Daniel Gaunt is swapping his Lamborghini for a Ford when he comes home to contest the BNT NZ SuperTourers endurance championship.
The Australian-based Kiwi has been racing an exotic Lamborghini LP520, powered by a V10 engine, in the Australian GT series.
Gaunt, originally from Auckland, has extensive racing experience which includes twice winning the Toyota Racing Series and competing in V8 Supercars, the Australian Carrera Cup for Porsches, and the BNT NZ SuperTourers with the Tasman team.
He returns to co-drive with young Aucklander Chris Hanley in Garry Pedersen's The Sound FM Ford Falcon, with his first meeting the Rush Security Taupo 400 on September 27-28.
He is enjoying racing the Lamborghini: "We finished a couple of races on the podium," he says. "It's a Pro-Am deal; it's good fun racing."
Gaunt, the professional driver, shares the Italian GT with an amateur driver who owns the car. The Falcon he will race in New Zealand might look less exotic but, as a purpose-built race car, it has roughly the same performance.
"I'm excited about getting back in the BNT NZ SuperTourers," Gaunt says. "I drove for Garry once last year and thoroughly enjoyed their team environment. I'm looking forward to the new challenge with Garry and with Chris.
Part of his job at Taupo will be to help Hanley, who has won the V8 Utes championship but has contested only three meetings in the Falcon, get up to speed. Hanley, 24, has not contested an endurance race before.
"It definitely will be a challenge," Hanley says. "I've been putting in the hours training my body but I guess I won't know what to expect till I'm actually in the car.
Hanley feels that he is getting to grips with the high-power car, although he struggled at the two Pukekohe meetings earlier this year.
"But there isn't another track like Pukekohe in the Southern Hemisphere so I'm hoping we're going to be a bit more competitive at tracks like Taupo and Hampton Downs," he says.
After the three endurance meetings at Taupo, Hampton Downs and Pukekohe this year, the overall championship continues with four sprint meetings over the first part of 2015.