Mixed lineup to kick off series

This weekend sees a capacity 42-car field for the opening round of the One Hour Race Series.

It's the first time a Motorsport New Zealand-sanctioned series has overfilled the Teretonga Park grid.

The ASKO-sponsored event is a mixed bag for 2013 with 60 per cent of the cars and drivers new to the series.

Entries range from a late model Porsche 997 and Ferrari race cars to little Starlets and Civics.

Last year's champion, Paul Kelly, will not race this year, preferring to concentrate on his Three- Hour Series campaign.

Drivers range from 16-year-old Josh Perkins through to one of New Zealand's oldest competing drivers, John Cottier, who is closer to 80 than 70. Female drivers are also represented with Sue McLaughlin (Porsche 996 GT3) lining up in a race that will see drivers ranging from novice level to the highly experienced.

The GT class is likely to be where the race and series battle will be, as the Porsche 997 GT3s of George McFarlane, Hayden Knighton and Danny Whiting take on the Ferrari 458 of Tim O'Connor, but the surprise late entry of Highlands Motorsport Park owner Tony Quinn in his Aston Martin GT3 could shake up the pecking order.

Class 1 (3501cc and above) will see the powerful RX7 V8 of current race record-holders Grant Williams and Brent Buist lining up against other V8 creations including Brian Scott (Corvette C5), Mike Robb (Mustang Cobra), Chris Henderson (Toyota AE86 V8) and the turbo cars of Johnny Waldron (R32 Skyline), Tony Head (Altezza turbo), a pair of Mazda RX7 turbos for Rick Matheson and Hamish Frew/Darryl Barrett and the twin turbo BMW 135is of Barry Kirk-Bunnand and Todd Murphy.

Class 2 (2001cc-3500cc) has 20 cars registered.

This includes a group of BMW M3s from Warren Good, Chris White, Anthony Tucker, Adam Glass and Michael O'Dea.

There are turbo cars for Hamish Ellingham (EVO9), Andy Giles (AE85 turbo), Nathan Blomquist/John Peplow (Silvia) and Malcolm Jones (DX Corolla), right through to the classic Porsche 911SC of Chris Fleury.

Class 3 and 4 (0-2000cc) also has a strong lineup with the race debut of a Toyota 86 driven by past Three Hour Series champion Grant Aitken.

He will be chased hard by the highly-modified 1600cc Starlets in the class including 2011 overall One Hour Series Champion Jeremy Dawson and 2011 Teretonga One Hour race winner Stu Black.

After this weekend's opening round, the One Hour Race Series then heads to Powerbuilt Ruapuna, Christchurch, on October 5 and then Levels Raceway, Timaru, on October 19 before the series grand finale at the new Highlands Motorsport Park circuit in Cromwell on November 9.

The Southland Times