Young Auckland V8 race car driver Brad Lathrope is fired up to commence battle in the opening round of the new-look New Zealand Touring Cars Championship at Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend.
With fresh new Dayle ITM signage emblazoned across the bonnet of his Falcon V8, 25-year-old Lathrope goes into the seven round championship focused on improving his third place in the New Zealand V8 Touring Car’s Class 2 championship last year – a very credible result for his first full season in the class.
Silverdale-based Lathrope competes in Class 2 for Schedule TL cars among the combined V8 grid for NZV8 TLX and V8 SuperTourer schedule cars which are all now racing under the New Zealand Touring Cars banner.
“My goal for this season is to get my maiden race win in the TL class and to continue to improve each race,” says Lathrope who built his race craft during several successful seasons in the Mazda Pro 7 class before following his dream of racing a v8 last season.
“I’m hoping to start the season off with a podium finish for the Taupo round and, being right up the front, having some awesome door-to-door races with top competitors. I just want to get out there, have fun and give it my best for my team, sponsors like Dayle ITM, MWN Civil, Penrite and Nautech Electronics, and my supporters!”
Martin and Deborah Day, directors of Dayle ITM in Avondale, Auckland, say they decided to sponsor Lathrope’s V8 racing campaign due to the potential they feel he shows.
“Brad was one of eight young competitors selected for this year’s Elite Motorsport Academy, an annual MotorSport New Zealand initiative run in conjunction with Excellence in Sport South Island and the School of Physical Education at Otago University,” says Mr Day.
“Being selected for the academy is an achievement in itself so it was particularly pleasing to see Brad finish second to rally driver Michael Young, and together with Michael, Nicole Summerfield and Brook Reeve, take out the teams award.
“We think he’s got great potential and we’re delighted to be involved in his 2015-16 New Zealand Touring Cars Championship campaign. A class win is certainly within his capabilities.”
The seven round New Zealand Touring Cars Championship starts in Taupo on 17 and 18 October and finishes at Pukekohe in April next year.