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Race championship decider at Hampton Downs this weekend

Simultaneous championship action will fill Waikato’s Hampton Downs race circuit this weekend with the Repco D1NZ and Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand series operating across 15-17 March.

 

On the schedule is Nexen Tyres Mazda Racing, TradeZone GTRNZ, Toyota 86 Championship, Summerset GT New Zealand and the Super V8 category of TA2 Muscle Cars, Open V8s and V8 Utes – competing at the seventh and final round of the summer series. The race action will be held on the National circuit Friday to Sunday with Repco D1NZ using the Club circuit Friday and Saturday.

 

While not all categories will conclude this weekend, the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship will announce both a GT4 and an Open champion and will also determine the winner of the inaugural Porsche Endurance Trophy. This marks a first for New Zealand, with the five-round competition supported by Porsche Germany. The victor will receive an invitation to the prestigious Porsche Motorsport ‘Night of Champions’ awards ceremony.

 

Additionally, the Toyota 86 Championship is set for its penultimate round. With a strong line-up of 19 cars, this fifth event of the season is expected to be fiercely competitive. The lead has alternated between young drivers Tom Bewley and newcomer Hunter Robb, with Robb recently re-taking the top spot and holding a paltry four point lead at the recent Grand Prix weekend. It is also the first event since the tragic loss of fellow competitor Brooklyn Horan. The category and event will pause for a minute’s silence during Saturday’s lunch break, to reflect on the light he and colleague Tyson Jemmett brought to the sport they were both so passionate about.

 

Also contesting their penultimate championship round is the Nexen Tyre Mazda Racing Series. Having decided the South Island title at the previous round there are still two events left for the North Island crown, beyond the overall championship. With 27 cars filling the grid overall it is two South Islanders that dominate the top spots; Christchurch’s Chris White, who is 50 points ahead of Timaru’s Will Kitching. Third and a slight three points behind is Karl Gaines.

 

The TradeZone GTRNZ brings two race grids, each still point score to the overall title.

After four of the six rounds they arrive at Hampton Downs with 26 points separating leader Josh Smith in a Subaru Impreza (GT2) and GT4s Matt Henney. Then it’s a slender 32 points to third placed GT3 competitor Logan Childs. With 75 points on offer for a race win its easy to calculate the top-three are needing every race place this weekend.

 

For V8 fans the Super V8s bring three grids including the new TA2 Muscle Cars, Open V8s and the V8 Utes for a 24-strong field. Following the recent 16-car trans-Tasman TA2 Muscle Car challenge there are a number of new entrants to the series – including 18-year-old Ben Stewart of Wellington.

 

Taking over the Club circuit section of Hampton Downs, the Repco D1NZ championship brings both Pro and Pro-Sport categories to life. After fire risk concerns forced the postponement of the late-February round near Nelson, Hampton Downs takes on the role as the second of five rounds for the drift spectacular. Testing and qualifying is held on the Friday with elimination runs on Saturday – the top run-off scheduled for 4:35pm.

 

Repco D1NZ will be livestreamed on the Friday and televised live on Saturday to Sky Sport and Fox Sports Australia. Sunday’s televised action switches to the National Circuit for the race categories.

 

Friday is practice for the race teams with qualifying and the first race of the weekend held on Saturday – after the lunchtime memorial. Sunday’s racing starts at 10am with the final Super V8s race podium at 5pm.

 

While weather at the Waikato venue is often changeable, weekend forecasts show likelihood of passing rain as a southerly front works its way north. Expectations are Sunday will be the most settled.

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