Upcoming Round

NEXT RACE – Round 1

Round 1
Track: Sydney Motorsport Park
Date: 16th March 2018
Length 3.93km
Turns: 11
F3 Lap Record: 1:22.6290

2017 Season Preview

Formula Race Cars Ready to Roll at Wakefield Park in 2017

It’s been almost 6 month since their last outing and there are a number of super-keen drivers eager to put on a good show when Formula Race Cars hit the track for the first time in 2017 as part of the NSW Motor Race Championship race meeting at Wakefield Park on the weekend of 1 & 2 April.

For the uninitiated, Formula Race Cars is a category for ‘wings and slicks’ open-wheel racing cars, that are awesome to drive and easily the best bang for your buck in terms of performance at the state level. At the tight and twisty Wakefield Park they never fail to put on a great show.

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The 2017 season promises to be a cracker. With 2016 Outright Champion Nathan Gotch running only at selected rounds it opens up the possibility of a championship for a number of other competitors.

At Wakefield Park however they will need to deal with Dennie Rumble, a National Series regular having his first outing in the State Championship as Alpine Motorsport warm up for this year’s F3 Premier Series. Dennie is being a little bit coy about which of the team’s cars will be running – it might be the F307 Dallara that Tim Macrow drove to the F3 Premier Series title in 2016, or it might be a shakedown for their newly acquired 2nd car – either way Dennie is likely to be the pace-setter and the State Championship lap record of 56.3 seconds could be under threat if the new Hankook tyres are as grippy as everyone suggests.

While Rumble will start as favourite there are plenty of drivers in the field capable of keeping Rumble honest.  Graeme Holmes and Rod Brincat staged a great battle in the final round of 2016 at Sydney Motorsport Park in their very evenly matched Dallara F304’s, and it’s likely that they will take up where they left off.  Holmes ended with 3 wins that weekend – including two master classes in the rain – and has won more Formula Race Car races than anyone except Gotch.  Brincat has less experience in the F304 but has improved at each outing, so it will be interesting to see this battle develop. Any slip up from Rumble and they’re both capable of knocking him off (figuratively not literally – fortunately the silly stuff is not a regular feature in Formula Race Cars).

As Wakefield is not such a high-aero circuit, the older Dallara F301’s may also still be in the frame, as we saw in the corresponding round last year with Greg Muddle and Aaron McClintock putting on a great show fighting for the minor placings together with Andrew Wlodek in his Dallara F307.  Both Muddle and McClintock subsequently had season ending engine failures, but both are back with fresh donks and more ‘holmespower’ Graeme Holmes having done his magic on both engines, something that he might regret if they are battling for position.

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Wlodek shouldn’t be discounted either.  Consistent performances in 2015 and 2016 have seen him finish 3rd and 2nd outright in the Championship over the last two years, and he’ll be hopeful of rounding out the sequence in 2017 with a 1st. More importantly for the spectators, the Wlodek F307 was involved in epic contests almost every time it was on the track in 2016, so it’s worth following for the action.  Also running a Dallara F307 is Ron Coath, who was the only man other than Gotch and Holmes to bag a race victory in 2016 and has reportedly been putting in some test miles at Wakefield Park so we can expect to see Ron closing in on the front runners.

Loz Katsidis in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304 is another driver who was quick at Wakefield Park last year, before settling into some consistent performances to bag the class based Championship. The car has undergone some secret servicing in a last minute dash to Melbourne, we’re not sure what go-fast parts have been installed but be assured he’ll be ready to go hard in 2017. Rob Sviderskas will be back, also in a Dallara F304, having finished 2016 with some gremlins Rob will be looking for an improved performance in 2017.

Joining Graeme Holmes on the long march north are our two Mexican amigos – Rodrigo Anderson (Reynard 893) and Juan Boothman (Dallara F301). They don’t often come to Wakefield Park and it might take a while for them to remember it (tip: turn left at the dummy grid and follow the black stuff) but they are both very experienced steerers and enjoy knocking off the younger blokes at every opportunity.

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Anderson will have noted ‘engine whisperer’ Keith Sparks with him, so he should have the car to challenge for ‘Class B’ (pre-96 cars) honours, but he’ll have his work cut out.  Perennial pace-setter Glenn Lynch’s Dallara F397 may have over 10,000 documented miles on his engine (yes folks, he can give you a full account) but he’ll be competitive.  I suspect the motor is heavily compensated by the gusto that Lynchy brings to the steering, and as a consequence he’s always great to watch.

