Sep 18, 2015
SHANNONS NATIONALS ROUND 6 - FRIDAY WRAP
THE FASTEST ever Formula 3 driver around Phillip Island’s 4.46 kilometres of twists and turns is back for more at this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2015 championship.
Double Formula 3 champion Tim Macrow is back for another one-off race, this time in a partnership with Dennie Rumble’s Alpine Motor Sport - who will debut a new car this weekend at the Victorian venue.
Round 6 of the Australian Formula 3 Championship is this weekend racing with round six of Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals with eight categories and more than 150 entrants competing this weekend.
Four brief official practice sessions and a host of unofficial sessions were held today with cold and damp weather changing rapidly to bright sunshine and blue skies in the afternoon.
In the Kumho V8 Touring Cars the title fight between Liam McAdam (Eggleston Motorsport Commodore) and Alex Rullo (Performance West Falcon) looks to continue this weekend with the pair split by just 0.08s in official practice.
Ryan Simpson topped the official Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli session by 0.9s ahead of Dylan O’Keefe and Jono Taylor whilst Mark Laucke headed the Sports Racer Series practice.
In Formula 3, Macrow topped both practice sessions today in a ride that will be familiar to him - Rumble acquiring an ex-Team BRM Dallara F307 identical to the one in which Macrow punched out his 1m24.5146s lap during his mighty battle with John Magro at the Island in September 2013.
The lap – completed at an average of over 190km/hr – is the second fastest recorded at the Island, only 0.3s behind Simon Will’s 1m22.2215s outright benchmark set 15 years ago in a Formula Holden.
Formula 3 cars have closed in on Wills’ longstanding record since the circuit was resurfaced two years ago, however weather and track conditions have stopped them from having a crack the existing benchmark.
Macrow’s return isn’t just about lap records, however – it’s a concerted effort to lift Rumble’s Alpine Motor Sport outfit up in the ranks of professional Formula 3 teams.
“It’s great for the engineers to have a guy like Tim in the car because of his experience, his data and his feedback,” Rumble said.
“We want to build Alpine Motor Sport team and be a professional outfit and we thought that there would be no better way to debut our new car than have Tim in it this weekend.
“Compared to the last time Tim drove a car like this here, they have wider front tyre and should be going quicker so we’d obviously love to leave here with the lap record as well..”
Macrow said he never turned down an opportunity to drive one of Australia’s fastest racing cars.
“They’re the best cars in the country to drive, and even better at a proper ‘wings and sicks’ track like this one. There’s really nothing like a proper aero car with all the downforce and grip when you’re going across the top of Lukey Heights or past the hayshed.
“It’s also a good opportunity to come and help a guy like Dennie, who is trying to establish his team as a professional and competitive outfit within the championship. He just bought the car and would have had every reason to drive, but it’s a sign of his commitment to the sport and the series that he wanted to throw me in the car.
“If I can help give them the data and input they need to not only make the car quick, but help grow their team, then that’s great for the series and I’m only too happy to help out.”
Macrow will join an intense championship fight currently ongoing between McDonald’s Gilmour Racing driver Jon Collins and Modena Engineering racer Ricky Capo.
The pair are split by just 14 points heading into the final two rounds of the championship having traded victories across the course of the season.
R-Tek Motorsport driver Roland Legge will also be a wildcard in the title battle this weekend, having won his first championship race at Queensland Raceway last month.
Though not in contention for the title battle, Legge has rocketed to fourth place in the championship despite his limited campaign this year.
Practice and qualifying kick off Saturday’s program ahead of racing commencing early in the afternoon.
Each of the eight categories will contest at least one race tomorrow, with the Radical Australia Cup tackling a pair of sprints ahead of their longer, 40-lap enduro on Sunday.
Tickets are available at the gate for $20.00 with live timing available via the Shannons Nationals website.
A full schedule and event info are available at thenationals.com.au