Honda Cup Newsletter Number 12 - September 27 2011

Register passes 50 cars and drivers- The Motul Honda Cup has confirmed its place as New Zealand’s premier series for Honda racing cars with the announcement that it has passed the 50 mark for registered drivers and cars signed up to appear during its first summer season. The series averaged entries of 28 for its winter series rounds, and has carried on the momentum by teaming up with the exciting new V8 SuperTourer series for two rounds, the Historic Car Club for one round, and Auckland and Taupo Car clubs for the remaining two race meetings.

There is a huge variety of machinery listed to appear during the summer season, and practically every type of engine and chassis combination you could imagine from Honda will race.

“We’ve been amazed at just how many drivers want to be part of the series,” said director Alan Stewart. “We had hoped for 20 regular runners but we have already surpassed that and there are many, many more cars out there in build or being refreshed to come and race. Some top names in New Zealand saloon car racing have joined the series, and we have tempted many off the sidelines.”

Radisich takes helm of V8 SuperTourers- With the live TV firmly in place with TV3, the new V8 SuperTourer series which Motul Honda Cup will run with at two rounds at least in 2012 confirmed the appointment of Kiwi motorsport legend, and Twice World Touring Car Champion Paul Radisich. There are already rumours of furthercars in addition to the 16 already confirmed and the series first meeting at Hampton Downs in February - where Motul Honda Cup will be on the support bill - looks set to be an absolute blockbuster.

Old names in the mix - Legendary low budget racer Mark Wilson, who used to race a Lotus 7 against mighty V8 and Fraser 7 opposition and win on a regular basis, is considering a return to the tracks in Motul Honda Cup. his lovely DC2 is the first front wheel drive car he has ever owned! Son Kane Wilson is getting closer to completing his EG build (see build thread on the www.hondacup.com forum) and this could mean the second father and son team on the grid along with the very quick Team Morrells!

Honda New Zealand interest - Round 2 at Pukekohe is a big round for the Motul Honda Cup.Not only are we aiming for our biggest starting grid to date, but it is looking increasingly likely that there will be someone from Honda New Zealand's marketing department along to have a look and suss out what we are up to! So if ever there was a time to go the extra mile and get your cars out there looking great and making up big numbers - then this is it! Puke last time out as a fabulous day and most went home very happy - even with the stone chipping, which we are encouraging them to sort out! Make the effort guys and girls, this one is a big deal.

Sponsorship - Don't forget, we have completed the sponsorship template that drivers can tailor for their own needs and use to approach local companies for sponsorship. The information includes a series marketing plan, what a car sponsor could hope to get out of involvement with a driver, some tips on how to look after and retain a sponsor and an area for a driver profile. Email - racedir@hondacup.co.nz - please note, the documentation is only available to registered Motul Honda Cup drivers.

Series reps - we are currently finalising some series reps who will be able to help on a regional basis with enquiries for existing and new competitors. The reps are all experienced and enthusiastic Motul Honda Cup racers and we should have all bases covered - including new media marketing, series sponsorship, regulations, driving standards, the New Zealand Honda Club partnership and many more areas besides!

Next stop USA - For the five Honda Cup racers heading over to the USA in November to take the opportunity fo a break in the series to race in the legendary and classic Thunderhill 25 Hours race, the clock is ticking. The Motul supported team will be at the track for a week, and will be testing and developing the FD2 racer (similar to that run by Steve Taylor in our NZ series) in conjunction with recently crowned US Honda Cup champion Jonathan Merris. The team - Tim Pollard, Trevor Strong, Alan Stewart, Martin Dunn and Richard Gee are currently in training (!) and going through rigorous and revealing medical examinations, ECG tests and goodness knows what else as they prepare for their American adventure. Vastly experienced Motul Honda Cup racer Noel Anderson (who worked for Bruce McLaren and who has designed and built his own racing cars) will also be on hand as part of the team of mechanics who will be aiming to help get the boys and the car to the fi nish line competitively and in one piece. It's fair to say that the nerves are now building!