Kevin Lewis in the Toyota powered Dallara F396 will also be in the mix, as will Phil Morrow in the VW powered Reynard 923.  Phil had a difficult run with the car in 2016 – who’d have thought there were so many ways for oil to leave an engine? – but there were glimpses of what he’s capable of and we’re all eager to see more.  Rounding out the Class B cars is Denis Lesslie in the ex- Mika Hakkinen Ralt RT30 Honda.  We’ll see Denis in his new Dallara F304 later in the season, but for now it’s nice to see the very pretty Ralt back on the track.

Rodney Baker joins the field in 2017, having made a guest appearance in a Ralt RT30 Formula 2 car in last year’s City of Goulburn Cup Rodney is stepping up to Formula 3 in the ex-Darren Choon F301, a welcome addition to the field and someone to watch once he had a couple of outings to get familiar with the car (the ‘test program’ largely consisting of a seat pouring and towing the car to Goulburn on the Friday morning of race weekend).

There’s a few absent friends from this meeting, notably FRCA Presidenté Ross McAlpine who has gone from having a fleet to having no car in quick time, hopefully Ross’ itchy feet will see him in new wheels soon.

There’s also some exciting prospects around the corner.  We have the F3 Premier Series Boys (Australia’s Fastest Racing Cars) joining us for two rounds later in the season.  And, after some absence from the ranks, there’s the chance of not one but two awesome Formula 4000’s joining us later in the season.

There’s also a number of cars for sale if you’d like to join the action, with something to suit most budgets and performance levels.  Speak to any of the FRCA competitors at Wakefield Park to find out about racing with FRCA, is a move you won’t regret.

2016 City of Goulburn Cup

Australian Formula 3 Management has today announced that the City of Goulburn Cup for Wakefield Park’s fastest racing cars will be awarded again in 2016 after coming to an agreement with the NSW Formula Race Car Association (FRCA).

After a successful inaugural 2015 event that saw the National Championship Formula 3 cars lower the outright lap record at the circuit, Formula 3 cars will again duel for the trophy at Wakefield Park on the weekend of 20-21 August. The Formula 3 cars will run as part of the New South Wales-based Formula Race Car category, Australia’s premier state-based category for modern “wings-and-slicks” open-wheel racing cars, including Formula 3 cars.

“We’re pleased to be able to facilitate an arrangement where the City of Goulburn trophy can continue to be awarded to cars representing Australia’s fastest motor racing category,” said Ian Richards, Category Manager of Australian Formula 3. “The track last year put on the best racing of the National Championship, and I’m sure with a special trophy on the line the Formula Race Car teams will be laying it on the line.”

Ross McAlpine, President of the Formula Race Car Association was equally enthused. “Firstly we’d like to thank Australian Formula 3 for passing the cup to us as we continue to collaborate with them to raise open wheel racing’s profile in Australia. We already have a number of our competitors planning to lift this trophy as it provides something extra for our competitors to aim for. “Coupled with Blendline TV’s upcoming broadcast of this event, we see this becoming our marquee race each year and we look forward to putting on a great event at the Goulburn’s fantastic Wakefield Park Raceway for many years to come. ”

Wakefield Park Operations Manager Matt Baragwanath is excited about the prestigious trophy returning to the nation’s spectator track after a successful introduction last year. “The City of Goulburn Cup was a real coup for the venue, and we were lucky enough to welcome Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Geoff Kettle to present the trophy to last year’s winner. “We look forward to again being able to award the City of Goulburn Cup to the winner of the marquee race for the very fastest cars that race around Wakefield Park.”

Last year, members of the public were fortunate enough to be treated to an up-close look at a couple of Formula 3 cars which were parked on display in Belmore Park prior to the event, and it is highly likely a similar appearance will take place in 2016, with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

The 20-21 August race meeting will also include a selection of other popular motorsport categories including a round of the national Formula Ford series, along with Formula Vee, Improved Production, HQ Holdens, Production Touring Cars, Supersports and Superkarts.

