Race Report: Round 3, 2018/2019 ACC Production Race Series, 18 Nov 2018, Taupo
Conditions: Dry and warm. Some breeze and track low on grip.
Qualifying: The Taupo track is well suited to our car and despite limited experience on this track, we were looking forward to a strong weekend. 31 cars on track in the Quali session meant an ultimate lap was hard to come by, but the 1.44.886 we managed would see us start from 5th in the 1st sprint race as well as the 1 hour endurance race at the end of the day.
Race 1: 8 Lap sprint, qualifying order start.
Great start fired us into second place by turn one (see the video below), and we managed to hold it for a few laps. There was some solid defence, ultimately though the faster cars got by one by one by the end of the race dropping us down a few places.
Result: 4th overall.
Race 2: 6 laps, reverse grid handicap start.
Starting in 24th place for the first of the reverse grid handicap races and only 6 laps was going to be a challenge as it always is. The track was warming up though and we screwed a little more of the engine to see what could be achieved. The Yokohama A050 tyres were working really well with the increased track temp and let us maximise the extra power on offer, netting a solid finish and dropping our PB to a 1.42.762.
Result: 4th overall.
10 laps, reverse grid handicap start.
A complete non-event - the race was red flagged when one of the field decided to completely barbeque their car along the front straight on lap two.
Result: Red flag.
Race 4: 1 hour endurance, qualifying order start.
Back into our 5th place start but with an endurance mindset compared to the sprint races, we set off and had surprisingly climbed to 2nd place by the end of lap one. Settling into a longer run pace saw us lose a couple of places over the next few laps, but we let those guys push hard and hopefully hurt their tyres early. We knew the Motul fluids would do their job for the full hour, but the Yokohama A050 tyres were a medium compound and untested over an hour on the abrasive Taupo track, so this would be a journey into the unknown. Consistent lap times in the 1.44’s and 45’s saw us come out after the pitstop slightly in front of Dion Clerke in his very rapid Nissan – the quickest car on the day. A 6 lap battle ensured which was massive fun and very intense. In the end we kept the pressure on and the Nissan’s big power was taking a toll on its rear tyres, and we were able to get past and stay there. A few laps from the end, knowing we had the fuel to get to the finish, the engine was again turned up to see if we could lower our lap time again – result? A 1.41.669, good enough for the 8th fastest lap of the day across all classes and proof that the tyres were more than up to the job.
Result: 1st overall.
Round 3 at Taupo was a great day and we’re stoked to have come away with the win in the one hour endurance race. As you all know, we couldn’t do this without a huge amount of support that comes in many different forms. Big thanks to the Hall Speed Sport team, various supporters, Motul New Zealand, Yokohama Tyres NZ, Autolign Mt Wellington, Production Race Series Coordinators and all our Facebook ‘likers’.