Super Black Racing is deeply saddened to confirm the death of team founder and owner, Tony Lentino who passed away peacefully Today at his home in Wellsford, New Zealand following a fifteen month battle with cancer.
Lentino was the driving force behind the creation of the all-Kiwi Supercars team which has competed full-time in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the last two seasons after making a wildcard debut at Bathurst in 2014.
The proud Kiwi created the team to give up-and-coming New Zealand racing drivers something to aspire to and has seen rising stars Chris Pither, Andre Heimgartner, Ant Pedersen and Richie Stanaway all drive the team’s #111 entry.
Super Black Racing’s Operations Manager, Greg Hahn paid tribute to Lentino and his legacy. “It is with great sadness we confirm the passing of our owner and founder, Tony Lentino,” Hahn said. “Tony had a dream and took us all on the journey with him. He always wanted for a Pole and a top ten finish and this weekend he got to see it. He will be deeply missed by the team”.
“He passed away surrounded by his family at his beloved home of Wellsford north of Auckland following a relatively short but spirited battle with cancer which he fought with all the energy he poured into everything he did.
“Tony was passionate about lots of things in life and while he toughed it out when he was young to establish himself as a very successful businessman, he never forgot where he came from and giving young people a chance, especially Kiwis, was central to the creation of the Super Black Racing team.
“Tony loved nothing more than taking it to the Aussies and having a Supercars team was a great way to mix his passion for his country with his love of motorsport.
“We will race on in memory of Tony but for now our thoughts and support are fully with the young family he so sadly leaves behind.”
Lentino, forty two, leaves behind his wife Emily and two daughters, Izabella and Sofia . RIP Tony
Tomorrow Queensland Raceway will fire into life after a quick turnaround. Chris is excited to be heading to the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint and getting back in the seat after a challenging time in Townsville with setup issues.
Queensland Raceway nicknamed “the paperclip” located at Willowbank is a fast and technical circuit. The 3.12km lap is very flat and most corners lead onto long straights. It’s very important to set the car up to be able to flow speed through the higher speed turns 1 and 2 and also get the car to rotate well in the slower speed corners so you can square the corner for good exits and straight line speed. Braking ability at the end of the straights is also critical for lap time. Its going to be good!
Chris says “Off the back of a Dunlop Series race win at QLD Raceway in 2015 I have high hopes heading back there”.
In two days time Townsville will roar into life with the start of the Castrol Edge Townsville 400. With Chris Pither’s rookie season continuing to improve Super Black will debut a new-look livery, as well as showcase a brand new sponsor at Townsville and for the remainder of the season. Townsville circuit is located south of the CBD and winds its way through Reid Park where specially constructed roads form approximately 70 percent of the circuit. Set in a parkland style reminiscent of the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne, the Townsville circuit proved to be a challenge in its inaugural year in 2009 and quickly became a favourite of the drivers.
Chris’s strong showing at Darwin has been a confidence booster for him and he says the familiarity of the track will be beneficial on race day.
“I’m excited to be heading to Townsville for the Castrol Edge Townville 400.The Reid Park circuit is one I have been going to since 2010 in the V8 Ute Racing Series and more recently in the Dunlop Development Series and it’s one of my favourite events on the calendar. The circuit is fast and flowing, has a good variety of corners and the smooth surface offers reasonably high grip. Although, the one thing that makes the event for me is the atmosphere created by all the passionate race fans and supporters. Everyone seem to get behind the event and have a good time which makes racing here really enjoyable”.
“Over the past 5 years racing at Townsville, I have enjoyed some success including race wins in both categories, a DVS pole position with the highlight being my first Dunlop Series race and round win. Off the back of encouraging results and race pace at Hidden Valley I’m excited to be heading back to one of my favourite tracks to continue that momentum”.
Approach to turn 2
Mid corner of turns 11 & 13
Qualifying Lap Record
Mark Winterbottom – 1:12.2553 – 2012
Race Lap Record
Mark Winterbottom – 1:13.4066 – 2012
Super Black Racing has confirmed that specialist exhaust systems manufacturer XForce Performance Exhausts will join the team’s portfolio of sponsors for the next round of the Supercar series at Townsville this coming weekend and for the remainder of the 2016 season at least.
