Open-wheelers to add National flavour to Queensland Raceways events this April.
South-East Queensland’s Motorsport fans won’t be waiting until July for their first taste of national level competition in 2018, with no less than three national series’ set to visit the Queensland Raceways venues next month.
In what will be a treat for fans trackside, the nation’s premier open-wheel championships will hit the Queensland Raceways venues, supporting the opening QRDC event at Lakeside Park (April 6-8), and the annual Ipswich Festival of Cars at Queensland Raceway (April 20-22).
For the first time in many years, the Australian Formula Vee series will visit Queensland, with the opening round of the series being held at Lakeside Park, from April 6-8.
Two weeks later, BOTH the Australian Formula 3 and Australian Formula Ford Series will headline a massive support card for the opening round of the Queensland Endurance Championship, the Willowbank 300, at Queensland Raceway.
It will be the second consecutive year in which the categories have featured on the card of a Queensland Raceways/RACERS sanctioned event. Last year, the Formula Ford series visited in July, featuring on the bill at the fourth QRDC event of 2017, while Formula 3 visited in September, joining the Superkart Nationals on the QRDC 5 bill.
There’s no disputing Formula Ford’s place of importance in the history of Australian motorsport.
For years, the category has served as a breeding ground for the development of the stars of the future, and continues to do so in 2018.
Australia’s own 9-time Formula 1 Grand Prix race winner, Mark Webber, first rose to prominence in Formula Ford, as did a host of drivers currently competing in the Supercars championship.
This year, Queensland Raceway plays host to the second round, of an expanded seven-round season. The 2017 event saw Cameron Shields emerge victorious, following a weekend long fight with title contenders, Hunter McElrea, and, the eventual champion, Max Vidau. While Vidau won’t be returning to Formula Ford in 2018, having secured a drive in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Shields and McElrea will, and are tipped to do battle for outright honours once again.
The second round of the season will be Formula Ford’s twentieth visit to Queensland Raceway – a circuit they’ve visited every year since it first opened back in 1999.
The round will also mark the start of the three-round Kent 1600 series for 2018.
Cameron Shields will be on double duty across the Willowbank 300 weekend, running in both national classes, Formula Ford and Formula 3. Shields won the national class championship in 2016, and will contest the premier class this season, running with Gilmour Racing.
The Formula 3 series commenced at Winton earlier this month, where Shields won Races 1 and 3, and his main rival, his main threat in the championship, Harri Jones took the win in Race 2.
Formula Vee has a reputation for producing tight pack racing, often resulting in thrilling battles and close finishes, and the opening national round at Lakeside next weekend will be no different.
Michael Kinsella enters 2018 as the defending champion, and can expect to face stiff competition from the likes of Dylan Thomas, Aaron Pace and Darren Williams across the weekend, and throughout the season.
Following on from Lakeside, the series will head to the brand new Tailem Bend circuit, in South Australia (June 9-10), and then onto Sydney Motorsport Park (June 30), before the series concludes at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth on September 15 and 16.
The Lakeside round will double as a round of the Queensland state series.
Round 1 of the QRDC (Queensland Racing Drivers Championship) will be staged at Lakeside Park from April 6-8, while the Ipswich Festival of Cars takes centre stage at Queensland Raceway a fortnight later (April 20-22).