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Targa Tasmania 2009: Nissan GT-R Entry Preview

April 26, 2009 Comments off

gtrblog-wrestpoint09-005

Well motorsports fans it’s that time of year again, the weather is getting colder and Formula one is heating up, yep it is Targa Tasmania time.

Last year we saw only one R35 Nissan GT-R entered but this year sees that upped to 5 competing in the event. There is a wide variety of experience amongst the field of R35 drivers.

First we have the Russell Newman and Chris Murphy 2008 Nissan GT-R. Newman competed in last year’s Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge and has competed in Dutton Rally events. With 12 months under his belt with the car Newman will be interesting to watch.

Next are Tony Quinn and Naomi Tillett driving another 2008 Nissan GT-R. Quinn is coming off a fantastic start to the year with a 2nd place in Targa Wrest Point and outright victory at Rally Tasmania a few weeks later, they will be challenging for another win.

Tony Alford and Karl Farmer in their 2007 Nissan GT-R, part of Donut King racing team. Alford competed in last years event but had suspension problems and retired from the event, he has also competed in last years Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge and both Targa Wrest Point and Rally Tasmania earlier this year. In all those events he was running top 10 and top 5 times. He will be one to watch especially if it gets wet.

Peter Leemhuis and Ben Fitzsimons with another 2008 Nissan GT-R. Leemhuis has competed in only Targa Tasmania in 2008 and Targa Wrest Point this year, unfortunately the Wrest Point event ended early for him down a embankment. The car has been repaired and he is back for this event.

Steven Jones and Ruari Soutar-Dawson in a 2007 Nissan GT-R is the dark horse for this event. After winning Targa West this year on his 3rd attempt, and thus giving the new R35 Nissan GT-R its first motorsports win in Australia, he is favorite for the event. Jones has put a lot of time and effort into his pace notes and is expected to be in the top 10 from the start.

As usual GTRBlog will be covering the results with photos daily, stay tuned for more action from the Targa Tasmania 2009 as it happens this week.

Joel Strickland

Link: Targa Tasmania Website

Rally Tasmania 2009: Nissan GT-R Victorious!

February 15, 2009 Comments off

Tony Quinn and Jim Richards again challenged each other on the final day of Rally Tasmania 2009 but Quinn and his GT-R proved too much for the Porsche GT2 and was able to beat it in 5 out of the final 6 stages.

On the penultimate stage Quinn’s lead was just 4.6 seconds but he opened the taps on the final stage to finish 14.4 seconds ahead of second place Jim Richards.

Tony Quinn and co-driver Naomi Tillet’s victory make this the second Australian tarmac rally win for the Nissan R35 GT-R after Steven Jones’ victory at Quit Targa West in September.

“It’s great to win a fantastic event,

“We had to push really hard today to keep Jim (Richards) at bay, but we managed to bring it home.

“We have not had any problems all weekend. The car has been terrific, and will only get better if it is wet in future events.”
– Tony Quinn

Tony Alford and Kelley Handley also finished strongly maintaining their fifth position just 3 minutes 44 seconds behind the race leader.

This year was an extremely close finish but the GT-R is really beginning to show it’s ability in the tarmac rally sport. Tony Quinn is right on the money when he mentions that the competition better look out if it’s wet. Targa Tasmania is coming up fast and any slippery conditions may upset the rear-wheel drive GT2 crews.

Congratulations to the VIP Petfoods and Donut King Racing teams for bringing home these great results!

Don’t forget to check out our photo gallery after the jump!

Link: Rally Tasmania
Link: Joel Strickland Photographics
Link: Rally Tasmania related articles on GTRBlog

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Rally Tasmania 2009: Nissan GT-R Leads the Pack on Day Two

February 14, 2009 Comments off

An exciting day of back and forth between race leader Tony Quinn in his VIP Petfoods Nissan GT-R and Jim Richards in the Porsche GT2 today which ultimately resulted in an amazingly close finish for the day with Tony Quinn up just 1 second in front of Richards.

A solid day of racing for Tony Alford in the Donut King Racing R35 GT-R saw him climb to fifth position.

Today’s the final leg of the race, we’ll bring you another update at the end of the day.

