A massive 44 car field will tackle this weekend’s third round of the NSW Production Touring Cars Championship, a day/night endurance event at Sydney Motorsport Park.
While much of the attention will be on the outright contenders in Classes X and A1, the championship standings are currently led by Liam Cade, who has staged some impressive performances in his Class D VW Golf to establish a 20-point lead over fellow Class D runners Stewart Follows (Ford Fiesta ST) and Michael Ferns (VW Polo GTI).
Once again, the Class D cars can be expected to have their own hot contest in the mid-pack, but if there is any wet weather on Saturday evening, they have the potential to mix it with the more powerful cars, as Follows demonstrated at Wakefield Park where he hauled his Fiesta into the top 10.
In terms of contenders for outright victories, the Anthony Soole/Adam Burgess and Simon Hodges BMW M4s can’t be discounted, but Paul Pearson is also continuing to make big strides with his Class X HSV GTS, improving every time he takes to the track.
There are a number of potential outright winners in Class A1 as well, including Matt Boylan, Dean Campbell and Tyler Mecklem/Hadrian Morrall in their Mitsubishi Evos and also the GWR Mercedes A45A AMGs of the experienced Garth Walden/Michael Auld and Michael Sheargold/Alex Bryden.
In Class A2, Prod Touring veteran Matt Holt will be hard to beat, while the Class B1 fight looks to be between the talented David Krusza (BMW 135i) and always-enthusiastic Adam Gosling (Honda Civic Type R).
In Class B2, the father/daughter combination of Tony/Corrine Virag will be hard to beat in their VF Commodore SS-V Redline, the newest car in the class.
Turbocharged, front-wheel drive cars are the popular choice in Class C, with a fleet of VW Sciroccos driven by an assortment of drivers including Paul Keeffer/Matilda Mravicic and Sydney lawyer Robert Bryden, while regular NSW Production Sports Porsche racer Nathan Halstead also makes an appearance in a Scirocco driving alongside Patrick Navin.
Outside the Scirocco collective, the well-driven HSV Astra VXR of Carl Climan will be a contender in Class C, as will the always dependable John Fitzgerald in the Garry Mennell-owned BMW 130i, the only rear-wheel-drive car in the class.
Aside from the aforementioned front-runners in Class D, there are also three Toyota 86s and a couple of other VW Polos, while the field is rounded out by Hayden Auld in the GWR Australia-prepared Hyundai Excel, the sole entrant in Class E.
One of the big talking points for Saturday night’s enduro will be tyre degradation, with the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit’s constant-radius corners renowned for punishing rubber, with the front-right corner especially prone to torture.
Qualifying will be held on Saturday morning, with Saturday afternoon’s two sprint races and Saturday evening’s endurance race to be shown live on Blend Line TV.