Mark Laucke has won the inaugural Australian Prototype Series, while Philip Hughes has stormed to his second-round victory of the season at Phillip Island.
South Australian Laucke had to endure an up-and-down weekend to secure the title, but ultimately capped off his consistent season with a storming drive through the field in the final race of the year to put an exclamation mark on his year.
This is Laucke’s second national title, having won the Australian Sports Racer Series two years ago – also in a West.
Like it did in the season opener at Sandown earlier in the year, Hughes’ success came off the back of supreme wet-weather performances in his Hughes Supercar Services Radical SR3.
After holding on to win on a drying circuit on Saturday, Hughes used Sunday’s wet conditions for race two to his advantage – powering away from pole to build a commanding early lead that he would never lose.
Radicals filled the top three spots in Race 2, Hughes leading home Chris Sutton and David Crampton.
Laucke survived a spin to ultimately finish 10th, needing only to make the flag in the finale to seal the title.
Hughes again erupted to an early lead in race three, however was passed by Aaron Steer on Lap 5.
Filling in for John-Paul Drake in the Jam Motorsport West, Steer pulled away rapidly in the lead and won the race – his first and only win of a season that saw him contest two of the five rounds.
Freed from any serious title pressure, Laucke was released in the drier conditions and despite completing the opening lap in eighth place quickly made headway through the field as conditions improved.
He was fourth by the fifth lap of the race and then worked his way past Hughes on the eighth lap to get into second place – ultimately chasing down a cruising Steer and finishing just behind the victorious West to seal his title with a second placed finish.
Bouncing back from illness yesterday, Terry Peovitis passed Hughes a few laps from home to end his strong year on a high with third place – Hughes holding off Chris Sutton to finish fourth and score enough points to win the round.
An ultra-competitive year of the Australian Prototype Series saw a multitude of different race and round winners, and a varied and open series with competition from a host of different makes and models.
Three different types and classes of APS car filled the top three places in the outright series this year. Laucke’s P1 class West WX10 won the overall title while Chris Sutton was second in his Radical SR3.
Terry Peovitis held on to third place despite Hughes’ final round charge, his RFR1000 open-wheeler completing the top three in a championship filled with differing machinery.
Hughes ultimately finished fourth in the outright standings, falling 11 points short of Peovitis despite his stunning weekend at Phillip Island.