After a three-and-a-half month summer break, the Korean War of Motorsport returns to the track this weekend, with the first of seven rounds for 2020.
First up, we return to where 2019 finished – Queensland Raceway – where the category serves as the main drawcard for the first Queensland Racing Drivers Championship (QRDC) meeting of the season.
For 2020, the category welcomes EFS 4×4 Accessories on board, as the naming rights sponsor of the Excel Cup, on the back of their successful partnership for the endurance races last year.
Category manager, Brett Peters said “After partnering with the Excel Cup for last year’s enduro races, EFS 4 x 4 Accessories saw that the Excel Cup was a perfect opportunity to showcase the EFS brand within the local Motorsport community. EFS have everything you require for towing your race car, or heading out in your 4WD.”
Along with existing sponsors – Castrol, Dunlop and Disc Brakes Australia (DBA) – the category also welcomes Herron Accountants on board for this season.
With two offices – one in North Lakes, and the other in Fortitude Valley – Herron Accountants is a leading provider of professional accounting, taxation and compliance, business consultancy and self-managed superannuation advice and services. Business owner Mark Herron already looks after numerous motorsport teams’ businesses.
Excel racing is the fastest growing grass roots category in Australian Motorsport, and the EFS Excel Cup has been at the forefront of that growth in the last few years, and 2020 will be no different, with a field of 25 set to contest this opening round.
The category is a favourite with spectators and commentators alike – the close racing ensures quality entertainment for us, but for the drivers, it’s a tremendous category in which to hone their racecraft. You’ll see slipstreaming, constant nose-to-tail action, and no shortage of overtaking – both inside and out. They mightn’t be the fastest car on the race track, but they always deliver a spectacle that captures the attention of EVERY race fan.
The grid for this weekend is headlined by the BPRO duo, of 2019 Series X3 Queensland champion, Cameron Bartholomew, and 2019 TAA Excel Cup champion, Scott Green.
Bartholomew and Green replace regular drivers, Brett Parrish and Darren Whittington for this weekend.
On the back of his championship triumph, Scott Green was due to turn his attention back to Production Car racing for 2020, but insists his return to the Excel Cup is a one-off for the moment.
Also back on the grid this weekend, is the 2017 champion, Cam Wilson, but it isn’t yet known whether we’ll see him for the full season or not.
The other notable absentee this weekend is young gun Broc Feeney, who’ll return to the grid later in the season, but the 2019 Super3 champion has stepped up to Super2, and will be contesting the opening round of that championship, in Adelaide this weekend.
In recent years, the Excel Cup has established itself as a breeding ground for younger competitors, who are looking to make the transition from Karts to circuit racing, and 2020 is no different, with some new names joining the fold – namely Tristian and Dalton Ellery, Riley Beggs, and also James Simpson.
These fresh faces join the growing group of youthful talent, that we’ve seen in action over the last couple of seasons.
Holly Espray returns, and will fly the flag for the ladies once again, and also returning is Joshua Richards.
Richards grabbed his first race win during the final round of the 2019 season, and will be looking for more race wins in 2020. He’s still running the #557, but it’ll be a new look for him this year, although not a new livery to the series as a whole.
This is the first of only seven rounds for the season – one less than 2019 – but there’s still plenty to be excited about, with the EFS 185km enduro coming up at the end of August, while the legendary Lakeside Park will play host to a State of Origin style Excel Festival later in the season. We’ll have more details on that in the coming months, so stay tuned for that.
As for this weekend, it’s a bumper FIVE race program, which means a vital 125 points are on the line first up in 2020.
The first four races will be 10-lap affairs, while race five will be double that – a 20-lapper (62.4km) – in what will be the longest sprint race contested at QR, since Race 5 of Round 3 in 2017. That race, won by Daniel Peasey, became an instant classic, and we expect Race 5 this weekend will do the same.
It promises to be a sensational season of Excel racing. Cars hit the circuit for unofficial practice on Friday, before Qualifying and the opening two races on Saturday, before three more on Sunday, and the category has the privilege of closing out the on-track action, on both days of racing, ensuring the weekend will end on a high note.
For more information on the new sponsors of the EFS Excel Cup, simply visit their websites.
The EFS Excel Cup is proudly supported by: EFS 4×4 Accessories, Castrol, Dunlop, Disc Brakes Australia, and Herron Accountants.