The brand will feature on the Headlights of the Prodrive run car and on the rear wing as part of a major campaign from the manufacturer in both Australia and New Zealand for its products, which includes its unique and innovative VAREX system which allows a driver to vary the performance and sound of the exhaust system from a street application to a race application and everything in between using a simple, small, hand-held control unit.
“We’ve always been a bit of a dark horse in our industry, emerging as a front runner to become a leader of the pack and we definitely see synergies there with Super Black Racing,” explained general Manager of XForce Performance Exhausts Tom Wallace.
“We definitely believe that involvement in the highest level of motorsport in Australasia is an effective way to develop the profile of our brand and obviously being part of a Kiwi team when we are working hard to develop a much larger place in the domestic New Zealand market makes a lot of sense.
“The Super Black team and the drivers are highly regarded and of course we have a very significant range of products that are suitable for Fords, so a tie up makes a lot of sense and we are very excited about the rest of the season and beyond.”
Super Black will add value to the sponsorship agreement not only through domestic profile, but also by helping XForce with New Zealand networking, and the team was delighted to secure their backing.
“XForce is a very welcome addition to our portfolio of sponsors,” explained Super Black Racing Manager Greg Hahn.
“We love the fact that they are a little different from their competitors – pushing the boundaries of product design and innovation and taking their marketplace to new extremes. It’s always good to be involved with a group of people of that mind set and we are certain their involvement in the team will help them not only consolidate their current position, but will also give them a competitive advantage in their current Australian and New Zealand marketing campaigns.”
Number one driver Chris Pither has now found his pace and is moving forward in the championship, with eight events still to run including the three big enduro events where he will be partnered by fellow Kiwi racer Richie Stanaway.
There is no doubt that the Darwin event is one of the absolute favourite Super Sprints on the calendar. The atmosphere in Darwin is tremendous and the local community led by the Northern Territory Government really get behind the event. Hidden Valley circuit is great for spectators in that you can locate yourself on the inside of the circuit and see most of the track. Spectators are able to get close to the action as the track is in an amphitheatre type setting. Also, heading to the top end from NZ & Melbourne in June is certainly a great improvement weather wise and you can be assured that it will be 30+ deg every day. The trip to Darwin is 3850 kms and and we use a couple of thousand litres in our Western Star prime mover get there .
On the Friday practice teams are able to use tyres from previous race meetings and each team is also given a new/green set which at the conclusion of the day must be handed back therefore cannot be used over the weekend. Teams that have a good bank of tyres because of previous races DNF’s may opt to hand the new tyres back and save them for another practice session. The aim in practice is to set the car up as close to what is perfect for the driver. This set up can be totally different on a new tyre as to what it is on a used tyre. The engineers and tyre technicians go through the bank of tyres and choose the best that we have from previous race meetings and work up to putting the green set on when the driver is most comfortable with the car. The problem is that sometimes the dynamics of the car can change so much that you are almost starting from scratch again. In our case we just didn’t feel we had the car right for most of the weekend and during the qualifying sessions couldn’t attack like we wanted to.
From Chris Pither’s view:
I was exited to be heading north to the warmth of Darwin for the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown. After a number of years racing Utes at Hidden Valley I was looking forward to my first assault at the track in a Supercar. This season I’ll be visiting three circuits for the first time in a Supercar including Hidden Valley, Symmons Plains and Pukekohe.
Friday: During the two one-hour practice session, it was important for me to adapt quickly to the circuit in a Supercar so we could focus on working through our test program and tuning the balance of the Super Black Racing car. The day went well and we made steady progress.
On Friday evening I attended the Chief Minister’s Reception at Parliament House to learn that the contract has been renewed to see Supercars at Darwin through to 2030 and racing under lights as soon as 2018 which is pretty exciting news.
Saturday: After our final practice session on Saturday morning we were ready to bolt some new tyres on and see what we could do in qualifying. I found the car quite nervous to drive when I pushed on the new tyres which hurt our potential and put us 19th on the grid for race 12 with a difference of only 3 tenths of a second to be in the top ten.
