MotorSport News - December - 2015

 

Hide Introduction Hide

 

Hi there,

 

It’s been a good year for New Zealand motorsport, highlighted by our two rival V8 series coming together, and some big results on the international stage. Full credit and congratulations to the likes of Scott Dixon, Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber, Mitch Evans and Hayden Paddon. 

While those names grab more headlines, there is plenty to celebrate at the grassroots level of our sport across the country.

I am particularly encouraged by the success of events such as those put on by the Eastern Southland Car Club – in conjunction with MSNZ – aimed at welcoming more women and young people into motorsport. It would be great to see more of these types of events at other clubs – a must, if we want to grow as a sport and ensure our strength for the future.

On the subject of women in motorsport, Emma Gilmour has been flying the flag on an FIA joint-initiative women’s training camp in Qatar, where she was named top driver. You can read about her experiences in this issue of MotorSport News.

Even further away from the headlines and limelight are the many hardworking volunteers, who give their time to ensure the races we all love can actually take place in all corners of the country. That being the case, I’d like to congratulate The Motorsport Club on being awarded the V8 Supercars’ Volunteer Group of the Year. Hear from founder Debbie Day and volunteer Clarke Hotton here.

 Looking ahead, I plan on getting out to some events this summer and I particularly have an eye on next year’s Endurance Championship, which should be a cracker!

 On a final note, thank you all for your support this year. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – stay safe and have fun!

 

Cheers,

Shayne Harris
President

Hide Section Hide

General News

Hide Article Hide

Taupo Motorsport Park renamed for brighter future

An aerial shot of the track. Photo: brucemclarenmotorsportpark.com

 

To honour one of New Zealand’s most revered motorsport stars, New Zealand’s only FIA Grade 2 racetrack – Taupo Motorsport Park (TMP) – has been renamed Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.  

The park’s board confirmed the name change after receiving permission from McLaren’s family and the McLaren Technology Group. The circuit’s chairman, Richard Izard, said the change is a great way to honour McLaren

“While his career highlights undoubtedly occurred overseas, Bruce started his racing career in New Zealand and would surely approve of supporting the local sport in this way,” said Izard.

Those highlights include becoming the youngest Formula One race winner in 1959, aged 22, and winning the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hour alongside fellow Kiwi Chris Amon. Also an engineer and inventor, in 1963 he founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing.  

Izard is hopeful that the park’s renaming will help it boost its international reputation, with McLaren one of the motorsport world’s biggest brands.

“We have the highest FIA rating in the country, and we’ve also proposed the building of a New Zealand motorsport museum that could become a new tourist destination,” said Izard.     

Tough times

The changes come following reports the circuit has gone through some tough times. In 2008, it was revealed TMP was heavily in debt and, earlier this year, shareholders voted to turn down an offer to buy the park from Highlands Park and Hampton Downs owner Tony Quinn.

Companies Office records show the track is owned by TMP Ltd, known previously as MIT Development and Taupo Motorsport Park Ltd.

Taupo Motorsport Park’s history

An approximately $13 million upgrade in 2006 made the circuit one of the best in the country. It included four alternative configurations, ranging from 1.3-3.4km in length with seating for up to 30,000 spectators.

It also features driver-training facilities, a motorsport business park with 13 first floor corporate suites, and a second floor race control, corporate and catering complex. The circuit also contains a drag strip designed to National Hot Rod Association specifications, with viewing for up to 12,000 spectators.

From 2007 to 2009, the track hosted three consecutive rounds of the A1 Grand Prix.

Hide Article Hide

NZ volunteers win second V8 Supercars award

Event Director Tim Schenken (CAMS) with Clerk of Course Craig Finlayson in Race Control at the ITM 500 at Pukekohe. Photo: Geoff Ridder

 

A group of New Zealand motorsport volunteers has been named the V8 Supercars’ Volunteer Group of the Year for the second consecutive time, in recognition of its work at the ITM 500 Auckland.

The Motorsport Club was formed six years ago as a joint initiative between the NZIGP and Historic Racing Club, to enable better volunteer management and support. Founding member Debbie Day says everyone was “stoked” with the award.

