With the addition of Super Black Racing to the 2015 roster it seems like the perfect time to go back and investigate the other New Zealand teams who have competed in the V8 Supercars Championship over the years.
Since the inception of the current series in 1997 a wealth of New Zealanders have made their names in the sport. While many drivers have competed in the series only a handful of Kiwi teams have tried their hand at beating the Australians at their own game. The following is a list of teams that fought for victory while representing Australia’s oldest rival, New Zealand.
Stone Brothers Racing
Run by Kiwi brother Ross and Jim Stone, Stone Brothers racing joined the V8 Supercars in 1998 and wasted no time in achieving success. Their Pirtek Falcon came home first in the 1998 Bathurst 1000 with Jason Bright and Steven Richards at the helm.
The team’s crowning glory however will still be the stretch of three consecutive championship victories from 2003 to 2005. Marcos Ambrose won six of the thirteen rounds in 2003 on his way to the championship and continued this form to win the 2004 championship ahead of teammate Russell Ingall.
Ambrose was unable to complete the hat-trick with Russell Ingall taking the honours for 2005. Ambrose was able to wrap up second place, cementing Stone Brothers Racing’s status as the dominant force in V8 Supercars.
Stone Brothers Racing were unable to replicate these successes in the following years with the team eventually being sold and transformed into Erebus Motorsport for the 2013 season.
Team Kiwi Racing
While Stone Brothers Racing was the first team to be run by Kiwis, Team Kiwi Racing was the first to have its headquarters in New Zealand. The team’s liveries also proudly displayed their heritage with a silver fern and black background aligning them with the country’s various national sports teams.
The team ran its first full season in 2001 with the late Jason Richards piloting a Holden Commodore. Richards stayed with the team for the 2002 season until fellow countryman Craig Baird took over in 2003.
Despite the addition of touring car legend Paul Radisich in 2005, the team was never able to achieve consistent success. Team Kiwi Racing eventually sold its license to the Fiore family in 2009 without a race win to its name. The team’s highest race finish was third while 14th was the best they could manage in the driver’s championship.
Despite being bankrolled with Australian money at the hands of Kevin Murphy, Tasman Motorsport had a fair amount of Kiwi flavour to them when they competed in the series. The all New Zealand driver line-up of Jason Richards and Greg Murphy for the 2007 campaign produced solid results with the highlight being a fourth at that year’s Bathurst 1000.
Tasman also opened a base of operations in New Zealand in 2007, adding to the strong Kiwi influence in the team. The team continued to produce solid results throughout the 2008 and 2009 seasons but was forced to sell its Racing Entitlement Contracts due to funding issues. The late Jason Richards nabbed the team’s best result back in 2006 with a race win at Winton.
Paul Cruickshank Racing
New Zealander Paul Cruickshank owned the team that bore his name and first competed in the series in 2006. Former Australian Touring Car Champion John Bowe raced his last full season in the sport with the team in 2007. An expansion to two cars for the 2009 season failed to produce any stellar results and the team left the championship at the end of the season without standing on the top step of the podium.
Super Black Racing
The first team to bear the colours of New Zealand since Team Kiwi Racing, Super Black Racing will join the championship in 2015 for its first full season. Super Black Racing will run one Ford Falcon under the guidance of Prodrive Racing Australia who backed the team for its successful wildcard entry in the 2014 Bathurst 1000.
Driver Andre Heimgartner has already painted himself as one to watch with a mature Bathurst drive that saw him finish eleventh alongside Ant Pedersen in 2014. The result was especially notable as the two rookies navigated one of the most incident packed races in recent years to finish without a scratch.
Super Black also bring some serious pedigree behind the scenes with V8 Supercars veteran Paul Radisich acting as team manager for the season. The team brings financial backing from established businessmen Tony Lentino and Andrew Hiskens and will join the rest of the field on the grid at the Clipsal 500 from February 27 to 1 March.