The Hooncorp Thread

  • Thread starter Nismonath5


New Zealand
South Auckland, New Zealand
Profile JWhi_LeMons2k19_0361.JPG

Hooncorp is a non-profit organisation that has been active in Auckland, New Zealand since 1989. Our main message is for all lovers of cars to drive safe on the roads, and save their fast and furious antics for the track!

Greetings, petrol heads!

Since many of Hooncorp's endeavors are shared here on GTPlanet, I figured I'd make a thread to keep it all in one place! I'll be posting here with all our shenanigans, updates, and goings on as we build racecars, race racecars, host racing events, and much much more!

Index of notable events

If you haven't already, read about our debut 24hr Lemons campaign (Sept 2017)
And read about our participation in New Zealand's first ever FULL 24hr race! (May 2018)
The '18 September Showdown was where we only just missed out on a top 10 placing! (Sept 2018)
For the first time Lemons raced at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park where we shook down a new car and some GT Academy talent! (Feb 2019)
The 2019 24-hour was where Hooncorp x GTPlanet first entered a team consisting entirely of sim racers! (May 2019)
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Kicking this thread off, we've only recently decided to enter the next Lemons race, in just under two weeks!!!!

Luckily, our cars are already built, so this'll be the first Lemons where we're not building an all-new racecar! We've decided to run a one car team, and the Commodore is that car. All it needs is a bit of a touch up from the last race, so it'll be on the track no dramas!


We spent today fixing a lot of the minor issues on the Commy. Having been sitting for a few months, we discovered a large patch of fluid under it. Not ideal. Luckily it turned out to be the power steering, and it was only leaking because the hose clamp was a bit loose. Easy fix! :D

I also straightened out the front end after it was pulled out of shape being recovered in the last race. The damage on the rear end (From the 2017 lemons!!!) also got fixed, I smacked out the dents with a rubber mallet, re-painted the left rear quarter with a can of spray paint which conveniently matched the car perfectly, as it was originally painted with the same stuff. :lol:

Lastly, I decided to chuck our spare taillight in it, to make it look that bit tidier. As for the wrecked one, we've decided to start a "wall of wreckage", similar to Burt Munro's "offerings to the gods of speed". The taillight shall be the perfect start!


I must say, it feels so good sitting in it again. The Pulsar was cool, don't get me wrong, but there's something about the Commodore I just love... the raw torque... the Australian brutality that no JDM has.. I'm excited for this one!!

@Nismonath5 Are you back at Hampton ?
What are the race times for Saturday ? Dont have to work so will see if I can come and watch (if family allows).
Not too sure about race times exactly, but it'll no doubt be an all day affair. Stop past and say hi! :D

@Nismonath5 Is the Pulsar going to be at the race too?
Nah, sadly. Initially we weren't going to be doing this one, but the ones in charge insisted so we put together one five-man squad with only four weeks to go.. The Pulsar will be back next year for 2019's nonstop 24hr! :sly:

Now, just got home from practise!

Twas a lot of boring paperwork and people checking out our car to make sure we weren't going to crash and die right off the bat.

Eventually though I got to have a play, my first time racing with a HANS device, feels a lot more different than a simple neck brace! After only a few laps I was ordered in because it was already overheating, though the simple solution was a new radiator cap.

That fixed, I went out once again and the old beast feels just as good as I remember! A bit slower though, however I feel like that was simply me taking it easy after that overheating scare.

Lap time: which is slow as hell considering others are in the high 1:20's, but it's the consistency that will help us, I reckon! ;)
So... what a day!!!

I'll keep it brief at the moment as I must get to sleep and rest up ahead of tomorrow. (Remembering I'll do a full write up post-event) We started 41st out of 42 starters, but within the first hour we were 21st. Slowly but surely picked off the opposition one by one until we were in the top 15, at one point running as high as 11th! I climbed in the car 3rd, and that was one of the most enjoyable stint's I've ever done in the Commodore! The racing was fierce, the driving was comfortable-ish and the in car comms were actually clear for once! I was really able to give the car a nudge and actually go fast!

Sadly, the performance began to deteriorate in the closing stages of the day. It would lack power exiting the turns, and make us easy prey for drivers behind. Somehow we managed to stay 15th, and when I hopped in again to finish the day, it was getting pretty bad. There were all sorts of shakes, shudders, smells and it was a pretty easy assumption that the Commodore was in poor health. I needed to simply see the chequered flag, but even achieving that was looking bleak.

