Tight budget sees Jones cut back NZ racing
Cameron Jones' motor racing exploits in Asia look as if they will extend to Australia next year.
But a shortage of sponsors means he is having to throttle back on New Zealand big-banger racing in his giant yellow Trans Am rocketship.
Jones has been commuting to Thailand and Malaysia for the Super Car Thailand Championship.
Next month he flies off to the final round, the Bangsaen street race at Pattaya, and plans to return to the series next year. He won two of the three Hamilton street races in April to secure the Thailand drives.
The PTT Performa Racing team is Thai-based but owned by New Zealander Craig Corliss who owns Pacific Sheet and Coil in Auckland. He has been doing some of the racing in one of two Falcons, former Australian V8 Supercars. Jones and his small team have also been driver training and testing and providing mechanical help.
"The class is pretty strong," Jones said. There are also GT3 Porsches, factory Toyotas, Mazda RX7s, Subaru Imprezas - similar to a GT1 class in New Zealand.
The safety aspect is far removed from New Zealand's: no flag marshals and races don't stop while cars are removed.
Jones has been there four times, including two rounds in Kuala Lumpur. In the first endurance round, the car was put into the gravel trap on the second lap and that was it.
He will contest one of the V8 SuperTourers' support categories at Pukekohe in the 1998 Trans Am in March, even without a single sponsor just now.
"I'm having to pay everything out of my own pocket."
It costs about $5000 per round and because of that he won't race at Manfeild next weekend, nor at Taupo or Hampton Downs.
There is more sponsorship money across the Tasman so Jones plans to gear up and head there for the Australian GT sports sedan round at Bathurst in February in what is one of the fastest cars in New Zealand.
"I'm looking forward to doing 900 horsepower going down Conrod Straight," he said.
That is the quickest section of the Mt Panorama circuit.
- © Fairfax NZ News