Honda Cup Newsletter Number 14 - December 22 2011

Merry Christmas All - Well done to everyone who made the grid for a Motul Honda Cup race in 2011. We now look forward to a huge few& months for the class in 2012 and we hope you are as escited as we are. Happy Christmas, keep up the good work and see you in the New Year guys and girls!

More new cars - We have heard about at least three more Hondas being prepared for racing in the Motul Honda Cup, including one of the ex-endurance EP3 cars. We're expecting a big field for Taupo over the weekend of January 14th and 15th and it will be great to see yet more new cars out. Keep them coming!

Dunny back - Martin Dunn is aiming to have his Integra back out racing at Taupo after his sizeable shunt at Pukekohe last time out. It's been a lot of work but Martin is pretty confident of having the Cascade Pools backed car back on the grid.

Enter now - If you are looking to enter Taupo you can find the details of the Tasman Revival meeting at www.motorsportentry.com If you have not entered one an event using this site before go to the left hand side and press not registered and follow the instructions. If you have problems don’t hesitate to contact chris@hamptondowns.com and he can help you through or enter you via email if it all proves too difficult.

Well done - to Warren 'Nuttie' Tunley - driver of the day for Pukekohe after a superb day of just getting quicker and quicker and taking third overall in the handicap race. Warren wins a set of cool shades from Honda Cup sponsor Adidas Eyewear. Nice one Warren. We have four more pairs of shades to give away and remember, they are for the performance of the day so that can be anything from a qualifying lap to a recovery drive!

Well done also - to former Motul Honda Cup championship winner Justin Herbert who has been absolutely flying in the GT class this season in his monster Evo. Justin has been regularly scaring the big Trans Ams and has bagged a couple of GT2 lap records in the process. He's currently right in there in the championship fight.

Big disappointment - Things did not go as planned for the Motul backed FD2 team competing at the Thunderhill 25 hour meeting. Richard Gee crashed the car heavily in practice and the damage was too extensive to take the start. The car is on the way back to New Zealand and will live again, but will not now appear as planned at the Hampton Downs V8 SuperTourer round.

Richard on the mend - A recovering Richard should be out at Taupo in his newly re-engined K20A powered EK9 BankLink backed car. The team at Speedfactor have been working hard to do the conversion and the team are even hopeful of getting a day's testing in before the race weekend.

Support classes confirmed for the V8 SuperTourer round at Hampton Downs are V8 Challenge Cup for older V8 racers, the Central Muscle Cars and Motul Honda Cup. There is likely to be TV coverage of all of the support classes in TV3's weekly motorsport round up programme.

All general info at www.hondacup.co.nz and up and coming dates are as follows:

SUMMER

Round 3- Taupo, January 14th and 15th - two day

Round 4- Hampton Downs, February 17/18/19 - three day

Round 5- Hampton Downs, March 3/4 - two day

Round 6- Manfeild, April 27/28/29 - three day

Series contacts

Race Director
Alan Stewart
racedir@hondacup.co.nz

Series Secretary
Bronwyn Donald
secretary@hondacup.co.nz

Marketing and Promotions
Richard Gee
promo@hondacup.co.nz

Technical Officer
Wayne Chapman
tech@hondacup.co.nz

Walters heads series after Pukekohe

Showing his class as one fo the series and club racing's top drivers, Mark Walters (pictured) debuted his 1.8 engine in style at Pukekohe, demonstrating blinding speed and taking his first race win to leave the circuit as championship leader.

Championship protagonists Martin Dunn and Dave Grigor were eliminated from any meaningful points after their race one shunt and Alan Stewart fell victim, as did quite a few, to the draconian noise police now regularly in operation at club events at the circuit.

A challenging day for many left Mark ahead on the points table, with Cambridge's Shane Parsons in second after a very consistent day.

The series moves to Taupo long track for the next round on January 14th and 15th and it will be a fascinating round. Tradtionally it favours the high powered K20 cars that can stretch their legs on the long back straight, but you just cannot discount either Walters or parsons from stealing the limelight once again. With fewer noise restrictions, Alan Stewart will be a force.

Trevor Strong is due a great result in his EK20 and there should be other K20 powered cars from Dave Grigor, Richard Gee, Martin Dunn and Gavin Boyne. Expect Warren Tunley and Gary Wilson to set a fearsome pace in the 1.6 class and watch out also for Logan Morrell on his home circuit and with a long straight to let his Civic Sedan loose on.