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

SUMMER

Round 2- Pukekohe, October 29th - one day (SATURDAY)

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 Co-ordinator
Scotty Smith
seriesco@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

Shaun gets there - but only just!

Shaun van Beers secured his first circuit racing championship with victory in the 2011 Motul Honda Cup Winter Series by just a single point from the consistent and fast Mark Walters.

In a four way shoot out for the title, van Beers and Walters were pretty much inseperable throughout the day.

Richard Gee took pole ahead of newcomer Shane Parsons, with van Beers and Walters behind and it was these two that led the field throughout the first race. When rain started late in the race, Gee slowed as his grip faded, and Parsons used the huge power in his CRX to blast by and establish a lead. Behind these two, Walters and van Beers duelled and it was the Just Tyres DC5 of van Beers that finished just a second or so ahead of Walter's Motavation EF.

Race 2 brought more rain and some very close racing. Gee's chances of stealing the championship at the last round disappeared as contact with van Beers left him with no choice but to go through a huge pool of water which left the engine sick for the rest of the day and without VTEC. Shaun was lucky to get back on track quickly and set off after Walters as Martin Dunn and David Grigor disappeared into a battle for the lead, closely tracked by the impressive Nathan Strachan. Gee took a while to get the car fired back up and fought past Walters and van Beers, but the Taranaki driver could not pass Walters and as they lined up for the wet handicap, it was all to play for. Van Beers can thank his pit crew for some sterling work in replacing a damaged radiator in an unbelievably quick time before the handicap race, and he was able to go out ready to charge.

In the race itself, Gee eventually started from the pit lane with three cyclinders and no VTEC as Grigor, Dunn and Strachan once again showed their wet weather prowess and dominated the results, joined by top rookie Ben Sunckell who once again demonstrated his considerable skill with a solid drive to third in the race with Grigor first, Strachan second and Dunn fourth. Dunn's drive took the round win using Winter Series entrants and points, and being a double header with a few extra drivers and a different points system, the first Summer round was actually a tie between Grigor and Dunn (We'll cover the points in the next issue). The championship though went to Shaun van Beers after a winter season of highs and lows, but highlighted by some very solid fight backs after the lows. Walters consoled himself with second overall and the 1.6 class victory, whilst Gee took another third place in the series and Gary Wilson took fourth. Top Master was Wilson, top r ookie Sunckell and team winners Dunn and Gee.

NIMM - prizegiving and a great day out

NIMM - or the New Zealand Honda Club's North Island Monster Meet will be held at taupo on November 4th and will be the venue for the Winter Series prizegiving, as well as a fabulous opportunity to get out there and test you race cars!

Honda Cup will be running a lunch time BBQ and will do prizegiving fopr the Winter Series.Organisuers are hoping everyone from the series will be able to take time out and get along to the event - there are the series class and overall prizes to be given out, as well as a few other trophies for Most Improved Driver, Best Presented Honda and a few others.

The track day is one of the biggest events organised every year by the club, with plenty of budding racers and tuners from the NZ Hondas forum there getting in some track time. It is also one of the country's most established annual days out at the circuit.

For many it will be their first time out on the track, and several Honda Cup drivers will be on hand to provide driver instruction and encouragement where reqwuired, as well as set up tips for the long circuit. Rik Wakelin's NZ Hondas backed car will also be there on dispaly and out on track. It's quite possible the Honda Cup drivers and some of the NIMM guys may stay on for a few beers afterwards as well!

There is also a great deal on offer for Motul Honda Cup drivers - which probably equates to the most cost effective circuit time avakilable! Thanks to the partnership with The New Zealand Honda Club, racers can take part on a two for the rpice of one basis. That means $75 for the day and even though it is on November 4th, just a few days after Round 2 at Pukekohe, it should be a great day out and well worth going along to.

For track day booking, contact Ben Foote at NZ Hondas - or email richard AT petrolheads DOT co DOT nz and we will put you in touch.

