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Drift and race combo at Taupo this weekend

It’s a weekend of drift battles and championship racing at Taupo’s Motorsport Park.

Mixing the Valvoline D1NZ series along with the TradeZone GTR NZ 1 / 2 and 3 / 4 grids, Toyota 86 racing and Golden Homes GT New Zealand category, is an eclectic blend of spectator action.

Round four of the Golden Homes GT New Zealand championship brings another bumper field of exotic cars to the weekend. While the McLaren 570S GT4 is still the most popular car on the grid there will be an additional Porsche 981 GT4 – in the hands of Rianna O’Meara-Hunt.

Starting with the hour-long race on Saturday afternoon that’s followed by two 30-minute races on the Sunday.

Toyota racing continues with the 86 Championship launching into round four for the 2023 title. Headed by Brock Gilchrist with his penchant for race wins, Claye Osborne is 65 points behind and benefiting from consistency. Top rookie Rylan Gray is fifth in the standings, shadowed by Taupo local John Penny, a mere 13 points behind.

Starting with an eight lap race Saturday afternoon that grows to 10 laps on Sunday morning with a 12 lap final from 3:12pm.

It’s also a return for the TradeZone GTRNZ category. Unique in that its home to so many different GT-style cars, brings Kiwi engineering to the fore. Separated into classes based on speed, from the fastest GT1 to the less modified GT4, the weekend’s field of 43 cars swings from the James Annabell Dodge Viper to the Glen Mouat Datsun Sunny.

The GT1-2 class have three 10 lap races: Saturday morning, Sunday morning and a final from 2:44pm Sunday afternoon.

The GT3-4 class have three eight lap races: Saturday afternoon, first thing Sunday morning (8:20am) and from 1:26pm Sunday afternoon.

The Valvoline D1NZ series kicks off round three with a practice session on the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. They then take over the circuit mid-afternoon with a series of qualifying runs before the top-24 run off gets underway from 5:20pm.

Sunday’s switching from race to drift brings the top-16 to the track late morning, before they finish the weekend’s action with back-to-back battles from 4pm.

Sunday’s racing will be broadcast live to TV3, Sky Sport and Fox Sports Australia (plus Pasifika TV), with highlights of the Saturday action aired later.

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