GTRNZ Scholarship. The race is quite close on track between these two so will come down to how they conduct themselves off track also.

Logan Childs is leading the category on 726 points. Reece Hendl-Cox is second 99 points behind. Cooper Cooley is third despite moving up from GT4 after round one and is 178 points back from Logan.

After Ben Goebel broke out of GT4 in Race 3 he gifted the lead of the championship to Matt Henney, This was massive as Ben was putting in a big effort to be back to back GT4 champion. He ran out of semi slicks and had to run some used Michelin slicks and broke out by over 1 second which instantly promotes him to GT3.

Overall Matt Henney leads Brian Hamilton by 232 points and Melvin Plasier is in third 277 points back. While Bruce Brooks back for his first round with GTRNZ this season in his RX8.

Ka Chun Lo returns for another round and is an accomplished driver in Asia having won the Asian Touring Car Championship twice, the Chinese Touring Car Championship twice, and the Hong Kong Touring Car Championship once. Lo has also won the Macau cup race five times from 2001-2004. He was due to compete in the WTCR championship at Macau GP in 2011 but his car failed tech.

Repco D1NZ at Hampton Downs
Using Hampton Downs Club Circuit, the Repco D1NZ Championship brings the Pro and Pro-Sport teams to the region for the now second round of the 2024 season.

The pro drivers will be running the circuit in reverse direction, something that D1NZ has not done in competition before – to test the drivers ability to adapt.

Friday is qualifying with run-off battles all day Saturday – live to TV. The closest round held to Auckland for the season it’s the one opportunity northern locals get at a home event.

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