Australian Production Car Series clarifies class structure

Mat Coch

Wednesday 16th May, 2018 - 1:21pm

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Australian Production Car Series pic: Speed Shots Photography

The Australian Production Car Series has confirmed a review of its class structure is being undertaken by CAMS as part of a wider class structure review of production car racing nationally.

Kicking off its 2018 season at Sandown last weekend, the category has since issued a statement following claims from within the class that an urgent review was needed.

FullGas Racing drivers Lachlan Gibbons and Dimitri Agathos made statements on Monday calling for a review of the structure after the pair could manage no better than 11th in any of the four races in their A1 Class Subaru WRX STi.

“I lost six positions off the start, before I even reached the first corner,” Gibbons said.

“There’s only so much time we can make up through the corners and under brakes, and it’s nowhere near enough to compensate for our lack of straight-line performance.

“I know the production car series is not a parity formula, but you need to ensure classes consist of cars that are roughly equivalent in performance.

“We’re not opposed to cars like the Lotus Exige and Porsche Cayman coming into the series, but to expect us to compete directly against those cars in Class A1, when we’re losing up to 40km/h to them on the straights, is just not fair.”

“The idea of production car racing should be to encourage variety and diversity of machinery, and the fields are healthy at the moment, there’s no doubt about that,” added Agathos.

“But if teams feel they can’t be competitive because the class structure isn’t properly balanced, people will lose interest.

“We understand they probably can’t make any changes to the regulations this year, but we would implore the series organisers to conduct a review into the class structure and communicate with their competitor base, to come up with a revised system for the 2019 series.”

Australian Production Cars responded with its own statement, outlining the fact a review was already taking place.

“As has been communicated to a number of teams, racers and interested parties over the recent months and as recently as at the weekend’s APC season-opener, CAMS is currently leading a review of class structures across the entire Australian production car community (including but not limited to the APC),” a statement from the Australian Production Car Series read.

“It is likely that a new class structure will be introduced in the future, potentially in 2019.

“Please note that this class structure review commenced earlier in 2018, and prior to the event just held at Sandown Raceway at the weekend.”

In the same statement, category manager Iain Sherrin moved to explain the intricacies of the review process, which sees the category work alongside CAMS.

“Anyone who has asked me about class structures in the recent months has been informed that the class structure is under review currently, and that we are working with CAMS to create a structure that will best reflect the current production car racing community,” said Sherrin.

“It is likely that in 2019 a new class structure will be introduced, and the APC can confirm this message has been communicated to any interested parties who have asked about the future of the classes for the APC over the last few months.”

Commenting on social media, Gibbons admitted he was aware of the category’s position before the team issued its statement on Monday.

“I was informed of the review at the track but as this was not publicly announced we felt anyone interested in joining the series for 2018/19 needed to be aware that this was the case,” Gibbons wrote on Monday night.

“People usually prepare or buy cars assuming they will stay in the class they are currently in, and while we would welcome another Subaru (at least then we’d have someone to race), if someone gets on thinking it will stay in A1 and it doesn’t then they will have wasted their money if they intended to race a car in the highest class.”

The Australian Production Car Series has witnessed strong growth in the last two seasons, along with a number of new cars such as the BMW M4 and Lotus Exige.

Those have been allowed onto the grid after the price cap was raised from $125,000 to $150,000, a change that occurred at the start of the 2014 season when the competition was still run as the Australian Manufacturers Championship.

“We are a class based category; you can buy a car from $10k to $150k and your car fits into and competes in the relevant class,” Sherrin wrote on social media.

“The $150k door was opened years ago and once it’s done it’s done. Just like the Evo X RS would not be allowed in under the current 3E rules, it was allowed in years ago and now its here to stay.

“Also, we award first, second and third in every class and at the end of the season each class has their national series champion.

“Once the class review is done then it will better competition throughout the classes again but to get it right this is something that can not be done overnight.

“That said, it is impossible to please everyone when it comes to classes and two production cars are never the same i.e. drivers, car setup, car build, etc.”

Australian Production Cars falls under CAMS’ 3E technical regulations, which encompasses touring, sports and utility cars.

At Sandown last weekend the series boasted a grid of 48 cars, only three of which were newly eligible production sports cars.

The Australian Production Car Series hosts its second round at Queensland Raceway, which will see two 300km races, on July 27-29.

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