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Mar 18, 2013

New Race Format & Top Gear Festival proven as Winners

The 2013 Radical Australia Cup kicked off at last weekends Top Gear Festival Sydney, with a new multi-class format taking to Sydney Motorsport Parks new extended 4.5km circuit.

The one-make Sportscar category had a bumper grid of 29 cars – it’s largest yet in Australia - incorporating the 2.7L V8 powered SR8 RX models joining the more familiar 4 cylinder SR3 RS, which makes up the bulk of the grid. The category also now features rolling starts which added to the spectacle of a large grid amongst a 30,000 strong crowd  - all enjoying Radical’s involvement in the high publicity motor magazine festival.

It wasn’t just members of the public who turned out in abundance, the Radical drivers suite was a hive of activity all weekend with sponsors, family and other guests of Radical Australia Cup competitors, all attending to support their drivers.

Further changes were visible in the Radical Australia stable, with the launch of Garth Walden’s new team RAW Racing, with 4 works drivers enjoying immaculately presented pit garage. Look for the name as the team establishes itself, as they expect to be towards the pointy end of the time sheets. A further 16 works Radical Australia drivers enjoyed coaching expertise from known names like F3 aces Tim Macrow & James Winslow, V8 Supercar drivers George Miedecke & Nathan Pretty and experienced Radical race coach, Mike Navybox.

Key representatives from Radical Sportscars HQ in Peterborough also made an appearance to welcome the SR8 RX models, with technicians from Radical Performance Engines (RPE) overseeing the introduction of the new V8 engine and fine tuning the 4 cylinder models ahead of RPE Australia starting up in Sydney in the coming months. RPE’s local set up will reduce the cost of racing for all Radical owners, facilitating engines refreshes.

Each of the weekend’s three races followed Mark Webber in his Red Bull Racing F1 for a lap record attempts, with spectators staying in the grandstands as each contest unfolded. The tight and twisty nature of the new section of track allowed the faster SR3’s to have the edge on the SR8’s in some sections, but as the original circuit opened up the 430bhp power of the V8 ultimately proved too much for the SR 3’s to keep in contention.

Nathan Antunes posted the fastest qualifying time for sprint race 1 in his RAW Racing prepared SR8 RX shared with John Corbett, with Neale Muston & Ash Samadi in hot pursuit. Oliver Smith was the fastest of the SR3’s in an impressive 4th outright. As the first Sprint race unfolded Neale Muston proved too consistent for Antunes, who posted fastest lap on his way to second place, with Australian GT convert Samadi following in third. Peter Paddon drove his way to the front of the SR3 field from 4th (of the SR3’s) on the grid, followed by Oliver Smith and Tony Palmer, all in Radical Australia works prepared cars.

Sprint race 2 was a similar story in the SR8 class, with Muston again taking the top spot from Nick Kelly and Samadi, whilst the SR3 class saw debutant Liam Talbot rise to the top followed closely by Peter Paddon and Nic Stavropoulos.

The feature 50-minute race on Sunday afternoon featured another dominant drive from Muston, who was only headed during the pit stop sequence. Ash Samadi was impressive on his run to second place, but only just managed to hold out third-placed Nick Kelly to the line by 0.1 seconds. Corbett and Antunes combined to bring the #66 Django Racing / Raw Racing SR8 home in fourth position, Antunes setting the quickest lap of the race on lap thirteen.

Peter Johnston took the SR3 class battle, finishing just five seconds further up the road from Peter Paddon, with Nick Stavropoulos home third in class and seventh overall.

First Neon driver Peter White (8th), the Radical Team Melbourne combination of Robert Baird and Gary Walker (9th) and Greg Smith completed the Top 10 overall.

The overall results see Muston take a handy early lead in the SR8 class battle, his 77 points comparing well to Ash Samadi’s 63 and Nick Kelly’s 60 - tied in third place with John Corbett and Nathan Antunes.

He might not have won the feature race, however Peter Paddon and his Radical Australia prepared SR3 still did enough to win the weekend overall in the ever-competitive 4 cylinder class battle, edging out Peter Johnston by 7 points at the completion of three races. Nic Stavropoulos sits third in the SR3 standings.

There was some impressive performances further down the field too, with debutant Liam Talbot from Queensland finishing 4th outright and Radical Team Melbourne’s Rob Baird and Gary Walker an impressive 5th overall away from their home turf.

All results are available on www.natsoft.com.au, whilst full championship standards are available by clicking here.

A quick turnaround for the Radical Australia Cup competitors follows Round 1 – with teams and drivers working to prepare cars for the second round of 2013 to be held in conjunction with the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals series opener, again at Sydney Motorsport Park but this time on the original GP circuit.

Radical Australia would like to thank Top Gear Festival Sydney, Brand Events and the ARDC for their involvement in Sydney Motorsport Parks biggest event for some time, and looks forward to returning next year for the second of three Top Gear Festivals in Sydney. We look forward to continued support and, if it’s possible a bigger and better 2014 event.