NZ GT3: Series Taupo preview

HALLIDAY, REID AND VAN GISBERGEN ADD INTERNATIONAL EDGE TO PORSCHE ENTRY AT TAUPO THIS WEEKEND Three of New Zealand's highest profile racing drivers, Matt Halliday, Jonny Reid and Shane van Gisbergen, will add an international edge to...

HALLIDAY, REID AND VAN GISBERGEN ADD INTERNATIONAL EDGE TO PORSCHE ENTRY AT TAUPO THIS WEEKEND

Three of New Zealand's highest profile racing drivers, Matt Halliday, Jonny Reid and Shane van Gisbergen, will add an international edge to the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup field at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport meeting at Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend.

The weekend's Trophy (non-championship) round of the 2008/09 Battery Town series incorporates two 50 minute 'enduro' races, each with a compulsory driver change - providing the opportunity for the high profile trio to take part.

The round has attracted a strong field with Halliday pairing up with Jono Lester in the Blackwoods Paykels/JBS Tools 997, Reid joining Jody Vincent in the Koken Tools/Giltrap Prestige 997, and van Gisbergen sharing the Castrol Edge/Michelin Giltrap Group team car with Mark Russ.

Of the three, Halliday - now 29 - has the most direct experience behind the wheel of a Porsche GT3 Cup car, having been one of the front-runners in the Battery Town championship series before joining fellow kart-turned-car-star Reid on A1 Team New Zealand.

However Reid, 25, and van Gisbergen, 19, have both tested 997 GT3 Cup cars and posted competitive times.

It's particularly appropriate that Halliday and Reid are competing at the A1GP meeting, the pair having shared the driving duties in A1 Team New Zealand's car, Black Beauty, in the first and second season's of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport series.

It will also be interesting to see how highly-rated young gun van Gisbergen - who had a meteoric rise through the local single-seater ranks before earning a V8 Supercar drive with Stone Brothers Racing - goes behind the wheel of the Giltrap Group 997 GT3.

Of the three he is the one with the most recent long distance experience having completed in several long distance races as part of the V8 Supercar series across the Tasman in 2008.

The unique format of this weekend's Trophy round has attracted a number of other highly rated pairings, including former World Superbike Championship contender Aaron Slight who is teaming up with fellow Wellingtonian Darryn Hendersen in the RadioSport/Samsung 997, former series standout Rick Armstrong who is joining Ant Pedersen in the Volvo Construction Equipment 997, and Kevin Bell who will share the Life Pharmacy/Smart Cover 997 with Andrew Bagnall.

Entries have also been received from former Battery Town regulars Rob Steele, Tim Martin and David Mackrell, Bridgestone Porsche Series stalwarts Dave Allison, Stu Owers, John Garty, Steve Rasmussen and Kevin Cantwell, and young single-seater ace Simon Evans.

All bar Cantwell (Porsche 964) and John Garty and Steve Rasmussen (Porsche 911) will be in 996 GT3 Cup cars, Steele pairing up with Logan Sears, Martin with MINI Challenge driver James Kirkpatrick, Dave Allison with Stu Owers, David Mackrell with Peter Milliner and Evans (the 18-year-old son of Porsche racing identity Owen Evans) with fellow Formula Ford racer Matt Williams.

The weekend's format sees testing and qualifying (with each driver required to post a time) on Friday then one 10 lap sprint race and a 50 minute enduro apiece on Saturday and Sunday.

The sprint races will be held in the middle of the day, the endurance races late in the afternoon.

-credit: gt3 nz

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Series Road racing
Drivers Aaron Slight , Andrew Bagnall , Jonny Reid , Simon Evans , Kevin Bell , Tim Martin , Shane van Gisbergen , Ant Pedersen , Peter Milliner , Matt Halliday
Teams Williams