Summer Shakedown – Newsletter

FRCA Summer Shakedown
21 February 2016
Sydney Motorsport Park Druitt Circuit

 

Run in conjunction with the Festival of Sporting Cars, the Summer Shakedown was our first event outside the State Championship for some time and proved to be well worth the effort, especially for those looking to get some seat time in their new cars ahead of the Championship opener at Wakefield Park in two weeks’ time.

With a regularity and two ‘points’ races the event was designed to reward consistency over outright speed and together with  the FoSC approach – relaxed, competitor friendly and not too focussed on technicalities – it was a return to the fun of Club level racing.

Eighteen entries – about two third of which were either having their first competitive run in new machinery or renewing acquaintance with old machinery after a long absence – were reduced to 15 cars on the day:  unfortunately both Ron Coath and Richard Scarcella had minor issues with their cars and we were deprived of both our ’07 Dallaras; and the meeting was probably a week too early for Tom Brickley’s Kaditcha to be ready.

 

First up was Qualifying, and it was the two Lynch cars out in front, with Glenn taking pole at the wheel of the ’98 in its new gold livery and son Chris making a far-to-infrequent appearance in the yellow car.  In third we had Lawrence Katsidis in the first of the ‘new’ ’04 Dallaras, with Rodney Brincat taking it easier and qualifying the other in 7th.  In between the two ‘04s were Aaron McClintock in his Dallara, out for the first time in 12 months and using the time to bed in tyres and brakes ahead of the Championship;  Al Palmer in the TOMS Toyota who had some rear suspension issues; and Luc Botton having his first run in the ex-Kevin Lewis Cheetah Mk.8. 

From 8th to 11th we had invited guests in sports cars, most notably Justin McClintock in the Galloway Sports 1300 (thankfully it didn’t rain and we were saved the embarrassment of Justin giving us a lesson). Behind them were the Morrow brothers –Phil in the Mix ‘n’ Match Reynard, sporting the red livery but with the yellow car’s rear end; and Shayne in his PRS Ford AF2.  Rounding out the field were Greg Muddle in the Ralt RT30, which was parked after qualifying with fuel problems; and Ross McAlpine the ’97 Dallara with the For Sale sign, a split fuel hose keeping out of qualifying but it was repaired for later in the day .

 

Our first event was run as a regularity, and given the number of laps he’s turned in the car it was not surprising to see Justin McClintock was at the top of the list, marginally ahead of brother Aaron.  Third was Luc Botton, coming to grips with the Cheetah very quickly, ahead of Glenn Lynch, Lawrence Katsidis and Craig Watson driving a Westfield XTR2 sports car.  Al Palmer, who many would have picked to be the most consistent, unfortunately missed the session repairing his car and Rodney Brincat had to park it half way through with an air filter failure.

 I’m not sure there was a complete understanding of the regularity concept, with most of the field taking the opportunity to see by how much they could beat their nominated time and a number managing to do it by some margin!   However most were grateful for an extra run before racing began in earnest.

 

Time thento go racing proper, and from the rolling start Glenn Lynch led the field away, with both Aaron McClintock (inside) and Lawrence Katsidis (outside) pushing hard for position. It didn’t take long for the red mist to descend, and as a result Lawrence found a fair amount of grass on the way down to turn 2 – unsurprisingly it didn’t prove to be the quickest way there, with Aaron passing Glenn for the lead, ahead of the Turn Two Guru, Al Palmer, Chris Lynch and Lawrence falling back to 5th.  At the end of the first lap they were followed by Luc Botton, Ross McAlpine charging hard from the rear of the field, Justin McClintock, Rod Brincat dropping a couple of spots, and Craig Watson in the Westfield in 10th

Lap 2 saw both McAlpine and Watson undo their good work with offs, sending them to rear of field, while Brincat and Simon Bathgate in the Radical SR3 made gains to 8th and 9th respectively. Closer to the front Chris Lynch and Katsidis continued to put pressure on Palmer, but on lap 3 Lynch had a moment which resulted in Katsidis moving to 4th.

On lap 5 McClintock slowed and eventually retired, stopping in response to an oil pressure warning light.  This left Glenn Lynch well ahead of the rest of the field and able to cruise home easily for a win. Katsidis had chased down Palmer and taken 2nd, and Chris Lynch had also recovered to hold 3rd and was challenging strongly for 2nd close to the end of the race.  Brincat continued to work through the field to finish 5th behind Palmer, with Justin McClintock, Bathgate, McAlpine (despite further misadventures) Phil Morrow and Graeme Hayles in the Royale Sports 2000 rounding out the top 10.  Botton retired after running strongly, purely a precautionary measure ahead of the big Historic meeting at Phillip Island in a few weeks.