“It’s amazing how a little recognition can go such a long way. We had over five hundred people at this year’s ITM 500 doing everything from flag bearing to manning the gates; it’s nice for them to be rewarded for their hard work,” says Debbie.

The award also helps to raise awareness of volunteers in motorsport, something Debbie says is key to getting more people involved.

“It’s important people realise that without volunteers, motorsport events wouldn’t happen,” she says. “The ITM 500 is good for us, because it’s a high-profile event that attracts people to volunteering, which in turn leads to them getting involved at smaller events.”  

 

Becoming a volunteer

Queenstown-based Clarke Hotton, who also competes in local Auto X competitions with the Queenstown Car Club, flew to Auckland specifically to help the Motorsport Club at the ITM 500. 

Clark says he got into volunteering 15 years ago, after “falling into it”.

“A company I was working for was asked to help with the timing at Race to the Sky, and I put my hand up. I ended up doing it for six more years!” he says.

“I’ve always been a bit of a motorsport fan and volunteering is a great way to be involved. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – you get the best seats in the house, because you’re so close to the action.

“It’s hard work though. You’re often the first to arrive and the last to leave, but it’s good fun and a nice way to meet like-minded people as well.”

With plenty of volunteering experience under his belt, Clarke now spends most of his time at events working at the heart of the action – race control.

Anyone keen on getting involved with the Motorsport Club can email Debbie at: deb@themotorsportclub.com.

Hide Article Hide

NZ trio recognised amongst world’s best

Mitch Evans with the Woolf Barnato Trophy at the British Racing Drivers’ Club awards in London.

 

Three New Zealand drivers were recognised at this year’s British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) awards, alongside some of the sport’s biggest stars, including F1 contender Daniel Ricciardo, at a ceremony in London.

FIA World Endurance Championship winner Brendon Hartley was awarded the BRDC’s highest accolade, the Gold Star, along with his Australian teammate Mark Webber.

The Gold Star dates back to 1929 and is a unique award presented annually to the winner/s of the Gold Star Points Table, compiled from results in international races. The points scoring system pits the very best against one another, regardless of what they are driving or where they are racing.

The award places Hartley alongside some of New Zealand’s best-ever drivers, Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren, who were also presented with Gold Stars during their illustrious careers.

Former GP3 champion and perennial GP2 contender Mitch Evans received the Woolf Barnato Trophy, which is awarded to the highest-placed British or Commonwealth driver in a British car at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Evans finished second in the LMP2 class at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour, alongside Oliver Turvey and Simon Dolan for Jota Sport. After a slow start to this year’s GP2 Championship, Evans recorded a string of podium finishes (including two race wins) at the end of the season to finish fifth overall.

He’ll be returning for another crack at the championship with the Campos Racing team, which finished in fourth place in the team’s standings.

Japanese F3 champion and two-time Toyota Racing Series winner Nick Cassidy was awarded the Bruce McLaren Trophy for the most meritorious Commonwealth driver.

The 21-year-old is the only New Zealander in the BRDC’s Rising Stars driver programme and is one of only four participants from around the world in the 2015 BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

 

Hide Section Hide

Rally

Hide Article Hide

Paddon eyeing up more podiums

Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard’s breakout 2015 season was highlighted by their first ever WRC podium – a second place finish at Rally Sardegna.


With a second-place finish at Rally Italia Sardegna and four more in the Top 5, Hayden Paddon is pretty happy with how his year in the WRC played out, citing the podium finish and fourth place in Poland as the season’s highlights.

“Those two events really helped to secure the three-year contract. It was after we got those results that the discussions started,” said Paddon. “However, I am a little disappointed we didn’t repeat the podium. We had a couple of opportunities, and once you get that first one you always want more!”

While those two results also boosted confidence and led to him and co-driver John Kennard posting regular top-five times, Paddon was quick to credit his team with helping to improve his driving.

“I’m continuously working with them and the engineers to develop my driving. After each rally, we pick one thing to improve on in the next.”    

Busy schedule

With Paddon signed on for three more years, his Hyundai team is entering him, Belgian Theirry Neuville and Spain’s Dani Sordo into all 14 events on the WRC’s 2016 calendar, which includes a round in China.

