Craillsy’s Preview: Queensland Raceway

I think I may have found the cure to a vast majority of the world’s ills.

They’re called Sports Sedans and they are back racing this weekend at the Shannons Nationals at Queensland Raceway for the first time in 18 months.

Seriously, I think they could be the solution the world has been looking for, because you rarely see anyone unhappy when a Sports Sedan race is on.

The combination of massive wings, 800-horsepower and insane creations made by a combination of backyard mechanics and extremely talented ex-F1 engineers, is one of the last bastions of ‘run what you brung’ in Aussie motor sport.

While I’m not sure they can cure world hunger, watching a field of these rockets fly into turn one should at least put a smile on the dial of those who need some laughter – because it’s impossible not to chuckle when that much grunt is put to the ground in one, combined, bombastic moment.

One of the best races I’ve ever seen at a Shannons round came from a Sports Sedan show at the ‘Paperclip’ – Tony Ricciardello and Darren Hossack spent much of one race side-by-side in an almighty battle, trading lap records and only a little bit of paint in a crazy dice.

At a track that promotes plenty of passing, generally cars with that much grunt will put on a show.

This weekend they’re back and the show should be a good one, with a host of contenders lining up.

In fact, it strikes me that this could be the most open round of Sports Sedan racing for the last couple of years, with little to separate Ricciardello’s ridiculous Alfa, Stephen Tamasi’s Calibra and that amazing SAAB of young-gun Tom Randle.

On pace you’d expect Randle to dominate but Tamasi should be in the mix and you can just never rule out that remarkable West Aussie and his grandfather’s axe of a car.

Riding into the equation is the fact that the Audi is back this weekend and we hear it’s got a new pilot.

Word on the street is that former series champion Kerry Baily will assume the steering wheel attendant duties, sitting in what I still think is one of the coolest racing cars ever made in Australia.

Certainly, it’s the best sounding.

I think they are worth the price of admission alone, but the rest of the program isn’t exactly lacking in substance either.

Night racing returns

The annual ‘Fight in the Night’ Production Car race is back and has become one of the great traditions on the Shannons calendar.

This year the race starts at 4:45pm, which means we get about 20 minutes of that magical Saturday evening Queensland light before the lights start to take effect.

This is proper night racing too – as only elements of the circuit include lighting.

Naturally braking markers and apexes are pinpointed but outside of that it’s headlights on and away we go. If it works at LeMans and Spa, it’ll work at Queensland Raceway.

Young Porsches and trophies

The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge is getting to a critical point in the season as they race towards their decider in September.

The young talent at the front of the field have been unbelievable this year, with the likes of Cooper Murray and Max Vidau really strutting their stuff.

Adding to the weekend is a continuation of the Jim Richards Enduro Trophy series, which leads into the aforementioned ‘Fight in the Night’ race for the Production Cars.

The 60-minute Saturday session is often quite dramatic with QR’s habit for testing brakes and tyres, especially those on the left hand side of the cars, often tripping contenders up late in the race.

So park yourself on the hill for that and stay for the night racing later.

Team battles

The Prototype Series presented by Hot Wheels has been compelling viewing this year and there’s always added interest when you throw an inter-team battle into the mixture. Just ask Red Bull Racing’s F1 drivers.

Jason Makris has been the man to beat this year but JP Drake has been a huge improver and there is likely to be little between the pair of Wolf CN cars this weekend.

The undercard

Finally, it’d be remiss of me to cover the fact that the Excels are back on the program.

It’s a remarkable story the way that this category has gone from zero-to-massive in less than half a decade, but it’s the pace to be.

Queensland Raceway’s over-under-over corner layout can often throw some crazy racing so look out for the little Hyundai’s to be about five-wide at varying points throughout the weekend.

Join the Shannons coverage 

Don’t forget to join the conversation on our social channels throughout the weekend and involve yourself in our broadcast on Sunday, which you can view live and free via this website or our Facebook page.

We love getting your questions and are happy to answer them.

Plus, I hear global podcasting sensation Greg Rust is looking for suggestions for his next series to continue his download domination so chuck some names his way!

See you at the track.