This will be the first time the Shaw Vineyards New South Wales Production Touring Car Championship will be on-track in five weeks.
Like the rest of the season, the mix between sprint and endurance races will continue, with the upcoming penultimate round to feature a one-hour endurance race, before a return to sprint mode for the finale on October 24 and 25.
Looking further ahead, it’s exciting times in the Shaw Vineyards NSW Production Touring Car Championship paddock, as they get ever closer to confirming the calendar for the 2016 season.
Headlining the 2016 Season, will be the categories annual appearance at Mount Panroama, headlining the Bathurst Motor Festival, with the inaugural running of the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, which has received an extraordinary response since being announced earlier this season… massive expressions of interest from Production Car racers all around Australia, for the March 27 event.
Then, on top of that, it’s been confirmed in recent days, that the 2016 season will conclude with a rare interstate trip for the series, to be conducted at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria, on the first weekend of December.
That trip is part of the bigger picture for Production Touring Cars, with management confirming that they’re looking for expressions of interest from Queensland and Victoria, to get the series off the ground in those states, with the hope of expanding further beyond that, to South and Western Australia, as well as the Northern Territory in due course.
At State level in New South Wales, this Championship is, along with Formula Vee, consistently one of the most popular categories in the CAMS Championships.
This series has the benefits, competitive nature and fields to match that of our major National series’, but without the associated costs… the interest has never been higher, and it’s not hard to see why.
Series organisers have confirmed that drivers will be able to go racing at Winton next December, for an entry fee or just 300 dollars.
While full event details are likely to be finalised closer to the date, that meeting will feature two one-hour enduros, which will leave fans with no shortage of endurance racing to enjoy over that weekend, as it will also feature the annual HQ Holden 4-Hour.
It’s endurance racing that also features for the category next weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The series hasn’t visited the Western Sydney circuit since the first weekend of May.
On that occasion, the young star of the championship, Daniel Oosthuizen was the winner of the final race of the weekend.
Oosthuizen has since taken that form to Wakefield Park, where the last two rounds of the series have been held. Daniel managed to win the Trophy Race in the sprint meeting on June 20-21, getting the better of Dylan Thomas, who’d won the preceding two races, but it was Thomas, in the CXC Global Evo, who bounced back at the recent one-hour event, to take a commanding one lap win, and one that looked “TOO EASY” for him.
In the Club Championship, Thomas has a commanding lead in Class A1, as a result of Oosthuizen missing Round 1 of the Championship at Mount Panorama.
However, the State Championship is a far more compelling situation, as the Bathurst outing didn’t form part of that championship.
Coming into this round, Oosthuizen sits just 9 points off Thomas in the battle for Class A1, but the overall Championship is an even more captivating contest.
Because Production Touring structures its points system on the separate Classes, which is not uncommon in the NSW Championships, and not outright results, we have four drivers separated by that same nine point margin coming into the penultimate round of the season.
Steve Hodges sits second on 257 points, with Chris Reeves just two points back in third. They are also the leaders of Class A2 and D respectively, sitting right in-between Thomas (260) and Oosthuizen (251).
Hodges claimed second in class in the previous outing at Wakefield Park, behind Cary Morsink, but it’s Hodges who leads Class A2 by 39 points, from Matthew Holt, Brett Heeley (213) and Morsink (206).
Adam Proctor currently leads Class B1. No competitors in that class appeared in the last round at Wakefield Park.
In Class B2, Anthony Soole’s DNF in the endurance race at the last round of the series, has seen his lead over Mark Caine diminish to just 2 points… Going into the round, Soole had an advantage of 64, and extended it to 66 after the Saturday sprint race, but Caine’s ability to get to the chequered flag has really tightened the Championship fight.
Chris Reeves has a commanding lead in Class D, having been the only driver to have competed in every round of the 2015 championship.
Other contenders in the field include Robert Coulthard, who on his day, will run right at the front of the field, but mixed results so far this year see him further down the order than you’d usually expect.
Gerry Murphy will be looking for a better run than he had at Wakefield Park. Murphy got the worst of the track conditions in the Top 10 Shootout, and along with Michael Caine, didn’t experience much luck in the Saturday sprint races, but managed to bounce back for 6th outright in the enduro.
Murphy sits 12th outright in the Championship at present, and 5th in class.
Jacques Oosthuizen is another one to watch. He had sensational race pace at Wakefield Park in the previous round, but sadly, after handing the car over to his father, Rolouf, the brakes stopped working on the Mitsubishi Evo, and they were forced to retire… prior to retirement, that car was running as high as third, behind the other Evos driven by brother Daniel, and the race winner, Dylan Thomas.
As per usual, we’ll be treated to battles right through the field, when the Shaw Vineyards NSW Production Touring Car Championship goes racing at Sydney Motorsport Park next Sunday.