NZ GT3: Henderson Taupo preview

HENDERSON TEAMS WITH AARON SLIGHT AT TAUPO Wellington Porsche GT3 racer Darryn Henderson will share the wheel of his Radio Sport/Samsung Porsche at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend with good mate - former World Superbike Championship ...

HENDERSON TEAMS WITH AARON SLIGHT AT TAUPO

Wellington Porsche GT3 racer Darryn Henderson will share the wheel of his Radio Sport/Samsung Porsche at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend with good mate - former World Superbike Championship frontrunner, Aaron Slight.

This weekend's Porsche races are part of the support programme to the A1GP World Cup Of Motorsport at the 3.6 kilometre central North Island circuit. Over the course of the weekend competitors will fight it out in four races, all non - championship events. Two of the races will be over 10 laps of the Taupo track while the other two will be of 50 minutes duration. The 50 minute races will feature driver changes and it is in those races that Henderson and Slight will race together.

Slight has been keen to compete in New Zealand for quite some time but the opportunity has never presented itself - until now. Slight has been a mate of Henderson's for a long time, the duo having competed in other sports together, and the 50 minute races at Taupo were the ideal opportunity for the pair to team up.

While Slight became a household name in New Zealand due to his motorcycling exploits that saw him place in the top three of the World Superbike Championship on six occasions he has also raced GT3 Cup and in the British Touring Car Championship in the UK. Ideally he has experience in cars with sequential gearboxes as used in the Porsche GT3 997 he will be piloting this weekend.

Slight is really looking forward to the event. "I'm very, very happy that I am able to be involved," he say's. "I really appreciate the opportunity that's come along, particularly at a time when things are hard in New Zealand financially. It's good to have the chance to drive a really good car. I drove a Porsche GT3 in England in 2003 but haven't done much racing since then. I'm looking forward to the sequential gearbox which I have previously used in the BTCC." Slight has only ever driven three or four races in New Zealand and therefore his appearance in front of a large home crowd as the Porsche's support the A1GP World Cup Of Motorsport will be keenly awaited by motorsport fans.

Henderson is pleased to have his good friend on board for the event and is looking forward to a non-championship event for a change. "My major sponsor Radio Sport also sponsors the event so it will be good to race in front of their representatives."

Henderson will drive in the two sprint races, due to take place early in the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday, while he will also drive the first stint in each of the enduros before Slight takes over for the run to the finish. The first 50 minute race is scheduled for 4.45pm on Saturday and the other at 5.10pm on Sunday.

Taupo will provide the Wellingtonian with his third successive weekend of motor racing after two consecutive weekend's of racing in the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup at the country's two southernmost circuits -Timaru International Motor Raceway and Teretonga Park in Invercargill.

Henderson returned from the South Island saying he enjoyed the rounds at Timaru and Teretonga more than the opening two rounds at Pukekohe and Powerbuilt Tools Raceway in Christchurch. "I was a lot closer at the South Island rounds and I definitely enjoyed them. I had more speed."

Darryn had the Radio Sport / Samsung Porsche running well at Timaru but the highlight of his trip south came in the 30 lap mini - enduro at Teretonga. The weather was changeable for the twilight event last Saturday evening and he made the correct tyre choice and raced to a fine fifth place. "We made a good call with the tyres, I've had conditions like that with the V8 before," he said. Craig Baird had changed to slicks and so did we. We had to cruise early and hope that it would pan out. We were quicker than Rodney (experienced Australian Rodney Forbes) but I was happy to sit behind him due to his experience in longer races. We both picked up in the middle and I was a second a lap quicker as the race went on. With 5 or 6 laps to go I spun at the corner onto the front straight. Then the safety car came out,"

Henderson crossed the line in fifth place after a fine drive in difficult conditions.

Support for Darryn Henderson's 2008/2009 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Championship campaign comes from Radio Sport, Samsung, Xtreme Forwarding, Hi Tech Commercial Interiors, Laserlite, Ricoh, Excel Digital, Brandish Advertising, Apparel Master, Zoagn, Anhydro and Global Signage.

-credit: dh

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Craig Baird