Prototypes contenders itching for huge season
After more than six months since Jason Makris was crowned the champion of 2018, the Australian Prototype Series is finally back this weekend.
With the Shannons Nationals to host the series’ first round at Sydney Motorsport Park, there is a lot to look forward to as 15 drivers prepare for a huge round.
Leading the charge is the reigning champion himself in Makris and the Queenslander is confident the season is going to be one of the best in recent times.
“I have a feeling it’s going to be bigger, better and badder than last year and I can’t wait to defend the title,” Makris said.
“It looks like there is a larger field this season with the inclusion of some new entries, as well as a growth in Wolf Racing Cars.”
Makris is one of many drivers to update his wheels ahead of the season, joining 2017 champion Mark Laucke and rookie Daniel Gonzalez as the series’ Wolf Tornado drivers.
John-Paul Drake and David Barram will also be looking to spoil Makris’ party with the former coming extremely close to multiple round wins in 2018 and finish the year in fourth place.
While Gonzalez will be confident of going big in the outright results thanks to his new purchase, the Western Australian will also be fighting for Hankook Cup glory against South Australian Mark Short and Glen Stallbaum from Queensland.
The biggest class of the category will be the Radicals with nine drivers entered into the round.
Peter Paddon is the obvious choice for one the round favourites with the Radical pilot claiming top honours in round one last year and ending the year in 12th, even after competing in just one other round.
Despite Paddon being one of the big names for Radicals and the APS, he will also have his work cut out for him through the likes of fellow class drivers Chris Perini, Stephen Champion and Queenslander Carmelo Bonaventura.
Entering his second year behind the wheel of a Radical, Bonaventura feels right at home with his open wheeler, believing the Prototype Series is one of the best categories out there.
“I love the Radical. The power and the handling is awesome, it’s like a go-kart on steroids,” Bonaventura explained.
“As for the series, the Prototype is Le Mans style. You can’t get a better race car in my opinion and you can’t get a better feel behind the wheel than with these things.”
Rounding out the Radical class are series regulars Peter Clare and Bill Medland, Michael Whiting, Zig Fuhrmeister and Simon Meade who is registered for the first time since 2017.
Following two Friday practice sessions, the APS is the first cab off the rank on Saturday with qualifying first thing in the morning. A 35-minute race on Saturday afternoon is backed up on Sunday with a shorter 25-minute race.
Fans unable to attend Sydney Motorsport Park for the first round of the Shannons Nationals can watch free through the live stream on thenationals.com.au.