The first ever championship race win for a female racing driver and a packed weekend of action were the highlights at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park over the weekend when the Speed Works Events New Zealand Motorsport Championship series came to town.
Chelsea Herbert added her name to the record books when she took Class 2 victory in Saturday’s race in the BNT V8 series, the first woman to win at this level in the history of the sport in New Zealand. Competing against some of the fastest drivers in the country, she took her win in style with some great driving and overtaking moves. Class 1 was won by former Bathurst winner Jason Bargwanna, who just edged new V8 Supercar Nissan signing Andre Heimgartner.
“I’m really pleased to get my first win,” explained Herbert. “We had a tough day on Saturday with a few issues with the car, but to pull out a win at the end of the day was really good for myself and the team.”
Herbert challenged reigning Class 2 champion Liam MacDonald, who lead for most of the race until she made her move stick with three laps to go.
“Liam is last season’s champion for a reason, so it wasn’t an easy race. I had a slipping clutch so I didn’t have any speed down the straights, so I had to get him through the corners. He knew where to defend well and it was up to me to decide how to pass.”
Brian McGovern piloted his Porsche to a notable win in the first ever Rush Hour race, which had to be postponed from Saturday evening to Sunday lunchtime following a torrential downpour which forced racing to be abandoned late on.
Other notable successes included former NZV8 champion Paul Manuell winning two races amidst some dramatic racing to secure the PORTERGROUP V8 Utes Ash Cairns Trophy, young Connor Adam securing the Toyota 86 Championship lead after a fine performance across three races and Glenn Smith blitzing the GT1/2 field in his spectacular prototype Crawford Porsche.
The Speed Works Events Motorsport Championship now pauses for the Christmas break before gathering again for the second event – and the beginning of the 2018 Castrol Toyota racing Series – at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch, in January.