Andy Knight Motorsport V8 SuperTourers 2012 update: Round one, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, 17th to 19th February 2012
Barry Neale: Data Analyst Barry Neale joined the team three years ago from V8 Utes, and has extensive knowledge and experience analysing data and set-ups to maximise performance of race cars. Aaron Henderson: Engineer Aaron (Red) Henderson has also been an engineer with Andy Knight Motorsport since Andy made the change from the Toyota Racing Series to NZV8’s in 2008/9.
Jody Wilson: Senior Engineer Jody Wilson spent much of December and January assembling the car in time for the 2012 season. This marks Jody’s fourth season with Andy Knight Motorsport. Danny Whiting: Engineer A long time family friend, Danny has been involved with Andy Knight’s motorsport career from the very beginning. One of Danny’s key roles will be tyre management. Brendon Warlich: Engineer Brendon is very experienced with varying forms of motorsport. He has worked as an engineer for teams competing in Toyota Racing Series, Formula Ford and Formula 5000.
Peter Knight: Team Owner Peter (PG) Knight is the second generation of the Knight family to be involved in powersports. He successfully campaigned in powerboats for many years, before moving to motor racing and the TraNZam series. He has competed with some of the best in the business, and is now using his extensive experience to guide him as team owner. Andy Knight: Driver The third generation of the Knight family to pursue a motorsport career, Andy began at age 11 and has competed in karts, Formula Ford, Toyota Racing Series and in recent years the NZV8 series. Podium finishes have been a consistent feature of Andyâ€™s motorsport career, including winning the N.Z. Grand Prix in 2008. Andy Neale: Team Manager Andy Neale has a long pedigree in motorsport in New Zealand and overseas. Following a successful career as a driver he has turned his attention to team management, taking the team to victory in the 2008 Toyota Racing Series. Neale has rejoined for 2012, managing the team over their first season in V8 SuperTourers.
Track info: Hampton Downs (International Circuit) 2.8 km
Apex speed: 60 km/h Turn four (a second gear tight right-hander) is a favourite spot for overtaking, so you’ve got watch your mirrors for other drivers as you brake and position the car on the entry to Apex speed: 60 km/h Jump on the brakes just as you pop over the crest, and turn in late before powering out the other side and down towards turn six. The landscape forms a natural ampitheatre where big crowds gather to watch all the action, and it’s great to hear a cheer as you pull off a passing move through this section. Apex speed: 100 km/h A long right hander that can be approached as a single or double apex corner, depending on the track condition. It’s important to get this one right, as a fast clean exit here makes you faster than your competition all the way up to the flag and turn one. Some big slides are possible as the Top speed: 240 km/h A full throttle run up the hill and past the flag will give a top speed of around 240 km/h before heavy braking for turn one.
Apex speed: 115 km/h One of Andy’s favourite parts of this track, and one of the most exciting as 16 cars try to funnel through on the first lap. The turn drops seven metres down to the right, so you can’t see or aim for the apex as you enter. It’s a challenge to get right, but very satisfying when you do. Apex speed: 90 km/h A tight third gear right hander that takes some practice as your line through turn two can have a big effect on your line through three.... so much so that we think about these two corners as one instead of seperately. Turn in too early and you’ll lose momentum into three, but leave it too late and you risk overshooting and running off.
Apex speed: 110 km/h The ‘second half’ of the turn two-three complex is another third gear corner; this time a left hander that goes up and over a small hill. You can’t see the exit until you’re past the apex, and as the car goes light over the brow, you’ll need to be careful how many of those 575 horsepower you feed in trying to get a fast exit.
Race one: Andy Knight Motorsport debuts the Gulf Oil â€“ Century Batteries Falcon in first ever V8 SuperTourer race
Saturday 18th of February 2012 will forever be etched in the minds of motorsport enthusiasts around New Zealand as the day we saw V8 SuperTourers racing for the first time. The day started with a Qualifying session where drivers and teams were going to see for the first time where they all sat relative to each other in terms of car performance and understanding of how to get the best performance out of the cars.
Race one was a 20 lap affair, kicked off with a rolling start. As 16 brand new race cars tried to negotiate turn one together after the start, there was a little apprehension amongst all teams To their credit all the drivers got hrough cleanly and the very first V8 SuperTourer race was underway. Andy quickly gained a position in the opening lap and held it during the race until Craig Baird managed to squeeze past a few laps later.
Andy Knight headed out for the the Qualifying session with the 15 other drivers and was immediately looking fast. The pacesetters were consistently banking lap times in the 1:05â€™s with the occasional high 1:04 from the leaders. The best time recorded during Qualifying by Andy Knight was 1:04.902 which put him in sixth position on the grid for the start of race one. Incredibly just 3 tenths of a second separated the top eight cars in Qualifying; a sign of how close the racing was going to be over the weekend.
Andy closed out the race in sixth position; a creditable result in his first SuperTourers race, with the car kept straight and damage free. Greg Murphy took the win for race one.
