MAZDA driver Ric Shaw faces the biggest threat to his dominance of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship in a wide-open fifth round this weekend at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich. New drivers, new cars and the experience...
MAZDA driver Ric Shaw faces the biggest threat to his dominance of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship in a wide-open fifth round this weekend at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich.
New drivers, new cars and the experience of several leading Queensland-based competitors among a field of 41 starters are all capable of pegging back the points lead of the 36-year-old from Sydney, who has taken four wins from seven starts this season.
His challengers will include the Gold Coast's Mark King, whose two wins in round four aboard a Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution V in Canberra hoisted him to second in the series, and construction contractor Gary Deane, who built the 3.12 km track on which he will race a Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
The wildcard element is represented by the spectacular Wayne Wakefield, swapping his regular V8 Lites Commodore for a Mazda RX-7, and a brand new Holden Commodore HSV GTS 300 for former Porsche pilot Ed Aitken, of Melbourne.
Aitken has had the car built in Sydney by John Faulkner's V8 Supercar operation and hopes its 400 horsepower engine and big brakes will be the combination to finally conquer the Japanese turbo cars.
"John and the team have managed to build a top vehicle in a very short time. I can't wait to hit the track with it. We have a full V8 Supercar-spec roll cage, Ohlins shocks, a full MoTec system and more," Aitken said.
The championship's five classes also promise a fight, with John Cowley's Honda Integra Type R and Colin Osborne's Toyota Celica among the most exciting new entries.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after Rd 4): Outright, 1 R. Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 88, 2 M. King (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V) 56, 3 B. Hughes (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V) 53, 4 B. Morcom (Mazda RX-7) 45, 5 G. Kenny (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 39, 6 G. Deane (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 30; Autobarn High Perf., R. Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 88; Hippies Sports Touring, D.Wood (Honda Integra Type R) 90; Pennzoil V8 Touring, W. Millet (Holden Commodore SS) 67; Pennzoil Six-cyl. Touring, D. Coon (Ford Falcon XR6) 94; Poolrite Four-cyl. Touring, K. Kalaitzidis (Proton Satria GTi) 91.
TIMETABLE: Friday 9.30 am - Practice (30 min.), 12 midday - Practice (30 min.). Saturday 10.10 am - Qualifying (30 min.), 1.30 pm - Practice 1 (15 min.). Sunday 8.10 am - Warm-up (10min.), 10 am - Race 1 (10 laps), 2.05 pm - Race 2 (14 laps).