Well, I did it, and upon returning to the pits we found out I'd all-but run out of gas. Which would explain a bit of the coughing and farting it was doing.. Also there was another wee issue. The fuel filter was blocked with fragments of explosafe. Overnight (As I type this!!!), we've smashed out a lot of the minor issues such as the driveshaft, clutch, seat, fuel filter, and now the diff's being swapped out with the closer ratio, welded locked diff we used in 2017 (repaired and reconditioned). @Pete05 as tame as the open diff was, it's back to the locked for the Commy!

Now, some videos / pics!

Wow... wow.... WOW!!!!

I'll keep this one brief too and get to work on a detailed write up like I usually do, so here goes!

We managed to knock out each and every issue on the Commodore, including the diff change! The start was less ceremonious than the earlier day, two laps under pace car to warm up and they're away! Starting 15th, we pretty much stayed there most of the day. The plan was Rob started, then Billy took over, followd by Chris, Dad... and then me, from there we'd see how we went in the closing hours. As the day wore on, I heard nothing but good things from the team, the car felt much better than yesterday, with the new diff and clean fuel filter it was a dream run, slowly making up ground on our competitors.

Early on, while Rob was in the car, he was involved in an exchange with a BMW, both going around a hairpin, and the BMW cutting in front of him, smashing into the front left, shattering our headlight. A red flag was called to clean up the mess and the BMW was hit with a penalty. Rob even signed the red marks on the white BMW... :lol:

When I finally got in the car, I was astonished at the performance. It had tons of torque, a nice fun oversteery setup that was very manageable, and it was making mincemeat of the gap to the next car! The next rival was Team Shaguar, in an Austin Powers themed Jaguar S Type. With a two lap advantage over us, it would be hard work to pull them in, until they pit in. Suddenly the gap was made, I caught them just as they were exiting the pits, and that got us into 10th.


It wasn't to last. The #555 Subaru Legacy decided they wanted to improve their placing and made short work of us. Oh well. But still, we carried on. I had a rather violent off-road excursion at around 150km/h but the car was still okay. Once I got out, we were still 11th, and it looked like we were gonna stay there. Sure enough, fast forward much uneventful racing and the car crossed the finish line in one piece! :sly:

This is a new team record, finishing 11th! We're totally over the moon, and all you gotta do is watch the reaction video to see how chuffed everyone is with the team's effort!

Now to start on the detailed weekend write up. In the meantime, have some vids!

And vinally, our victory clip!
Congrats on an excellent finish and a great drive!
Thanks man, cheers for the support!

Yeah nice bro,
Are you allowed to run slicks?
No, it's supposed to be road tyres only. However some teams sneak sport tyres or racing wets on. Such actions are penalised... or must require a bribe.

Also @noshog did you end up coming on down?
Thanks man, cheers for the support!

No, it's supposed to be road tyres only. However some teams sneak sport tyres or racing wets on. Such actions are penalised... or must require a bribe.

Also @noshog did you end up coming on down?
How did you find the road tyres?
I did some racing back in the day and used road tyres, after 5 laps it was like driving on marbles. Over heating!
How did you find the road tyres?
I did some racing back in the day and used road tyres, after 5 laps it was like driving on marbles. Over heating!
Well we used only one set for the whole weekend, and they've still got enough grip to easily start the next one! Maxxis tyres, use them people! :D
@Nismonath5 Na, woke up on Saturday morning ready to ask the family if they want to go and watch, then the missus got a call out for her job and took off in the family car, leaving me and the kids stuck in the house. Sunday is always a write off as well, too many different classes to take the kids to.
We will make it one day, my kids are only 2 & 4 but do seem to be interested in racing, so am keen to take them to track to check it out in real life :)

Always enjoy your updates here ! A mate of mine used to run in the All Classic Japanese Series, I helped him out on race weekends, was always fun. We have a good little racing community here in NZ.
Behold, the end of race numbers!
Notice we actually finished 12th, but 3rd place ended up DNF'ing, bumping us up to 11th! That's why in endurance racing, it's so so important to just cross the finish line. That's all you need to do!


Another observation is we were the slowest team in the top 15. And yet our consistency on the track and efficiency in the pits kept us in the running!

I have over 3,000 images from the weekend, so I'll get to work narrowing it down a bit and adding some here :D

The feeling still hasn't worn off, you know. Still feels like we just crossed the line. It's awesome :sly:
Check this out guys!!! One of our photographers, Jon Williams, was in the right place at the right time and caught this crash on the Saturday frame by frame!

