The Australian Prototype Series (APS) is gearing up for a massive 2018, with a highly anticipated round at The Bend just days away.
A small number of drivers managed to get an early look at the track, taking advantage of a test day on the South Australian circuit.
SA based diver John-Paul Drake was one of the lucky few that got to test out the track ahead of the Shannons Nationals event this weekend.
Piloting the Wolf GB08CN in the APS Kumho Cup Class, Drake was blown away with the track’s quality after completing the successful test drive.
“The track is just phenomenal, we’re so lucky to have this in Australia,” Drake said.
“My favourite section is turns seven to ten. Coming out from turn six, which is tight turn but open, you can take multiple lines. From then, you just tuck your foot flat at full throttle heading blind down a hill towards turn seven.
“At turn nine, there is just slightest kink throwing you out at turn 10. It is just amazing.
“Turn 17 is such a fascinating corner, as it’s going at more than 90 degrees making it the most difficult corner for me.
“It’s the most fun I’ve had on the track. It’s really amazing and racing at this sort of place is what you dream of.”
While Drake was impressed with the track itself, the pit garages have also stood out.
“The pit garages are off the hook and are easily the best garages in the country,” Drake added.
The Australian Prototype Series will feature on of the Shannons Nationals line-up throughout the year and in just a few days’ time will be one of the first categories in the world to sample Australia’s newest circuit.
It’s been all good news for APS recently, signing Hot Wheels as a major partner and a growing popularity within youth drivers, include teenager Sage Murdoch joining the series in 2018.
As one of the seven categories at the Shannons Nationals opening round, the series will share the spotlight with Australian favourites such as the CAMS Australian GT Championship and Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup.
Radical and APS competitor, Phillip Hughes was unable to attend the recent test day but was still excited about getting on track this Friday.
“It’s like an oasis in the dust bowl. The Bend itself is an impressive track,” Hughes said.
“Most of the track looks like there’s a lot of turning to do and you very rarely straight so I kind of think it will be good for racing.
“Although I have not been there, everything I’ve seen and read about what they’ve done there looks amazing.”
The Bend Motor Sport Park is the first permanent track to be built on Australian soil for a quite some time with the world-class circuit hoping to bring events from all around the world.
The APS will be the second category on the track with the first practice session to take place early on Friday morning. Two practice sessions will follow on Friday morning and qualifying will take place on Saturday morning. The series will then feature in three races across Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Being just one of many drivers to take part of The Bend’s opening, Drake is relishing the opportunity, being reminded that the movement will live with him forever.
“I didn’t quite realise how special this is until my Driving coach, James Winslow made me realise the situation,” Drake explained.
“He told me that I need to make sure I make the most of this because this is something on another level and opportunities like this rarely happen in life.
“To have this track here in literally our backyard is truly special and I’m super excited to be involved in the first ever event.”
The Shannons Nationals opening round takes place at The Bend Motorsport Park on 13 – 15 April.