Team principal Michel Nandan said all three would be given the same chance to make their mark in the drivers’ championship, with Neuville expected to be named as the lead driver.

“We have a strong pool of drivers with a range of experience and strengths. We will not constrain ourselves by fixing specific car line-ups at each rally, instead assembling the best composition for each event to maximise our championship chances,” said Nandan.

“All three drivers will contest all rounds, including the rally in China, which will be new for everyone. They will have equal opportunities in the drivers’ championship.”

Despite having little down time, Paddon will spend Christmas with his family, before heading back to Europe early in 2016 to begin testing for the first rounds of the season, Rally Monte Carlo in January and Rally Sweden in February.      

“It’s always nice to come back and recharge the batteries over summer, but I get bored pretty easily and like getting back into the car as soon as possible,” he said. “I’ve done some testing already on Monte Carlo and enjoyed driving on the icy tarmac. I’m not too familiar with it and it will be challenging, but I’m looking forward to it.”

New car, new opportunities

Paddon is also hopeful that the launch of Hyundai’s new car will help him to close the gap on the WRC’s frontrunners.

“The goal of the team, as they’ve been designing and building the car, is to make it faster than the Volkswagens, and hopefully it will put us in a position to win some rallies.”

“I think the biggest improvements are in the engine and chassis, which has helped vastly improve the weight distribution,” said Hayden. “It also suits my driving style more than the older car, because it’s more front-axle orientated, which makes it feel more like a front-wheel-drive car.”

While he said it is too early to be realistically chasing the championship, his competitive nature means the chance to beat the likes of defending champion Sebastien Ogier is an extra motivator.

“We’re still the new boys on the block, but I don’t like being beaten by anyone! You have to respect Ogier for everything he’s achieved, and ultimately for us he’s the benchmark.”

NZ rallying in good health

Paddon said that over the last three years, he thinks New Zealand rallying has become a lot stronger.

“The national championship is attracting more competitors, and a lot of good young talent is coming through,” he said. “I think if they were able to get the sponsorship, two or three of them could make an international career out of it.”

He said that is a positive, as the campaign to bring Rally New Zealand back to the WRC calendar continues.

“The stronger the enthusiasm for the sport is, and the stronger our national championship; those things are helpful in bringing back Rally New Zealand.” 

 

WRC CALENDAR 2016
Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 -24 January
Rally Sweden 11 - 14 February
Guanajuato Rally México 3 - 6 March
Rally Argentina 21 - 24 April
Vodafone Rally de Portugal 19 - 22 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 9 - 12 June
LOTOS 73rd Rally Poland 30 June - 3 July
Neste Oil Rally Finland 28 - 31 July
ADAC Rallye Deutschland 18 - 21 August
Rally China  Beijing 8 - 11 September
Tour de Corse Rallye de France 29 September - 2 October
Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada 13 - 16 October
Wales Rally GB 27 - 30 October
Coates Hire Rally Australia 17 - 20 November

 

Hide Article Hide

From Dunedin to the desert

Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour has been selected to contest the           
2016 Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar from 17-22 April.          


Spending five days racing through a desert in 35°C plus temperatures might not be everyone’s idea of a picnic, but for Dunedin rally driver Emma Gilmour, it’s an exciting new challenge in her motorsport career.

Gilmour is taking part in the 2016 Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar, after being named the top driver at a desert rally training and assessment programme, jointly held by the FIA Women in Motorsport committee and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF).

The five-day programme featured 18 of the world’s best female rally drivers and co-drivers, with training sessions provided by Germany’s Jutta Kleinschmidt – the first and only woman to win the legendary Dakar Rally – and multiple rally and cross-country winning co-driver, Fabrizia Pons – of Italy.

“There were 85 applicants, so being selected was pretty great in itself,” said Gilmour. “To win was quite overwhelming.”

“Prior to heading over there, we hadn’t really been told what we would actually be doing. I thought it might have been quite theory based, with limited driving opportunities, but we actually got to do a lot of driving. It was like a dream come true!

“They had Nissan Patrols and Toyota Land Cruisers prepped for us, and we did five sand dune stages over three days. Now that I know more about desert racing, it’s really the only way they could have taught us –it’s completely different to traditional rallying.”

