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John McIntyre hands V8 drive to rookie Mark Gibson

14 January, 2014

 


JMR_McIntyre_and_Gibson_JC1.jpg

V8 SuperTourer driver and team owner John McIntyre announced yesterday that he’s handing an opportunity to drive his Blackwoods Protector race car for the 2014 race season to Taupo-bred and Auckland-based Mark Gibson.

The decision, and the teams livery for the coming seven round campaign, were revealed at the John McIntyre Racing team’s season launch, held at its Taupo Motorsport Park located workshop.

In making his decision to put 21-year-old Gibson in the FG Falcon V8 SuperTourer, Nelson-based McIntyre says the move is about creating opportunity for both new talent and his team.

“It’s a recipe that works well internationally — where the team is run by championship winning personnel that shapes raw talent into a professional result. For the team to win I need to drive it and not the car. That’s where putting the next generation in my place allows me to concentrate on all aspects of the team properly, and ultimately improve our team performance,” says McIntyre.

Having contested 17 New Zealand championships, won three NZ V8 titles (2006/2007, 2007/2008, and 2010/2011), the 2012 V8 SuperTourer sprint title and competed consecutive seasons since 1992, McIntyre says he will continue to race.

Gibson will contest all seven rounds of the series as the primary driver with McIntyre co-driving at the three endurance races that carry the majority of the season’s championship points. McIntyre will also participate during the practise sessions at the sprint rounds.

“It’s a great fit for Mark to spend four rounds surrounded by elite competition in identical specification cars to prepare him for the endurance portion of the season. That’s the one we’re really looking at being at the front of,” adds McIntyre.
The V8 SuperTourer endurance title was won last season by Hamilton’s Ant Pedersen and Australian V8Supercar driver Chaz Mostert, while the overall title winner was V8Supercar stalwart Greg Murphy.

Gibson finished the course in the top three of 11 drivers selected from the Asia Pacific Region, and set fastest times during on-track testing. He earned selection by being the top performer at the MotorSport New Zealand run Elite MotorSport Academy in 2012.

Also a certified yacht designer, having spent four years completing a degree at Auckland’s Unitec, Gibson says his current focus is on being a professional V8Supercar driver.

McIntyre says Gibson brings a high level of achievement and potential to the team as he was in New Zealand’s golf academy for two years and then represented New Zealand at the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) organised Young Driver Excellence Academy.

“After an injury stymied my golf career I took to car racing and instantly fell for the passion of competition and its challenges. Last year’s Young Driver Excellence Academy put me much further ahead on that road to being a professional driver and in front of V8Supercar and CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) representatives,” commented Gibson.

“Now with the opportunity John has offered for 2014 it provides the perfect stepping-stone to compete at the highest level in New Zealand alongside V8Supercar drivers. Best of all I get the full attention and resources of a driver and team that has won championships.

“I can go to the first round as a rookie, be nervous and know the car and team are 100% – the perfect way to move my career forward.”

The team’s third season contesting the premier V8 SuperTourer series, action starts in a little over a week’s time when they head south to the recently established Highlands Motorsport Park, located near the central Otago township of Cromwell, January 25-26.

Saltwater Creek Garage

After passing by this building for many years, I decided to call in and ask the owner about his garage and the car that had been parked there. It was a 1982 Hyundai Pony 1200 TLS that he’d inherited from his mother who had bought it when it was nearly new. I was fortunate enough to buy it from him — many had approached him over the years but were turned away. After sitting out there for that long you could not imagine how dirty it was. At least it had never been wet in all that time. The interior is a mid-blue and almost like new — in fact his mother, Irene, had still retained the original factory-fitted thick clear-plastic cover over the mid-blue vinyl door panels.

Lunch with … Roger Bailey

Roger’s story is a classic illustration of what hard work, honesty to the point of brutal frankness, a ‘can-do’ approach, and a racer’s brain can get you in this sport of car racing. Roger, or ‘Boost’ as he’s known up and down the pitlanes of America, was who Kenny Smith turned to when he was dragging a reluctant teenager around the different pit garages at Laguna Seca.
“Scott [Dixon] kept complaining that it was too hot and he just wanted to go back to the hotel pool. I had to tell him that I was trying to secure his future — we weren’t getting much of a look in until we saw Roger who knew everyone and set about introducing Scott as New Zealand’s next big thing.