If we could choose a favourite race team to follow and photograph, it would be Kat’s — she is the sole reason we are back covering the Prowear NZ Superlap Series this season. She’s always positive, and I think it’s one of the reasons her team is so well loved and followed in the series. Before we get into Kat’s round report, we would just like to extend our thanks to the team’s hospitality and positivity.
Racing! And, there’s been plenty of it this season for Kat Benson Racing completing each and every round around the North Island of New Zealand besides the first. Starting off with a newly-developed package is no easy feat, but Kat got into the groove without hassle for the first time at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.
Part of the new package was the engine, which is now a Pure Performance 2.3-litre stroker engine with a BorgWarner EFR8374 turbo with an array of Turbosmart goodies to keep things under control. Kat’s new package scored her an easy personal best at Bruce McLaren Motorsport, which was a great start to the season.
Round three of the Prowear NZ Superlap Series was held at Manfeild Autocourse in conjunction with the 4&Rotary North Island Jamboree and Kat was excited to let the new package loose on a circuit she doesn’t usually drive. Thankfully, the BurgerFuel Evo ran flawlessly and with only one day’s racing, Kat managed yet another personal best, ending the weekend with a rapid 1:15.4-second lap time.
For round four, Kat made her way back to Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park to do battle once again. With plenty of experience on this circuit and a growing familiarity with the new setup, Kat didn’t hold back one bit and smashed another second off her personal best, finishing the weekend on a high with a 1:37.6-second lap time. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t all good news. The dog-box had issues, and parts weren’t available for the final round of racing.
“This season has gone by so fast; it’s hard to believe the series is over. It feels like we were just putting the new motor in and fixing the big fire damage from last season’s final round,” Kat told us after finishing the final on a high, she continues, “The only thing I can put it down to is that every event was so much fun, with super-tough competition and some of the fastest lap times we’ve ever done across the country. A massive thanks to Kaz, Kerri and the organisers for another well-run NZ Superlap Series.”
Painfully, the factory gearbox has to be reinstalled before the final round if Kat were to have any chance of setting her wheels down on the black-top. “This was a hurdle but didn’t hold me back. I pushed the car to its limits, battling the failing OEM synchros and nearly ripping the selector out the top of the gearbox and bruising my hand, just to get it to shift and put down some good times,” Kat explains.
We get the feeling that once Kat brings the new engine package off of wastegate pressure, there’s going to be a new Pro-Street queen. “When all was said and done, I was ecstatic to come away with second overall in the Pro-Street category to an on-form Andy Brooking — a pleasure to drive with you all year buddy!”
“Now that the season is done, we don’t stop — we never slow down! The car has already started getting stripped back down as we want to get this gearbox rebuilt, address the diffs, beef up the aero, improve the cooling, and finally turn up the wick on the PPM-Racing 2.3-litre engine! Events planned are definitely Superlap, and the others you’ll have to wait and see, but fair to say we won’t have a single free weekend come summer.”
“To all those involved over this past year, sponsors/friends/racers thank you for your support and encouragement; without it, we would be lost. It truly is a pleasure dealing with every awesome person and business in this crazy scene and we can’t wait to see you all soon! “
Special thanks must go out to all the peeps behind the scene:
BurgerFuel, Ilabb, Nitto Tire NZ, Enkei Wheels, E&H Motors Pukekohe, Turbosmart, Link ECU, Timeattackr.com, Etnies NZ, Sinco, NZAD and of course my epic crew Andrew and Tristan. I am so blessed to have your support and could not grip this crazy ride without you all.
Kat Benson Racing XO