Super Black Racing team owner Tony Lentino has passed away from cancer, the New Zealand team confirmed today.

The 42-year-old died peacefully at home with his family, ending a 15-month battle with cancer.

Lentino’s dream of competing in the V8 Supercars Championship was finally realised when his squad earned a wildcard entry at the 2014 Bathurst 1000. With youngsters Andre Heimgartner and Ant Pedersen at the wheel of a Ford Performance Racing-prepared Ford Falcon, the team gained a full-time entry for Heimgartner in 2015.

With Chris Pither assuming driving duties in 2016, the outfit claimed its first pole position in Saturday’s opening race at Queensland Raceway.

“It is with great sadness we confirm the passing of our owner and founder, Tony Lentino,” said the team’s operations manager Greg Hahn.

“Tony had a dream and took us all on the journey with him. He always wanted for a pole and a Top 10 finish and this weekend he got to see it. He will be deeply missed by the team.

“He passed away surrounded by his family at his beloved home of Wellsford north of Auckland following a relatively short but spirited battle with cancer which he fought with all the energy he poured into everything he did.

“Tony was passionate about lots of things in life and while he toughed it out when he was young to establish himself as a very successful businessman, he never forgot where he came from and giving young people a chance, especially Kiwis, was central to the creation of the Super Black Racing team.

“Tony loved nothing more than taking it to the Aussies and having a Supercars team was a great way to mix his passion for his country with his love of motorsport.

“We will race on in memory of Tony but for now our thoughts and support are fully with the young family he so sadly leaves behind.”

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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Geoff Burke

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