Team NZ Motorsport is pleased to announce its participation in the new Asian LMS Sprint Cup, which kicks off at Sepang International Circuit on 27-29 May. We plan to compete in all three events that comprise the inaugural series.
The Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup is a new initiative from the ACO and is reserved for LMP3, CN and GT Cup cars. The events will feature two 1-hour long races with pitstops and driver changes and all three rounds this year will take place at Sepang International Circuit, on 27-29 May, 5-7 August and 2-4 September respectively.
The Sprint Cup is open to Bronze and Silver level drivers only and that meant the new concept resonated as soon as we took a closer look. While we are an amateur status team, we are certainly results driven and there’s a highly ambitious streak running right through Team NZ Motorsport as we focus on achieving a professional level, but we also never loose sight of the fact that we race because we love the sport and the desire to compete. The new Sprint Cup is an exciting platform for us as it offers a level playing field to amateur teams and drivers.
For the opening round the weekend after next team co-owners and regular drivers, Graeme Dowsett and John Curran, will form the line up in the cockpit of the #77 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup and certainly both know Sepang very well, they have racked up a lot of racing time here and we have already enjoyed plenty of high level successes at this circuit.
For Team NZ Motorsport the Sprint Cup is thus an ideal fit for a year that had to be rejigged calendar-wise due to our Porsche requiring extensive work following the Bathurst 12 Hour in February and this new ‘summer series’ is an obvious programme choice. That major work means the car will be virtually like new.
In fact the Porsche will only arrive at Sepang from Australia a few days prior to the event, hence our late lodging of an entry has revolved around final shipping scheduling confirmation.
We regard Sepang as our ‘home’ circuit and have enjoyed some fantastic success here since we team started racing GT level cars three years ago. We won the competitive ‘GT Cup’ class on our debut in the prestigious Sepang 12 Hours in 2014 and followed that up by finishing as runners up last year. John and Graeme have also raced previously in selected MSS races at Sepang.
The Asian LMS Sprint Cup will denote the main part of our 2016 season getting underway. The year however kicked off with our debut in the Bathurst 12 Hour, a truly dramatic race that saw us finishing in a podium position. In fact our three endurance race participations so far have netted us three podium finishes, results that emphasise the solidity, strength and professionalism we have already embedded into our young team.
Nakd Water, Completion Products, Asia Pacific Spiral and Pioneer will support Team NZ Motorsport during the 2016 Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup.
Following the conclusion of the Asian LMS Sprint Cup weekend Team NZ Motorsport will remain at Sepang for two days of private testing (Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May).
John Curran: “Graeme and I are very excited about the Asia Le Mans Sprint Cup. Firstly, it is at our home circuit of Sepang. Secondly, and one of the key attractions, we are racing against similar FIA Bronze and Silver drivers and the car is classed among equal machinery, so we should be competitive. The first half of the year has been all about repairs after the incident at Bathurst and we cannot thank the race organisers enough to work with us to enter Team NZ at last hour. We had hoped to go to Thailand for TSS especially given the field of new cars in 2016, but it became evident that we were going miss the first round with the car still in Australia undergoing repairs, however we are just going to make the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup’s first weekend. The car is practically new, there are zero hours on the gearbox and low hours on the engine and even less hours on the drivers, so let’s roll the dice.”
Graeme Dowsett: “Unfortunately I could not make the last race at Bathurst due to a leg injury, so I am super eager to get back into the car and back to our stomping ground at Sepang. The car went through a major rebuild in Australia after the race and will only make it back to Sepang a day before the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup starts, so logistically we have been very tight getting it to the race on time. A special thank you to Michael Newton and his team in the complete rebuild and we believe the car will be in the best condition it has been in since taking it over from Earl Bamber. Racing with LMP cars and prototypes will be interesting due to speed differences at different parts of the track as well as the difficulty in seeing these cars in your mirrors. I think a few heads will be watching the first race to see how the lap times are with the slightly changed and resurfaced Sepang track.”