Fearless: Hard charger MacLeod wins NZ Motor Cup at Hampton Downs

Published 2 February 2015

He has led races, scored pole positions, proven a tough rival at every turn of a race, attacked in bold overtaking moves, recorded fastest laps and now BRDC Rising Stars programme driver Sam MacLeod (20) inscribes his name on the oldest trophy in New Zealand motor racing.

He joins Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren - giants of the sport who have won the NZ Motor Cup in its 83 year history.

Scottish-born racer MacLeod won the feature race today at Hampton Downs, sprinting away from the field in a dominant performance on a wet but drying track. In the closing laps of the feature race he even lapped slower cars.

Though the race began on a track with as many wet areas as dry, all but four drivers started on slick tyres, choosing to gamble that no rain would fall. Their decision, taken in consultation with their teams, would prove correct, leaving the drivers who started on wet tyres struggling to grip and pace.

Pole man Brandon Maisano was unable to hold off MacLeod, who has a knack of attacking from the green flag and has been fearless in the first and second corners at Hampton Downs.

MacLeod took the early lead as behind him drivers found their slicks unable to hold a line on the wet areas of turn one. Jamie Conroy and Stefan Riener were among those who found themselves on the grass, but were able to regain the track and continue.

The lead order settled with MacLeod ahead of Irish driver Charlie Eastwood with John Simonyan third.

Eastwood slid wide at turn one and Simonyan was up to second place, Artem Markelov third.

Championship leader Lance Stroll had come through to hold fourth place ahead of Santino Ferrucci and Arjun Maini. Simonyan had cut Macleod’s lead from five seconds back to 3.5, but then slid wide in a brush with another car. Markelov too slipped back, and Stroll was up to second place, his team-mate Maisano third.

As the track dried MacLeod was able to control the race from a lead that eventually stretched back out to five seconds.

With three laps to run, Arjun Maini had overtaken made sure of fourth place, ready to pounce if the leading three made a mistake.

But the race belonged to MacLeod, who had put in a dominant flag to flag performance and become the sixth different race winner of the series, the third different feature race winner.

Leading New Zealand was James Munro, ninth.

The championship top three are now Lance Stroll (515 points), Arjun Maini (460) and Brandon Maisano (429). Top New Zealand driver is Munro, who is sixth on 325 points.

Toyota Racing New Zealand at full speed in 2018 championship preparation

Published 16 August 2017

Australian Sarah Brown, a veteran of almost a decade in key management roles with the V8 Supercars organisation in Australia is joining the Castrol Toyota Racing Series as one of two category managers.

Read more

Toyota Racing New Zealand ramps up 2018 Championship plans

Published 22 June 2017

New premises, new people: the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, New Zealand’s premier racing category, is once more raising the standard for top-level motor racing.

Read more

Thomas Randle wins 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series

Published 12 February 2017

Jehan Daruvala wins the Grand Prix, Thomas Randle wins the title; elite drivers excel in 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series.

Read more

Contact Toyota Racing

Follow us

Toyota Racing New Zealand
Toyota New Zealand
Toyota 86 New Zealand