Top team

The drive is fully funded by the QMMF, and Gilmour will team up with Dutch co-driver Lisette Bakker – who was named the top navigator – to tackle the 1,700km grueling event, which runs from 17-22 April.

“We didn’t spend any vehicle time together during the programme, but we did get on really well within the group,” said Gilmour. “We’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other in the car, though!”

“The longest stage we did in training was 72km, but in the rally they’ll be 300-400km. We’ll be spending up to eight hours in the car and, while they are comfortable to drive, it’s mentally quite draining.”

She hopes that they’ll be given some extra training to gain more experience, comparing the step-up to be like going from kindergarten to university.

Gilmour said some of the biggest challenges are trying not to get lost or stuck.

“There are no roads as such. All the navigation is done via GPS, and you have to get to different waypoints. The sand dunes make it really tricky, because if you do get lost, they all look the same!” she said. “Getting stuck is also a challenge, because the heat makes digging the cars out exhausting."

Eyes on the prize

Gilmour is also hoping to contest another full season in next year’s NZRC, and is looking to build on the strong form she showed at this year’s final round.

“We’ve been working hard on developing the Suzuki Maxi over the past couple of years,” she said. “Because it’s a new car, it has taken time, and the process was interrupted by me being in America racing in the Global Rallycross Championship.

“The car’s running pretty consistently now. We’ll keep chipping away at improving it, and next year I’ll be aiming to win my first championship!”  

 

Hide Section Hide

Historic & Classic

Hide Article Hide

Hampton Downs keeping it classic

Earl Bamber (left picture - second from right) will appear at the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing alongside his Porsche stablemate Brendon Hartley

 

The 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing (NZFMR) is set to celebrate all things Porsche, with two special guests sure to provide fans with carloads of entertainment in January.

Spread over two consecutive weekends at Hampton Downs, beginning 15-17 January, the NZFMR is the country’s largest historic motorsport event.

Highlighting the proceedings will be the appearance of  World Endurance Championship winner Brendon Hartley and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber. The pair will demonstrate two very special cars from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart - a 1977 Porsche 935 and a 1998 WSC LMP1 Prototype, both making their first-ever appearance on an NZ track.

The Porsche marquee will display two further factory cars, a 918 Spyder (the latest Porsche super car), and a full sized model of the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 racecar, which was successfully campaigned by Hartley and Bamber in 2015.

In addition, fans can also expect a packed schedule of motor racing action on the circuit, including Formula 5000 and Historic Muscle Cars, as well as the festival debut of the popular Pre-65 class on the second weekend.

A number of Porsche-only classes are also planned, with event organisers and The Porsche Club of New Zealand inviting all owners to take part in a New Zealand record attempt to line up the most Porsches ever assembled in one place at one time in the country.

Event programme

First Weekend - 15-17 January

  1. Pirelli Porsche Race Championship
  2. European Motors Ltd-Porsche Classic Porsche Racing - for Pre-97 cars
  3. European Motors Ltd-Porsche Porsche Regularity trial - for Porsche cars only
  4. MSC Formula 5000
  5. 'Helfee' Historic Muscle Cars & Historic Saloon Cars
  6. Historic Sports Sedans & Invited 'Allcomers'
  7. Classic Cover Insurance European Racing Classic (ERC)
  8. Invited Sports, Sports Racing & GT cars
  9. Classic Driver magazine Historic Formula Ford
  10. Formula Junior &F3

 Second Weekend - 22-24 January

  1. Pirelli Porsche Race Championship
  2. European Motors Ltd-Porsche Classic Porsche Racing - for Pre-97 cars
  3. European Motors Ltd-PorschePorsche Dual-Car Sprints 
  4. 30 min & 1 Hour Enduro
  5. PIC Insurance Brokers Historic Formula Libre
  6. Helfee Historic Muscle Cars & Historic Saloon Cars
  7. Heritage Touring Cars
  8. PPG Automotive Refinishers NZ Classic Trial
  9. Classic Cover Insurance European Race Classics (ERC) Series
  10. Pre '65 Racing Saloons

If reading that line-up has you hanging out for more classic motorsport, check out the following upcoming events:

•           Highlands Park Festival – Highlands, 29-31 January.

