If all goes to plan, fledgling New Zealand V8 Supercar team Super Black Racing’s wildcard entry into the 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, announced this morning, will be the start of something much bigger.
Team owners Tony Lentino and Andrew Hiskens are intending to continue on and enter the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship and are also keen for SBR (Super Black Racing) to contest the Dunlop Series.
The cars will be raced by up and coming New Zealand drivers and Lentino and Hiskens attended the Castrol Townsville 500 – Driven By TAFE Queensland to meet and interview potential candidates.
They were also guests of Ford Performance Racing, which will provide the Ford Falcon FG II and crew for SBR’s Bathurst attack. FPR will also be the Kiwi team’s engineering supplier for its planned full-time program.
“Partly what we are doing now is getting the right team selection,” Lentino confirmed to v8supercars.com.au. “We do not want to do this half-baked, we want to do this properly.”
Drivers and team personnel will be announced closer to Bathurst, one of those drivers expected to continue on with SBR, if it was to run in 2015 in the V8 Supercars Championship.
The Dunlop development series driver will most likely be drawn from a New Zealand domestic motor racing series.
The role of legendary Kiwi driver Paul Radisich, who was the face of SBR when the plan was first revealed publicly earlier this year, has yet to be finalised.
The two New Zealand businessmen want the team to be embraced by their fellow countryman as a national brand and see that as crucial to it becoming a long term force in V8 Supercars.
“It depends on how well we perform and how well the nation supports us,” said Lentino. “The feedback we are getting is phenomenal.
“We don’t want to rush it, but if we get the structure right, New Zealand hasn’t got anything like this.”
The co-owners also see the commercial support of NZ companies as crucial for the longer term and the expansion of the Super Black brand into wider sporting fields.
Lentino, a web millionaire, and Hiskens, an Auckland commercial property developer, confirmed they have committed to providing the initial backing for SBR. Lentino is the majority partner.
“Initially it will (primarily) be my finances but then it depends on how well the supporters get behind it,” said Lentino. “We have a number of other interested parties wanting to contribute.”
Added Hiskens: “It’s a unique opportunity for New Zealand brands to get onboard and support it and that will help seed it into other aspects of the sporting community and give it some longevity.”
Lentino revealed he harbours the dream of expanding to a two car team in the V8 Supercars Championship as soon as 2016 if support from New Zealand is strong.
“You have to start somewhere,” he said. “We will start with one car but if we get traction, if we get the country behind us whose to say in 2016 we won’t have two cars running.”
The connection between Super Black and FPR was primarily established because of a friendship of more than 20 years between Lentino and FPR co-owner Rusty French.
“The Rusty and Tony relationship is why we are doing it,” Lentino said. “I wouldn’t be doing it, I wouldn’t be going there full stop if I didn’t know this man (French).”
A New Zealand backed team has not contested the V8 Supercars Championship since Team Kiwi Racing’s involvement ceased in 2009. It had a brief technical relationship with FPR in 2007 when Radisich was the team’s driver.