Aug 4, 2014
QUEENSLAND CHAMPIONS ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL AT QR
TWO OF Queensland’s racing champions in two of Australia’s fastest racing cars will make an on-track return when the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals visits Queensland Raceway this weekend.
Six-time Kerrick Sports Sedan series champion Kerry Baily and 2011 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Champion Chris Gilmour will both make their first racing starts of the 2014 season at the Ipswich circuit – and both have sights on strong results.
The pair return to the track at one of the biggest Shannons Nationals rounds of the year with seven national categories to race over two days at the Ipswich circuit this weekend.
The Gold Coast-based Baily won the 2012 Sports Sedan Championship and was in contention for last year’s title right to the final round, however business commitments have kept him and his stunning Chevrolet-powered Aston Martin DBR9 weapon from the track this year.
“I am pretty excited about returning to the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series,” said Baily.
“Last year we were leading the championship by 40 points, but then we were knocked out after falling foul of the noise regulations, seeing us drop from 40 points ahead to 40 points behind.
“Then when considering the final round, I had to make the decision to withdraw when my business commitments had to take priority following a fire which decimated one of my interests in Tasmania.
“I haven’t raced since then, and with the QR round being so close to my home base I thought I had better get out there and have a go at it.
“I am hopeful that we can also compete at the upcoming Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park events and hopefully do the full Series next year, but it really just comes down to those business commitments – it has been a really difficult 18 months in that regard so we will just have to wait to see how things go.”
Baily’s Aston Martin joins long time title rivals Tony Ricciardello (Alfa GTV-Chev) and Darren Hossack (Audi-Chev) in Australia’s fastest tin-top field; the 750hp Sports Sedans set to lap the Ipswich venue three seconds per lap quicker than the V8 Supercars that raced their at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Australia’s fastest racing cars – the ‘wings and slicks’ Formula 3 open-wheelers – will target more lap records this weekend with a field boosted by the return of former champion Chris Gilmour.
The most experienced F3 driver in Australia, claiming 140 starts, 53 podiums, 13 victories and the 2012 championship to his credit, Gilmour will return to the series this weekend in a second car entered by the McDonald’s Gilmour Racing team.
“I’m super excited to be making my F3 return – it’s been 18 months since my last race,” Gilmour said.
“I have kept up with my fitness and training and have had three test days in the car since I last raced, so I believe I’m fitter and faster than ever before.
“It’s great to be back in these cars and especially at my home track – I’m really pumped. We’re not coming back to make up the numbers and I’m coming back to be very competitive. My role will be to drive fast and get as close to the front as possible to give (Team BRM drivers) Simon Hodge and Chris Anthony a close race to help (teammate Ben Gersekowski) in the championship if I can.”
Gilmour will join a championship in the middle of a tense battle for the points lead between Team BRM Mygale driver Simon Hodge and the second McDonald’s entry from Gilmour Racing, Dallara driving Ben Gersekowski.
The pair are split by just 15 points after four intense rounds of racing so far this year, Hodge having won two rounds to Gersekowski’s one. Third-placed Chris Anthony sits a further 17 points back in third and won the third round of the championship at Mount Panorama earlier this year.
Two-time Gold Star champion James Winslow is a last minute addition to the field this weekend, hooking up again with his 2012 title-winning team, R-Tek Motorsport.
The bumper weekend of racing at Queensland Raceway includes a full program of 20 races and seven national categories, the Kerrick Sports Sedans and Formula 3 cars to be joined by a group of strong categories that cover almost every spectrum of motorsport tastes.
The Australian Formula Ford Series heads to Queensland for the first time this weekend with a 21-car field featuring some of Australia’s best young racing talent, Toowoomba driver Jordan Lloyd in the best form of all having won the series most recent round at Winton.
The best Australian Manufacturers Championship (for Production Cars) field of the season will enter a pair of 200km races, including the extremely popular ‘Fight in the Night’ to be run under lights on Saturday evening.
Aaron Seton, the 16-year-old son of two-time Australian Touring Car / V8 Supercar champion Glenn, will drive his ProDuct Mitsubishi solo for the first time having paired with his dad and car owner Bob Pearson in the recent Australian four-hour in Sydney.
Sports Car fans are well catered for, the one-make Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli set to entertain with a strong field of Porsche GT3 Cup Cars. The series will complete the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy season – three long-distance events that make up a stand-alone ‘series within a series’ – with a 40-lap enduro on Saturday evening.
Fans of the Holden-versus-Ford rivalry will also not be denied; The Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car series (For ex-V8 Supercars) and the Dial Before you Dig Super Six Touring Cars (For six-cylinder Falcons and Commodores) will both offer plenty of wheel-to-wheel racing.
The event offers plenty of ‘bang for your buck’ for race fans with tickets starting at $20 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday or $40 for a weekend pass. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
Sunday’s action will be streamed live on the internet via Nationals TV at www.thenationals.com.au, or the MotorsportsTV app available on iPhone or Android platforms.