This weekend saw the introduction of the New Generation V8 race cars into Motorsport New Zealand's premier category when the NZV8s got underway at Invercargill's Teretonga Park for the first of five rounds.
Driver Nick Ross put the team's shiny new Total Lubricants Holden Commodore through it's first test in Friday's first practice session after a mammoth effort from the Concept Motorsport crew to have it race ready in time for the season opener.
"It's an awesome piece of kit! In the way it accelerates and the way it gets around corners is just great and lots of fun." said Ross.
It was a long haul and an anxious wait for the Cambridge driver with the brand new Total Lubricants Holden Commodore being transported all the way to the world's most southern racing circuit before he was able to take his first stint behind the wheel.
"The car hadn't turned a wheel before getting to Teretonga. We pulled it out, did a basic set up and put it on the track for the first time and then other than a few minor tweaks the car didn't put a foot wrong all weekend."
Ross competed against drivers Jason Bargwanna from Australia driving another Holden Commodore and Hamilton's Martin Short in a brand new Toyota Camry. Short's car heralding the new generation policy of open entry to manufacturers other than the traditional Holdens and Fords.
"It was amazing because the Toyota looks and sounds so different from the Holdens but running side by side down the straight at Teretonga there is absolutely nothing in it." said Ross.
Parity over the Holdens, Fords and Toyotas is controlled by way of a special ECU and wiring loom provided by Wellington company Speedtech Motorsport. A second Toyota will be on the grid in time for round three as will the first Ford in the New Generation NZV8s.
"There was so much interest in the new cars over the weekend I am sure we are going to see a lot of people choosing to build one of these and the series will just go from strength to strength." said Ross.
The NZV8s series is the first in this part of the world to adopt a manufacturer other than Holden or Ford into a four door saloon V8s championship.
The race cars share identical controlled chassis, differential and six speed sequential gear box but must run it's own manufacturer's engine which must be a V8. The Holdens run a Chevrolet LS3 6.2 litre engine.
The weekend presented three races with the final race including not only a ten second delayed start behind the older model NZV8s but a mandatory pit stop for the NG-NZV8s.
"Unfortunately in our pitstop we had a few issues causing us to lose our third place track position finishing seventh in race three." said Ross.
With the best race result of second in the opening race Nick Ross and the Total Lubricants Holden Commodore went on to place third overall for the weekend behind Bargwanna then Short.
Although not having an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the car prior to this weekend Ross was able to get the commodore to lap the Southland circuit to within a couple of tenths of the leading cars.
"I can't thank the guys enough for all the work they have had to put in to get the car on to the circuit this weekend, Dale, Mike, Glen and Dad and also Total Lubricants for coming on board as our naming rights sponsor."
"We had an extremely successful weekend and look forward to this weekend at Timaru." he said.
Round two of the NZV8s Premiere Race Championship Series 2013 takes place this weekend January 19-20 at the Timaru International Motor Raceway (Levels).