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Paddon and Gilmour join Southland Super Sprint event

This weekend’s (20-22 January) second Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship event brings international drivers back to Invercargill’s Teretonga Park and joining them is Hayden Paddon and Emma Gilmour.

Featuring a return of the Toyota FT-60 wings and slicks cars and drivers contesting the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship, the series also brings the Toyota 86 Championship and the one-off Southern Sprint.

An all-comer category for local saloon cars, both Paddon and Gilmour have leapt at an opportunity to race at the world’s most southern FIA graded track.

“I’m really excited to be racing at Teretonga in the Southern Sprint,” said Dunedin based Gilmour, a factory driver for McLaren in the Extreme E Championship series.

“The opportunity to be part of such a great event and driving a fun car made it an easy decision. Even though the first time I’ll get to touch the car is the Friday morning before first practice I’m excited to be lining up against so many experienced others.”

Gilmour will race a Mini, supplied by Invercargill businessman Scott O’Donnell.

Paddon, who will drive a Hyundai i30 N TCR car, also owned by O’Donnell, says it’s his first time racing properly at the venue.

“I’m really looking forward to it – and as it’s the first time I’ve raced a car there, it will be good to drive Teretonga in a car I know well,” he said.

“While I have no expectations, any opportunity I get to drive competitively I’ll jump at.”

The return of international drivers to the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship brings fresh faces to southern New Zealand, visiting from the UK, US, Austria and Australia.

Current leader of the series after last weekend’s opening round is Austria’s Charlie Wurz, son of former F1 racer Alexander. The Wurz name is no stranger to Teretonga with the senior having contested a round of the former summer series in 1992 – where he set a fastest lap time. Kiwis are standing tall in the series after a race win apiece by James Penrose and Callum Hedge at the previous weekend’s opening round.

A slightly diminished Toyota 86 field of 17 cars will start the weekend with a lucky number 13 entered for the Southern Sprint event. It’s the Southern Sprint racing that new series promotor Brendon White says is the big feature for the locals.

“We put out the feelers for those with a race car to join the weekend and build a locals show. The variety of entrants is pretty spectacular, and we even managed to sneak a couple of rally drivers into the line-up. It’s live on TV so is the ultimate opportunity for locals to show the world what they’re made of.”

The action begins on Friday 20 January with timed practice sessions. Racing begins on the Saturday and includes an early afternoon slalom event challenge. Sunday features two races for each category with an early afternoon track cruise for attending vehicles.

Each day will be televised live on Sky Sport 5 (New Zealand), Fox Sports (Australia) and across the Pacific via the Pasifika TV service. TV3 will add to the coverage from 1pm Sunday.

Tickets can also be purchased at the gate for $35 for a weekend pass.

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