CALTEX DRIVERS PREPARE FOR BIGGEST MEETING OF THE SEASON This weekend's Placemakers V8 Supercar round at Pukekohe Park Raceway is the biggest circuit meeting on the New Zealand motor racing calendar and the Caltex Racing Ford BA Falcons of Paul...
CALTEX DRIVERS PREPARE FOR BIGGEST MEETING OF THE SEASON
This weekend's Placemakers V8 Supercar round at Pukekohe Park Raceway is the biggest circuit meeting on the New Zealand motor racing calendar and the Caltex Racing Ford BA Falcons of Paul Pedersen and Angus Fogg will be there flying the flag in the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring car races.
It's not hard to see why MotorSport New Zealand and its promotions arm The MotorSport Company elected to run the final rounds of all their key 2004/05 season championship classes at the annual Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting - in hot, sunny conditions in 2003 the meeting attracted over 90,000 fans (91,213) and even in the wet, cold conditions last year it attracted over 75,000 (76,029).
With no sign yet of an end to our Indian Summer the promoters of the Placemakers meeting expect attendances this weekend to be up on those of last year, particularly with the uncertainty over the venue of next year's V8 Supercar meeting.
What this means for teams like Caltex Racing, competing in the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car championship, is the opportunity to strut their stuff in front of one of the largest crowds gathered for ANY sporting event in New Zealand, let alone a motor racing one.
Having tested twice in recent weeks at the high-speed 2.8 km circuit adjacent the main Pukekohe-Tuakau highway, team engineer/driver Angus Fogg expects the class lap record to tumble this weekend courtesy the recent drainage and sealing work done at the venue.
Parts of the circuit have now been re-sealed twice to smooth out the bumps which have traditionally made it so hard to get a good, workable car set up.
Fogg says that he and teammate Paul Pedersen are looking forward to this weekend's final Parker ENZED round, Fogg because the meeting comes on the back of his strong performance at the penultimate round at Taupo, where he ended up third overall after qualifying third fastest and finishing second in the third race.
That elevated him to13th overall in the series points standings, a position he could easily improve on this weekend.
Paul Pedersen was as high as third in the final race at Taupo before being forced out by a driveline problem, but he remains handily placed as far as the overall points are concerned, heading to Pukekohe in seventh place with 643 points, just 22 points behind sixth placed fellow Ford Falcon driver Shane Drake.
The NZ V8 touring cars have two testing sessions on Friday, qualifying and one race on Saturday and two races on Sunday.
One of the highlights of the weekend, both for the drivers and the crew members will be joining their Australian counterparts on pit row. Though the large pit garages on pit row are for the exclusive use of the V8 Supercar teams, the New Zealand teams line up in front of them before each Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car race, and use the apron in front for any work during a race.
That gives the New Zealanders a chance to rub shoulders with their opposite numbers in the Australian series, which as Fogg says, gives everyone a buzz.
On-track action gets underway at 9:30 am each morning.