Super Black Racing’s Manager Greg Hahn will step down from running the team at the end of the season as a new structure evolves for the outfit heading into the 2017 season.
Hahn has been with the team since its conception in 2014 when it had a wildcard entry in the Bathurst 1000.
“It’s been an amazing journey and I can’t thank Tony and Emily Lentino enough for the vision and opportunity that has given so many people and New Zealand drivers something to be part of. Over the past few years we’ve had good support as the only New Zealand team in Supercars. We always knew it would be a tough journey and we have stubbed our toes a few times and had to learn the hard way from time to time, but in the end we formed a team with huge fan support and something to be proud of.
“Things certainly haven’t been smooth sailing. I’ve always said it feels like a like a room full of friendly pirates trying to steel each other’s gold, but the Supercars community are a great bunch of people who always keen to give advice along the way, and it is period of my career I will remember proudly and fondly. On top of that, of course, being away for twenty odd weeks a year takes its toll when you are flying the ditch every other week.
Hahn is currently eyeing up a number of opportunities and potential projects closer to home. “I’m looking forward to working in motorsport back in NZ and getting behind a local team or category. From the position I have had for the past two years it has been obvious that there is still much work to do on having a high quality and viable top level premier touring car category back in NZ again. Up until a couple of years ago it was our feeder class to Supercars but unfortunately many factors conspired to compromise that position. It would be nice to see a renaissance.”
Hahn will still retain some involvement with a new team but will focus on the New Zealand side and take an advisory role along side. The new 2017 structure will see more Australian-based personal and will see some new people raising funds on the commercial side back back in New Zealand.
The team is currently preparing for the last event of the season, the Coates Hire Sydney 500 at Sydney Olympic Park street Circuit on the 2nd of December, where Hahn will bow out as team manager.
The entire Supercars operation will be airlifted to Auckland this week for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint on 4-6 November, in one of the largest single airlifts in New Zealand sporting history.
This specific air freight system was developed eight years ago by Supercars and it’s been used for the international races in Asia, Middle East, USA and New Zealand.
All 26 Supercars will be transported from Melbourne in a 747-400 Series Freighter Aircraft today and tomorrow.
The plane will make two trips, with the aircraft having capacity for 16 cars in eight double stack car racks, with safety and course cars included. The total freight weight of each aircraft, including purpose built containers, is in excess of 100 tonnes.
The purpose built aircraft container has been developed to house support equipment for each car. However, this will not house spare engines, gear boxes and wheels as these items will be packed into communal cargo in the aircraft.
How it works:
Each car competing in the ITM Auckland SuperSprint will be allocated one support equipment container. Race car support equipment containers must not exceed 2500kgs
All hazardous materials have been sourced in New Zealand. The likes of acetone, aerosols, fibreglass repair kits, acid batteries, brake cleaner, liquid polish, paint and race fuel cannot be air freighted
Each car is limited to 20 wheels, in addition to the four wheels mounted to the car at the event. This is a total of 624 wheels.
Crunching the numbers – The total combined cost of the freight carried over by the two aircraft, as well as additional equipment carried in each team’s allocated container totals more than $25 million
Teams face a busy few days to prepare cars for the air freight shipment to Auckland in readiness for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint on 4-6 November.
Pukekohe will roar into life this week for the Supercars ITM 500. Its going to be action packed with 4 qualifying sessions and 4 long races over the weekend. The circuit, currently 2.91 kilometres long, having been shortened from its original combined 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) length when combined with the now defunct club circuit and a new chicane on the back straight before the hairpin. Its exciting racing because the corridor of Armco barriers is only inches from the track on both sides. It is seen as one of the fastest of all southern hemisphere. To win on this track, the driver needs a good entry onto the back straight. Furthermore, the driver also needs to drive the car right to its full potential. Grab your ticket and come and join us!
Length 2.91 km
Average Speed 157 km/h
Top Speed 265 km/h
Qualifying Lap Record Jamie Whincup – 1:02.5597 – 2013
Race Lap Record Scott McLaughlin – 1:03.7239 – 2014
The future of New Zealand’s only team in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Super Black Racing, is bright thanks to a close friend of the team.
Super Black Racing has today confirmed that (subject to approval from Supercars Australia) its Racing Entitlement Contract will be purchased by Rusty French, a well-known motorsport aficionado and successful businessman.
French was a long-time friend of Super Black Racing owner, the late Tony Lentino, and would like to continue contribute to keep the vision of the New Zealander who established the team in 2014.
Lentino, himself a successful businessman, passed away recently after a long battle with cancer. He met French 30 years ago when helping him with a computer purchase in Melbourne.
They remained friends with French instrumental in guiding Lentino in the establishment of Super Black Racing and have remained in close contact since the teams inception.
“I’ve had a close link with Super Black Racing and admired what Tony had done and wanted to achieve with this team,” French said.
