Kiwi legend rocks into the Thailand paddock

Kiwi legend rocks into the Thailand paddock

04.07.2016: As the competitive bar in Super Car skyrockets our leading drivers continue to draft in




As the competitive bar in Super Car skyrockets our leading drivers continue to draft in international star names to help them raise their game.


Learn from the best is the mantra – and the latest big name to have dropped into the paddock is Khun Craig Baird who was here to help out his fellow countryman (and a bit confusingly to write this story, his Christian name namesake) Khun Craig Corliss.


Certainly our newest ‘visitor’ is one of the best in the business with a title-laden career that stretches back over quarter of a century.


 Exactly 25 years in fact as Khun Craig Baird started racing in Formula Pacific in 1991 – and he won that championship at the first time of asking.


 The now 45-year-old New Zealander is however probably best known for his success in Porsche’s Carrera Cup and has an unrivalled eleven championship titles split between the Australian and New Zealand series.
 

He’s also got more than a decade’s experience racing the ‘V8 Supercar’ Holden Commodore so he was well placed to help Khun Craig at the season opener back in May as the GTM regular got to grips with his Holden, which was hitting the track for the first time following a major closed season upgrade that had seen the big ‘green machine’ shipped back to its original builder, Triple Eight Engineering, in Australia.


Khun Craig Baird was at Buriram this time last year to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia on its first return visit to Thailand after more than a decade away – and there were no surprises then from this driver as he made his customary trip to the podium.


During the weekend he bumped into Khun Craig Corliss, as he explained in the Kiwi Racing Team’s garage during the most recent TSS weekend, back in May.


 “I’ve had a relationship from last year when I raced here in Carrera Cup,” he said. “Craig [Corliss] and I got together and got on well, so now I’m just over try to do a bit of driver training with him.”
 

There were a number of ways he was able to help get the new season underway. “Obviously there’s quite a big gap between his last race and the first race of the season so it’s always good if you can try to copy someone’s data, put someone else in the car,” said Khun Craig Baird.


“He also made some [mechanical] changes to the car so he wanted someone to tick them off and see if the car is okay and I was also doing some driver training and helping a mate out.”


Last season Khun Craig Corliss enjoyed an impressive year and finished the season as Super Car GTM Vice Champion – in fact he led the championship classification going into the final weekend of the year in Bangsaen and also picked up a win in Buriram.


This year though it looks like he’s going to have his work cutout if he wants to get onto the front running pace.
 

Khun Craig Baird also admitted that – but he said that the support team had been pulling together and working hard to get the car into the best possible shape to compete at the front.


“Realistically we are racing new GT cars and a V8 Supercar is probably not the tool I would use this year,” he said.


“There are definitely better options if you look at the new Lamborghinis and others, but Craig enjoys the Holden, he enjoys the V8 Supercar and that’s the path he’s chosen. So as a group we will try and give him the best package possible.




- Edd Ellison - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tss-kiwi-legend-craig-baird-paddock-thailand---151657.html

04.07.2016 / MaP

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