Two-time NZ V8 champion John McIntyre will join Stone Brothers Racing at this year's Australian V8 Supercar endurance races at the Phillip Island 500 and Bathurst.
Two years ago, McIntyre paired up with then rookie Shane van Gisbergen in the SBR-prepared Team Kiwi car, and this year' deal will see the relationship between McIntyre and the three-time championship-winning team continue through it New Zealand roots.
As part of enduro season preparation, McIntyre will drive the SP Tools Racing entry in a practice session at Winton Raceway early next month, one of four sessions designed to give the Kiwi time to adjust to the new SBR FG Falcon, and is happy to be back with the team for two of his favourite tracks.
“This is the drive I have been chasing for about five years," he admitted, "I had a good contact with the team having raced with SBR when we ran with Team Kiwi in 2007 and I've been hassling Ross [Stone] since then to get a drive. As soon as Bathurst was finished last year, I let him know I was available and I have been working on it since, so it's really a dream come true for me.”
SBR team principal Stone is confident McIntyre is a good fit for the team.
“We used John in '07 with Shane when we ran the Team Kiwi entry, and we thought he did a great job for us, so we are looking forward to working with him this time around," he noted.
The announcement comes ahead of SBR finalising a fourth driver for the enduros and poses the question as to whether the team will pair up their main series drivers. In 2003, the Caltex Racing and Pirtek Racing sides of the garage joined forces to allow for the team's main series drivers, Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall, to drive together in a hybrid livery, and the same could happen again with the team's latest sponsors.
“We have meetings coming up with Irwin and SP Tools about running a dual livery for the enduros as a unique branding exercise, and we should have an answer on that in a month or so," Stone commented, "Once we have worked through it, we will work on who the fourth driver will be to complete the 2009 SBR enduro team. That person will pair up with McIntyre in the event Shane and Alex [Davison] race together for Phillip Island and Bathurst.”