The signature event of the Australian Formula Vee racing season returns to Queensland in 2019, with Queensland Raceway playing host to the annual ‘National Challenge’ for the first time since 2001.
It will be just the eighth time, in the 47-year history of the event, that Queensland has hosted the National Challenge – the last being 2013 (at Morgan Park).
Joining the local Queensland competitors on the grid, for the September 13-15 event, will be the best Formula Vee racers from Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania, along with a strong contingent from New South Wales.
Defending winners of the National Challenge, Michael Kinsella (1600cc) and Matthew Pearce (1200) headline a massive entry list, that also includes multiple NSW series champion, and Toyota 86 Racing Series competitor, Dylan Thomas.
It’s already been a big year of Formula Vee competition, with the National Series having already been run and won.
The championship, which was contested over twelve races, across four different venues, saw Michael Kinsella claim the 1600cc series, and Richard Gray win the 1200cc title.
While the two respective champions, Kinsella (4 wins) and Gray (7 wins) claimed the most wins across the twelve race championship, there were no less than nine different race winners in the 2019 series – five in the 1600cc division, and four in the 1200cc class.
The fight for 1600cc supremacy came down to the very last race, at Sydney Motorsport Park, with Michael Kinsella edging out fellow New South Welshman, Dylan Thomas, by just eight points.
Joining Kinsella and Thomas on the grid – from New South Wales alone – will be former 1200cc challenge winner Stephen Butcher, father and son duo, Simon and Aaron Pace, as well as Darren Williams and 2017 NSW Champion, Craig Sparke, as the men from south of the Tweed look to upstage the Queenslanders on their home turf.
Tasmania’s three-time 1200cc National Challenge winner, Wade McLean, will be out in search of his first challenge win in the 1600c class, after making the switch to the outright class at the start of 2018.
Flying the flag for the Sunshine State will be the likes of Garry Hook, Alex Hedemann and Curtis Porter, with the latter tipped to be competitive in the fight for victory come Sunday afternoon.
Porter proved stiff competition for Dylan Thomas in the opening round of the 2018 National Series – at Lakeside Park – and will be hoping to go one better in the 2019 National Challenge.
Last time the Formula Vee National Challenge was contested at Queensland Raceway, back in 2001, Gary Ogden claimed victory, and he’ll be out to repeat history in 2019. Of course, this will be the first time the Willowbank venue has hosted the National Challenge since the inception of the 1600cc class.
It’s a FINAL ONLY COUNTS format for the 2019 National Challenge, which will begin with an all-important qualifying session on Saturday morning, ahead of three heats, with the accumulated points from those three races to set the grid for the fourth and final race of the weekend, to be held on Sunday afternoon.
The Queensland Formula Vee Committee wishes all competitors the best of luck, and extends many thanks to the interstate competitors, without whom this event would not be possible.
Any spectators with questions and interest in Formula Vee don’t hesitate to come and ask.