Kerr shooting for six titles in a row
The South Island Midget Car Championship will be decided tomorrow night at the Ruapuna Speedway and Christchurch's David Kerr has a chance to create some history.
Having won the last five stagings of the event, Kerr is edging closer to the record of seven wins held by legendary driver Trevor Hall who dominated the class in the 1960s.
The standard of midget car racing in the South Island has perhaps never been higher and there are several genuine contenders for the championship. Another Ruapuna driver, Nick Donaldson, recently finished eighth in the New Zealand Championship and will be a real force to be reckoned with, while Nelson drivers Nevil Basalaj and Nick Marquet will also justifiably favour their chances.
Southland's Brendon Leitch (591 points) continues to lead the New Zealand Formula Ford championship as the series heads to the penultimate round at the NZ Grand Prix weekend over the next two days at Manfeild Park, Feilding. Christchurch's James Munro (550) is closing in after winning the latest round at Hampton Downs last weekend. Fellow Cantabrians Michael Collins (528) and Tom Alexander (457) still have a mathematical chance with a maximum of 225 points on offer at each round.
This weekend is the highlight of the 2013 Toyota Racing Series calendar with the final round at Manfeild Park where the prestigious NZ Grand Prix and overall series title will be decided. Defending champion Nick Cassidy leads (706 points) from internationals Lucas Auer (674) and Alex Lynn (654). With a maximum of 225 points available from the weekend there are five more drivers with a mathematical chance, but in reality the top three may be just too hard to beat. A field of 20 drivers will take the grid including Ken Smith who lines up for his 48th NZ Grand Prix.
Fresh from making his Prototype debut in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in the United States and spending time on the Mercedes F1 simulator before the launch of their 2013 car, Brendon Hartley will compete at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race in Australia on Sunday. He joins a strong contingent of Kiwi entries, including high profile drivers Shane van Gisbergen (Porsche GT3-R), Greg Murphy (Corvette Z06 R-GT3), Craig Baird (Ferrari 458), Jonny Reid (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) and Daniel Gaunt (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup).
Several South Islanders will also compete. Scott O'Donnell (Invercargill), Allan Dippie (Dunedin) and George McFarlane (Christchurch) together are driving a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, while Timaru's Mike Driver is with a North Island team driving a Seat Leon Supercopa. Hartley will share the cockpit with US-based South African Mark Patterson and Hong Kong-based Alain Li for an all-out challenge in the classic GT endurance event driving a new Audi R8 LMS Ultra. The event has attracted former F1 drivers Ivan Campelli and Mika Salo as well as European touring car champion Bernd Schneider.
Benjamin Carrell is the online editor of www.nzmotorracing.co.nz