Several debutants will take part in the Australian Prototype Series this weekend at the Shannons Nationals, as the overall title battle enters a critical phase.
Queenslanders David Barram (Chiron), David Rodgie (JMW Clubman), Brian Pettit (Minetti) and Richard Mattea (Infiniti Sports 1300) join series regulars this weekend, looking to impress on home turf against the national contingent.
Also joining the field this weekend will be New South Wales’ Peter Hill (ADR3) and the returning Graeme Cook, who re-joins the series after almost two years out of the seat of his West WR1000.
Seventy-one points cover the top seven drivers in the series, arguably the closest title fight in any national-level category this season.
A total of 115 points will be on offer in what is the penultimate round for the series, before the final round is held at Phillip Island in September.
Phillip Hughes continues to lead the title fight, however lost crucial points to Mark Laucke who took the previous round win.
Terry Peovitis sits third in his FL1 open wheeler, just nine points from the lead and heading to a circuit where the 1000cc cars have tasted success.
The ever-consistent John-Paul Drake sits fourth in the standings, only 44 points from the series lead.
Drake has been the ‘accumulator’ this year racking up points consistently, with a breakthrough round victory seemingly not too far away.
Winton winner Jason Makris sits fifth with three points further back, while Chris Sutton remains in contention- currently in sixth place.
The annual visit to Queensland Raceway is unlikely to make the series picture any clearer, with the circuit renowned for producing thrilling racing amongst the APS ranks.
The long straights are perfect for slipstreaming battles and the numerous heavy braking zones allow for overtaking into slow-to-mid speed corners, all strengths of the various cars represented on the grid.
Each of the top six entered this weekend can make a late play at taking the title, with one trip-up or weekenddomination set to be decisive in the broader title picture.
Newcomer Dave Barrum is expected to contend this weekend, given strong form in the local QRDC Sports Car Championship.
His pace at state level this year was enough to qualify him within the top six of the APS field the last time a majority of the competitors visited the circuit 12 months ago.
Meanwhile, the addition of Mattea and his Infiniti Sports, Rodgie’s JMW Clubman and Pettit’s Minetti add to the depth and variety of the field assembled this weekend, with no less than eight different manufacturers represented.
On that last visit by the cars of the APS, Roger I’Anson dominated proceedings by grabbing pole position and three wins in his West WR1000.
While the South Australian was almost untouchable throughout the weekend, the battles behind were highly competitive with FL1, Sports Racer and Radicals all running in close company – setting the stage for similar competition this weekend.
The Australian Prototype Series will take part in three races on 4-6 August.
2017 Series (top six)
After 3 of 5 rounds
- Phil Hughes (Radical) 278
- Mark Laucke (West) 273
- Terry Peovitis (RFR 1000) 269
- John-Paul Drake (West) 234
- Jason Makris (West) 231
- Chris Sutton (Radical) 182
Entry list: Round 4
|2||Kumho Cup||Byran Bay Signs & Trophies||Peter Hill||NSW||ADR 3||1500||White|
|4||FL1||Orlando Phoenix||Terry Peovitis||WA||RFR F1000||998||Red/Whi/Grey|
|22||Kumho Cup||Richard Mattea||Richard Mattea||QLD||Infiniti Sports||1300||Red/Whi/Purp|
|23||Kumho Cup||Rodgie Racing||David Rodgie||QLD||J.M.W Clubman||1800||Blue/Silver|
|33||Kumho Cup||Taylor Collision/ Laucke Flour||Michael Whiting||SA||West WR1000||998||Black|
|35||Radical||321 Motorsport||Chris Sutton||VIC||Radical SR3||1500||Blue|
|42||Radical||Hughes Supercar Services||Philip Hughes||VIC||Radical SR3||1500||Red|
|44||P1||Mirage Racing – Marina Mirage Gold Coast||Jason Makris||QLD||West WX10||1400||Yellow/Black|
|46||Kumho Cup||David Barram||David Barram||QLD||Chiron LMP3||2000||Oranage|
|55||P1||Laucke Flour Mills||Mark Laucke||SA||West WX10||998||Black|
|65||Kumho Cup||Racemoves||Graeme Cook||SA||West WR1000||998||Orange|
|66||Kumho Cup||Jam Motorsport||John-Paul Drake||SA||West WX10||998||Multi|
|117||Kumho Cup||Brian Pettit||Brian Pettit||QLD||Minetti SSV1||1500||White|