Race Report: Round 7, 2016/2017 ACC Production Race Series, 29 April 2017, Pukekohe Park Raceway
Updated: Feb 27, 2019
Weather: Raining, track very wet with standing water.
Qualifying: For the last round of the 2016/17 season, we had a format of 2 x Qualifying sessions, a 1 hour endurance race followed by 2 x 6 lap sprint races. Consequently, there were 2 qualifying sessions (one for each driver if there was going to be a driver change in the 1 hour race). We weren’t going to have a driver change, so had to go out in the first qualifying session – when it was raining heavily compared to the second session. As a result we qualified down in 15th out of 31 starters.
Race 1: 1 hour endurance, qualifying order start.
We bolted on the wet weather tyres and lined up on the grid, confident of a good showing due to the very wet weather and our AWD. There was a mandatory pit stop, so timing for that was going to be very important. As the lights went green, most others struggled with traction, but I shot off the line and got up to 5th by the end of lap 1. The car was performing very well and we’d risen up to 3rd position by lap 4 when the first safety car was deployed. A V8 Commodore had found the wall after turn 4. After circulating for a few laps to judge how long we’d have to complete our pitstop, we dived into get it out the way while everyone was circulating slowly. Very slick work by the crew allowed us to get out without going down a lap.
We’d come back out in 17th, but now had the remaining 45 minutes to climb back up the order. Everything was going great in the very difficult conditions and whilst others struggled with poor visibility and traction, we kept circulating at a good pace. By the time the second safety was brought out for another incident at turn 4, and people taking the opportunity to dive into the pits, we were in the lead. The safety period ended with 10 minutes remaining and we got the hammer down, with no spray to contend with, clocking some of the fastest laps of the race all theway to the flag.
Result: 1st overall
Race 2: 6 laps, reverse grid handicap start.
Still on a high from the 1 hour race result, and with the rain easing, things were looking good for the first of two sprint races. Unfortunately we’d gone so quick previously,we started form the back of the grid. Nonetheless, the car was amazing and we managed a great result in difficult conditions for overtaking.
Result: 5th overall
Race 3: 6 laps, reverse grid handicap start.
Again starting off the back of the grid, but with darkening skies and heavier rain, the challenge was even greater for the last race of the day. We climbed into the top ten, but with only 6 laps there just wasn’t enough time to do more.
Result: 9th overall
Huge ‘Thank you’ to the Hall Speed Sport team, various supporters, Motul New Zealand, Autolign Mt Wellington, Production Race Series Coordinators and all our Facebook ‘likers’. We couldn’t have done it without their help. Our first season in the Production Race Series has been fantastic and we’ve learnt a huge amount to take into next season. Hopefully we’ll see you then!!