Oran Prak: Event preview

PROCAR Champ Series (Rd 3), 3-5 May, Oran Park, NSW From Ferraris to Falcons - uge entry ready for Procar Series at Oran Park. FROM Ferraris to Falcons, Porsches to Protons and Vipers to Volkswagens, one of Australia's biggest line-ups of...

PROCAR Champ Series (Rd 3), 3-5 May, Oran Park, NSW

From Ferraris to Falcons - uge entry ready for Procar Series at Oran Park.

FROM Ferraris to Falcons, Porsches to Protons and Vipers to Volkswagens, one of Australia's biggest line-ups of racing cars will be in action when the PROCAR Champ Series stages its third round next weekend at Oran Park Raceway, near Sydney.

Among more than 110 entrants will be some of the country's best-known drivers - including John Bowe, Jim Richards, Geoff Morgan and Paul Stokell, competing in the exotic Australian Nations Cup Championship - and a talented young squad of aspiring internationals in Formula 3.

The weekend will host rounds of six national championships and one State championship in a total of 17 races - plus an off-track competition to find some of the Sydney region's best roadgoing utes.

The entry list is one of the biggest yet for the two-year-old PROCAR Champ Series and John Bowe says fans should expect spectacular racing.

"You'll never see a bigger variety of cars on an Australian track and across the various championships the competition is pretty hot," said Bowe, who leads the Nations Cup pointscore in his $750,000 Ferrari 360 GT.

"I'm looking forward to the weekend. I love racing the Ferrari, although it's been slowed a bit for this weekend and I'll have a job to keep the lead in the championship.

"I'm particularly expecting a big dice with Geoff Morgan in the Chrysler Viper. This is Geoff's home track and he always goes well - down the straight at Oran Park, the Viper and Paul Stokell's Lambo will be a blur!"

Bowe's Ferrari has inherited a success ballast and parity adjustment after its dominant round-two win in Tasmania earlier this month, while less weight in the Lamborghini and the Porsche GT3 Cup coupes of Jim Richards, Tony Quinn, Indonesia's Maher Algadri and Kiwi Kevin Bell should sharpen the competition at the front.

Two-time Nations Cup champion Richards is fresh from his sixth Targa Tasmania win, but Quinn's preparer Peter Fitzgerald is rushing to repair the V.I.P. Pet Foods Porsche after a heavy crash at Phillip Island two weeks ago.

In Group Two, Bowe's PHR Scuderia team is working hard to ensure the season return of its Ford Mustang Cobra RA. The Mustang is due to be driven by Sydney businessman Brian Carr if a new sequential Holinger gearbox can be fitted in time; if not, Carr will revert to the Ferrari in which he won round two.

The Oran Park round has brought out new or returning competitors also in several other categories.

Victorian car dealer John McIlroy will race a new 220 kiloWatt Ford Falcon XR8 in the GT Production Car Championship, providing the first real opposition to the 5.7 litre Commodore SS of Scott Loadsman.

Two of the fiercest 2001 rivals, Nathan Pilkington (Mitsubishi FTO) and Nathan Thomas (Honda Integra Type R), return to the Sports Touring class, while 4-Cylinder Touring runner-up in 2001, David Russell will be back in his Caltex-sponsored Proton Satria GTi for the first time this year.

The V8 BRute Series has attracted 23 entries - and 22 of them will be out to peg back the runaway lead of Sydney's Warren Luff, who has won four of his six races for Nilsson Motorsport. Luff's rivals include two who have switched to racing from Sydney first-grade rugby league, Jack Elsegood and Ian McAlister.

Cheering on the V8 BRutes will be the owners of some of Sydney's best road utes, who will compete in seven categories in the trackside ute muster.

Other categories scheduled for the PROCAR weekend are GT Performance, the Toyo Mitsubishi Mirage Series and Hoden HQs, which have attracted 29 starters.

FAST FACTS about the PROCAR Champ Series at Oran Park

* Saturday & Sunday, 4-5 May. (Official practice Friday 3 May).

* Categories - Nations Cup (Rd 3), GT Performance (Rd 3), GT Production Cars (Rd 3), V8 BRutes (Rd 3), Formula 3 (Rd 3), Mitsubishi Mirages (Rd 3), NSW HQ Ch'ship (Rd 4).

* Saturday (From 9 am) - Qualifying, including Nations Cup Top 8 Eliminator; plus HQ Holden race.

* Sunday (From 9 am) - 16 races, all categories. Ute Muster display and competition for road utes. Autograph sessions 12.15 (GT Production, Formula 3, Mirage) and 1.40 (Nations Cup, V8 BRutes, GT Performance).

* Tickets - Adults $15 all areas (Saturday), $25 plus $10 paddock/pit (Sunday). Students 11-16 years $10 all areas (Saturday), $10 plus $10 paddock/pit (Sunday). Ute drivers enter free on Sunday with paying adult passenger.

-procar.au-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Ian McAlister , Jim Richards , John Bowe , Tony Quinn , Geoff Morgan , Peter Fitzgerald , Paul Stokell , John McIlroy , Scott Loadsman , Nathan Pilkington , Warren Luff , Jack Elsegood , Kevin Bell , Algadri Maher , David Russell , Phillip Island