Current Position Car # Driver Time Total
1 55 Tony Quinn 1:09:00.5
2 51 Jim Richards 1:09:02.5
3 52 Jamie Vandenburg 1:09:57.0
4 53 Tony Longhurst 1:10:08.9
5 57 Tony Alford 1:11:40.3

Link: Rally Tasmania Website
Link: Rally Tasmania related articles on GTRBlog

Rally Tasmania 2009: Quinn’s GT-R Hot on the Heels of Richards’ GT2

February 13, 2009 Comments off

Rally Tasmania got off to a great start today for Tony Quinn in his VIP Petfoods Nissan R35 GT-R. At the end of the day he finished second just 3.4 seconds behind Jim Richards who’s driving his Porsche 911 GT2.

Quinn is very happy with the car so far but knows it’s going to be a challenge to chase Richards in the dry conditions.

Donut King Racing GT-R #1 is also entered in Rally Tasmania driven by Tony Alford. Alford finished up 6th overall at the end of the first day and is also happy with the GT-R’s performance after having solved the brake issues which troubled them at Targa Wrest Point. The tyres are taking longer than desired to get up to temperature but are looking forward to the longer stages at Savage River as this is where the GT-R will shine.

Rally Tasmania continues Saturday and Sunday, good luck guys. Stay tuned for updates!

Thanks to Joel Strickland for the photos and story.

Link: Rally Tasmania
Link: Joel Strickland Photographics

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VIP Petfoods Nissan GT-R Finishes Second in Targa Wrest Point Tarmac Rally

February 1, 2009 Comments off

The inaugural Targa Wrest Point short course tarmac rally was held this weekend in southern Tasmania, Australia. Three Nissan R35 GT-Rs were entered into the event, the VIP Petfoods GT-R driven by Tony Quinn and the two Donut King Racing Nissan GT-Rs driven by Tony Alford and Peter Leemhuis.

Tony Alford’s GT-R suffered brake pad issues on day one of the event. The front brakes weren’t biting hard enough causing the rears to be overworked. Overheating the rear brakes caused their pace to slow near the end of the day. Team Donut King Racing had experienced the same type of issue during the Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge tarmac rally in October 2008 so saw that pads were changed overnight.

The pad changed proved to be successful and day two was better with Alford’s pink GT-R finishing in 9th position overall.

Peter Leemhuis started off the rally in great shape in the second Donut King Racing R35 choosing to start with a different brake pad compound to Alford. They finished in 8th position after day one.

Day two was not so great for them however, they set a quick pace in the morning but had an off just after lunch time, they chose not finish the race.

Tony Quinn’s rally got off to a great start, being the second rally Quinn has driven the GT-R in he now “believes in the car” after spending the time with it competitively. The experience gained is giving him insight into what the car will do under certain conditions and he’s quicker for it, even managing to have the top speed record of 191km/h on stage TS3 Geeveston.

In comparison to the Porsches Tony has driven throughout the years, he says the GT-R is a lot easier to drive fast. His GT-R remains almost completely standard, standard suspension and tires. An upgraded exhaust is fitted since Tony prefers the car to be loud and finds the standard exhaust to be far too quiet.

Overall he was very happy with the performance of the car;

“The car has gone brilliantly all weekend, we’re really pleased. Look out if it’s wet in Targa in April, we’ll be hard to beat.”

Quinn finished in second place on day one, 16 seconds behind the race leader but poised for a great day two.

Day 2 was a continuation of day 1 for Quinn as the consistency of both driver and GT-R shone through. Tony was able to nudge ever closer to first place, at one point being within 2 seconds of the lead. After some hard work and great driving the VIP Petfoods GT-R finished in second place just three seconds behind the Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Greg Garwood and in front of Targa super-star Jim Richards in his Porsche 911 GT2 and tarmac rally veterans the Whites in their Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.

Congratulations to Tony, Tony and Peter on your work racing the GT-R in real competition and great work being so successful at it.

Thanks to Joel Strickland for his Targa Wrest Point report and for allowing us to use his photos. Video below and more photos and videos from Targa Wrest Point after the read more link below.

Link: Targa Wrest Point Website
Link: Joel Strickland Photographics Website
Link: Tarmac rally related articles on GTRBlog

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First GT-R Convertible – GT-R Gets the Chop

November 25, 2008 Comments off

Ok it’s a misleading title but this GT-R was briefly a chop top. Before quickly becoming a chop front and back too.

JustJap Racing from Sydney Australia were in need of a parts car to support their R35 GT-R race cars such as the Donut King Targa Tasmania car we saw earlier in the year.

This young ripe GT-R met an unfortunate end when it was side impacted with only 4,000 km on the clock. It was sold off and bought up by JustJap who needed to cut it up to import it back to Australia.

