CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP WINTON PREVIEW 2nd August 1998 SWAPPING THE FOOTBALL FOR THE FALCON AFL media personality Sam Newman is set to move from the football commentary box to the driver's seat of the...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
WINTON PREVIEW 2nd August 1998
SWAPPING THE FOOTBALL FOR THE FALCON
AFL media personality Sam Newman is set to move from the football commentary box to the driver's seat of the Ford Falcon XR8 to make his GTP debut in round seven of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship.
The former Geelong ruckman-turned television and radio personality will compete in Class C of the championship, flying the Ford flag against the championship leading Toyota Camry CSi of David Ratcliff, Mark Cohen's Holden Commodore VS SS and the Mitsubishi Magna squad of Rob Chadwick and Jim Myhill.
Newman has gone through a "crash" course in racecraft in 1998 with Ross Palmer Motorsport team-manager Neil Lowe and Ferrari star John Bowe acting as tutors.
But in an event more embarrassing that his much hated Adelaide Crows winning last year's AFL premiership, Newman wrote off last year's Bathurst winning XR6 media car in testing at Calder Park.
On-going testing and race miles aboard Steve Winwood's XR6 rally machine in HQ holden events has since sharpened his skills and both his mentors are confident of a strong showing at Winton.
"Sam's been very keen to learn and as a former top sportsman, he has that in-built desire to succeed," Bowe said.
"He has pretty embarrassed by the Calder crash, but has has learned a lot since then. GTP however, will be a whole new experience as the pace will be a lot hotter than in a HQ event.
"I'm sure all the Adelaide-based GTP driver's will be very keen leave him behind in their mirrors."
Newman regularly wrote off Adelaide's AFL chances last season, only for the Crows to finish the season as Premiers. The newest GTP Falcon pilot will in fact face a race against time to get to the circuit on time for practice on Friday after a live television commitment in Adelaide the previous night.
The Ford link for Newman goes back many years to his playing days with his AFL side Geelong sponsored by the blue oval marque for many years.
"Teaching Sam the basics about racecraft would be like him teaching me how to play football," team manager, Neil Lowe said.
"However, I think he will do a much better job than I would of playing footy however."
While many eyes will follow Newman's progress in the middle of the pack, the action at the front of the field will be just as fierce with Mallala winners Domenic Beninca and Rodney Forbes out to repeat their SA success aboard their Porsche 911 RSCSs.
John Bowe returns to the Ferrari F355 Challenge after missing the Mallala event while on V8 Supercar duty in Darwin. While standing in for Bowe, Neil Crompton was unlucky not to reach victory lane at Mallala after breaking a front suspension ball joint.
Peter Fitzgerald will be out to close the gap to Beninca while Ed Aitken returns aboard his Porsche 911 RSCS for his first GTP event since crashing out at the Australian Grand Prix.
Clyde Lawrence (Subaru Impreza WRX) and Mark King (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III) will make their GTP debuts in Class B at Winton. King is no stranger to racetracks with his company "King Springs" providing suspension components to many Super Touring and V8 Supercar teams.
The BMW 323i pair of Michael Simpson and Luke Searle return to the tracks in the GTP Lights Class D category after missing Mallala, with Simpson keen to get back into the winner's circle after grabbing four successive victories prior to the SA round.
Class E also has been boosted with Kosi Kalaitzidis returning with the Proton M21 Coupe while Nigel Williams enters his second GTP event in the Super Chips Suzuki Swift GTi.
