Local Formula First Drivers to Feature at Taupo IRC Finale   27 Mar 2012

As the final round of the 2011/12 IRC Race Series at Taupo Motorsport Park nears, one class continues to provide a precious racing spectacle that is eclipsed by no other category in New Zealand.

The Weldwell Formula First category has long been a breeding ground for our future stars in motorsport, and this season is proving no different, with a fresh brood of young guns led by the North Shore’s Matt Higham rising to the fore.

Taupo and the Bay of Plenty are also well represented in the Formula First category, which sees evenly-matched 1200cc Volkswagen Beetle powered single seaters battle in close proximity at speeds approaching 180km/h.

At the pointy end of the field are Rotorua’s Kyle George, and Michael Scott of Te Puke.

Both youngsters have been impressive at times throughout the season, with Scott rising through the ranks as he competes in conjunction with the latter part of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship, in a Mygale chassis as proven by fellow BOP star Richie Stanaway a few seasons ago.

George has had a tougher time this season, after showing his hand as a serious championship contender in the early stages.

Engine troubles forced George out of contention in the early rounds, but he has bounced back impressively in a borrowed car and still maintains fourth overall in the standings, with Scott close behind in fifth.

Mount Maunganui’s Jason Carter is another local driver to have featured in the Formula First’s this season, and despite missing the first round of the championship, has been consistent in his results in the events since and sits on the edge of the top ten in the points standings, with ninth overall still well within his grasp.

Taupo’s Craig Greenwood is better known with the Formula Challenge named tagged to him, with the former race series come driver training & experience company a popular attraction in the central plateau.

But Greenwood, an ambitious and talented engineer, went about in the off-season converting one of the Formula Challenge chassis to Formula First specifications, and has competed at a handful of events during the 2011/12 season, improving every step of the way.

A former star of the Formula First class, Greenwood is expected to perform well at his home circuit for the final round of the championship over Easter weekend.

The final round of the 2011/12 IRC Race Series at Taupo is held over Easter weekend, April 8-9.

Other categories in action at Taupo for the season finale of the 2011/12 IRC Race Series include the GT1, GT2 and NZGT classes, the Holden- and Ford- powered NZ6, NZ Sports Cars; and races within races in the Mazda Pro 7, SS2000, Pre 65, Mini Challenge and Bridgestone Porsches.

The seven rounds of this year's IRC Race Series has seen events right across the North Island, travelling from Manfeild to Taupo, and up to Pukekohe and Hampton Downs.

The action at Taupo kicks off at 09:00am each day; each class with a qualifying session and one race on Saturday, and two races on Sunday. Tickets are $10, while Gold Card holders and under 15s can enjoy the racing for free.

For more information please visit www.irc.org.nz

(Independent Race Classes)

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