Big weekends looming large!

The New Year will bring the series first foray into events that last longer than a single day and all of our competitors can look forward to (hopefully) a much more relaxed atmosphere over two days where they can fiddle around with the set up of the car, enjoy watching some of the other motorsport on offer and telling their mates about the lap that got away that was two seconds quicker than anything they ahd ever done before.

Taupo on January 14th and 15th is a Tasman Revival meeting being run by the Historic Racing Club and you can expect to see some cool big open single seaters racing in the Super Historics, as well as the Formula Suzuki cars that are also eligible for this class. There are a number of other classes running as well and it should be a great weekend, with a good atmosphere, warmer weather and plenty to look at and talk about.

In February we have the V8 SuperTourer series debut weekend where the Motul honda Cup is on a select bill that includes the V8 Challenge Cup for older V8s, the Central Muscle cars and the V8 SuperTourers themselves. This is shaping up to be a massive weekend of motorsport -possibly one of the biggest domestic motorsport events in years.

We have a superb weekend of racing and track action lined up. Testing on Friday, qualifying and two races Saturday and two races on Sunday. We are looking at the format of this and how we can make the most of it for Honda Cup, so we may tweak the formats for that weekend only. What is awesome is that this programme, and six tickets for each entrant, will cost just $300.In terms of dollar cost per day on track ($100) that is unrivalled by any series in New Zealand.

Right, here is the important bit! If your appetite has been whetted for these big events (And the two that follow which we will cover in a coming newsletter) then you need to be thinking about it NOW. We will ONLY accept entries for the V8 SuperTourer round from those who have raced in Honda Cup this summer season and anyone wishing to race at Hampton Downs MUST race at Taupo on January 14th and 15th. Why? Well quite simply we do not want people unfamiliar with the series or its regular runner turning up and 'being a hero' for what will be our biggest weekend to date. This will be fine for the series regulars, but if you are an intermittent competitor then you must take note of this condition.

We will be limited to 30 cars and two reserves so we are lookign to secure just 32 entries.We have had 29 and 27 from Winter Series rounds, so we could quite possibly go well above this 32 threshold, so it WILL be a first come first served basis and we will be liasing with www.motorsportentry.com to close off entry for Hampton Downs when the limit is reached. There is no limit on the number of entries for Taupo however. So if you do fancy a one off racing weekend with the Honda Cup, then that'll be the perfect way! Entry is available NOW for Taupo at www.motorsportentry.com and will be available very soon for the V8 SuperTourer round.

Safety under the spotlight

Safety is always a key issue in motorsport and we have all been guilty of taking things for granted some stage. The dreadful accidents to Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli served as a reminder that motorsport was, is and always will be a dangerous sport and it was highlighted for Honda Cup drivers Martin Dunn and Richard Gee in two very different scenarios.

Martin Dunn's accident with Dave Grigor resulted in both going off at Turn 1 at Pukekohe, a very fast bend. Martin's car had by far the heavier impact, with heavy frontal contact causing the car to get airborne prior to heavy rear contact. That martin was able to walk away from the car completely intact was testament to the quality of the build of the Integra, and very much also due to the fact that he and his car were equipped with the proper safety equipment - a seat with side head restraints, good harnesses and a HANS device.

Richard's accident in the United States was even more violent. Four rolls at 185kph with the car landing heavily on its roof left him with a sprained ankle, dislocated shoulder and a bit of a headache. Disappointing as the accident was for all of the team who had made a huge effort to go and race in the challenging enduro, all were relieved these were the only injuries the Tauranga driver suffered. And like Martin's crash, without a superbly built car, a proper racing seat, HANS device and in Richard's case window netting (they race in the States with windows down) the injuries could have been worse.

So the common thread is that if you take your safety seriously, then you reduce the risks as much as it is possible to do in a dangerous sport. For that reason, Motul Honda Cup is looking closely at what it might do itself to improve safety. That's not because we believe the class is any more dangerous than others - we don't - but it is because all we care about, for want of a better expression, is that when the 's**t hits the fan' your car, your gear and you are going to stand up to the crash as well as possible. We will welcome any input and feedback into this but areas we will be looking at and discussing with drivers including phasing in compulsory rules regarding certain safety items.

Overall Top Eleven after Round 2