The second half of the 2017 Motor Racing Australia series commences tomorrow at Sydney Motorsport Park.
It’s the second and last visit to the Western Sydney circuit in 2017, the first and only Saturday event of the year, and the first run on the North circuit, after the South circuit played host to Round 2 in April.
Super TT and the Series X3 NSW Excels will headline the program tomorrow, with both boasting massive fields, while the Mazda MX5’s, Clubmans, Superkarts and Regularity will complete a packed schedule of racing.
It’s been two months since the last full round of MRA, but both Super TT and the Series X3 Excels have held championship rounds in that time, with the Excels competing alongside the Pulsars on the CAMS Motor Racing Championship card at the end of April, while Super TT competitors were holding their endurance round on the same weekend at Wakefield park in Goulburn.
For the Series X3, it was a relatively small field that contested the round on the Brabham circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park. Jaylyn Robotham scored victory in races 1 and 3, while Emily Duggan scored third in race one, second in race three, and won the second. Ben Bargwanna was the other podium finishers across the weekend, as the three fought closely in all three races.
Fast forward five weeks, and no less than twenty-five cars will line-up, as the series returns to its AASA sanctioned event roots.
Again, Duggan will be a force at the front of the field, with her main rivals from the previous SMP outing not in action. She will, however, face stiff competition from Matt Stockwell, who is back in action. He won the final race of the MRA round on the south circuit at the beginning of April, and while the north circuit is very different to the south, he will come in with some confidence.
The North, or Druitt Circuit at SMP is fast and flowing, as opposed to the more challenging Amaroo circuit that played host to the last round, so straight-line speed will play a big role this time out, as will turns two, seven and eight… the approach, run through and exit from those turns could well be the difference at the end of the day.
The north circuit is only 8 turns, and 2.8km long.
Super TT will field its biggest grid since January, with thirty-two cars lining up.
In Goulburn, Adam Burgess and Nick Filipeto won the opening enduro, while Steve Bugatto and Aaron Tebb won the other.
Before that, Jimmy Tran was victorious at Sydney Motorsport Park, and we return to Western Sydney for a meeting where horsepower and torque should be king, and as we’ve not raced on this circuit before, the form guide is out the window.
Twelve different manufacturers are represented in the 32-car field.
Jimmy Tran returns in his Honda Civic, and Saba Hanania will take to the grid as the sole Lotus representative, but the Exige will be one to watch.
It’s not a round of the Pitcher Partners APRA Series, but Alexandra Lawrence will lead a contingent of four within this field that boasts a total of eight Nissan’s in all.
The BMW M3’s of Mark Boudib and Endree Saade will also be contenders across the three races.
It’s back-to-back weekend’s for the Superkarts, who were only racing on the Gardner layout last weekend.
A field of twenty-seven will face the starter this Saturday, across the four classes, led by John Pellicano, Mark Vickers, Paul Campbell, Mark Robin and ‘Mr Superkarts’, Wayne Horsewell.
Last weekend, four races were scheduled, but only two were classified, with Paul Campbell claiming pole position, with John Pellicano scoring victory in both races 2 and 3.
The Mazda MX5 Cup returns to Sydney Motorsport Park, with its biggest field of the season as well.
Matilda Mravicic and Nick Martinenko return to the grid for this outing. Mravicic will be one to watch, having posted great qualifying and race results in the past. Her overall race craft and speed make her a constant contender and threat in this field.
Todd Herring won the last round, ahead of Verne Johnson and Daniel Deckers.
Deckers will miss this round of the series, giving the likes of Andy Harris, David Stone and Cameron Macarthur a great opportunity to step up and do battle for a podium position.
The Clubmans return for the latest round of their series. This new championship has been a great support of Motor Racing Australia so far in 2017, and will again hold three races today.
Peter Brown grabbed the win last time out, ahead of Brett Lansley and Paul Martens. They’re all back for this outing, and can expect a fight from Jos Kroon and Glen Coutinho, who showed great speed in the opening round at Wakefield Park in January.
As always, the drivers in regularity will be out to achieve their best possible lap times, accumulating points in the process, with the most consistent driver to walk away with the top trophy at the end of the day.
In all, 25 events on the packed program – Four races for Superkarts, three for all other racing categories, and three timed sessions for Regularity.
Lots to look forward to at Sydney Motorsport Park, particularly with those big fields in Super TT and the Series X3 NSW Excels as well. Lachlan Mansell will be calling all the action trackside, where admission is free.