The opening lap was eventful, thankfully we made it through unscathed! The race went well and we moved forward with some fun wheel to wheel battles. The heat was intense and challenging! The general rule of thumb is that the cabin temperature is 25 degrees above ambient so it was over 60 inside the car which was physically draining and some of the hottest temperatures I’ve contended with. We crossed the line just inside the top 15 in 14th place. I was encouraged by our consistency and pace over a race stint so the focus was to find some one lap speed in qualifying on Sunday.
Sunday: We rolled out for qualifying on warm up tyres. This gives me the chance to get the brakes up to operating temperature and get a feel for the track conditions and grip level before we bolt our first set of new tyres on. The car still felt quite nervous on corner entry but we had improved it and my critical lap felt solid. I was disappointed to discover we were down the wrong end of the field and the time didn’t replicate how the lap felt. I put that aside and took confidence into the race that our speed over a longer stint was strong on Saturday and we had the potential to move forward in the race.
I didn’t think the first lap could get any wilder than Saturday, but I was wrong! There were cars going in every direction but I was able to claim some clear track and get around the carnage without a bruise. With a few cars stricken on the track we took the opportunity to pit under safety car, as did everyone else. Pit lane was like a Westfield carpark on a Sunday morning and everyone was fighting for the last car park! My crew did an awesome job in a very challenging situation to get the Super Black Ice Break car serviced and back on its way jumping a few positions in the process.
From that point the strategy worked well and our pace was strong again. We kept moving forward and collected the chequered flag in 11th place. Although we just missed out on a top ten result I was happy I moved forward 13 places to gain a solid result and a good haul of points. I’m encouraged by our race pace and take confidence from the weekend that more top ten results are on the horizon but we need to work hard to improve our one lap speed in qualifying.
Now I’m excited to get to Townsville and with a busy few weeks ahead it will come around fast. I look forward to catching up with lots of you there.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support and all our Super Black Racing partners Ice Break, Only Domains, SLW Transport, MightyMite, Auto Racing Tours and NWrap Graphics, Neil Wright Builders.
Super Black Racing Team
The Team has touched down in Darwin for the Crownbet Darwin Triple Crown Race event. After last year’s resurface, cars were hitting the rev limiter on the one kilometre straight early, on both soft and hard tyres so this year Supercars have mandated a drop gear ratio change which will promote passing and mean less stress on mechanical components.
This year is the 19th time the Supercars Championship has competed at Hidden Valley since the first event was held there back in 1998. A total of 50 races have been held in that time with Mark Skaife holding the record of most race wins – eight.
Most teams will be picking that after the resurface, tyre degradation will be similar to that of Winton but strategy once again will play a big part in the final result. Hidden Valley runs in an anti clockwise direction and has a total length of 2.9km with an average speed of 149km/h and a top speed of 271km/h.
Chris Pither is confident ahead of the weekend with previous success after the 2015 V8 Ute Racing Series cameo appearance in the All Purpose Pest Control Falcon with 2 race wins, a round win and set current lap record. Chris says – “I’m excited to get back to Hidden Valley. It’s a track I have enjoyed some success at and always look forward to making the trip north. I have only raced Utes at Darwin so I’m looking forward to making my Supercar debut there and learning how to get the most out of a Supercar. Our pace has been encouraging at the last two rounds so I’ll be focusing on qualifying to put us in good stead for the races and aiming to set some new Personal Bests”.
New Zealand international single seater and sportscar star Richie Stanaway has today been confirmed 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.
Team owner Tony Lentino is confident he will settle in very quickly and show us, and the Supercar field, exactly what we all know he is capable of. Lentino says “It’s a very exciting signing for the team during a very positive period.”
Stanaway, fresh from a podium finish at the World Endurance Championship round at Spa in Belgium in the works Aston Martin GT car, will test the Prodive-prepared V8 Supercar machine at Winton for the first time this coming weekend in practice, the first of two outings planned before the Sandown enduro on September 16-18. It follows a major step up in form for the team and Pither at the most recent Perth Supersprint event.
