Fuel economy looms as key to AMC format
Practice day at Queensland Raceway for the Shannons Nationals has underlined predictions that fuel economy will play a vital role in deciding the outcome of the weekend’s headline races for the Australian Manufacturers’ Championship.
Garry Holt emerged from practice fastest in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X he will share with Ryan McLeod, out-pacing the similar entry of Stuart Kostera/Inky Tulloch by 0.58s.
With a pair of 200km races set to take place on Saturday night and Sunday evening respectively, Holt says that it was the economy, not the speed, of his entry that was the most encouraging today.
“We started the day without a chance (of going through 200km without a fuel stop), but things are looking better now,” said Holt, whose car has been rebuilt since the most recent event at Phillip Island.
“We have been tuning the car all day and it’s now at a point where it’s not only quick, but not using much fuel either. We are struggling with an understeer problem but at the same time it’s fast, so it’s looking good.
“The key to the race will be fuel. If you can avoid putting fuel in you save a huge amount of time in the race, so it is critical.”
The Cam Wilson/Dave Wood WBR Team Subaru Impreza STi was third fastest today, ahead of fellow local team Sherrin Racing with their Class B BMW 135i.
An impressive performance from relative AMC newcomer Angus Chapel saw the GWS Motorsport BMW 130i fifth outright, just 1.8 seconds off the outright pace – though some of the potential race winners failed to set representative times today.
Chapel’s team-mate, Peter O’Donnell, struggled throughout the day in the sister 335i Turbo, with the car experiencing ECU difficulties across the three sessions contested.
Dylan and David Thomas spent a day testing their recently-acquired ex-TMR Australia Evo X and ended the day seventh, Tony Quinn logging just three laps in the similar VIP Petfoods car for ninth.
The two Evo’s were split by the new BMW 1 Series M driven by Beric Lynton, making its racing debut this weekend. The new BMW performed well, completing laps in each session as the brand new race car logged its first laps in anger.
Poll Performance Mitsubishi duo Jim Pollicina and Ryan Simpson practiced earlier in the day but didn’t participate in the afternoon’s 20 minute timed session.
The Kumho V8 Touring Car Series, Australian Saloon Car Series, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Radical Australia Cup, Kerrick Sports Sedans Series, Australian Superkart Championship and Australian Swift Racing Series also completed practice today ahead of a packed weekend schedule.
GT3 Cup Challenge leader Kane Rose was the only major casualty, missing the third and final practice session after finding the fence between Turns 1 and 2 earlier in the day.
The Victorian is expected to rejoin the field for qualifying tomorrow, and is hoping to wrap up the second annual Jim Richards Endurance Trophy during the 40 minute twilight race that will precede the opening 200km AMC affair.