For the third consecutive year the Holden Australian Drivers' Championship will be contested over an eight round, sixteen race schedule, and new for 2001 Australia's fastest racing cars will head north to Darwin's Hidden Valley circuit. The...
For the third consecutive year the Holden Australian Drivers' Championship will be contested over an eight round, sixteen race schedule, and new for 2001 Australia's fastest racing cars will head north to Darwin's Hidden Valley circuit. The Darwin round will herald the first time a national open wheel championship race has been held on the demanding Hidden Valley layout and the enthusiastic racegoers will be sure to give the high-speed machines a warm welcome when they arrive next May.
The Formula Holden category, which has grown significantly in stature over the last four years, will also contest two showcase events on the streets of Adelaide and Canberra. Despite the bumpiness and the narrow, concrete lined layouts of these two demanding circuits, the category has provided some of its best race action at these venues and 2001 should be no different.
The first race of the season will kick off at Phillip Island with the new-look V8Supercar program on March 25, before heading to SA and the Clipsal 500 event on April 8th. Thereafter, the series travels due north to Hidden Valley and an event that will surely see the current outright lap record smashed to pieces. Canberra follows on June 10 and a return to Calder for the first time since 1998 will take place on July 15. The final three rounds will be held at Oran Park on July 29, Mallala (Konica V8Supercar) August 12, with the final event scheduled for Winton on September 9. Once again the early September scheduling will provide teams with sufficient time to prepare for the end of year New Zealand double-header.
Category President Malcolm Ramsay is delighted with next year's schedule and believes the Darwin event will be the highlight of the year. "We've raced at the AGP, the NZ races are big events and we're now a permanent part of the V8Supercar show at two of their biggest showcase events, but I'm delighted the category is now part of the Hidden Valley program", says Ramsay. "I'm sure we'll put on a good show, and have no doubt we can further cement our reputation as Australia's premier open wheel category throughout our eight round championship."
One thing is certain, the 2001 crown will go to a new winner. With twice champion and the category's most dominant winner Simon Wills moving on, it will be down to a host of youngsters to battle it out for the 2001 Holden Australian Drivers' Championship. Although they may not have it all there own way, with a bunch of interested internationals currently weighing up the merit of a season down under, the championship could well head off shore for the fourth year in a row. With Wills having won the last two Gold Star titles and fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon the 1999 crown, you have to go back to Jason Bright's 1997 championship win to find an Aussie on the winners list. That's something Paul Dumbrell, Steve Owen, Paul Stephenson, Stewart McColl and a host of Formula Ford