TICKFORD RACING – AUCKLAND SUPERSPRINT PREVIEW
8 September, 2022
Tickford Racing and the Supercars Championship head across the ditch this weekend, as Australia’s premier racing category heads to New Zealand for the Auckland SuperSprint. The event is the championship’s first visit to New Zealand since the COVD-19 pandemic, and will also be the final Supercars race event at Pukekohe Park Raceway, which is set to cease motorsport activity in early 2023.
Supercars’ annual visit to New Zealand also includes the Jason Richards Trophy, awarded to the driver who scores the most points in the New Zealand round in honour of the late Kiwi Supercars race winner.
Sporting a new number for the weekend in celebration of ENZED’s 50th anniversary of operation, Cam Waters (No. 50 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) leads Tickford into the Pukekohe swan song, sitting third in the Supercars drivers’ championship.
James Courtney (No. 5 Snowy River Caravans Ford Mustang) stepped back into the top 10 of the drivers’ championship at Sandown Raceway three weeks ago, and while it is his first visit to New Zealand since joining Tickford Racing in 2020, Courtney is optimistic of he and the team’s chances going into the weekend.
After notching his best finishes of the season thus far at the Sandown SuperSprint, Thomas Randle (No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang) is eager for more in his first racing visit to Pukekohe Park Raceway. The rookie driver will sport a new-look livery aboard his Castrol Racing Ford this weekend, with black stripes, a silver fern, and the message “ngā mihi, Pukekohe,” the Te Reo phrase for “thank you, Pukekohe,” adorning the car in a salute to New Zealand race fans and the final Supercars event at the historic venue.
Jake Kostecki (No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang) makes his first Supercars start at Pukekohe this weekend, and after a bumpy weekend at Sandown in August is keen to have a strong weekend and build momentum for the Tradie Racing crew ahead of October’s Bathurst 1000.
The Auckland SuperSprint is the 10th round of the 2022 Supercars season, and the championship’s first visit to New Zealand since 2019. On-track action begins with a solitary practice session on Friday afternoon, with a second practice session, qualifying, and Race 27 on Saturday, followed by qualifying for and Races 28 and 29 on Sunday.
No. 5 Snowy River Caravans Ford Mustang
“We’re all looking forward to heading back to New Zealand, the fans always turn out in droves and with this being the finale for Pukekohe I’m sure it’ll be next level this year. It’s such an action-packed circuit, it has a bit of everything: long straights, bumps, big kerbs, a tight hairpin, you name it. It’s a really challenging track to get right, but it’s a lot of fun to drive and puts on some great racing, hopefully we can be right amongst it at the front and can bring home a good haul of points.”
No. 50 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
“Pukekohe’s an awesome little track, it’s always a great event so it’ll be good to be back, it’s a shame this will be the last Supercars race there but we’ll be looking to go out on a high. The racing’s always really tight and a lot of fun there, while it’s been a few years since we’ve raced there we have had some success there in the past, but we haven’t stood on the top step of the podium yet, we’ll be aiming to change that this weekend.”
No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
“I’m really excited to head across the ditch. Pukekohe is such a storied and fun track, and while it’s sad to know this will be the last time we race there, it’ll be really cool to be a part of the final event and experience what makes it so special. Sandown was a pretty strong event for us with the Castrol Racing Mustang, it was great to pick up a couple top 10s and finally score some results the team have been deserving of. It’s given us a bit of momentum and confidence, and hopefully we can roll that into another good showing this weekend.”
No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang
“I’m looking forward to heading over to Pukekohe. I’ve never raced in New Zealand before but just from watching races you know the Kiwi fans are made for racing, so it’ll be awesome to be a part of it. We’ve had a rough couple of rounds, some pretty bad luck in a lot of cases, but obviously the team has been going pretty well and our cars have been pretty solid at Pukekohe in the past, so I’m confident we’ll have good speed. It’s a pretty racy track so hopefully we’ll be right amongst it in the 10 and can come away with a strong weekend.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“It’s fantastic to have the championship heading across to New Zealand again, every year we look across pit straight to the packed hill and Pukekohe and admire the passion of our friends across the ditch. Obviously the goal for us is the same as always, to win races, but it’s always a bit elevated here with the Jason Richards Trophy on offer, and even more so this weekend with it being our last time at Pukekohe. We’re really looking forward to the weekend, fighting for trophies, and sending off Pukekohe in the best way possible.”
EVENT NAME: Auckland SuperSprint
DATE: September 9-11
LOCATION: Auckland, NZ
EVENT NUMBER: 10 of 13
FORMAT: Friday – 1 x 30-min RSC practice; Saturday – 1 x 30-min RSC practice, 3 x 10-min RSC Quali, 1 x 41-lap RSC race (119 km); Sunday – 2 x 10-min Quali, 2 x 41-lap race (119 km)
CIRCUIT: Pukekohe Park Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Like Sandown, Pukekohe’s circuit is laid around a horse racing track, and features long straights, several heavy braking zones, and its fair share of character. The bumpy, undulating nature of the pit straight and the high speed Turn 1 are fan favourites, while the Turn 8 hairpin has created plenty of drama over the years.
TRACK RECORD: 1m02.37s (Jamie Whincup, 2019)
TICKFORD RACING BEST RESULT: 1st – Will Davison (2013), Mark Winterbottom (2014 x 2, 2016), David Reynolds (2015)