John McIntyre, team owner and lead driver of John McIntyre Racing, needs to put together a complete performance if he is to win the inaugural V8SuperTourer sprint championship. The four-round series wraps up at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, midway between Auckland and Hamilton, over Queen’s Birthday weekend.
The 1 to 3 June race meeting, billed the Mike Pero 250, sees McIntyre just 88 points shy of current series leader Jonny Reid and has three final races to take back the series lead and the sprint title.
McIntyre also believes that JMR team-mate Steve Richards is poised to take his first podium finish in the V8SuperTourers.
“We’ll be taking an aggressive approach and, as team, we know we need to deliver our best performance of the season to win the first-ever V8SuperTourer sprint championship,” says Nelson-based McIntyre. “For the first time I think it’s realistic to see both JMR cars finish in the top three and I reckon Steve will be up for his best weekend of V8SuperTourer racing yet.”
With up to 70 points on offer from qualifying, 210 points for the winner of the first two races, 240 points for the feature race winner and 20 bonus points to the driver with the fastest lap in each race, McIntyre says it’s quite a complex championship points’ structure.
“It’s always important to do well in qualifying of course, but the points provide added incentive, and you certainly need to consider those fastest lap bonus points when you’re as close as Jonny Reid and I are at the top of the leader-board. You’re not just driving for race position; you’re thinking about lap times for the whole race.”
Both JMR FG Falcons performed well at the previous event, the third round at Manfeild. McIntyre took his third straight feature race podium finish and Richards was among or very close to the top five all weekend.
McIntyre says the team has appealed the officials’ decision to penalise JMR 50 points for a technical infringement at round two in Christchurch.
“The appeal will be heard before we race at Hampton Downs, but regardless of the outcome, we’ll need to have our best round to date to win this championship.
“We’ve had great speed in the Amcor Falcon and CRC Falcon since that Ruapuna round, but we haven’t always put together a complete performance from start to finish. To beat Jonny, we need the best possible performance from me and the team; we’ve proven before we can do it and I think we can win again.”
As the team owner, McIntyre is equally delighted to see the continual improvement with team-mate Steve Richards.
“It’s great having the competition between Steve and myself; we raced side by side at Manfeild and you could see the CRC Falcon coming on strong all weekend. Returning to Hampton Downs marks the first time we’ve raced on the same circuit twice in the V8SuperTourers. This will help Steve also as he hadn’t ever raced at Ruapuna or Manfeild. We definitely have the potential for both JMR cars to score podium finishes at our second visit to Hampton Downs.”
An interesting challenge has been thrown into the mix for the three-race weekend at Hampton Downs with officials just announcing the weekend’s second race will feature a reversed top five starting order. Usually the grid for race two is the finishing order of race one. McIntyre sees the change as a good thing to mix up the potential for different race winners.
“The other aspect of note recently is engine reliability,” adds McIntyre. “We are very happy with how the engines in both JMR cars are performing. Like the majority of the field, we use Castrol Edge 10-60 – it’s on sale at major retailers – and it’s proved to look after our engines perfectly. We pulled the engines out of both cars after Manfeild and there are no issues. The oil is doing an excellent job in tough conditions; to be honest, it’s the job we’d expect a premium oil like Castrol Edge to do.
McIntyre gets his race week underway with a promotional visit to Norwoods Farm Machinery in Pukekohe on Wednesday 30 May. “We’ll have both cars there for a lunchtime meet and greet session, so we’re looking forward to seeing plenty of JMR fans.”
The Hampton Downs event sees the V8SuperTourers out on track for a two-hour practice session at 1 pm on Friday 1 June. On Saturday 2 June, they have a one-hour practice at 10 am before the all-important 20-minute qualifying session at 1 pm and a 20-lap race at 3:10 pm. On Sunday 3 June, the reverse top five grid will feature in the 25-lap race at 11:40 am and the inaugural V8SuperTourer sprint championship concludes with a 35-lap race at 2:45 pm.
More details about McIntyre and his team can be found on www.jmr.co.nz, or follow John McIntyre Racing on Facebook or ‘JohnMcIntyreRac’ on Twitter. Steven Richards can be followed on Twitter via ‘Steve_Richo’.