An Endurance Tradition

A one-hour endurance race for the NSW Production Touring Car Championship headlines the on-track action at this weekend’s 25th anniversary celebration CAMS round. Lachlan Mansellpreviews the event.

In the 25 years that Wakefield Park has existed, some of the most memorable moments have come in longer-distance races. There was the Wakefield 500 of the early 2000s – an event for MGs and Daewoos – and more recently the Wakefield 300 production car race, which has become established as a “must-win” event for grass roots competitors.

So it’s fitting that this weekend’s 25th anniversary CAMS state round will feature a one-hour endurance race for the NSW Production Touring Car Championship, with a handy line-up of cars and drivers set to take part.

Fresh from driving an Alfa Romeo in the brand-new TCR Series at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend, Jimmy Vernon slots back into his Class A1 Mitsubishi Evo X, a car well-suited to Wakefield Park’s tight confines. Lining up to take the challenge to Vernon will be the CXC Global Evo X – in the hands of Anthony Soole – and some Class A2 V8 HSVs, led by Matthew Holt and brothers Daniel and Jacques Oosthuizen.

The Class B2 battle is also an interesting one, with Geoff Kite (Commodore SS) and Adam Gosling (BMW M3) joined in the class by former champion Daniel Smith, who appears behind the wheel of the Trevor Mirabito-owned Race Academy International Commodore alongside Reece Harradine.

As always in Prod Touring, the class battles produce their own interesting storylines. Class C will be fought out between a VW Scirocco (Chris Reeves), a BMW 130i (John Fitzgerald/Harrison Turner) and a Mazda 3 (Aaron Hills), while a trio of Toyota 86s will fight for honours in Class D.

Improved Production is back at Wakefield Park, attracting enough entries for separate Over and Under 2 Litre grids. In Overs, Michael King and Trevan Spiteri will be the favourites in their Evos, but Queenslander David Waldon will also be quick in his Mazda RX3.

In Under 2 Litre, Harrison Cooper (Honda Integra) can be expected to do battle with Justin McClintock (Honda Civic) and Kurt Macready (Nissan Silvia).

The long-time duel between Birol Cetin and Steven Lacey is set to continue in Sports Sedans – the Camaro drivers are first and second in points, each scoring a win in the opening two rounds. Scott Reed (Mustang) is third in the points ahead of the consistent Phillip Ryan, with fifth-placed Grant Doulman looking to bounce back after some mechanical dramas.

Darren Barlow will be the driver to beat in SuperSports, aboard his rapid Stohr, but he will be pursued by a fleet of Radicals including Stephen Champion and Mitch Neilson, who are coming off the back of strong results in Radical Australia Cup at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend.

Aaron McClintock, Ross McAlpine and Glenn Lynch will be the front-runners in Formula Race Cars, while Stephen Butcher will be looking to carry the momentum from his last visit to Wakefield Park in Formula Vee, when he won all three races.

Formula Ford entry numbers are down slightly due to a round of the national championship being held at Winton this weekend, but there are still some quality drivers in the field, headed by young guns Cooper Allen and Lachlan Ward, who will battle for honours in the Duratec Class.

In the Kent Class, the main contenders will be John Pereira and Scott Tidyman, who were the highest-placed of the state runners in the season opener at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Rounding out the program for this weekend’s CAMS round is NSW Production Sports, which will stage a pair of 30-minute races on Sunday.

Brad Schumacher, Justin Levis and Anthony Skinner will be among the main contenders in their Porsche Cup cars, while Lotus driver Glenn Townsend will be aiming for a trouble-free weekend after being involved in a crash during the Bathurst Prod Sports race.

Another driver to watch will be Nick Cancian, aboard one of the fastest Mazda MX5 race cars in the country.

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