Stanaway is looking forward to fulfilling a long time ambition with the drive. “I’m extremely excited to be joining Super Black Racing and grateful for the opportunity to get some mileage under my belt to be as best prepared as possible for the enduro races later in the year,” he explained. “Competing in V8 Supercars and especially the Bathurst 1000 has always been a childhood dream for me so I can’t wait to get going. I’ll be focused on putting my best foot forward to deliver the best possible results for the team.”
Though still just 24, Stanaway has an impressive international record in both single seaters and tin tops. New Zealand Formula Ford champion in 2009, he went on to be champion in the German ADAC Formula Masters series in 2010, but not before dominating on his Toyota Racing Series debut at the Hamilton 400, taking the outright lap record in front of the V8 Supercar paddock.
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.
He won’t be brand new to a modern Supercar either, having sampled the current generation car at the end of 2013 and tested a Development Series car at Queensland Raceway back in 2009 as a prize for winning the NZ Formula Ford series.
Super Black Manager Greg Hahn says “We’ve been working on this for a while. He’s one of the hottest New Zealand talents out there in global motorsport and there’s absolutely no question about his outright pace and his abilities in an endurance race, so we see him joining the team for the enduros as a huge positive and can’t wait to get him in the car for practice”.
We have all been looking forward to getting to the West for the Perth SuperSprint. Barbagallo is a track that Chris has enjoyed success at competing in the V8 Ute Racing Series and more recently in the Dunlop Series. The coarse and sandy low grip and high tyre degradation circuit has a history of creating exciting racing.
Its fair to say that this circuit is hard on everything. Its a very short only 2.42km with long loaded corners with a very coarse surface. This means tyre degradation is extremely high. Each car is allocated six sets of soft tyres, with one of them to be returned to Dunlop before the 15 minutes practice session on Saturday. The Sunday 200km race which involves much more complicated strategies is all about is tyre life, not fuel usage.
Overall we are happy with the teams results from the weekend and we feel we have turned a corner after a rough start to the beginning of the year. We are also pleased to say that we are very close to finalising our Co-driver for the endures and look to announce this later this month.
Chris Pithers Race view of the weekend:
After a signing session in the city we headed to Barbagallo for the team track walk. As a group including all the PRA drivers and engineers we walk the track chatting about different driving lines and techniques as well as examining the surface and checking for any repairs that may affect the grip levels.
Friday: Two one-hour practice sessions gave us the opportunity to work through our testing plan, tune the balance of the car and also get an idea of the degradation we can expect per lap in the races. The Super Black Racing crew did an awesome job in preparation for the event and the Ice Break FGX felt in the window as it rolled out of the truck. I was happy to sit P7 after practice two knowing that some drivers had run green tyres while we were on used. At this point I felt we were in good shape for the weekend ahead.
Saturday: The weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do. The track conditions were changing so quickly that when we rolled out for qualifying it was obvious we needed to bank a lap out the gate before the rain hit again. As anticipated after completing one lap the rain started to fall and the red flag was waved for a car stuck in the sand trap at turn one. Sitting 7th after my lap with the rain falling harder I knew our first top ten qualifying result was on the cards. Half the field rolled out on wet tyres but our position was safe. Some people suggested it was lucky I was in the top ten but we had the speed to be there regardless, next looking forward to the 50 lap race ahead.
There came a down pour as pit exit opened for the formation lap, which meant a mad rush to bolt wet tyres on before venturing onto the track and around to grip up. I didn’t mind some rain as I felt comfortable in the car throughout free practice when it was wet. I got through lap one cleanly and settled into a groove as the track was drying. It wasn’t long till we pitted for slicks. The car felt good and I pressed on and tried my best to look after the tyres. We started to move forward as drivers were struggling for grip and crossed the line for my first top ten result in 8th place. I was rapt with the result but wanted to focus on Sundays longer race and ensure we could back up the result.