Race two: Bumper to bumper combat between Knight and McIntyre thrills the crowd
Race two of the opening round of V8 SuperTourers was a 25 lap race, five laps more than the first race on Saturday. The new class was proving highly competitive, and the close racing and high performance of the new race cars meant many drivers were suffering from extreme heat fatigue at the finish of race one
Title sponsors of both cars got plenty of mentions from the TV commentary team and coverage as a result of the (literally) bumper to bumper racing. Andy had John’s measure in the corners, with John’s car demonstrating slightly more speed in a straight line.
With near perfect weather conditions continuing on Sunday, and five extra laps to contend with in race two, many teams were kept busy on Sunday morning making modifications and devising strategies to keep their drivers cool while driving.
Andy Knight Motorsport Team Manager Andy Neale commented after the race that Andy’s engine had been running slightly hotter than normal (due to decreased airflow through the radiator from following John so closely), and that had a slight impact on engine performance which affected our acceleration and top speeds.
Grid positions were determined by the results from race one; which meant Andy Knight was again starting from grid position six. Another relatively clean start for all cars saw racing underway.
Andy Knight closed out the race in position seventh, behind winner Greg Murphy.
Race two was dominated by an intense battle for positions six and seven between Andy Knight and John McIntyre racing the Talley’s Falcon. The race position between these two highly competitive drivers swapped many times during the course of the race, sometimes in the same lap!
Race three: Dynamic driving by Andy Knight in an action-packed feature race
Race three was held in the hottest conditions of the weekend, so driver conditioning and fitness was certainly going to be a factor.
To avoid the resulting mêlée of stopped race cars, Andy deliberately took to the grass, avoiding damage to the car but putting him near the back of the field when he rejoined.
The final race for round one was also the longest at 30 laps (reduced from a planned 35 after delays earlier in the day). Grid positions for the last race were determined by a combination of finishing results from races one and two. Ironically this formula had Andy Knight starting from grid position six for the third time in the weekend.
Some superb driving saw Andy move back through the field to finish the race in eighth position. Ant Pedersen took the honours in the final race for round one.
Right from the rolling start it was evident many of the drivers were taking a more aggressive approach to this race. As drivers became more accustomed to the performance of the new cars and how much they could push them, this was to be expected and no doubt welcomed by the 20,000 strong crowd. While race one and two were relatively free of car contact, the same cannot be said of the third race. Greg Murphy copped a drive-through penalty for turning Kayne Scott, while Andy Booth and Eddie Bell came together spectacularly through turn one later mid-way through the race.
Andy Knight Motorsport has had a solid start in what proved to be an action-packed inaugural event for V8 SuperTourers. Andy scored 375 points over the weekend, putting him in eighth position as the series now heads to the team’s home track; Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park in Christchurch.
Team Managerâ€™s report
The past weekend has been the culmination of a lot of work by the team to get the car and package ready for the first ever round of the V8 SuperTourer championship. I was pleased how the car and team personnel had come together in what was a relatively short time to prepare for round one. The transporter looks great, and the team uniforms got a lot of favourable comments, as did the race car. We arrived at Hampton Downs feeling fairly comfortable with our understanding of these brand new cars following our shakedown/testing at Ruapuna. There was always going to be an element of mystery around how fast we were compared to the other teams until Qualifying and the first race. Qualifying turned out to be a very satisfactory experience, with the Andy and the car showing good pace when measured against the others. The race results from round one, with a sixth, seventh and eighth placings were a great result for our first race weekend. What was particularly pleasing was that the lap times improved through each of the three races, with Andy actually recording his fastest lap time in the third race.
Looking forward to Ruapuna, there are many elements of the team dynamic and preparation that I have made notes on. These are just tweaks, as we will be continually looking to improve all aspects of the team performance. These goes beyond just race results, though of course this is the most important measure of success. The second round of V8 SuperTourers is just six short weeks away so the team and I have plenty to work on in that time. Thanks to all our supporters so early in the season, and we look forward to seeing many of you at Ruapuna when we next go racing. Cheers Andy Neale Team Manager
Next race: Round two, Ruapuna, Christchurch, 7-8 April 2012 (Easter weekend)
Round one: Hampton Downs, Waikato, 17-19 February 2012
Round two: Ruapuna, Christchurch, 7-8 April 2012
Round three: Manfeild, Feilding, 27-29 April 2012
Round four: Hampton Downs, Waikato, 1-3 June 2012
Round five: TBC
Round six: TBC
Round seven: Pukekohe, Auckland, 26-28 October 2012*
Round eight: Ruapuna, Christchurch, 24-25 November 2012
Check www.v8st.co.nz for more information and to buy tickets
*The recent addition of a Pukekohe round may change the original dates and locations of rounds five and six.
Andy Knight Motorsport wishes to thank our sponsors for their generous support
Published by Championship Digital for Andy Knight Motorsport • Design and images by Andrew Bright/Championship Digital • Text by Gerard Wade/GDub Marketing
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Welcome to the first of our updates from the 2012 V8 SuperTourers season. The championship has roared into life and the historic first round...