Grids set for Supercheap Auto Bathurst International
THE GRIDS are set for this weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
Strong fields among the six categories competing this weekend are set to put on a great show with titles on the line and storylines aplenty.
Five categories – Supercheap Auto TCR Australia, Trans Am, Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, Kumho V8 Touring Cars and Mobil 1 APC / Monochrome Invitational – will decide their 2023 winners this weekend.
SUPERCHEAP AUTO BATHURST INTERNATIONAL: ENTRY LISTS
Meanwhile, the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series will welcome a host of Kiwi competitors who have crossed the Tasman for the event this weekend.
International competitors from around the world will compete in both the Kumho TCR World Tour and Touring Car Masters races, which include a fleet of New Zealand TCM cars joining the fun this weekend.
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia / Kumho TCR World Tour
THE Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will be decided this weekend at Mount Panorama, with a new champion to be crowned on Sunday afternoon.
HMO Customer Racing star Bailey Sweeny leads his teammate Josh Buchan by just 29 points with GRM star Aaron Cameron just 20 points further behind in third, setting up an intense fight for the title.
Meanwhile, just one point separates Kumho TCR World Tour drivers, Hungarian Norbert Michelisz (Hyundai) and British former World Champion Rob Huff in their title battle, which enters it’s penultimate round.
The combined grid of 24 cars remains the same number as the first joint round held at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend, with only one significant change.
Out is young Valvoline GRM Peugeot driver Kody Garland, who’s car was badly damaged in an accident at Turn one last Friday before he could even start Race 1.
His spot will be filled by Victorian Michael Clemente, who joins the grid aboard his Carl Cox Motorsport Cupra.
Should all 24 cars take the start in Race 1, it will make it the largest grid of TCR cars in the categories’ Aussie history.
National Trans Am Series
THE National Trans Am Series will be decided this weekend at Mount Panorama with James Moffat leading the charge.
The Bathurst field of 21 cars includes Hugh McAlister, Zach Loscialpo and Josh Anderson joining the field this weekend.
Moffat leads the standings after a furious weekend of racing in Sydney that saw he and Nash Morris trade positions – and paint – on more than one occasion.
While Morris sits out Bathurst to focus on his Porsche racing, Moffat will have plenty of rivals looking to make it even harder for him to seal the series this weekend.
His teammate Lochie Dalton remains firmly in contention, as does the leading Chevrolet driver, Elliott Barbour and Brett Holdsworth.
A strong performance in Sydney will have Cody Gillis looking to challenge the top three in the title this weekend as well.
Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters
A STRONG grid of 24 Muscle Cars from both sides of the Tasman will engage in Round 5 of Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters this weekend.
In what is the penultimate round of the 2023 season, the local grid will be added to by a fleet of seven invited cars from Touring Car Masters New Zealand to set up a proper Trans-Tasman battle.
The Aussie contingent includes regulars like Steven Johnson (Mustang), John Bowe in his final Bathurst in the category, Ryan Hansford, the ever-popular Cameron Tilley and Andrew Fisher – but also the return of Adam Garwood, who will drive a Holden Commodore.
Ben Dunn’s Chevrolet Monza also returns to the series as does legendary TCM figure Brad Tilley, who will drive the Ford Mustang coupe his son, Jamie, raced last year – and flew to viral fame with an enormous loose at The Chase in torrentially wet conditions, the video being viewed by more than one million people.
The Kiwi’s bring with them two Ford Falcons, a Chevrolet Camaro, a Pontiac Firebird, a Valiant Charger, a Torana and a Mustang to join the locals on the Mountain.
Kumho V8 Touring Car Series
The Kumho Series grid has gained some added spice to an already entertaining battle that will see Jude Bargwanna, Jim Pollicina and Jamie Tilley engage in a three-way battle for the title this weekend.
As well as Super 3 young-star Cameron McLeod making his V8TC debut, the field will be joined by former series regular Ryan Simpson.
The enormously experienced Sydneysider finished second in the 2014 Kumho Series, driving an ex-Craig Lowndes Falcon for Sonic Motor Racing, before going on to win the Porsche Sprint Challenge the following year.
He’ll drive a VE Commodore entered by Jim Pollicina this weekend in a bid to mix things up at the pointy-end of the grid.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge
THE sixth and final round of a record-breaking Sprint Challenge season will see the category race three times at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International this weekend and decide the Pro, Pro-Am and Class B titles.
The Sprint Challenge season has been an unpredictable affair though series leader Marco Giltrap’s consistency has him entering the final round with a commanding lead.
The 19-year-old New Zealander leads by 171 points with 180 up for grabs this weekend, meaning a 17th-placed finish in the opening race would be enough to deliver the Team Porsche NZ / Earl Bamber Motorsport driver his first Porsche title.
Giltrap has won four races this season, has never finished lower than fifth in a race and claimed round victories at Phillip Island and Symmons Plains to entrench himself at the top of the standings early in the year, where he has since remained.
A bumper 29-strong field will contest the three races this weekend, including 13 in the Professional class.
The field includes the addition of Porsche Carrera Cup Pro-Am regular Danny Stutterd, while Nash Morris will also return aboard his TekworkX Motorsport entry.
Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars / Monochrome Invited
A mammoth 43-car combined field of Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars and Monochrome Invited cars will compete this weekend at Mount Panorama.
The Invited class includes a season-high 10 cars, including Orange’s Tim Leahey who will drive a BMW M4 GT4 for the first time.
Bathurst legend John Bowe will also be BMW-based, Renee Gracie will race a Ginetta while series leader Shane Smollen looks to seal the title in his Porsche Cayman GT4.
The Mobil 1 APC field includes many of the stars and cars from the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour including former winners, Beric Lynton, Grant Sherrin and Iain Sherrin – plus one part of the 2023 winning combination in the form of Simon Hodges.
The multi-class battle includes familiar names like Jett Johnson, Carrera Cup racer Luke King and the debut of the first Chevrolet Camaro SS to compete in the class, driven by Chris Lillis and Nathan Callaghan.