“This was Tony’s dream and I made a promise to help him along the way”. “This is a great opportunity for more New Zealand companies to reach out and be part of a great team and continue the vision”.
French said this was his personal investment, and not Prodrive Racing’s, and Super Black Racing would continue as a New Zealand based team.
Super Black Racing Manager Greg Hahn, who will continue in his role, said the change of ownership was the best way to realise Lentino’s legacy.
“This decision comes with the full support of Emily Lentino and the Board of Trustees, and is an exciting development for the team,” Hahn said. “In the discussions so far, Rusty will help to develop a team into a championship competitive operation.”
Hahn said they still have a lot of work to do for planning next years partnerships and suppliers but the immediate focus is to continue the teams improving form, currently 18th in the Supercars Championship, with the two remaining enduro events at Bathurst and Gold Coast, before returning for the sole New Zealand stop at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe in November and the finale in Sydney.
Next week the Super Black Racing team will make its way to the Mount Panorama once again with two Kiwi drivers who are fired up and ready to go. This will be Super Black’s third year at the Bathurst 1000 and Team Manager Greg Hahn says “despite a few issues we’ve been working through in the background we are confident of pushing for solid result”. “We took away a lot from Sandown and won’t be making some of the silly mistakes we made there again”. “We have struggled with car set-up for most of the year and despite a good run at QR, one sunny day doesn’t make a summer”. “We have to play to win and we’ll put a game plan together that gives us our best chance of a result”. Chris Pither now has some experience at Bathurst and is a confident of his drive, but for co-driver Richie Stanaway it will be the first time he takes on the mountain. Its always been a dream of mine and I grew up with Bathurst”. “Ive raced a lot enduros this year and it seems a little crazy but Bathurst will be one of the shortest I do this year” says Richie. Bathurst is one of the greatest races in the world and when you look through the results list from last year and see the number of DNF’s you get a true indication to how daunting it can be.
Driving in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has always been a dream of Kiwi driver Richie Stanaway. His dream will become a reality as one of nine New Zealand drivers to compete in the first of the two-driver endurance series at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne this weekend. The 24-year-old, who has forged a promising career in single seater and endurance sports car racing in Europe, is the co-driver for the sole New Zealand Supercars entry, alongside Chris Pither in the Super Black Racing Ford.
Five New Zealanders are main drivers in this year’s championship with Shane van Gisbergen, currently second on the points table, Scott McLaughlin, in fifth, Fabian Coulthard, Pither and Andre Heimgartner. Four Kiwis will be co-drivers for the Pirtek Enduro Cup series comprising Stanaway, four-time Bathurst winner Steven Richards, the highly experienced Craig Baird and European-based Chris van der Drift.
Stanaway has focused on the FIA World Endurance Championship racing for the last two years in particular with the Aston Martin team, as he chased his Formula 1 dreams in Europe. However, the 24-year old has headed back home to land a seat with Super Black Racing for the upcoming Enduro Cup series.
This weekend will be Stanaway’s first time racing in Supercars. “I only ever dreamed of doing two things growing up. I wanted to race Formula 1 or Supercars. I’ve never followed closely any other form of motorsport. Now that my single-seater dreams seem to be over after a lot of years, I am so fortunate to be offered the chance to drive in Supercars,” Stanaway said.
Stanaway, who raced successfully in both GP3 and GP2 championships, has realised his aspirations of racing in Formula 1 are over, and therefore he wanted to return to this side of the world as his base.“I have always wanted to get involved in Supercars, so it was the perfect opportunity when Super Black Racing approached me to co-drive. I get to come home to New Zealand to race in Supercars and for a New Zealand team.”
Stanaway feels he has a real advantage when it comes to endurance racing. He usually drives in races from six and 24 hours duration. While a lot of the Supercar drivers look to the upcoming enduro rounds as their longest, it will actually be the shortest races he does this year.
The former Tauranga driver is looking forward to co-driving with Chris Pither and he’s enjoying being part of the Super Black Racing team.“I like the team a lot and we are part of a very professional Prodrive organisation. Chris is a really good driver and we do not have much difference in size, so we seem very compatible.”
Stanaway knows he has a few things to get his head around before the Sandown 500 this weekend. The cars are heavier than he is used to and he said that while the distance and time won’t be an issue for him, it’s the category and circuits that he must figure out.
“The difference between good and great drivers in V8 Supercars is measured by extremely small margins and it is those margins that I need to learn. There’s a lot of weight of performance on co-drivers at Sandown, with our own qualifying and our own race that goes towards the overall start positions. It is an important role.”
While Sandown is the main focus this weekend, Stanaway can’t help but think about the Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000 in three weeks.“I grew up as a kid watching Bathurst on television and that’s how I fell in love with motorsport. I can’t quite believe that I will be racing there. Somehow it does not feel real.”
