Lap records tumble at Winton State Circuit Racing round

Max Vidau broke Winton's 14-year-old Formula Ford lap record on his way to the overall round win. pics: Judi McDonald

Max Vidau broke Winton’s 14-year-old Formula Ford lap record on his way to the overall round win. pics: Judi McDonald

MEDIA RELEASE: More lap records have been broken on Winton’s high-grip new track surface at Round 4 of the CAMS Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships over the weekend, with new benchmark times recorded in six of the nine categories on the schedule.

The most significant record to fall was the Formula Ford record, which had been held by now six-time Supercars Champion Jamie Whincup for more than 14 years. Whincup’s record was broken by 15-year-old Max Vidau in Saturday afternoon’s opening Formula Ford race, before he further improved his lap times in Sunday’s second and third races.

Vidau also claimed the overall Formula Ford round victory ahead of Lucas Filikotzias and Jordan Boys.

More than two seconds were shaved off the Formula Vee record, with eight drivers setting times under the previous fastest lap around Winton. Ultimately the record fell to Blaine Grills, but it was New South Welshman Dylan Thomas who won the round after a tight contest with James Dean.

The lap record was also ferociously contested in Porsche 944 Challenge with BAC Group CEO Chris Lewis-Williams lowering the benchmark on Saturday afternoon, only for his time to be pipped by Cameron Beller in Sunday morning’s race. However, Lewis-Williams was first across the finish line in all three races, winning the round from his team-mate Vince Misuraca and Lee Partridge.

BAC Group CEO Chris Lewis-Williams won all three Porsche 944 Challenge races-

BAC Group CEO Chris Lewis-Williams won all three Porsche 944 Challenge races

Damien Mitchell won all three Saloon Car races but it was fellow Holden VT Commodore driver Tim Rowse who emerged with a new lap record as he pursued Mitchell in Race 3. Some problems for Rowse in Race 1 put paid to his chances of an overall podium result, and in the end it was David Wright (Ford AU Falcon) who finished second for the weekend ahead of the consistent Brett Pope (Holden VT Commodore).

The father-and-son combination of Nathan and Neville Blight battled it out in the Victorian Excel Series with dad Neville receiving a great Father’s Day present when he claimed the lap record in Race 3. However, it was son Nathan who won the round by taking wins in all three races.

The other lap record was set in the Sports Car races, Audi Sport Customer Racing driver Steve McLaughlan recording the fastest-ever time for a sports or GT car around Winton in his Audi R8 LMS. McLaughlan also won all three races and took the round victory from Jamie Augustine (Daytona Coupe) and Richard Mensa (Porsche 911).

The other categories on the program were Sports Sedans, Improved Production and MGs. Brett Dickie (Honda Prelude) and Ian Cowley (ex-Tasman Motorsport Commodore V8 Supercar) shared the wins in Sports Sedans, with Cowley ultimately taking the round win, while Graeme Gilliland (Mazda RX7) finished third.

Nathan Robinson (BMW E36 M3) won the Improved Production round but it wasn’t smooth sailing, with Nathan Geier (BMW E36 M3), Keven Stoopman (Datsun 120Y), Michael Cruse (Ford Escort) and Damien Milano (VY HSV GTS) all displaying front-running pace. However, spins for Stoopman and Milano took them out of the equation while Cruse retired with mechanical problems, leaving Geier to finish second overall ahead of Rob Braune (BMW E30).

Phil Chester took the round win in MGs ahead of Jason Holmes and Vincenzo Gucciardo; Glen Wood won two of the three races but finished just off the overall podium due to a DNF in Race 1.