The 2021 NSW Production Touring Cars Championship commences at Wakefield Park this weekend, with a quality line-up of drivers and teams set to contest the Massel One-Hour.
Reigning series champion Daniel D’Aquino won the overall NSW PTC title last year by chalking up numerous race victories in Class B2. However, D’Aquino’s preparations for his title defence have not been all smooth sailing as he has been trying to sort some electrical issues with his VE Commodore SS in time for this weekend.
D’Aquino aside, there are several other drivers who will be showcasing some of the finest examples of Aussie muscle, including Matthew Holt (HSV Clubsport R8), Scott O’Meley (Ford BF Falcon), Paul Pearson and Glen Wilson (both in VE Commodore SSs).
The Virag family have also entered their VF Commodore SS but Corrine Virag has vacated the driver’s seat in favour of her father Tony, and partner Liam, who will team up for the enduro.
Encouragingly, several new cars will make their first on-track appearances this weekend. Adam Gosling has recently completed the build of his 2018 Honda Civic Type R, which is set for its race debut. The Type R’s nimble handling should make it ideally suited to the Wakefield Park circuit.
The “hot hatch” brigade is also represented Stewart Follows’ Ford Fiesta ST, the Mike Ferns/Cody McKay VW Polo GTI and Carl Climan’s HSV Astra VXR.
The entry list includes no less than three VW Sciroccos; in addition to local driver Chris Reeves, Queenslanders Paul Keeffer and the husband-and-wife duo of Peter and Robin Lacey are making the journey south for the season-opening endurance race.
In terms of contenders for outright race victories, Wakefield Park is typically a circuit that suits the all-wheel-drive vehicles, and this weekend’s cool conditions should suit turbocharged machines such as Dimitri Agathos’ FullGas Racing Subaru WRX STi.
BMWs have become an increasingly popular vehicle of choice for NSW PTC in recent years and Anthony Soole should be a front-runner this weekend in his M4, along with the talented David Krusza in his 135i.
After some challenging rounds during the 2020 season, Brent Howard returns to the track this weekend with Garth Walden sharing the driving duties aboard his BMW M3.
A significant point of interest this weekend will be tyre selection, with the open tyre rule now in place for the championship. Competitors are permitted to use either medium or hard compound tyres from an approved list of brands; with cold conditions expected at Wakefield Park this weekend, most competitors are expected to choose the medium option.
There have also been some slight tweaks to the compulsory pit stop rules for endurance races: the pit window is now open between 10 minutes and 50 minutes into the race, competitors are not permitted to commence their compulsory pit stops during a Safety Car period and the previous wheel change has been abolished in favour of a mandatory 60-second stationary time requirement.
This weekend’s action will be live streamed via Blend Line TV.