Prodrive Racing (Australia) will look for a boost in speed as the team cross the ditch for the Auckland SuperSprint, with qualifying set to become key in a changed 100km race format.
Chaz Mostert, who sits equal first in this year's pole position tally, believes qualifying will play an important role in the weekend's results as fuel strategy is eliminated for the 2016 event.
Teams are not required to pit for fuel in each of the four 100km races, with tyre changes being the only cause for pit stops to take place.
Mark Winterbottom, who won two races at the Pukekohe Park Raceway circuit in 2014, says tyre management will also play a large role in who reaches the podium with setups to revolve around the track's degradation levels.
Chris Pither will look to impress on home soil where he hopes the local crowd will be out in force to cheer on the New Zealand-based Super Black Racing Team.
With plenty of laps under his belt at Pukekohe, Pither holds high hopes for the event where he will aim to finish at the front of the field.
Cameron Waters believes the Prodrive Racing FG X Fords will suit the fast-flowing circuit, where he hopes his improvement so far this year will show on-track.
Mark Winterbottom - #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
"I'm excited to go to New Zealand and get back to the single-driver races. With the change of format the cars will need to be quick but you also need a car that's kind to the tyres because load put on the tyre is the highest at any track we've been to so far this year, purely because of the track's layout. I think we'll have a competitive car but I'm just keen to get back out there and put on a good fight. The Jason Richards Memorial Trophy is a special one and I'd love to have that back in the cabinet at the workshop."
Cameron Waters - #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
"Yeah I definitely think my experience at Pukekohe in the Supercar last year will help but I think I have improved a lot since then too. I've been there heaps of times so I know the track pretty well. The format will change things up a bit with no fuel stops so I'll just be focussing on qualifying up the front and trying to get a good result."
Chaz Mostert - #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
"I'm pumped to get to Pukekohe. It's a track that we've had a bit of success at as a team and I'm really excited to get back there this year. I missed out last year and had to watch Cam Waters drive my car so it's been two years since I've been there. I hope I'm not too rusty but I'm really looking forward to the second last round of the championship."
Chris Pither - #111 Super Black PRA Ford:
"Obviously as a New Zealand based team this event is exciting for everyone involved in the Super Black Racing Team. It'll be great to see some friends from back home and meet all of the fans at the track. It's a good circuit, Pukekohe. It's one I've been to quite a few times and I think we have a change of being strong there so I'll be working hard to get a good result and get the New Zealand team up the front."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"Pukekohe is always a good track to go to. It's a fast, flowing circuit but it can also be quite challenging and hard on the cars. It's the polar opposite of what we've just experienced on the Gold Coast and we return to the hard tyre as well. Pukekohe is a track that suits our cars quite well. We've had some good results there in the past so we'll be aiming to continue that form."
EVENT NAME: ITM Auckland SuperSprint
DATE: 4 – 6 November
LOCATION: Pukekohe, New Zealand
EVENT NUMBER: 13 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 3 x 30min practice sessions; Saturday – 2 x 10min qualifying, 2 x 35-lap races, Sunday – 2 x 10min qualifying, 2 x 35-lap races
LENGTH: 2.91-kilometres (clockwise)
DESCRIPTION: Pukekohe, like Sandown, is designed around a horse racing track and is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Since the category's return to the track in 2013, the extremely-fast layout has undergone major changes and while it has been tempered slightly with three new turns at the end of the long back straight, it is still a very fast layout. Tyre preservation is a key to success at Pukekohe.
TRACK RECORD: 1m03.72s – Scott McLaughlin (2014)
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Will Davison (2013), Mark Winterbottom (2014 x 2)
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 2812
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 2664
3) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 2427
4) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 2351
5) Will Davison – Tekno: 2235
6) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing: 2139
7) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing: 2039
17) Cameron Waters – Prodrive Racing: 1296
18) Chris Pither– Super Black Racing: 1249
1) Triple Eight: 5486
2) HRT: 3613
3) GRM: 3558
4) Prodrive Racing Australia: 3460