Sunday: The sun was shining as we hit the track for the 20minute qualifying session. I was looking forward to bolting some new boots on seeing what we could do. The car felt really good on the first new tyre run and I knew I could find some more time. I pushed hard on my second set and was pleased when I crossed the start/finish line to see my time. I knew it was reasonable but I was pleasantly surprised when my Engineer Dilan got on the radio and told me we were fastest. A few cars still had their final run to do and I got bumped back to 4th. To be .10 off pole was a huge confidence booster and such a good feeling to be up there through genuine speed around the best in the business.
The start was a ripper and I pulled to the inside on the run to turn one in third place. The car was a jet and I pushed on. Being an 83 lap race I knew I needed to learn how to manage the tyres over my first few stints so I could maximise the run home. The pace was really strong early in the race but dropped off in the last stint after getting caught behind slower cars that were struggling for grip. Finishing in 14th place was solid but disappointing after we were looking strong for another top ten result.
Conclusion: I knew as a team we were capable of running in the top ten so I’m absolutely pumped to now have one under our belt. I can’t thank Tony and Emily Lentino enough for the opportunity, my Super Black Racing crew for their constant hard work behind the scenes as well as my partners Ice Break, Only Domains, SLW Transport, MightyMite, Auto Racing Tours, Nwrap Graphics.
Now I bank that one in the memory, build from it and focus on our next event at Winton.
Thanks to everyone for your support.
History shows that Prodrive Racing Australia and Triple Eight Race Engineering are the two teams to beat at Barbagallo – between them they have won 17 of the last 20 races there dating back to 2008. Chris Pither was on pole here last year in the Dunlop Series and knows the circuit well.
“The Perth SuperSprint is just around the corner and I can’t wait to get back to WA. Barbagallo is one of my favourite tracks and I have enjoyed some success there in the past. Qualifying will be important as always and having gained a pole position in the Dunlop Series last year I will be aiming high to get a result for our team and supporters including our Perth based partner SLW Transport”.
“Barbagallo is a challenging track with high elevation change and aggressive tyre degradation due to its coarse and sandy surface. Tyre management will be crucial so getting a neutral car balance and smooth driving will pay dividends over the long races. The circuit also features the biggest braking force of the season into the final corner because the track rises which compress’ the car into the Tarmac allowing for very high brake pressures. With only one set of brake rotors and pads to use for the weekend from the start of qualifying, brake management will also come into play”.
“It’s been a busy few weeks leading up to the Perth SuperSprint. Having just returned from Perth where I was invited to be involved with a City of Wanneroo event. The night showcased what the area has to offer including the high quality produce grown and also building the excitement leading up to the V8 Supercars event. This was the first and probably only time I will wear a dinner suit rather than a race suit to a track!
See you there!
It was an interesting weekend at Phillip Island with lots of changes and quite a few experienced names struggling to settle or find good car speed. Chris Pither was happy with the way the most of the weekend went starting with two 1 hour practice sessions where he finish P17 in both, and a final 15 minute session on Saturday morning. We made set up changes aiming to calm the rear of the car down on corner entry and found good gains as a result posting a time comfortably faster than the time Chris had qualified at in 2015.
See driver view below:
Saturday Qualifying: We continued to improve in qualifying and found another .5s but unfortunately this put us 23rd on the grid directly behind my team mate Cam Waters.
Saturday Race: Race 6 went reasonably smoothly. I shadowed Cam for a majority of the race moving up a few spots to finishing one place behind him in 19th.
Sunday Qualifying: I matched my qualifying time from Saturday within a few hundredths of a second this was good enough for 19th position directly behind Cam once again.
Sunday Race: I got a really good start behind Jason Bright who broke into a lot of wheel spin. With Tander on my left I committed to go to the right of Bright who squeezed me to the edge of the track resulting in wheel to wheel contact and a bent steering arm. The crew did a great job to fix the car quickly and get us back on track. Once we were back out there the speed and consistency over a stint was strong.
Conclusion: We made some good steps forward over the race weekend. I’m happy with our race pace but it was highlighted that we need to focus on our one lap speed for the next round at Barbagallo to ensure we can qualify further up the field.
Thanks to Super Back Racing and our sponsors Ice Break – Real Coffee, Ice Cold, Only Domains, Mighty Mite, SLW Transport, Auto Racing Tours and Wrap Graphics.
Bring on Perth!