As noted however, this was a ‘point’ race with drivers rewarded for improving lap times, and maintaining gaps or improving places, so finishing positions were not the most important factor.  In the wash-up, after Rick had run the details through his super-computer, the race winners were Glenn Lynch in the Outright Class and Ross McAlpine in the Cup Class, the rear-of-grid start proving to be a useful tactic!.

 

The final race saw a very unusual turn of events and something we don’t often see in FRCA:  Team Orders!  Experiencing brake issues in the gold car, Glenn chose to take over the yellow car for the final event, leaving Chris without a drive.  Until that point Chris had been faster……. let’s hope Chris is not forced to sit out the season for making the novice error of being quicker that the team’s ‘No.1’ driver.

Somehow Glenn managed to start from pole in a replacement car (a tactical error in that he could have scored heavily by charging through the field) and he led the field away with Katsidis, Palmer, and Brincat following closely, ahead of what turned out to be an ‘interesting’ Turn 1 further back in the field.  The Sports 2000 of Hayles and the Westfield of Watson came into contact, twice, resulting in Hayles’ car spinning across the front of both Phil Morrow’s Reynard and Bathgate’s Radical – a very near miss for Phil (“I ducked” he said – mind you there’s not a lot of spare space in that cockpit to duck into) and narrowly avoiding major contact with Bathgate took avoiding action and found himself in the kitty litter.

Aaron McClintock made his way through the field to be 4th at the end of the first lap, moving ahead of Palmer on lap 2 and then ahead of Katsidis on lap 5, but had no realistic chance of reeling in Lynch in 7 laps. Katsidis kept station with Lynch in the early part of the race but lost ground once he had to deal with McClintock.  Behind them Brincat tailed Palmer for the whole race, with never much more than a second in it, but finding a way past proved difficult, especially as Turn 2 is the main opportunity and you’re unlikely to get the Guru there.  McAlpine, Justin McClintock and Phil Morrow were the remaining finishers on the lead lap.  The ‘points’ in the Outright Class went to Glenn Lynch ahead of the consistently improving Rod Brincat, whilst Al Palmer won the Cup Class.

 

So at the end of the day the Summer Shakedown Cup went as follows:

  

Reg.

Race 1

Race 2

Total

Open Class

     

Glenn Lynch

Dallara F398 / F397

12

15

15

42

Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301

15

5

10

30

Lawrence Katsidis

Dallara F304

10

12

8

30

Rod Brincat

Dallara F304

5

10

12

27

Craig Watson

Westfield XTR2

8

8

5

21

Simon Bathgate

Radical SR3

6

6

6

18

      

Cup Class

     

Ross McAlpine

Dallara F397

8

15

12

35

Justin McClintock

Galloway Sports 1300

15

12

8

35

Phil Morrow

Reynard 923

10

8

10

28

Al Palmer

TOMS Toyota 036F

0

10

15

25

Luc Botton

Cheetah Mk8

12

3

0

15

Chris Lynch

Dallara F397

5

6

0

11

Graham Hayles

Royale RP42 Sports 2000

6

5

0

11

Shayne Morrow

PRS Formula 2

4

4

0

8

 

And for those interested in who did what times, the fastest times of the day were:

Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301

1:02.304

Glenn Lynch

Dallara F397

1:02.720

Chris Lynch

Dallara F397

1:02.735

Lawrence Katsidis

Dallara F304

1:04.322

Al Palmer

TOMS Toyota 036F

1:04.540

Rodney Brincat

Dallara F304

1:04.680

Ross McAlpine

Dallara F397

1:06.427

Luc Botton

Ransburg Cheetah

1:08.110

Simon Bathgate

Radical SR3

1:08.245

Phil Morrow

Reynard 923

1:09.099

Justin McClintock

Galloway Sports 1300

1:09.234

Graham Hayles

Royale RP42 Sports 2000

1:13.737

Craig Watson

Westfield XTR2

1:15.096

Shane Morrow

PRS F2

1:17.236

 

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