IMG_5924.JPG IMG_5925.JPG IMG_5926.JPG IMG_5927.JPG IMG_5928.JPG IMG_5929.JPG IMG_5930.JPG IMG_5931.JPG IMG_5932.JPG IMG_5933.JPG IMG_5934.JPG IMG_5935.JPG IMG_5937.JPG IMG_5938.JPG IMG_5938.JPG

Luckily the only damage was the gearbox, seat rails, rims and driver's pride.

There's a whole album of photos from Josh White who came along and did most of the photography for us. The pics are too large to upload here, but you can view them by clicking this link!!! (They're really good, honest!)

The write up's still a work in progress, plus there's another BIG announcement on the way, so stay tuned, it's busy times at the Hooncorp HQ! :sly:
Behold, the detailed race report from the September 2018 Lemons!!!

Ah, 24 Hours of Lemons. The budget endurance series that pits drivers of all skill levels, driving backgrounds, and walks of life against eachother with one goal: Make it to the finish line! With the focus on not breaking the bank, some cars are rather well prepped, some not so... Some famous people even join in the fun, such as Speedycop, Racing Ray Williams or Randy Pobst to name a few.

Initially, Hooncorp wasn't even going to enter the September 2018 New Zealand race, but with five weeks to go, we changed our mind! On such short notice, we decided to run only the one car, our returning Lemons veteran the Holden Commodore VN GTS, so we put together a team and headed to the circuit!


Our team consisted of:
Mike Howe (Hoonie Sr)
Nathan Howe (Hoonie Jr)
Rob Allen (Has much experience in the Commy)
Chris Wong (Rookie talent)
Billy Hickey (Rookie talent also)

The practise day was primarily used to give Chris and Billy, our rookie talent, time in the Commodore. With little racing experience before hand, it was mainly for them to get a feel for the car, in preparation for the race.

Starting 45th out of 46 cars (We always seem to be stuck nearly dead last!!!), we had our work cut out for us, but within the hour the Commy was up to 21st and still making moves on it's rivals! With better handling and thereby more speed, previously faster cars were now in our crosshairs. The weather was fair, with a bit of cloud and no threat of rain. Before long, we were in the top 10, though this feat was short lived as we soon had to pit in for fuel and a driver swap, bumping us back to 18th. Still, the improved pace combined with the already proven reliability meant we were enjoying a largely uneventful race, with a fair amount of moving and shaking to be enjoyed.

The only mistake from a driver on the Saturday was when Billy lunged into the first turn at max speed, then shifted from 5th to 2nd by accident, locking the rears and spinning around. However this was only a minor mishap, Billy being able to restart the car and drive away suffering no damage or penalties. However, we weren't completely immune to penalties. Because our pit garage was right next to the judges' penalty tent, we thought we would be allowed to drive through it when leaving the garage. This turned out to be not the case, and we were hit with a 20 lap penalty.


A couple of hours later controversy arose. When the cars crossed the timing line, the transponders would be recieved and a beep would be heard by the folks un in the race control. now, when the Commodore went across the line, two beeps were heard. This was immediately investigated, and what had happened was genius on the offenders' parts. Team Top Gun, in a Honda Prelude, had blown thier engine and the car was in the garage being repaired. To avoid losing laps, one of the team removed the car's transponder, and attached it to the Commodore while we were pre-occupied doing a driver change. As genius as this plan was, it was found out and the poor sod responsible was penalized.
Despite our driving consistency, the Commodore's performance had slowly begun to deteriorate over the course of the day, and by lunch time it was noticeable. However it wasn't affecting our lap times too badly, so we opted to tough it out, and worry about it during the overnight service time. As the first day drew close to the final hour, though, the Commodore really started to go downhill. It was lacking power out of turns, coughing and farting on some of the straights, and even losing speed going uphill, and our goal was to simply bring it home. Thankfully we did, and as soon as it rolled into the pit garage we got straight to work figuring out what needed doing.

The beauty of this kind of race format, where there is an overnight break between days, is the ability to carry out repairs, give the car a nut and bolt check, have a sleep, and generally refresh before the latter half of the race without losing time or laps in the process. It eases the rush in the garage, that urgency to get the car fixed and ready ASAP because the car behind us is closing the gap while we're sitting still. And in some respects it boosts team morale, knowing that the car has had a quick freshen up and is ready to hit the track once more!
For us, the overnight to-do list turned out to be quite extensive. For starters, the primary reason it had been struggling in the closing stages was it was running out of fuel. Due to it's increased pace as opposed to it's last Lemons outing, it was using up more fuel, and it had crossed the line with a mere 1.5L in the tank. The fuel filter was also found to be clogged, as little bits of the explosion-resistant foam had, over the years, flaked off and these flakes had ever so slightly gotten into the fuel filter. It was simply one of those things that had fallen through the cracks as far as preparation, but at least it was an easy fix.