There are three practice sessions on Friday, practice, qualifying and two qualifying races on Saturday which will sort grid positions for Sunday’s 500km race.
The Pirtek Enduro Cup comprises the Wilson Security Sandown 500, the Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000 and the Castrol Gold Coast 600. The Supercars then heads across the Tasman for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park Raceway for the penultimate stop in the Championship,
ITM Auckland SuperSprint 4-6 November: Tickets are on sale from as little as $29. Three-day trackside is priced from $100 with children aged 12 and under free trackside admission with a paying adult. Fanstands are from just $65 for a single day or $110 for three days and Platinum Reserved Grandstands with Paddock Pass priced at $300.
Super Black Racing is excited to announce that New Zealand international single seater and sportscar star Richie Stanaway has now been formally released to confirm the seat as co-driver for lead driver Chris Pither in the Ice Break Super Black Racing Ford at the 2016 V8 Supercar endurance events at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast.
Stanaway is currently competing in the World Endurance Championship series in the works Aston Martin GT car but will be back behind the wheel of the Super Black Racing V8 Supercar machine at Winton this month as they prepare for the Sandown enduro on September 16-18. Super Black Manager Greg Hahn says “ we’ve had a plan for the enduros and the timing of the teams first pole last weekend at Queensland Raceway is another indication that our form is improving through each event. The team is encouraged by the progress but it’s important that Richie gets as much mileage under his belt as possible”.
He was German Formula 3 champion in 2011, before progressing to GP3 and Renault 3.5, where he took numerous race wins and podiums. He took part in Formula One’s major support category GP2 last season, winning two races including the feature race on the challenging streets of Monte Carlo at the Monaco Grand Prix. His tin top experience includes a season in the Porsche SuperCup with the DAMS team in 2013, before joining Aston Martin in 2013 and undertaking race winning duty for them in the World Endurance Championship and the Grand Am Series in the USA. He also took pole in the GTE Pro class at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015 on his first visit to the track.
In reflecting after what has been a roller coaster of emotions. Super Black Racing – Powered by Ice Break, headed to the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint with a new approach after a tough round at the Castrol Townsville 400. We simplified our plan and focused on the fundamentals. After setting the 8th & 5th fastest lap times in practices 1 & 2 we left the track encouraged by our progress.
Chris Pither’s view
Practice 3 was strong, we continued to tune the car and my driving technique going into qualifying. We rolled out using our warm up set of tyres to do a lap and get brake temperature. We scheduled 3 runs with two sets of new Dunlop Soft tyres. The car felt a bit loose but history shows the qualifying times at QLD Raceway are always extremely close so I had to hang it out and get the most out of it. With each run we found time and my final lap felt good. After my final hot lap I rolled off the throttle and my engineer Dilan said over the radio “good job mate, that’s currently P1”. I was a bit excited but knew there would still be plenty of guys to complete their hot laps. The session was over and we were at the top of the time sheet, we had done it! I had to pinch myself driving down pit lane when I saw the Armor All pole position banner waiting at our pit bay. It was such an amazing feeling to have a Pole Position for our team in my rookie season. I was lost for words when I got out of the car and couldn’t thank my team enough for their hard work and dedication. The long hours and attention to detail they put in between events, at the workshop and over the race weekends is massive.
Lining up on Pole position for race 16 of the championship was an unfamiliar but nice feeling with a clear view to turn one. The butterflies were having a field day so I was keen to get in the zone and get underway. After completing the warm up lap I was set before the ‘Start Delayed’ board was displayed, just to give those nerves a bit more time to build. We finally got the green light and I executed one of my best starts of this season. I got the lead from the start but the first few laps were intense. I got bumped off line and lost momentum along the next straight dropping a few positions. Taking the chequered flag in 11th position wasn’t where I had hoped to be, but the experience I gained running at the front for a couple of laps was massive and I’ll be much better for it next time.
We carried momentum into Sunday qualifying 9th, making it another top ten. Our race pace was much better. Although we didn’t have pit boom priority, as my team mate Chaz was ahead, our pace in the middle stint was strong and put us in good shape. Our final stint of 32 laps was long and the tyres dropped away with 10 laps to go, but the strategy worked well giving me clear track. I managed the tyres to the end and picked our second top ten result of the season in 8th place.
Hearing the news on Monday morning that our Super Black Racing team owner, Tony Lentino, had lost his 15 month battle with cancer was deeply saddening. Tony gave me the opportunity this year to fulfil my childhood dream of racing in the Supercars Championship Series, I cannot thank him enough for that.
To have gained pole position on Saturday was amazing for our team. Tony was extremely passionate about New Zealand and Super Black Racing. Knowing that Tony was able to enjoy that moment for our teams first pole as well as our top ten finish, makes it extremely special. I’m so happy we achieved that for him.
We will keep pushing for Tony and look forward to doing him proud.
I sincerely thank everybody that has supported me through my journey and made this milestone possible.