•           Skope Classic – Ruapuna, 7-8 February.

•           Enzed Southern Classic – Levels, 13-14 February.

•           Evolution Classic Speedfest – Teretonga, 20-21 February.  

•           Tasman Revival – Taupo 8-9 January and Pukekohe 20-21 February.

 

 

Hide Section Hide

Race

Hide Article Hide

Endurance Championship field announced

North Island Endurance Series Inky Tulloch and John McIntyre are amongst the prospects at the National Endurance Championship. Photo: Simon Chapman


The field for the inaugural New Zealand Endurance Championship has been announced, with some big names set to hit the grid. The Top-20 finishers from the North and South Island series having earned the right to compete for the national title.

Leading entrants in the 3-Hour race include both series’ winning teams of Inky Tulloch and John McIntyre (Camaro GT), and father and son Angus and George McFarlane (Porsche 997).

They will line up alongside Glenn Smith and John De Veth (SuperTourer prototype), Dwayne and Matt Carter (Falcon V8 Supercar), Sam Fillmore and Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3), and Allan Dippie and Scott O’Donnell (Porsche 997 Cup S) – all of whom are expected to be in contention for first place in the leading GT class.

Andrew Bagnall and Rick Armstrong (Audi R8) could also be title threats, after a plague of mechanical issues saw them qualify 19th in the South Island series.

Ian Hayr (Porsche GT3) and Neil Foster (Audi R8) are set to go head-to-head for the 1-Hour title, having qualified comfortably in first place in their respective series.

South Island Endurance Series secretary Chris Dunn says the feedback he’s received from competitors indicates they’re all excited to be able compete for national honours against their North Island counterparts. 

Drivers who competed and qualified in both series were seeded based on their best finish, with the next team down replacing them in the other series.

With not all drivers confirmed for the two-round championship, a reserve list from both series has been created to fill any empty slots. A full and final entry list is expected in the New Year. The Endurance Championship event will be run on Saturday, 12 March at Hampton Downs.

 

Hide Section Hide

ClubSport

Hide Article Hide

Women in motorsport

More than 40 people attended the Eastern Southland Car Club’s 'Fun Day' event in Balclutha, which was aimed at attracting more women and young people into motorsport.


The Eastern Southland Car Club (ESCC) recently ran its second of two events aimed at encouraging more women into motorsport, which has prompted other clubs to consider holding similar events of their own. 

Following on from its successful ‘Have a Go Ladies’ grass autocross in March, the ESSC hosted a follow-up meeting in Balclutha at the end of October. Organiser Roger Laird said that it was a great event, and several women are now competing in the club’s autocross series.

 “Everyone really enjoyed the first one; there were ear-to-ear grins. This time we introduced a boys and girls under-18 category,” said Laird. “Both events have led to more women getting involved in the sport, and there was also a big crossover between the field at the fun day and one of our autocross rounds a week later, which is encouraging.”

Laird said he had spoken to a number of people in other clubs, who were keen to put on similar events to grow their own numbers.

 “There are a lot of women involved in the sport as volunteers, co-drivers, or just partners of drivers,” he said. “Getting them behind the wheel is a good way to grow the sport – it’s just a matter of getting people over that hurdle of having a drive for the first time.”

All up, more than 40 competitors took part in the second fun day, with nine girls and 12 boys in the U18 categories, 14 ‘new entrants’, and 11 in the ‘experienced’ category for those who’d competed at previous club events.   

Laird said that it had also brought out a sense of camaraderie within the club, as people donated equipment for beginners to use, while senior club members put on driving lessons.

He said that the events were a great way for people to overcome any nerves they may have about getting involved in motorsport.

 One of the best

Dunedin rally driver and former Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship competitor Emma Gilmour was recently named winner (read full story) of the joint FIA Women in Motorsport and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) cross-country rally selection programme, which featured 18 of the world’s best female drivers and co-drivers.

Gilmour’s success sees her join the programme’s top co-driver, the Nehterlands’ Lisette Bakker, on a fully-funded drive in the 2016 Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar next year (17-22 April).