The exhaust was rattling around due to some broken mounts which was easy enough to sort out, and the clutch got a slight adjustment, however the biggest task on the to do list was replacing the diff. The left rear wheel bearing was quite worn, and so we elected to swap out the entire diff assembly. Ironically, the replacement diff was in fact the very diff that was in the car the year before, and had needed replacing with the now-current diff, but being refurbished, a shorter ratio, and locked as opposed to open, it would be a great help for the driver.

Since there was still a bit of time to kill, we also replaced the front brake pads which were still in pretty good condition, gave the hydraulics a quick bleed, and gave the entire car a full nut & bolt check. The entire night was wrapped up by just before midnight, which meant there was the ability to get some sleep, beautiful sleep before having to get up at 6am.

To say there was excitement in the Hooncorp air, was something of an understatement. Prior to this event, our best result in any car was 15th, and that was where the Hooncorp 137 Holden Commodore was currently sitting in the placings. It was looking highly likely we would match or beat that this weekend.

The next morning, the racing resumed rather uneventfully. The restart was again trouble free, and it seemed that all we had to do was maintain the improved pace and watch everyone else break down, crash or run into other misfortunes. Around lunch time, one of the teams in a BMW performed a rather untalented passing manoeuvre, cutting the Commy off, destroying the right headlight and bending the front guard (fender). They were VERY lucky not to have more damage, as behind our front bumper is a very serious steel mounting bar which missed their wheel by not many inches. The race was briefly red flagged to clean up all the glass, and we siezed this opportunity to patch up the front of the car.


Shortly after, the Commodore set it's fastest lap EVER around Hampton Downs, a 1:30.317! This just proved to us all that the Commy was indeed on pace, and without trying too hard, we were working our way up the field! A few more retirements from faster competitors only helped to boost our position further, and it was starting to look like we might actually come away in the top 10, a first for Hooncorp. Enjoying a largely uneventful and penalty-free period, the Commodore kept soldiering on, and by the time the two hours till finish was called, we were in a bit of a battle for 12th place against the "Tom Cats", racing a Jaguar S-Type. The two cars seemed quite evenly matched, exchanging placings a few times over the course of the closing stages, but in the end the Commodore came out on top of that little duel.

We finished 12th, having completed 555 laps and finishing 57 laps behind the leader. The team was overwhelmed with the result, and it only got sweeter from there. One of the frontrunners was found to be a joker, given the 3rd spot illicitly to provoke a reaction from teams that were paying attention. When it was removed, everyone 4th or lower moved up a placing, boosting Hooncorp's result to 11th!!!

We are absolutely chuffed with the awesome outcome for the team. The car's still in great shape, with a hat trick of Lemons finishes under it's belt, and a personal best placing! We wouldn't have done it without the support from BNT Manukau, supplying us parts at a killer price! Also big thanks to Maxxis tyres, their rubber was brilliant and we lasted the entire three days on the same set!

We're now gearing up for our attack on the May 2019 Lemons. Watch this space....
The Commodore's going in for some panel and paint work. After three 24hr Lemons races without much more than a check-over, we think she's well overdue for some love!

The main job to be carried out is replacing the front end. Currently, the Commodore's front consists of a steel bar with a bumper cable tied to it. However Ageing Autos have supplied us with an all new proper VN Commodore front end, and The Body Shop are going to install it!

Well, as you all will have seen in the article, it is official. We at Hooncorp have put aside an entry (or maybe two!) into the 2019 NZ 24hr Lemons for a GTPlanet team!

Already I've had a number of people contact me with applications, and there is still room for more! If you want to join in on what could potentially be a piece of GTPlanet history, then flick me a message! :D

Also, as mentioned in the article, we do have a fundraiser set up for those who perhaps cannot commit to the event but still want to help out.

Obviously, keeping a racecar going continuously for 24 hours requires a lot of preparation, plus fuel, tyres and brakes, the list goes on. All money raised will be going towards such costs, and will be met with tremendous appreciation!

Link to the fundraiser here
Pretty happy with my brand new race helmet, succeeding the one I've used for my entire race life up till now :D

Massive thanks to Glenn Gibbs at Gibbs Signs Takanini for creating and making the design, I'm stoked with what he managed to do and highly recommend him if you have any sign writing needs! 👍

By the way, the first event I'll be using this wicked skid lid is the Feburary 2019 24 Hours of Lemons NZ!!! :sly: