As you may have read previously on the site, back in May GTPlanet member Brad McClaren (McClarenDesign) made the trip from Oklahoma, USA to Auckland, NZ (a trip of over 7,500 miles) to race with Hooncorp in the New Zealand 24 Hours of Lemons. Driving the #137 Commodore, Brad managed to survive the dark, the rain, and the opposition, with the team finishing 22nd amongst a field of 53 starters. The second Hooncorp car on the track, the #37 Pulsar, came 15th.
Following the team’s successful campaign, we’re very excited to announce that GTPlanet and Hooncorp are looking to partner together and take on the 2019 New Zealand 24 Hours Of Lemons!
That’s right, we are looking for interested GTP members from anywhere in the world to come and be part of an all-GTP team in our 2019 New Zealand 24hr Lemons campaign. I (Nismonath5) will be of course racing, Jordan has a spot saved for him, and there’s a seat air marked for someone else, so that leaves up to seven spots available for interested drivers.
The criteria is simple. Are you a member of GTPlanet? Then you’re eligible! The invite’s open to anyone part of the site, be it members, Premium members, and staff.
So first of all, what will you be getting yourself into?
Primarily taking place at the prestigious Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, 24hr Lemons has been in New Zealand for three years now. With an ever-growing community of teams, drivers, and rivalries, the racing is fierce and the atmosphere is unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else.
You can find a lap of the 1.6-mile Hampton Downs Motorsport Park National circuit right above, the layout for Lemons races. Of course this lap is much faster than any Lemon could hope to go, but it should give you an idea of the track and its 7-corner layout.
Located in rural Northern Waikato, Hampton Downs is an international motorsports facility. The National circuit is a very “easy to learn, hard to master” track, with elevation changes and sweeping corners keeping you on your toes all through the 24 hours. Featuring two main high speed sections, two tight hairpins and a variety of fast, flowing sections, there really is something here for all driving styles.
Taking place in May, the race will be during New Zealand’s winter. Unlike most countries, the winter is not particularly cold, with a low of around 7 degrees Celsius (44 Fahrenheit), but conditions can and will change rapidly, making weather extremely unpredictable. While one hour might be warm and mild, the next may bring heavy rain and strong winds, and the following might be sunny and lush again. Adaptability to ever-changing weather conditions at race pace will be a must.
One of the biggest parts of any 24 hour race is of course, the night. While there will be some lighting in particularly hairy corners, the majority of the circuit will be pitch black, with only your headlights to guide you. Reflective cat’s eyes will mark the edges of the track, with some strategically placed to act as braking markers. Other than that, it will be up to you to have memorized the track enough in the day to navigate it at night.
We have two cars entered into this race, the Hooncorp #137 Commodore and the Hooncorp #37 Pulsar. Both are proven contenders, with a 100% finish rate and top 15 finishes to their name.
The Commodore is our veteran car, having completed three Lemons races now without any major issues. It’s rear wheel drive, with a strong helping of torque from the Buick 3.8 V6, meaning it’s quick in a straight line, though its larger size and extra girth makes it a bit slower in the corners.
The Pulsar, on the other hand, is nearly the complete opposite. Lighter, smaller, and therefore more nimble and agile. With an Autech-tuned SR20 4-cylinder, what it lacks in top end speed it more than makes up for in grip, handling, and agility. It’s front wheel drive, so will be easy to drive in the dry and wet.
The Dignity (Or Lack Thereof)
Part of Lemons and the Lemons environment is not taking yourself seriously. We WILL at some stage, for some reason get hit with a penalty, and we WILL be given an option to avoid the penalty, by doing a humiliating task. Exactly what must be done to avoid the penalty will be up to the judges, but if for example they ask the team to scooter up and down the pitlane in a frilly pink skirt singing Yankee Doodle Dandy, so be it! Moaning and complaining will only delay the car’s return to the track. Applicants must be able to have a laugh, even if it is at their own expense.
We’ve worked hard to come up with a price that both covers everything the team will need and is reasonable enough for most people to afford. Costs regarding the car such as fuel, tyres and preparation have been split five ways, meaning each driver contributes an equal share of the money required.
The true cost of this event will also depend on how much racing gear you already currently own. If you don’t have any, we can purchase it for you, as the NZD works well against most currencies, especially the USD, but it will still bump up the cost a fair bit. (A full breakdown of exact costs is available upon request for interested parties.)
The costs are $3,750NZD ($2,579USD as of 17/11/2018) with the purchase of gear included, or $1,600NZD ($1,100USD as of 17/11/2018) if you already have your own gear.
We do have a fundraiser for this race too, and all funds raised will go toward team expenses. This essentially brings down the event outlay for drivers and crew, so please share it around and contribute a few dollars if you can.
Of course, this isn’t factoring in the cost of flights and accommodation. We’ve chosen to leave flights up to the drivers, as their local airliners may have some special deals or promotions going on. And as for accommodations, we will look at getting a motel sorted, but that is all TBA closer to the time.
If you’re interested in coming, but don’t want to race, we also have spots open for people to be part of our pit crew! We’ll need many roles filled, ranging from mechanic to refueller to race communication… flick me a message if you’re interested in coming simply to help out and check out the beauty of NZ!
How Do I Get Involved?
Simple. Get in touch with me (Nismonath5) by sending me a private message. We’ll have a chat and things will go from there, it’s that simple.
Any questions, feel free to shoot me a private message on GTPlanet, or get in touch with Hooncorp on Facebook. This is a seriously awesome opportunity, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you very soon!