2 September 1998 The New Zealand Racing Driver's Meeting at Pukekohe on Sunday 6th September will be the final opportunity for Motorsport Fans to see the majority of the cars competing at the AMP Bathurst 1000 in October 1998. It is also the...
2 September 1998
The New Zealand Racing Driver's Meeting at Pukekohe on Sunday 6th September will be the final opportunity for Motorsport Fans to see the majority of the cars competing at the AMP Bathurst 1000 in October 1998. It is also the last opportunity for cars to test componentry and performance under race conditions. Adding intrigue will be the appearance of Geoff Brabham in the Uniden sponsored BMW 320i, current co-title champion with his brother David of the 1997 AMP Bathurst 1000, if New Zealand and Australian Motorsport authorities give him an exemption to obtain a competition licence to race in New Zealand.
If Brabham fails to gain his licence it's likely that New Zealander Barrie Thomlinson will fill the pilots seat of the International Motorsport car that took Brett Riley to his New Zealand Touring Car Championship. It will also provide Thomlinson with an opportunity to familiarise himself with the rear wheel BMW 320i before he campaigns one with Jason Richards at Mt. Panorama.
The teams have only 10 days between the NZRDC Meeting and departure for Bathurst to modify their sprint configurations for the Endurance car event. In addition to extra capacity fuel tanks and a Dry Break Fuel System (used in Formula 1 to allow rapid gravity fed refuelling stops) the cars will pay attention to their suspension and drive componentry. As Schedule S regulations don't allow for any major modifications to these systems, work will concentrate on eliminating flawed equipment rather than beefing it up.
It is also expected that teams will be seen at Pukekohe and possibly Manfield later in the month for final shakedowns and testing before the departure date. The addition of 80 litre fuel tanks will make the handling of the cars considerably different from that experienced in the 10 - 15 lap sprint races normally seen in New Zealand.
Estimates at the lap time differences between the 2.0 litre Super Tourers and Schedule S cars ranges between 15 - 20 seconds per lap. Differences that give the Super Tourers an advantage include the use of aerodynamics, horsepower, differentials and gear ratios. Despite these disadvantages, the New Zealand cars are equipped with incredibly strong engines and Bathurst's reputation as a car breaking track may be to their advantage.