2011 Series Newsletter Number 9 - July 30th 2011

Team lead changes - With the absence of Martin Dunn from Pukekohe, Team Pom (aka The Rugby World Cup 2011 Winners) lost their lead in the Speedfactor Team Championship to Jason Weel and Shaun van Beers. With Dunn still absent for Manfeild whilst in the UK, the 'naki team have the chance to extend their lead on their home track.

Series gets some modest wheels - The series has secured a very modestly priced Honda Shuttle from TradeMe and this will be used to transport the inventory of bits and bobs we need around the country. We will show you a picture when it is finished, but rumours of a Buddy Club body kit and a Mugen enhanced K20A are wide of the mark! :-)

Talking of Manfeild - you can download all the regulations and entry forms on the Honda Cup web site front page. The entry form is here.

2010 Champion car back - Last year's championship winning car - the DC2 campaigned so successfully in Motul Honda Cup, will be out again at Manfeild for the first time this Winter series in the hands of local racer Gary Maddock, who purchased the car recently. A good outing at a Manfeild club round should stand Gary in good stead for a strong result and it's great to see the car back.

Boyne another to join the battle - DC5 driver Gavin Boyne, who now has a good level of experience racing his lovely DC5 in Auckland car Club meetings as well as the occasional foray into the IRC is all set to sign up for the new summer series. Gavin plans to run the first round before undertaking some development work on the car and returning for the the last three or four rounds.

HondaCup features on SuperTourer Facebook site - Our Facebook guru Tristan Neate has set up mutual links to the SuperTourer facebook site - click here - and the V8 guys are already out there promoting the Honda Cup summer series. Our own Facebook site now has around 220 'Likes' and is growing all of the time. Just wish I understood how it all worked!

Design Rik's NZ Hondas Car! - If any of you out there want a cracking prize for a few hours work on your computer, you should check out the competition on NZ Hondas to design a colour scheme for Rik's car. You can find the competition here and whilst on the subject of Mr Wakelin - check out his awesome in car video from Pukekohe here.

Hard luck Mike - Mike Brownlie was unlucky at Pukekohe to lose it early on in the running and end up backing his car into the barriers on the Mountain. Mike put it down to cold tyres on the very tricky track - which was wet in some places, damp in others, a dry elsewhere. There was a fair bit of damage to the rear driver side corner, but Mike will be aiming to be out again as soon as posisble.

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

WINTER

Unofficial testing/practice - September 17th - Taupo sprint
Round 5 - - Taupo long track 

SUMMER

Unofficial testing/practice - September 17th - Taupo sprint
 

Round 1- Taupo long track, September 18th - one day

Round 2- Pukekohe, October 29th - one day

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

Van Beers bounces back

A great comeback and a round win was the perfect response to his round 2 problems for Taranaki's Shaun van Beers in the Just Tyres DC5.

On his first visit to the legendary Pukekohe track, Shaun kept it all on the island this time to win the round after two competitive grid races and then a dominant run in the handicap race. Not the outright quickest car on the day, he was nevertheless the most consistent and his round win propels him to a very competitive looking second in the championship standings ahead of Richard Gee and just a few points behind series leader Mark Walters - who had another very consistent run in his EF.

On a day when 25 cars turned up to do battle, the racing was close and exciting, with Alan Stewart's hot DC2 having a second or so advantage on lap times, but with a snarling pack close behind that included David Grigor and Steve Taylor in their fantastic production racers, Mark Walters, Jason Weel and Richard Gee in their 1.6 Civics and van Beers and Tim Pollard in their swift DC5s.

Each of the three races were classics, with a damp/dry qualifying session putting Steve Taylor on pole position in his FD2 for Race 1.This was close affair, with Alan Stewart eventually taking the win from Steve Taylor, Walters and Gee, with David Grigor and van Beers making up the top six.

Race 2 was one of the best in the three years of Honda Cup, with a train of six or seven cars doing battle throughout the race following the reverse top ten grid. Grigor had a superb race to win, but only after Stewart lost fifth gear and had to nurse his car home in sixth. Tim Pollard took second after some staunch defence of his front row starting position and held off a big train behind him comprising Van Beers, Gee, Walters and Stewart.  A great drive from Logan Morrell netted seventh and the top ten was rounded out by Gary Wilson, Warren Tunley and Jason Weel.

Grigor blew his chances of winning the round when he was penalised for a jumped start in the handicap race, but Van Beers got is just right and dealt with the cars in front within a lap or two to put himself in the best possible position to move through and win the race, which he duly did. It wasn't plain sailing for the guys behind, and a huge scrap ensued amongst the pack which pretty much ended the faster cars hopes of moving through the field. The result was that Tauranga rookie Ryan McCartney - making his Honda Cup debut - took second place, with Jason Weel third, Garry Morrell fourth and Dave Harker fifth.

Walters maintains his lead in the series, with Van Beers now his closest challenger. Peter Dudson moves into top rookie spot overall after two rounds of consistent results, with Ben Sunckell dropping behind him after clutch failure in Race 1.

Production racers add spice

Round three was a watershed for Motul HondaCup, with its 25 car entry being a Winter Series record, and more big names and important cars fronting up to race.

Steve Taylor was there again with his Tier 1 production FD2, and the car was joined by two other ex production racers in Alan Smith's gorgeous DC5 and the sensational Squawking Magpie Golden Homes version shared by Gavin Yorte and David Grigor (it was David in the hot seat at Pukekohe). The presentation standard on all three cars was superb and the drivers all gave the thumbs up for the series format.

It was great to have so many entries, and great that the top guns in New Zealand Honda racing were there to be part of it.

Summer series announced

The Motul-sponsored Honda Cup racing series, now one of the fastest growing motor racing series in New Zealand, has announced its first summer series - a six round championship that will include two dates with the exciting new V8 SuperTourer Series of Champions.
Honda Cup–which is partnered by the country’s most popular car forum in the New Zealand Honda Club’s NZHondas.com – has already run two Winter Series and is currently half way through its third, with each round averaging well over 20 cars – a figure many summer classes struggle to muster. Top production car racers like FD2 racer Steve Taylor and DC5 ace David Grigor have already sampled the series during the winter and given the format the thumbs up.
The six round Championship will run from September to April and will include visits to Taupo, Pukekohe, Manfeild and Hampton Downs. The focus will be on giving drivers and engineers with a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and flair the chance to shine and to give them an unrivalled motor racing experience for a modest budget. For summer dates, see panel on the left.

What are the V8 SuperTourers?

Without going into all of the politics - a bit pointless because the series will happen as sure as night follows day - let's focus on the cars for a moment and the drivers who have stepped up to drive them. The new car is dimensionally identical to a V8 Supercar and there is an obvious reason for that as the machine was designed by the same guy who is designing the next generation Car of Tomorrow and the first car was built by the same folk who build chassis for some of the leading teams like Stone Brothers Racing. It is also homologated as an FIA World Car. What does that mean? Simply put, in recent years the big manufacturers have been pushing for standardised chassis, power plants, drive trains etc that can lend themselves to many brands and many forms of racing. NASCAR has been doing this for years, European Touring cars are following the path with a stock 1.6 turbo motor, even F1 has had its current engine spec frozen for the past five years. A World Car keeps costs down because it has many interchangeable parts, can be a platform for many different power plants or bodies, and can be around for up to a decade with teams just popping on a new body or power plant when rules, or manufacturer’s product launches dictate. FIA approval means the V8 SuperTourer officially ticks all of the correct boxes. How quick is it? Well, it has a little less grunt than a Supercar (may be 40bhp), but has a bigger motor and consequently many, many more all-important newtons of torque. It is also 100kg lighter than its Aussie cousin and that means it could have the edge over a Supercar on outright pace at many NZ circuits. It's going to be close whichever way you cut it, and they are going to be significantly quicker than the current V8s. Technologically they are state-of-the art even though budgets will be similar or slightly less than current. A six speed sequential Quaife box is indicative of that. Current V8 racers in New Zealand have a four speed manual that dates back to the beginning of time itself. Interchangeable suspension components are a sign of the times in global motor racing, and the brakes are big and strong enough to ensure they give the drivers plenty more opportunities to pass into corners than they currently have. Will people come and watch them? Are you kidding? There is still a very healthy market for V8s in this country and these are the fastest V8s ever to race domestically. Big names running can boast both popularity and championship titles - Greg Murphy, John McIntyre, Craig Baird, Andy Knight, Andy Booth, Kayne Scott, Paul Manuell and the nine others who will make up the entry have more titles to their name than probably every other top line series in New Zealand could muster collectively. At Speedshow last weekend, the series was selling tickets for Round 1 and probably sold over 1,000 over the first day alone. At just $30 for a three day pass, there's no question it will pull in the crowds.

Top ten after Round 3

1 36 Mark Walters Civic H1 281
2 53 Shaun Van Beers Integra H2 267
3 34 Richard Gee Civic H1 259
4 22 Gary Wilson Civic H1 242
5 46 Jason Weel Civic H1 187
6 77 Martin Dunn Integra H2 175
7 42 Peter Dudson Integra H2 171
8 23 David Harker Civic H1 158
9 31 Ben Sunckell Civic H1 147
10 3 Steve Taylor Civic H2 146

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