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Mar 19, 2015

10th SHANNONS NATIONAL SEASON TO KICK OFF IN STYLE AT SANDOWN

MORE THAN 130 competitors across eight national level categories will help kick off celebrations for the 10th season of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals at Sandown Raceway this weekend.

(Click image to open hi-res copy of infographic)

| Click here to download the full entry lists & race program for Sandown.

Formed in 2006, the Nationals celebrates the milestone this year as a well-established and well supported part of the national motor racing landscape.

Last year, 409 different drivers in 321 cars started 142 races and raced for more than a combined 750,000 kilometres across the season, with similar numbers expected this year.

Eight rounds will be held in 2015 with fourteen different categories committed to competing at least one event throughout the year. The calendar will once again include the regular diverse mix of sprint and long-distance races, twilight / night time competition and ‘marquee’ events for separate categories throughout the year.

The Sandown event (March 27-29) is headlined by the three-hour classic AMChamp race, the opening rounds for two of Australia’s major open-wheel titles and expanded fields in three hugely popular categories.

A reinvigorated Kumho V8 Touring Cars field of 18 cars is confirmed for Sandown and includes a strong two-car team from defending champions, Eggleston Motorsport. The Melbourne-based team has confirmed Formula Ford gradate Liam McAdam will be joined for a one-off round by Holden Racing Team enduro driver and former V8 full-timer Jack Perkins.

The Kumho series field, for ex-V8 Supercars, incudes 11 Ford Falcons and seven Holden Commodores and several strong contenders making their return to the series.

Jim Pollicina, Steve Briffa, Scott Loadsman, 2014 frontrunner Matt Palmer, Super Six graduate Jason Leoncini and Perth teenager Jake Kostecki are but a few of the expected contenders for the opening round.

An explosion of interest in GT racing both domestically and internationally has flowed into the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli, with a bumper 22-car field of Porsche GT3 cup cars locked in for Sandown.

Picking a winner in the Porsche pack will likely be hugely difficult, with 2014 frontrunners like John Goodacre and Jon McCorkindale to be joined by a host of competitive newcomers including former V8 Development Series ace and multiple Commodore Cup champion Geoff Emery, Kumho V8 series double runner-up Ryan Simpson and karting superstar James Abela, amongst a host of others likely to race right at the pointy end next week.

The 16-year-old son of touring car legend Glenn Seton, Aaron, will also make his GT3 Cup Challenge debut but is already familiar to Shannons Nationals fans thanks to his starring performance in selected AMChamp endurance races last year.

The Australian Manufacturers Championship kicks off with a stout grid for the Sandown three-hour classic, with more than six new cars still scheduled to make their racing debut in the series’ in the second round of the championship in May.

Melbourne father and son combination, Robert and Shane Marshall, the ProDuct Racing Mitsubishi of Bob Pearson, Rick Bates and Aaron Seton and the BMW 1M of Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey are expected to be the outright favourites along with the ever competitive Sherrin Rentals BMWs.

Jim Pollicina will make the AMChamp debut of Holden’s VF Commodore HSV GTS while George Karadimas and Geoff Russell will compete in Ford’s new FG-X Falcon.

Open-wheel fans will be well catered for with the opening rounds of the 2015 Australian Formula Ford and Australian Formula 3 seasons to be staged at Sandown next week – both categories to contest their entire 2015 schedules with the Nationals this year.

In Formula Ford Victorian frontrunner Thomas Maxwell, second-year full timer Christian Morina and the return of Leanne Tander – who finished third in the 2000 Australian Formula Ford Championship – are likely to be ones to watch amongst the competitive field.

In Formula 3, newcomer Luke Spalding and Jon Collins make for a strong two-car team from Queensland-based Gilmour Racing, whilst local ace Ricky Capo has a brand-new car and is ready for a title tilt that will commence at his home circuit.

A battle of the champions is on the cars in the Dial Before You Dig Australian Super Six Touring Car Series, defending series winner Gavin Ross returning to go head-to-head with double series champion Simon Tabinor. Tony Evangelou, Ben Grice, Harley Phelan and Luke Westall are amongst the familiar names to return to the ever-competitive Ford-versus-Holden fight this year.

A banner year for the Kerrick Sports Sedan series will commence at Sandown with the strongest field seen in years – including the potential for a particularly competitive fight for the outright crown in Australia’s quickest tin-tops.

Defending champion Tony Ricciardello returns for a crack at an incredible ninth series crown, but will have to go through his age-old rival Darren Hossack to do the job. Six-time champion Kerry Baily returns with his stunning Aston Martin while youngster Tom Randle is set for a full season in the SAAB V8 that won the 2010 title.

The addition of the MARC Focus racers to the grid adds further depth to the growing field.

Also competing at Sandown, the opening round of the 2015 Radical Australia Cup will see a return of the Neale Muston – versus – Tim Berryman battle at the pointy end of the field while the four-cylinder class fight continues to be highly competitive.

Tickets are avaialable at the gate for $15 on Saturday, $25 on Sunday or $35 for a weekend pass. The main grandstand, pit / paddock area and pit roof plus the 'Red Hill' area are open to all spectators.

Sunday's racing will be shown live via the Shannons Nationals 'Nationals TV' free live streaming service on Sunday, March 29. The streaming will also be avaialble via the motorsportsTV app avaialble for IPhone or Android mobile platforms.