ENTRIES CLASS A 1 Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 3 Alfredo Costanzo, Maserati Ghibli Twin Turbo 8 Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS 12 Terry Bosnjak, Mazda RX7 SP Twin Turbo 17 Ross Halliday, Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo V 24 Marcus Marshall, Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo 26 Ross Almond, Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo V 27 John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge 41 Craig Dean, Toyota Soarer Turbo Coupe 50 Paul Stokell, Lotus Elise Sport 190 52 Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 85 Rodney Forbes, Porsche 911 RSCS
CLASS B 6 Chris Kousparis, Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 7 Peter Boylan, Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 14 Clyde Lawrence, Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 18 Murray Carter, Nissan 200SX Turbo 25 Richard Davis, HSV GTS-R 215i 34 Mark King, Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo III 44 Dean Canto, Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 47 John Trimbole, Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo III
CLASS C 20 Robert Chadwick, Mitsubishi Magna TE Sports V6 21 Jim Myhill, Mitsubishi Magna TE Sports V6 28 Sam Newman, Ford Falcon EL XR8 55 Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS V8 88 David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi V6
CLASS D 4 Clayton Haynes, Toyota MR2 GT 10 Carol Jackson, Honda Civic VTi-R 13 Colin Osborne, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 15 Luke Searle, BMW 323i 32 Michael Simpson, BMW 323i 35 Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 71 Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626
CLASS E 22 Kosi Kalaitzidis, Proton M21 Coupe 42 Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 75 Aaron McGill, Suzuki Swift GTi 78 Darren Best, Hyundai Excel Sprint Twin Cam 98 Nigel Williams, Suzuki Swift GTi
POINTS OUTRIGHT Domenic Beninca 139 Peter Fitzgerald 130 Garry Waldon 123 John Bowe 73 Rodney Forbes 68 Paul Stokell 34 Ross Almond 33 Neil Crompton 29 Alfredo Costanzo 28 Terry Bosnjak 28 Murray Carter 23 Chris Kousparis 17 Dean Canto 16 Peter McKay 10 Chris Smith 10 Ross Halliday 10 John Bourke 8 Peter Boylan 7 Bob Thorn 5 John Trimbole 5 Craig Dean 4 Michael Simpson 2 John Cowley 1 Marcus Marshall 1
CLASS A Domenic Beninca 136 Peter Fitzgerald 129 Garry Waldon 121 John Bowe 69 Rodney Forbes 67 Paul Stokell 34 Ross Almond 33 Alfredo Costanzo 31 Neil Crompton 30 Terry Bosnjak 28 Craig Dean 21 Bob Thorn 12 Peter McKay 10 Chris Smith 10 Ross Halliday 10 John Bourke 8 Marcus Marshall 1 CLASS B Murray Carter 146 Chris Kousparis 124 Dean Canto 111 Peter Boylan 87 John Cowley 47 John Trimbole 44 Richard Davis 36 Trevor Haines 8
CLASS C David Ratcliff 145 Mark Cohen 124 Robert Chadwick 98 Jim Myhill 48 Steve Knight 40 John Wright 22 Guy Andrews 18 Peter McKay 18 Paula Elstrek 16 Paul Gover 15 Joshua Dowling 12
CLASS D Ric Shaw 138 Phil Kirkham 122 Colin Osborne 102 Michael Simpson 88 Luke Searle 78 Carol Jackson 29 Clayton Haynes 27 Allan Letcher 23 Peter Phelan 12
CLASS E Nigel Stones 174 Aaron McGill 127 Danny Brian 68 Kosi Kalaitzidis 65 Darren Best 34 Jim Myhill 22 Clayton Haynes 18 Nigel Williams 10
LAST TIME - ROUND FIVE, AUGUST 10, 1997 RACE ONE 15 LAPS 1. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 22:50.260 2. John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge(A) 22:56.561 3. Domenic Beninca, 911 RSCS (A) 22:57.712 4. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 22:58.158 5. Neal Bates, Dodge Viper GTS Coupe (A) 23:04.600 6. John Bourke, Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo (A) 23:39.196 7. Max Dunn, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 23:39.484 8. Alfredo Costanzo, Maserati Ghibli (A) 24:10.606 9. Andrej Pavicevic, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 14 laps 10. Chris Kousparis, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 14 laps
RACE TWO 15 LAPS 1. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 23:01.466 2. John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge(A) 23:09.997 3. Neal Bates, Dodge Viper GTS Coupe (A) 23:10.329 4. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 23:11.538 5. Max Dunn, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 23:25.230 6. John Bourke, Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo (A) 23:47.301 7. Alfredo Costanzo, Maserati Ghibli (A) 24:25.380 8. Andrej Pavicevic, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 24:35.852 9. Chris Kousparis, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 14 laps 10. Troy Searle, BMW 323i (D) 14 laps