A top field of 22 Formula 1600 drivers face two consecutive weekends of racing in the South Island as both the national and South Island Championships resume their season. This weekend the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch hosts the second round of the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship, also doubling as the fourth round of the South Island Formula 1600 Championship. The category is part of the supporting classes for the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting, the opening round of the 2018 Toyota Racing Series.
Up for grabs is the prestigious Wigram Cup awarded by the Canterbury Car Club to a premier single seater class not competing for the Lady Wigram Trophy. The overall round winner from the weekend will add their name alongside the likes of Leroy Stevenson, Jonny Reid, Ken Smith and Damon Leitch.
Jordan Michels currently leads the NZ champs ahead of fellow Southlander Ethan Anderson and Auckland rookie driver Josh Bethune while Christchurch’s Bailey Paterson leads the South Island series from Michel’s and Anderson.
However, the driver they will all be wary of is young 13-year-old Callum Hedge from Auckland. Hedge dominated the opening national round in Timaru at the beginning of November, qualifying fastest and winning two of the three races, only to be thwarted by clutch problems in the third. Formula 1600 racing is all about the consistency of finishing and gaining points and as Hedge found out, a retirement can be very costly, with him slipping to fourth overall, 20 points behind Michels.
Michels, now in his third year of F1600 racing, knows that consistent finishing will win championships and is confident heading into the next two rounds.
“We have great car pace, great car setup under us now, still a few things to sort out going forward,” commented Michels.
Likewise, Paterson is aware of continuing his early form. “We have to do what we did in the previous round but improve more. We will see what we can get out of the car.”
New to the grid is fifteen-year-old Tommy Smith from Melbourne, Australia. Moving up from kartsport, Smith is looking at competing in both Formula Ford and Formula 4 in Australia. With limited testing opportunities in Australia, the family has shipped his car to NZ and spent several days testing at Teretonga Park in Invercargill. He will compete in the next two NZ rounds in a Mygale leased from Evolution Motorsport as his own car is not eligible as it is fitted with the Duratec engine required for Australian Formula Ford racing.
Drivers face qualifying and the first of three races on Saturday with a further two races on Sunday. The following weekend they go head to head once again in support of the Toyota Racing Series weekend at Teretonga Park in Invercargill.
2017/18 New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship
Overall Championship Points after 1/5 rounds (Top 10)
1 Jordan Michels 102
2 Ethan Anderson 91
3 Josh Bethune 83
4 Callum Hedge 82
5 Bailey Paterson 81
6 Robert Toshach 72
7 Steve Edwards 66
8 Matt Butchart 58
9 Kurt Peterson 50
10 Steve Heffernan 50
2017/18 South Island Formula 1600 Championships
Overall Championship Points after 3/6 rounds
PLACE, DRIVER, CAR, POINTS
1 Bailey Paterson 297
2 Jordan Michels 287
3 Ethan Anderson 253
4 Robert Toshach 224
5 Kurt Peterson 214
6 Josh Bethune 208
7 Steve Edwards 178
8 Steve Heffernan 176
9 Matt Butchart 154
10 Simon Spencer-Bower 147
2017/18 South Island Formula 1600 Championship Calendar
Rnd 1: October 27-29 2017, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Rnd 2: November 10/11 2017, Timaru International Raceway, Timaru (Long track); (also Rd 1 NZ Formula Ford Championship)
Rnd 3: December 2-3 2017, Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill
Rnd 4: January 12-14 2018, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna (also Rd 2 NZ Formula 1600 Championship)
Rnd 5: January 19-21 2018, Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill; (also Rd 3 NZ Formula 1600 Championship)
Rnd 6: March 24 2018, Timaru International Raceway, Timaru (Long track)
2017/18 New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship Calendar
Rnd 1 10-11 November 2017 Timaru International Motor Raceway
Rnd 2 12-14 January 2018 Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch
Rnd 3 19-21 January 2018 Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Rnd 4 2-4 February 2018 Taupo Motorsport Park
Rnd 5 9-11 February 2018 Manfeild Circuit, Manawatu
For more information contact Benjamin Carrell on 0272 444 651 or via e-mail on email@example.com