ASTC: Calder Park preview

Calder Park Raceway November 23-25 Its been over two years since Super Tourers raced at Calder Park. In that intervening period the concept of Super Tourers has changed dramatically. Firstly the group encompassed the TOCA-inspired Future...

Calder Park Raceway
November 23-25

Its been over two years since Super Tourers raced at Calder Park. In that intervening period the concept of Super Tourers has changed dramatically. Firstly the group encompassed the TOCA-inspired Future Tourers, the low cost V8-spec cars that bolstered the numbers on the track and provided frantic competition down the grid order.

Secondly it seemed two-class series looked to have nowhere to go when TOCA relinquished control of the category as their summer-based season loomed. But thrown a lifeline by the Motorsports Promoters Group (MGP) meant there would be two meetings this year. The Winton entry alone was bigger than TOCA had ever had while the final number on the track was 19, twelve of which were Future Tourers.

There was less than two seconds between the front runners in both groups after qualifying and while the groups diced primarily among themselves, the 11,000 plus spectators at Winton were impressed.

Ford Mondeo driver Peter Hills posted two Super Tourer and outright victories but not before warding off stiff opposition from the Toyota Camry of Jamie Miller and the BMW of David Searle while David Auger (Alfa) and Sam Dale (Mondeo) were also prominent. Searle in particular was impressive. Because of his religious convictions, he cannot qualify on Saturdays and has to start from the back. He staged a great charge to be third and for a time led the second race before Hills got the better of him.

A leaner, fitter Miller is confident of a good result despite never having raced at Calder before. "We lost fourth gear with only a couple of laps to go at Winton, and it cost us a spot," he related. "Our Camry has really good torque and pulls well out of slow corners. If I can get in the draft of Hills' Mondeo I think we could beat him," he added. He also expects Searle to be a strong contender in the second race. "His BMW with rear wheel drive will ensure a clear start and the nature of the circuit should really suit, and he might have a bit on both of us" Miller concluded.

Meanwhile the benchmark for good Future Tourers has been lifted to a new level with the debut of Ray Sidebottom's new Holden Commodore VX. His main rival for some time in both races was Bob Wright who drove Ray's older VT. Missing from this weekend's round will be James Brock who finished second in the second race. While Brock is elsewhere committed his Commodore VT will be racing in the hands of Owen Kelly.

The originator of FT, Bruce Williams made a successful return to the category with a third in the first outing. Also running was Terry Bosnjak in the Peter Muir-built Mitsubishi Magna, a car that was a definite head-turner at its Oran Park debut last year but succumbed to chronic understeer and gearbox woes at the latest outing.

Race One grid positions are contested over two qualifying sessions whilst the second race standing start is determined by the fastest lap times in race one.

-CAMS-

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