With memories of the close finish to the 2017 Radical Australia Cup season still fresh in the mind of crews, the 2018 season has quickly come around again with the Bathurst 12 Hour to start the new season.
For the RAC regulars though, they will face more than just Australia’s most daunting and respected circuit when they arrive in Bathurst, they will also face the most successful driver in the history of the category – three-time and reigning Radical Australia Cup champion Peter Paddon.
Paddon will be back in the #1 FIRST FOCUS SR3 for Bathurst where he understands he’ll need to turn in another flawless run to prevent any of his championship rivals from upstaging his near perfect record.
“I love Bathurst,” said Paddon.
“I’m not sure why, but it seems to suit my driving style, so I’m always overjoyed to see the pre-season announcement that we’re starting the new year at Mount Panorama. But whilst I have been successful there in the past, we have some very good drivers in the Cup and you can never rest on history – they’ll throw everything they have at me in 2018!”
Third the last two seasons, David Crampton is one driver who will take the fight to Paddon in his new Vantage Freight SR3RSX. For Bathurst though, Crampton will not contest both races alone, the Sydney-sider also making his debut in the Bathurst 12 Hour in a GT4 car, so he has opted to share driving duties with Anthony Davis, a driver with good experience who is likely to keep the #3 car at the pointy end of the field.
Kim Burke is always an outright chance in his RSX, having been able to apply serious pressure to Paddon in past seasons, an updated car and the call of Bathurst likely to push the experienced campaigner closer to the front, but he won’t be on his own!
Peter White and Nick Kelly are two drivers who are well known to Radical fans, both are former competitors – most recently in SR8 competition – and both are experienced campaigners in both Radical and GT cars, including Bathurst, although much of their time has been behind the wheel of the V8-powered machines that are no longer eligible for the Radical Australia Cup prompting their return to the SR3.
The teams will get their first chance to circulate Mount Panorama in anger on Friday, 2 February, with a single 30-minute session for practice and qualifying at 10:05am, before the first 45-minute race at 3:10pm. The second of the two 45-minute races – both of which will feature a compulsory mid-race pit stop – will be contested on Saturday (3 February) at 1:50pm.