QUEENSLAND Subaru racer Brett Peters has had a dream run this year in his first Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship - but to wrap up the title before a home crowd at this weekend's Honda Indy 300 meeting on the Gold Coast...
QUEENSLAND Subaru racer Brett Peters has had a dream run this year in his first Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship - but to wrap up the title before a home crowd at this weekend's Honda Indy 300 meeting on the Gold Coast would be a dream come true.
Going into the seventh of eight rounds, Peters has 112 points and a lead of 44 over second-placed John Bowe, who will race a Ford Mustang Cobra. Four other drivers are grouped closely behind and also theoretically in striking distance of the prestigious championship for production passenger cars.
While Peters regards them all as a threat, just 20 points - the equivalent of two third place finishes - from the two races on Friday and Sunday for the championship's GT Performance division will secure his crown.
"This will be a David-and-Goliath contest between our four-cylinder turbo Subaru and the V8 Mustang of Bowe, who is obviously the first among several championship contenders," Peters said.
"The Mustang has good speed and great brakes and John is a top driver, but I've never seen that car win a start even from pole position and to be first into the first corner on the first lap at a tight track like Indy is a major advantage.
"The Subarus and the Mitsubishi Evolutions have all-wheel drive and they'll jump like rabbits at the start - the others, including the V8 Commodores, will have their work cut out. Each race will be only six laps, so no driver will be able to sit back and play a waiting game.
"Our team is totally focussed on the championship.The challenge is to make no mistakes and go on from there."
The contest in the Hippies Sports Touring class is almost identical, with just 42 points separating leader Nathan Pilkington, in a Mitsubishi FTO, and Honda Integra driver Nathan Thomas.
Pilkington, a championship rookie, can lock away the 2001 class championship with two second places.
"The secret will be to qualify well, get in front of Nathan and stay out of trouble and off the walls - but that's harder than it sounds when you're running in the middle of the pack," Pilkington said.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: Outright & Poolrite High Performance class - 112 Brett Peters, 68 John Bowe, 67.5 Wayne Boatwright, 65.5 Graham Alexander, 65 Philip Polites, 64 Ed Aitken. Hippies Sports Touring: 137 Nathan Pilkington, 95 Nathan Thomas, 85 Anthony Robson.
TIMETABLE: Thursday - 9.00 Practice (30 min.), 12.40 Qualifying (20 min.). Friday - 8.20 Race 1 (6 laps). Saturday - No activity. Sunday - Race 2 (6 laps).