AUSF3: UTE: Oran Park preview

CAPACITY fields for Australia's two major production car racing championships promise an exciting "showroom showdown" when the PROCAR Champ Series stages its fifth round at Oran Park Raceway, near Sydney, on 11-13 July. Official entry lists ...

CAPACITY fields for Australia's two major production car racing championships promise an exciting "showroom showdown" when the PROCAR Champ Series stages its fifth round at Oran Park Raceway, near Sydney, on 11-13 July.

Official entry lists announced today include 31 starters in the Australian GT Performance Championship and 20 in the Australian Production Car Championship.

They feature almost 30 of the most popular makes and models on the road, from Ford's new BA Falcon GT, to the Holden HSV GTS, Nissan 350Z coupe and the giant-killing Daihatsu Sirion GTvi.

Around 140 cars in seven categories will contest a total of 17 races during the PROCAR Champ Series meeting, ensuring one of the biggest weekends of the year at the Narellan circuit.

As well as GTP and Production Cars, the program will feature the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship for GT sports cars, the Poolrite V8 BRutes Series, Formula 3, the Toyo Mitsubishi Mirage Cup and, for the first time, the new Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge.

Off-track attractions will include a "motorsport education day" for school children on Friday 11 July and a ute muster and competition for road utes on Sunday.

The racing highlight is expected to be another exciting clash in the Nations Cup, with Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell challenging to take over the lead in the points standings from Ferrari's John Bowe.

After beating Bowe at round four in Queensland, Stokell fears the nimble Ferrari 360GT may be too good for the bulky V12 Lamborghini through the twisty back section at Oran Park.

The triple Gold Star winner is due to test at the circuit tomorrow, in order to get an early start on tweaking the fastest suspension set-up for the Lamborghini.

Front-runners on the multi-million dollar Nations Cup grid also will include the Holden Monaro pair of Peter Brock and Nathan Pretty, Viper drivers Greg Crick and D'arcy Russell, Martin Wagg in a Porsche RS and Anthony Tratt in a second Lamborghini Diablo.

The Australian Production Cars are at the opposite end of the racing spectrum to the Nations Cup "big guns", but promise plenty of action from their biggest field this season.

Production Cars are virtually showroom-standard and all run identical road-legal Dunlop tyres, but they produce close racing thanks to a handicap system that starts the slowest of four classes from the front of the grid.

Series leader Scott Loadsman, from nearby Campbelltown, will bring the most powerful car, a 5.7 litre Holden Commodore SS, but the handicap system ensures he will have to battle hard to get on the podium ahead of smaller cars such as Protons, a Daihatsu and Celicas.

There will be strong interest around the series' newest entries, a pair of $90,000 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA sedans for Andrew Leithhead and David Caparo, both from Sydney.

GT Performance has attracted the weekend's biggest entry, featuring 16 different makes or models across 31 cars.

Ranging from the new Falcon GT to rally-bred Subarus and Mitsubishis, BMW M3, Mazda RX-7, HSV and many more, the GT Performance Championship invariably turns on ultra-close racing despite the mix of V8, six-cylinder and four-cylinder engines, all-wheel drive and rear-drive transmissions and sedan, coupe, hatchback and sports body styles.

The Poolrite V8 BRutes Series utes and drivers will return as the undisputed entertainers of the PROCAR Champ Series.

A total of 13 Holden SS V8 utes and 14 Ford Falcon XR8 Pursuit utes will face off in three races that are unlikely to settle any argument about which Australian favorite is best, but promise plenty of panel-rubbing, tail-sliding action.

-www.procar.com.au-

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About this article
Series Supercars , F3
Drivers Nathan Pretty , John Bowe , Anthony Tratt , Peter Brock , Greg Crick , Paul Stokell , Andrew Leithhead , Scott Loadsman
Teams Nissan Motorsports
Tags AUSUTE