The need for speed
Three years ago, at the age of 54 Jones decided to start car racing. The manufacturing software company owner is now in his fourth season as a racing driver and he’s enjoying it more than ever. Jones says he came to racing late, never going through the karting stage or growing up with racing like other drivers.
“I have always been interested in cars and watched Formula One and V8’s on telly,” Jones says, “but I had a business and a family so it dropped down on the priority list.”
However, with the business established and the time and money to do something for himself, racing came knocking.
“My wife was really supportive from the start and was happy to see me doing something I liked. My 15 year old son Christian was also pretty rapt and as keen as mustard to come out on the track with me when he’s allowed.”
Last year Jones was vying for the Bridgestone Porsche C Class championships. After a couple of prangs ruined that goal he decided this year to forgo a series win and instead to post fast lap times and get a few good results in his Porsche 944. That meant he had no pressure to perform at last weekend’s Easter finals in Taupo. He’s happy though to have posted some of the fastest track times and gained a few first and second placings this season.
“I can now go out and post fast times and have fun doing it.”
As well as the Porsche series Jones has been competing in the GTNZ series which is open to all cars, some much more powerful than his 210 H.P. Porsche.
“I generally finish around the middle of those races around eighth or ninth, but doing six races in a weekend, especially on a hot day, you can lose a bit of weight and are pretty stuffed at the end of it.”
His Porsche may not be as powerful as some of the other racers in the GTNZ series, but Jones has no thoughts of getting another car and moving up classes. He says his Porsche may lose ground on the straight, but often makes huge gains on corners and trickier parts of the track. As well he likes keeping the costs to a minimum.
“It’s quite inexpensive as far as racing goes. You can get a Porsche ready to race for about $15,000 and it will cost about $7,000 to $8,000 a season to race.”
The less he prangs the car the less it hurt financially, he jokes.
The global rescession, he says, has hit racing with number of cars dropping and some drivers electing to just enter selected meetings. Jones says he’s he is going to keep on racing as long as he enjoys it.
“It’s a really supportive and friendly environment. When someone joins and is a bit off the pace everyone helps them any way they can to improve, whether it is offering information or going out there with them. We all just want a good race.”
- Simon McCarthy