Waikato driver set to turn heads
MotorSport New Zealand tell us the new Toyota Camry V8 piloted by Martin Short is an amazing machine.
Onlookers at Manfeild will be able to judge for themselves when the NZV8s thunder around the track on Saturday and Sunday.
"The sound and look is different to the current cars," said MNZ's category manager Amanda Tollemache.
It is the first V8-powered Camry in top level Australasian touring car racing and Short, the young Hamilton driver, stunned everyone by winning his first race, at Invercargill, in it.
He drove a Falcon V8 to fourth overall last summer and two seasons back was the national Formula Ford champion.
He has had two wins and four seconds so far in the 5-litre Camry, built by Richards Team Motorsport in Paeroa, and lies second in the championship. The new-generation of TLX cars will be the main focus of the class which has been so gutted by the emergence of the V8 SuperTourers who have signed most of the names.
The TLX cars use the same racing chassis but have their own body panels and V8 engine with a standard racing six-speed sequential gearbox. The Camry's engine comes out of the Grand Am road series in the United States.
It has been a year since MNZ president Shayne Harris piloted a new-generation car at last year's NZ Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild.
The Falcon he drove that day, FG01, has been finished and will get its first outing at Manfeild at the hands of Auckland's Haydn McKenzie.
There will be five of the new V8s at Manfeild and 14 all up in the class, with two "potentials", an advance on the meagre nine who raced in the opening two rounds at Teretonga and Timaru.
Leading the series is Aussie V8 Supercar driver Jason Bargwanna, from Warrigal near Melbourne, who was a close second behind Angus Fogg in the championships.
Bargwanna drives a new generation Holden Commodore for Inky Tulloch Motorsport, a mainstay of the official V8 series.
Bargwanna, who has had four wins from six starts, has said it feels like a V8 Supercar to drive - the handling, the braking, the power.
Cambridge driver Nick Ross has had a second and a third in his new-generation Commodore.
Also in the field in the older T L class Falcons are the talented brothers A J Lauder, 18, and Brad, 16, nephews of touring car ace Paul Radisich. A J was the Suzuki Swift champion last year.
Other new drivers for this round will be: Bronson Porter (Hamilton), James McLaughlin (Lower Hutt) and Alan McCarrison (Auckland).