She believes that to attract more women to motorsport in New Zealand, it’s important to have female role models in the sport, and doesn’t see a ‘glass ceiling’ that would prevent them from competing.

“If you look right across the sport, there are a lot of women involved from karting to co-driving, and in official positions and volunteering as well. Motorsport here is really accessible; you don’t need huge amounts of money to compete at the club level.”

Asked whether or not there should be women-only classes in motorsport, Gilmour was torn.

“If it was proven that more women would take up the sport as a result, I’d be supportive of that. However, I also used to do horse riding, where you ride with men, and I’ve never seen gender as a barrier to competing. Personally, I just love the thrill of going fast and getting out and competing.”  

Hide Article Hide

Featherstone flies to the top

Graham Featherstone is in a strong position after winning both the sealed and gravel legs in his Evo 7 at the first round of the 2015-16 MotorSport New Zealand Hillclimb Championship in Pukekohe.

Photo: Rebecca Tough

Graham Featherstone powered his Mitsubishi Evo 7 to victory in both the sealed and gravel climbs, securing the maximum 200.00 points on offer to take the overall series lead. While he stormed to victory in the sealed round by almost three seconds, the gravel leg was a tight battle with NZRC runner-up Phil Campbell (Evo 9).

The pair were separated by less than a tenth of a second as they attacked the Murray Rd climb in pursuit of priceless championship points. Finishing in third place behind them was David Loughlin (Subaru WRX).

Campbell also came second on the Kemp Rd sealed run to compile 196.94 points, with local competitor Steve Goodare (Datsun Sunny) rounding out the Top 3.

Goodare finished fourth overall on the gravel climb, earning him 189.51 points and top spot on the 2WD leaderboard. Behind him sits veteran hill climber Dave Strong (Honda Civic), who is returning to the championship after more than a decade’s absence.

Michael and Kevin Sanderson are separated by 2.06 points in third and fourth respectively. The son and father share drives in a modified Hayabusa Starlet, with a healthy family rivalry seeing them swap times throughout the weekend.

Series coordinator Donna Elder was pleased with how the first round played out.

“Numbers were on par, if not slightly more, than last year. It’s maybe not surprising, as the island hosting the final round always seems to attract more entries in qualifying.”  

Championship structure

This year, the championship is using a percentage points system to help level the playing field. Points are calculated by dividing a competitor’s times by the winner’s, then multiplying it by 100 – scores are rounded to two decimal points.       

To be eligible for the championship, competitors need to race in two of the four qualifying rounds. Up for grabs are the NZ Gold Star Hillclimb Championship and NZ 2WD Hillclimb Championship, as well as separate sealed and gravel challenge titles.

The second North Island round is in Thames Valley on the 23-24 January. The first South Island round is in South Canterbury on 27-28 February, with the second in Waimate on 26-27 March. The final round is in Taumarunui on 2-3 April.

Donna says the date of the Waimate round was moved as it clashed with the Westland Rally.

The full championship table after the first round can be found here

 

Hide Section Hide

Technical Topics

Hide Article Hide

LVV certification requirements for motorsport vehicles

Motorsport competitors need to remember that the majority of modifications they make to their vehicles will require an alternative standard in order to obtain a WOF.

 

Low Volume Vehicle (LVV) certifications are covered under the Driver and Vehicle Safety Schedule (Appendix Two Schedule A), and are applicable when you want to use your motorsport vehicle on public roads. 

A WOF and registration is a legal requirement, and the certification process enables this to be achieved when a vehicle is modified outside of the manufacturer’s original standards (such as the fitment of a harness with four or more straps, or the modification of the braking or suspension systems).

Modifications that are deemed motorsport dedicated, such as changes from a standard seat belt to a competition harness, are covered under the MotorSport NZ Authority Card scheme. Other modifications, such as those to the suspension system or an engine swap, must be covered by an alternative standard under the LVV Code. Schedule A states:

“All other modifications to those detailed in article 8.3(4) [meaning those modifications that are not deemed to be non-motorsport dedicated] that affect compliance under the VIRM must be certified under the Low Volume Vehicle Code.”

