April 2017 marks the celebration of a decade of Superlap in New Zealand. A lot has changed since the inaugural NZ Performance Car Superlap competition, but it’s even more special to see that so many faces from the first few years are still active in motorsport and time attack racing. The ProWear NZ Superlap Series in association with newest series sponsor, Endless Brakes, returned to the Taupo International Circuit for round four of the 2016–17 season. Riding on the tail of Cyclone Debbie it was hard to get a measure on what track conditions to prepare for, but the weather stepped up for a weekend of sunshine and a dry track both days.
The Pro Open battle was close, with only a few hundredths of a second between the top two cars in the shootout, but the weekend belonged to Scott Kreyl and Team RevolutioNZ. Kreyl won the first Superlap competition back in 2007 with the very same Evo 8 he still campaigns today – although it’s no longer road legal and has been through a heap of development and sports much crazier aero.
Kreyl put up the original trophy for grabs for the fastest lap of the weekend – but it wasn’t a total surprise to anyone to see it go right back to him with a time of 1:31.976.
Second place went to Hans Ruiterman after smashing a gearbox dog ring on Saturday in his Silvia and having to find a replacement part overnight and rebuild the gearbox trackside on Sunday morning instead of having a relaxing breakfast – all worth it though, as he pulled out a 1:32.524 in the shootout.
Third spot on the podium was the Shortty Racing Team Spec C WRX, also sporting a fresh gearbox rebuild from earlier in the week and running well to bring home a new PB of 1:39.665.
Greg Hirst had a fantastic weekend, knocking a couple of seconds off his target time of a 46 to achieve a 1:44.309 in his V6 MR2 racecar. David Brew was still chasing engine troubles and ended up heading home on Saturday but not before setting a 1:51.004 which was good enough for 5th. Kerri Mareeba took the SRT WRX to stretch it’s legs around the track on the Saturday morning session for 1:54.513, Maneesh Naidu returned with the 555 Racing Integra to smash out some fun laps and get down to 1:55.801. Rounding out the Pro Open field was newcomer, Nicholas Willis setting a 1:56.703 in his Corolla.
Pro Street AWD continued to be the realm of GT-R Skylines. The win and a new NZ Superlap Taupo International track record went to Iain Clegg’s 1450hp Nissan GT-R R35 monster with 1:34.472. If you’ve never heard this machine out on a circuit, you’re missing out. It sounds like a jet taking off, and then you realise there’s a man inside trying to tame it.
Andy Brooking’s Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 was just a few seconds off pace, but still putting down consistent fast laps and a best of 1:37.913. Next up was Kat Benson’s eye-catching Mitsubishi Evo — clutch issues meant limited hot laps for Kat and a fastest of 1:39.923 which is a good few seconds away from per PB on this track. Not wanting to damage the Evo any further, Kat retired for the afternoon to get the Evo back to Auckland for a check over.
Jaxon Sharp was able to break into the 40s with 1:40.683 while hot on his tail was Jason Xu’s R35 Skyline ‘silverbullet’ recording a 1:40.755 with William Yu at the wheel. Steve Vodanovich returned to Superlap after getting some good results at the Jamboree round — he was setting consistent 45s all weekend but the late morning Sunday session finally saw him dip down to a 1:44.931.
Morris Mustchin decided that his WRX no longer required 3rd gear on Sunday morning – cutting his opportunity for some fast laps and finishing on a 1:45.962 — Morris had headed back to the garage to make sure the WRX is fighting fit for the final round.
Pro Street 2WD honours went to Mark Collier’s MX5 after only completing Saturday’s sessions and posting 1:41.211 — then Mark was back on the road to race in a different series on Sunday - double duty for the little car. Jason Morris’ MacMorris Racing MPS made the jump up to second and 1:47.067 after spending most of the season picking up third placings.
John Stewart’s ITR integra nudged into third spot with his time of 1:48.197 set in the very first session of the weekend. Brian Schofield ran a 1:49.177 but had an otherwise dubious weekend; a flat tyre on the tow up and brake issues. We heard a rumour that he’s just going to drive the race car from Wellington to Auckland next time he needs to race, which may provide even more colourful travel stories.
Barend Bootha’s Mazda MX-5 pulled out a best lap of 1:50.184, while Aaron Krinkel has his sights set on the prize for entering the most different classes over a single season, this time back in his MPS but with different tyres, though he couldn’t quite match his time from earlier in the year and had to settle for a 1:53.419. Sahil Bhopal made a flying visit down on Sunday and almost missed the first session after leaving his transponder at home, but got it all sorted and made it to grid on time and ran a 1:55.256.
Bradley Haines had a very busy few weeks repairing the Savage Performance S14 after his wall-kiss at Jamboree, but he got it done and beat any shaky nerves to get back on the track and smash out a new PB of 1:56.395. Khan Macksey had to leave the MPS in the shed after some issues but came down as MacMorris racing support in his Mazda 6 daily – I’m sure nobody was surprised to see him fit up a fire extinguisher, slap on some track wheels and head out onto the circuit on Sunday for a bit of fun north of 2-minutes.
Street All Wheel Drive is looking like a hospital ward for Evos at this end of the season – some great close contenders at the start of the season being out for a variety of different reasons. The last Evo standing is Simon Turner’s Evokits racecar. Simon came close to the car’s existing record but fell a few tenths short, he will still be happy with a 1:41.457, but less happy to encounter more issues over the weekend — back to the garage before the final round we suspect. Second spot after completing just one session on the new engine was the Subaru Legacy GT-B wagon driven by Michael Nealis, opting not to head back on track after noticing a fluid leak issue and deciding to play it safe and bank the 1:55.192.
Street 2WD was shaping up to be another close battle between the Supra and the Calais, but Matt Gray’s Supra was really humming and took out the class by almost 3 seconds with a 1:41.210 — an incredible time using street-legal Westlake Sport RS tyres.
Darren McDonald piloted the 555 Racing Calais around in 1:43.922 and, more importantly, showed his great driving skill and car control to narrowly avoid what could have been a very unpleasant collision after the Evokits car spun at turn one. There were plenty of gasps from spectators watching that one.
Peach Ardagh took home third and a new PB of 1:48.147, while husband Joe came within a breath of catching her and posted a 1:48.754 after battling car troubles throughout the day. Adam Ostermeyer joined the series for his first superlap event, pulling out a 1:49.906 and some very consistently fast laps. Jakke Haag set his best time of the weekend in the first session, clocking 1:50.037 then staying in the 50s but not quite able to squeeze more out of the car. Aaron Soole shaved 4 seconds off his January time and got a 1:54.863 out of the Civic.
Iain Clegg’s crew member, Leo, took out his daily for a play and managed to push it under the 2 minute barrier for a best of 1:58.997, while the MacMorris Racing Mini with Raewyn Morris couldn’t break the 2 minute barrier but set some very consistent laps the entire weekend.
Thanks to the drivers, crews, supporters, officials, volunteers and marshals who come together to make these rounds happen. It’s not long now until the final round on the Hampton National track on May 6–7, and the season prizegiving.
Plenty of drivers are pushing not just for good series results, but also hoping to set new PBs and track records at Hampton, so we can’t wait to see the outcome of all the developments that are happening in sheds right now. We’ll see ya there!