24H Nurburgring: Kiwi Team preview

KIWI TEAM EXPANDS FOR 2009 ASSAULT ON NURBURGRING New Zealand's Kiwi Team Nurburgring has confirmed exciting plans for the team's fourth consecutive assault on arguably the world's most challenging endurance race, the ADAC 24 Hours of...

KIWI TEAM EXPANDS FOR 2009 ASSAULT ON NURBURGRING

New Zealand's Kiwi Team Nurburgring has confirmed exciting plans for the team's fourth consecutive assault on arguably the world's most challenging endurance race, the ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring race.

Scheduled for the weekend of 21-24 May 2009, the ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring sees around 200 cars race twice around the clock, on a circuit that is 25km in length.

Expanding on the team's two class winning Honda Civic Type R race cars that have run since 2006, a third car enters the fold for the team in the form of a an Audi RS4. The V8 powered RS4 gives the team its best ever chance to foot it near the front of the race, against a host of factory race teams.

The expansion of the team is by far the largest New Zealand contingent in one team to take on 24 hours of racing at the 'Green Hell', a circuit known for its ability to throw all manner of challenging conditions at race teams.

By entering three cars over the previous two of 2007 and 2008, an additional five new drivers have joined the team for their first time. Headlining the new additions to Kiwi Team Nurburgring is two-time New Zealand V8 champion Andy Booth.

While this is Booth's first attempt on the 24 Hours of Nurburgring race, he has at least had the chance to drive the fast and flowing circuit previously on a European holiday two years ago. Excited by the chance to race in such a gruelling race, Booth's major New Zealand sponsor Big Ben Pies also joins the team for the first time.

As well as Booth, experienced endurance racers Rod Hicks and Dean Cockerton join the team for the first time, with Hicks in particular holding extensive experience at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring race. Also joining the team for are seasoned Porsche racers Jeff Lowery and Brent Greer.

Meanwhile 7 of the team's drivers from 2008 return for the 2009 race event, including experienced racers Lewis Scott, Stu Owers and Tim Martin who will join Booth in the RS4. Returning to drive the pair of Honda Civic's are team owner Dr Greg Taylor, Ali Taylor (Greg's son), plus team manager Brian McGovern and Mark Corbett.

The 2009 race will be the fourth start in this epic race for both team owner Dr Taylor, as well as Auckland driver Tim Martin.

Since 2008's 24 Hours of Nurburgring race, both the team's faithful Honda Civic Type R race cars have undergone a complete rebuild process, led by Richard and Craig Field of the Lodge Auto Centre in Hastings. Then in mid-March, the team's forty foot shipping container was packed and sent to Europe, with all the necessary provisions to run the cars, plus take care of all the other team needs such as marquees. The container also doubles as a sleeping area for the drivers and crew during the race.

One of the busiest team members in the build up to the 2009 race is Team Manager and Driver Brian McGovern. McGovern has been tied down with juggling his normal work-life commitments along with the logistics to move two race cars, the necessary support equipment for the team, plus more than twenty team members around the world.

The addition of the Audi RS4 to the team's entry for the 2009 event was confirmed after deciding this to be the most realistic opportunity to take what is already an extremely costly project to the next level.

In a joint venture with German team G0x00f6tz Motorsport, preparation and engineering of the RS4 will be taken care of by the German outfit, who will work in with the New Zealand crew and drivers throughout the race weekend. All three cars will carry near identical paint schemes.

The RS4 packs serious punch, with an Audi 4.2 litre V8 engine producing approximately 435 horsepower. The car has potential to qualify around 40th place, and race within the top twenty cars, assuming a damage free 24 Hours. Another strong point of the RS4 is the quattro drivetrain, with a 70% bias to the rear of the car, meaning a nice handling car but with the advantage of all four wheels driving the car, which is especially useful in wet weather conditions.

Before the main race even gets underway, a total of six hours of Qualifying is allowed for, matching the longest duration race that is run in New Zealand. Race start time is 4pm on Saturday 23 May, an hour later than previous years, and runs through until the same time the next day.

The provisional entry list for the race has been released, featuring almost 180 cars, including car number 11 for Kiwi Team Nurburgring's Audi RS4, plus numbers 192 and 193 for the team's two Honda Civic Type R's. Final entries for the race close on 28 April.

Team members will travel to Germany just over one week before the race, to allow time to acclimatise to the time-zone, plus take in some practice laps of the Nordschleife (North Loop), the 20km part of the circuit that often opens for the public for a cost of around 0x20ac15 per lap.

Progress of the team can be followed on the Kiwi Team Nurburgring website, www.KTN.co.nz.

Driver Lineups 2009:

Audi RS4

Andy Booth, Lewis Scott, Stu Owers, Tim Martin

Honda Civic's

Ali Taylor, Brent Greer, Brian McGovern, Dean Cockerton, Dr Greg Taylor, Jeff Lowery, Mark Corbett, Rod Hicks. Note exact car/driver line-ups are yet to be confirmed.

Quotes

Dr Greg Taylor, Team Owner + Driver

"It's almost scary to think how the team has grown over the past few years, to the scale we have today."

"Considerable preparation has gone in behind the scenes over the past few months, to ensure we do everything we can to continue our history of reliability that we've shown over the past three years."

Andy Booth, Driver

"I've only visited the track once to see what all the hype was about -- it certainly justifies its reputation as the 'Green Hell'."

"I'm really excited to be racing at The Nurburgring in a few weeks time; at the moment it's a balance of nervousness and excitement."

"The RS4 is vastly different to the V8 I drive in New Zealand. It'll be a very cool machine -- the team preparing the car is really professional."

Richard Field, Team Engineer

"Preparations for the race have gone really well from a technical perspective. We've undertaken our normal driveline rebuild, as well as some work on the rear suspension to further develop the settings. Other than that we've concentrated 100% on making sure we have two reliable cars."

-credit: ktn.co.nz

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Scott Lewis , Brian McGovern , Tim Martin , Andy Booth , Mark Corbett , Brent Greer , Rod Hicks , Dean Cockerton