It will be a home weekend for many in the TradeZone GTRNZ category, with many of the 50 entered all within an hours drive of Manawatu’s Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.
The fourth round of five for the 2023 season the series gives a purpose for a variety of cars that don’t fit other formula.
Divided into four classes based on speed, they are split in the middle to create two individual race groups. There will be 19 in the GT1 and GT2 field with 31 in the GT3/GT4 group.
Returning to his home circuit, Palmerston North’s Cameron Jones is fresh from victory in the South Island and is used to leading from the front. Jones will race a Mazda RX7.
Palmerston North’s Ross Thurston will also be joining the GT1 category in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.
The former speedway and rally campaigner has spent most of his life turning laps at Manfeild and is planning on making it interesting for the big boys.
“It has just under 600hp at the wheels, six-speed Modena gearbox, big brakes – a proper race car. While I’m always trying to compete the best I can I’ll be there to try see if we can nobble off a few of those big V8 things,” said the Dealer Principal of the Palmerston North based Robertson Group Cupra franchise (Cupra NZ is part of the Giltrap Group).
“It’d be nice if it rained during our race – to make it a bit more interesting. It’s a good fun car to drive – you just have to be careful and ease it off the line.
“It’ll be exciting.”
Waiuku’s Kerry Jones leads the top of the standings in his Corvette Tranzam, 47 points ahead of Auckland’s Wayne Conder in a similar Tranzam. Mt Maunganui’s Todd Murphy is third in his Hyundai SuperTourer.
From the Kapiti region, Shane Murland also joins the GT1 grid in a Ford Escort.
Another new entrant is Wanganui’s Nicola Van Rooijen (Mazda RX8), joining GT3.
Other locals include Andrew Stewart, Simon Barry, Nick Brough, Jamie Potts, Gary Carswell, Waka Nathan Harris as well as father/son Sean and Greg Browne (GT3 and GT4).
Josh Smith enters as a new and semi-local driver, joining GT2 in a Subaru WRX.
Both GT1/2 and GT3/4 have qualifying on Saturday morning. GT1/2 have a 10 lap handicap reverse grid race mid-morning, while GT3/4 have the same in eight laps just after the lunch break.
Sunday starts with the GT1/2 10 lap handicap race with GT3/4 getting eight laps just before 9am.
The weekend highlight is the GT1/2 10 lap grid start race from 1:38pm – live to television.
GT3/4 get their television time from 2:48pm – with an eight-lap grid start finale.
For more information, visit: https://gtrnz.co.nz/