Link/Source: JustJap.com

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Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge: Report and Results

October 6, 2008 Comments off

An eventful, if wet, weekend of racing on the northwest coast of Tasmania, Australia this has seen the AWD competitors streak ahead of their two wheel drive competitors and dominate the top positions. Good thing for GT-R fans as even the heavy R35 was competitive on the soggy tarmac.

Saturday saw the race begin with rain and it wrapped up on Sunday the same way. Some great early pace saw the Hi Octane and Donut King Nissans in contention for top five spots and looking great doing it.

After SS2 (Hellyer Gorge South) Newman in the Hi Octane GT-R was 4th in class with Alford right behind him in 5th. Driving the GT-R fast in the wet presents a huge learning curve but the guys are having a lot of fun doing it.

A very slight off for Newman in stage 2 however caused the R35’s pedestrian safety airbags to fire raising the bonnet at an angle and reducing visibility. It took another stage to get back into the groove but was making solid top 10’s in every stage until that happened.

Click Read More link to continue reading and see the rest of the photos from the race.

Images & On Scene Reporting: Joel Strickland
Link: Related Stories

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Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge: Media Day Shakedown

October 3, 2008 Comments off

Day 0 of the rally is today and it’s media day which gives us the chance to get up close and personal with the cars and the drivers while they’re not tearing up the tarmac of northwest Tasmania. Teams also get a chance to drive a shakedown session.

During the shakedown sessions teams got their first shot at driving at speed in the slippery conditions. This proved to be “moment” inducing for some of the drivers, even those with 4WD and for one team it meant the end to rally for this year already as their Mitsubishi Evolution met tree rear end in (pic after the jump). Hopefully the guys are ok.

Tony Alfords in the Donut King pink GT-R was the first R35 out and of course they’re running standard runflat tyres. Alfords found that the GT-Rs traction control was making itself useful as it helped them sort out the lack of grip at some sections.

Hi Octane Racing’s GT-R (top photo) with Russ Newman and Ben Wooster driving is looking even better than ever now sporting it’s brand new GTRBlog.com decals (big thanks Russ). The team also went out for a run and found the GT-R was extremely quick. The power and torque overwhelming the grip a touch on some of the still wet sections but overall they found it a great reliable combination for the race.

Link: Tasmanian Tarmac Challange Home Page
Images: Joel Strickland

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GTRBlog Coverage of Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge Begins Tomorrow

October 2, 2008 Comments off

Excitement builds for the action this weekend as the Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge kicks off in northwest Tasmania, Australia. GTRBlog is again lucky to be working with Joel Strickland on the scene in Tassie as he works his butt off to deliver us some great action shots. Regular readers will remember Joel from our coverage of the Targa Tasmania 2008 earlier in the year.

GTRBlog will be following the Hi Octane Racing R35 GT-R driven by Russell Newman with co-driver the eminently experienced Ben Wooster. Ben has loads of experience on the roads of Tasmania and should be a huge benefit to the team. We’ll also be getting updates from the Donut King R35 GT-R team driven by targa veteran and Retail Foods Group boss Tony Alford.

Media day is tomorrow so our first update should be some time in the afternoon AEST.

Link: Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge Home Page
Link: Joel Strickland Photographics

Hi Octane Nissan GT-R to Compete at Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge 2008

September 27, 2008 Comments off

Just a week until the Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge begins and two Nissan GT-Rs are finalising preparations for the event. Hi Octane Racing, driven by Russel Newman and Ben Wooster and Donut King’s Targa Tasmania veteran R35 driven by Tony Alford.

The Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge (not to be mistaken with Targa Tasmania) is a two day tarmac rally on the North West coast of Tasmania, Australia on from 4th – 5th of October. It annually attracts Australia’s best tarmac rally teams including the usual big name drivers like Jim Richards in his Porsche 911 GT2.

GTRBlog has been following the Hi Octane GT-R’s tuning and modification keenly since it landed in Australia from Japan in June 2008. Stopping first in Sydney, we got a quick look at it in completely standard form for a few photos before it was picked up by Russell and off up north to Brisbane.

Russell is not the kind of guy who can leave a car standard though and even before the car had landed he was looking at upgrades. At the time, ECU tuning was still in it’s infancy and the choices were limited to ECU exchanges in Japan (Mine’s VX-ROM was considered) or crack the ECU yourself.

Click the Read More link below to keep reading!

Link: Hi Octane Racing Home Page
Link: Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge Home Page
Photos/Details: Russell Newman, Hi Octane Racing

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