2018 ITM Auckland SuperSprint
- PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd says that with only two sprint rounds in this season remaining, this weekend's results in Auckland could be a determining factor in the Drivers Championship, with just 14 points separating the two top contenders and 300 points on offer.
"Scott McLaughlin leapfrogged Shane van Gisbergen to take the lead after the first endurance race at the Gold Coast and with the second race aborted due to the wet conditions, neither had a chance to stretch the lead or change the lead," he said.
Virgin Australia Supercars
2018 Brings Another Close Championship – Brian Boyd
"Just like last year at this point, it has turned out to be one of the closest championships in the series history, except that this year there are really only two contenders, not five.
"Unfortunately Team PAYCE and Paynter Dixon drivers, Garth Tander and James Golding, are out of contention for the championship, although Garth could get into the top ten by improving two positions on the leaderboard."
Brian said both the #33 and #34 GRM cars have put in some good race performances of late and with no real points pressure on them this weekend they could do well.
"Garth has had top ten finishes in the last three rounds and a top ten shootout, while James was very impressive at Bathurst, finishing eighth.
Jason Richards Memorial Trophy to be Decided - Brian Boyd
"In addition to the race for all-important points for the drivers and teams championships, all drivers will want to put their name on the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.
"The winner of the coveted trophy is decided on points over the two races of the round. There have been five different winners in the six years since the trophy was introduced."
Brian Boyd said Garry Rogers has tasted victory at the track when Scott McLaughlin won his first Supercars race for the team in 2013 and Garth had a win in 2016, albeit for the HSV Dealer team.
Braking Demands are Relatively Low as is Tyre Wear - Brian Boyd
"Pukekohe is a fast and flowing layout, but it has a reputation for its bumps in a number of sections of the track. There has been resurfacing work and scraping of bumps in recent years, but some bumpy sections remain and new bitumen patches made it interesting in the first race last year which was held in the rain.
"Overall, the demands on braking are relatively low as is tyre wear, but the 2.9 kilometre track with its 11 turns is still a high speed circuit requiring full concentration. The drivers and teams that make the least mistakes will come out on top.
"This year the race format is the same as last year when it reverted to two 70 lap races over the two days, in contrast to 2016 when there were four shorter races," Brian Boyd said.
There will be two 40 minute practice sessions on Friday, then on Saturday a 20 minute third practice session before a 20 minute qualifying session for the afternoon race. Sunday's format is similar except there will be a Top Ten Shootout after qualifying for the first 10 grid spots.
CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4
CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship makes first time appearance at Pukekohe - Brian Boyd
Brian says for the first time in its four-year history, the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship will race make an appearance at Pukekohe this weekend.
"It is an exciting conclusion to a thrilling season for some of Australia's best junior drivers," he said.
"Championship honours remain open with three races and a maximum of 75 points up for grabs, with AGI Sport's Jayden Ojeda in the box seat to claim his first Australian Championship.
"Ojeda is 51 points clear of teammate Ryan Suhle and the battle for runner-up honours is closer, with Suhle 25 points clear of Team BRM's Aaron Love," Brian Boyd continued.
"Competing for the Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Year title, Team BRM'S Lochie Hughes is equally poised to lock away that honour, sitting 66 points clear of teammate Zayd Tones and 68 ahead of Patrizicorse's Jackson Walls.
Championship leader Jayden Odeja is also the most likely to win the Toyota Racing Series test day, after claiming all three race wins in the previous round at Sydney Motorsport Park."
Brian Boyd said the test day prize will be awarded to the driver who scores the most points across the rounds in Sydney and Pukekohe.
There will be two 20 minute practice sessions on Friday, then qualifying on Saturday morning for 20 minutes and the first race later in the day over 12 laps. The category opens Sunday's meeting with the second 12 lapper and the final race prior to lunch, again over 12 laps.