BNT V8s driver Simon Richards and the Ballistic Motorsport Team eagerly head south to this season's third round of Motorsport New Zealand's Premier Championship Series held at Invercargill's Teretonga Park this weekend.
The world renowned circuit is a popular one with racers from around the country and the Hamilton driver is no exception.
"I always look forward to driving there it's a great track and a shame it's not closer so we can get there more often." says Richards.
The team will be looking to once again be inside the top 10 at the world's southernmost circuit where last year they came away ninth overall in the series after a bumper weekend of top 10 qualifying and race finishes.
"We hope to come away from this weekend with some good results and once again will be aiming at qualifying in the top 10 and having some strong races, the track was good to us this time last year." he says.
Team manager Steve Richards is also looking forward to the trek southward where the team has established some strong support.
"We always look forward to heading down to the mighty Southland where the sun always shines and the people are always happy. Great people, great hospitality, great business support down there and a mighty race circuit with very good facilities and the whole community in behind it."
"We also have great sponsors from that neck of the woods with BMac Sheetmetals and Southern Paints both being based out of Invercargill." he says.
Although based in the Waikato, Ballistic Motorsport have a distinct connection with Invercargill not only in sponsorship but also by way of an important team member and Invercargill resident Athol Warnock.
"He just turned up one day and started helping us out with some things. We invited him to be part of the team and haven't been able to shake him off since!" Jokes Simon Richards.
"He's there with us at all the South Island rounds and it's great to have him aboard."
Heading to the other end of the country has it's rewards but the team has to consider the logistics challenges from being so far away from their base. The SEW Eurodrive Ford has undergone a vigorous maintenance check leading up to the tour which will include round four at Timaru immediately after the weekend at Teretonga Park.
"We have to make sure everything is one hundred percent before leaving and like every round we can't afford to find a problem once we are in the race." says Richards.
Everything from chassis to suspension, engine through the driveline has been checked and passed before loading the car into the transporter. The team have also taken a fresh look at the car's weight distribution to glean every last square inch of performance available from the race chassis and are also pleased with the improvements achieved using the new brake system adopted for this season.
"We are getting to grips with the new brake package which has improved the consistency and is a much better system than the previous one. Having brakes that last with no knock off or fade is great." says manager Steve Richards.
After two free testing sessions on Saturday morning and afternoon, qualifying for Round 3 of the BNT V8s Championship is scheduled to start at 4:20pm followed by the top ten shoot-out at 4:55pm.
Race 1 (12 laps) is set to start at 10:20am on Sunday with Race 2 (12 laps) programmed for 1:05pm. The full reverse grid 22 lap Race 3 will start at 4:10pm followed by the podium ceremony and drivers press conference.
Full coverage of the top 10 shootout and three races will be screened on TV3 on Sunday 16th hosted by Sean Summerfield.