For further information, contact the LVVTA directly www.lvvta.org.nz. VIRM refers to the Vehicle Inspection Requirements Manual, which is the book of rules the WOF inspector uses to make judgement on a vehicle’s compliance and condition.

It should always be remembered that it is the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure that any changes to their vehicle that exceed the threshold for requiring certification are certified, and a certification plate is attached to the vehicle.

To check if changes exceed the thresholds, refer to: www.lvvta.org.nz/documents.html#thresholds.

During event scrutineering, it’s not uncommon for a scrutineer to identify a road-registered vehicle with a current WOF and registration that should have a plate but does not! If it’s discovered during a Safety Audit, then, depending upon the event’s status, the scrutineer may make a logbook notation or have to provide a report to the COTC.

Low Volume Vehicle Certification Review 

Back in July, it was announced that the New Zealand Transport Agency would be performing a review of the Low Volume Vehicle Certification System, and that Standards New Zealand would conduct the review.

The survey was to be performed independently, involving a wide range of users of the LVV system, to understand their perspectives, gauge the effectiveness of the current system, and see which elements are working well (and which aren’t).

Most of us recognise that the certification of modified cars, including our motorsport fleet, is very important, as without it there would be no way for us to use them on public roads. For some, it’s a need (cars used in rally competitions, for example). For others, who just want the freedom and ability to use their modified cars on public roads whenever they choose to, it’s a privilege.

The LVV certification system is vitally important in achieving and maintaining these needs and privileges. It would be without doubt that the vast majority, if not all, of the cars we use for motorsport competitions are modified in some way, and the majority of these modifications would need a process to gain compliance.

In non-technical language, this means that the majority of modifications we perform to our motorsport vehicles will require an alternative standard in order to obtain a WOF. These alternative standards are managed by the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association under the LVV Code, and the MotorSport Authority Card scheme is incorporated under this Code.

It’s worth remembering that it’s not a given right that we drive our modified cars on open public roads in many overseas countries, this is not possible at all – so we all need to respect and realise the importance of what we currently have in place. The current system may not be perfect, but overall it’s working and it accomplishes most or our motorsport needs.

Stage 1 of this review was to be achieved through a questions and answers analysis disseminated to a wide range of users chosen at random by Standards NZ, and the originating member associations of the LVVTA (which includes MotorSport NZ). This stage of the review has now been completed and Standards NZ issued the following statements:

Overall, 66% of respondents were satisfied with or were neutral about the LVV certification process. However, some areas for improvement were highlighted. The key themes identified through responses to the survey are as follows:

• There was a high level of dissatisfaction with the need to go through a full re-certification process, and incur the associated additional cost, when a minor change was made to a vehicle. Respondents would prefer to see a process that would certify the change as an add-on to the current certification.

• The cost of the certification process for a vehicle was seen as too expensive (especially given the re-certification requirement identified above).

• The LVV system is seen as not being representative of the needs of Japanese car enthusiasts.

• Respondents felt there is a lack of consistency in various aspects of the LVV system, in particular the interpretation and application of the standards between the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) and certifier.

• Businesses undertaking a number of vehicle modifications found the LVV system not well suited to commercial certification volumes, and would like alternative approaches to be investigated.

Other areas for improvement that have been highlighted via survey responses or other customer feedback include the following:

• Many LVV system users may be unaware of the role that the LVV Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) plays in dealing with vehicle modifications that do not fit neatly into the existing LVV standards.

• There is a lack of clarity in the TAC process.

• Over time, the roles of LVV certifiers and LVVTA and Transport Agency teams have become blurred.

• The current ‘one size fits all’ certification process is not efficient or appropriate for all system users, and may increase costs for lower risk users. “ 

In summary, MSNZ believes that we have a very good and workable certification system in place, but as always there is room for improvement, to keep it in line with everyone’s needs and expectations, whilst above all maintaining a robust system of assuring safety.

And those who have had good dealings with the LVV system, let us know so we can spread the good word! For those who have had bad or indifferent experiences, also, let us know, but please be mindful that what we currently have is infinitely better than having no system at all, or a system we have no say or control over.