Hankook car is coming

Hankook is set to launch its own car in the Motul Honda Cup series. The brand has made huge inroads in the competition tyre market in the last five years. They now rank as the seventh biggest tyre manufacturer in the world. They were the tyre of choice when the world famous German DTM series picked a new tyre for 2010 and rumour has it they are even working on an F1 tyre! In each country they identified one series which they used to enter the competition tyre market and in New Zealand and USA they chose Honda circuit racing.

Hankook prides itself in delivering quality product with consistent sizing and compounds - and at a fiercely competitive price. The tyres work well on Hondas and all of the stock that is available directly through Honda Cup is made to order and supplied “fresh” ex-factory. The tyres are normally just four weeks old when delivered to their motorsport dealers and the company strictly monitor dealer stock, disposing of anything that is over 12 months old to ensure that high quality and safety standards are maintained. Safety of course, is paramount for all of us and even a second hand current stock tyre is likely to give more grip and more value for money than three or four year old stock.

Check out here under competition which each of the international classes listed here.

A word from our top rookie

During 2010 I was looking at my options at taking a step into track racing having done local car club events such as hill climbs, bent and dual sprints, writes 2011 Winter Series top rookie Ben Sunckell.

Obviously owning a Honda, and having a few friends racing Hondas I was easily lead to the Motul Honda Cup Series. A trip up to Hampton Downs with Mark Walters to watch him racing and to meet some of the other racers quickly proved this was the series for me. What convinced me was the way most people helped each other out, seeing everyone having a good laugh and how light-hearted the racing and community was. Also the structure of the races meant that my fairly stock Civic could have a few laps blasting around in the top 10 during the Handicap format race. Cost was and is a huge issue for me, as it is for many young drivers these days. I didn’t want to be spending $3-$400+ on entry fees for a club meeting in something like SS2000, so the Motul Honda Cup ticked that box easily as well.

My car is an EF9 Honda Civic which I have slowly built over the years on a limited budget. By limited budget I mean the cheapest adjustable suspension I could find (K-sport), a standard b16a motor apart from Type R cams, and the Prelude brake upgrade. So during 2010, I started saving for a new set of Toyo R888’s and putting my money away for the entry fees and fuel I would need for the 2011 series.Uploaded Image Fast forward to 2011 and Round 1 at Taupo and I was there, and living the dream! I was worried about my car not being ‘modified’ enough and not being fast enough and getting in other people's way. But none of that mattered. Most people give each other plenty of space and the fast guys know how to pass safely. The race st ructure with the reverse top 10 and the handicap format means you don’t have to be the fastest to accumulate lots of points. I figured if I didn’t spin and managed to stay on the track for each race I would pass at least someone.

What I learned during the course of the series is that you don’t need the fastest car, with all the go fast flashy JDM bits. What you need is to know your car well and know how it handles, learn how much grip you do (and don’t have) and get out there and drive the pants off it. If something breaks, make it stronger and aim for reliability. Also it’s handy if you try and align yourself with someone that is already racing in the Honda Cup for help and advice - the guys are unbelievably helpful.

During the 2011 series, due to the race structure I managed to start off pole in only my second ever race, I also had a handful of top 10 finishes. I qualified third fastest around Pukekohe (pretty bloody impressive that was Ben!! - RG) and had three podiums.
For any racers thinking about getting out there and doing the Motul Honda Cup, come along and watch a round and meet the gang. You don’t need to be made of money, it can be done on a budget and I am proof of that. I am sure you will have a whole heap of fun and get lots of points along the way.

Final Winter Series points

1 Shaun Van Beers Integra 455
2 Mark Walters Civic 454
3 Richard Gee Civic 423
4 Gary Wilson Civic 374
5 Ben Sunckell Civic 294
6 Martin Dunn Integra 287
7 Logan Morrell Civic 278
8 Jason Weel Civic 249
9 David Harker Civic 246
10 Peter Dudson Integra 216

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Number 1 NZ Honda series - Awesome!

Well done to our champion and class winners and thanks to everyone for making Motul Honda Cup the country's top series for racing Hondas!