Champions to be Crowned at QRDC Finale
This weekend, eight months after it began, the chequered flag will fall on the 2018 Queensland Raceways season of motorsport, and it will end exactly where it began, as Lakeside Park plays host to the sixth and final Queensland Racing Drivers Championship meeting of the year.
Seven categories feature on the program this weekend, with no less than 125 competitors entered for the event - one that promises to provide a great weekend of racing.
Headlining the event will be the Track Attack Australia Excel Cup - their third visit to Lakeside, their eighth and final round of 2018, and a weekend that will see them contest two sprint races, and two thirty-minute mini-endurance races.
Supporting the 'Korean War' will be the MoComm Queensland Production Car Championship, plus the Queensland Sportscar Championship, Queensland Superkart Championship, Production Sports, QR Sports and Sedans, and the Italian Challenge.
No less than twenty-six cars will take to the track for the final round of the Track Attack Australia Excel Cup this weekend, and while that number is slightly down on previous rounds, there's no shortage of quality within.
This will be just the third visit to Lakeside Park, for the series, in 2018, and their first in over five months.
Coming into the final weekend of the season, Brett Parrish holds a 70-point lead over his BPRO team-mate Darren Whittington. With only 100 points up for grabs this weekend, the former series champion looks set to become the third different champion in as many years, after John McLaughlin stole the show in 2016, and Cameron Wilson dominated last season.
If successful, this would be Parrish's fourth Excel Cup crown.
While the focus will be on the title fights, expect positional changes right throughout the top ten, as some look to capitalise on the absence of others.
The curtain comes down on the 2018 MoComm Queensland Production Car Championship this weekend, with Toyota and Mercedes set to do battle for outright honours.
The multi-class series, only in its second year, has enjoyed a rapid rise in competitor interest, similar to that of its New South Wales counterpart, with no less than thirteen cars set to do battle over four races this weekend, and more cars on the way for Season 2019.
This weekend, Class D rivals, Lea Medhurst/Chris Manley (327 points) and Michael James/Troy Rolley (286) will go head-to-head for the title, while the Class A2 Mercedes C63 AMG, of Karl Begg and Justin Anthony, remains an outside chance of securing the title, as they sit 84 points adrift of the leader.
Gerry Murphy, now running in a Holden Commodore VF, will run in his first competitive outing, at Lakeside Park, since his triumph in the 2017 Lakeside 300 last October.
Elsewhere, the unofficial Mayor of Cooroy, Bruce Forsyth, has also changed cars since his last appearance at the 2.41km venue, having traded his BMW for a Subaru BRZ, straight out of the Chris Reeves Triple Zero Racing stable in Sydney.
In all, a category once dominated by BMW vehicles, will feature no less than eight different manufacturers this weekend.
Elsewhere this weekend, a field of twenty-two will contest the last Italian Challenge event of 2018.
Classic and Race Storage (CARS) have come on board, as the naming rights sponsor of this round, which will feature the 2018 Australian Formula 3 champion, Harrison Jones, driving a Ferrari F430.
Nine points is all that separates the top three coming into this round, with Joel O'Farrell holding a two-point lead over Mark Jackson, while Reilly Brook sits a further seven points back, with just four races left to determine the Italian Challenge champion of 2018.
In Production Sports, the MX5 and 86 Brigade, that last competed just two weeks ago at the Ipswich Classic, will be contending with exotic brands like Porsche, Ginetta, Mosler and Lotus this time around, as the full field reconvenes for the last time in 2018.
This will be just the second time that the full Production Sports contingent has raced at Lakeside this year - their last appearance was at the Lakeside Tribute in March.
On that occasion, Wayne Hennig claimed a clean-sweep, and he'll be hopeful of repeating that performance this weekend, in the absence of Steve McFadden, who has been his main opposition in 2018.
In the MX5/86 contest, Tim Janke will once again be the driver to watch, and will go in expecting a clear run this weekend, after being forced to settle for second last time out, at Queensland Raceway, following a brilliant, weekend-long battle with Brendan Whittaker.
The Toyota 86 portion of the field has doubled in size, as Dylan Cothill makes his long-awaited return to racing, after a three-month break. He will take the fight to James Wilkins, who was impressive two weeks ago.
Dave Barram has been the dominant force, all season, in the Queensland Sportscar Championship, and while he has already secured the Class A crown for this year, victory in this weekend's round will ensure outright championship supremacy for 2018 as well.
Just one class remains up for grabs coming into this final round, and that is Class B, where Adam Beesley holds a 42-point lead over Grant Green.
Christopher Purvis is entered for this round. It will be his first outing in the Queensland Sportscar Championship, since the West WX10 went out in flames, during Race 5 of the third round of the series, also at Lakeside, back in June.
The QR Sports and Sedans field will, as always, be joined by the Track Attack Australia Production Utes series this weekend, as both bring the curtain down on their 2018 season.
It promises to be an awesome weekend of racing, with all three titles (QR Sports, QR Sedans and Production Utes) all still up for grabs.
In QR Sedans, it should be one-way traffic for Martin Smith (Nissan Pintara), who has to overcome a 39-point deficit, to Darren Holland - who is not contesting this round - if he is to be crowned champion.
The story is very different in QR Sports, where Aidan O'Kane (Mazda RX7) holds a 13-point lead over Allan Hughes (Ford FG XR8 Ute), with just four races left, to determine who'll be champion this year.
The fight to be champion, of the Production Ute Racing QLD Series, has also come down to the final round, where twenty points separate John Young and Stephen Cook.
Only an absolute disaster could prevent Cook from securing the title, as Young will not be on the grid this weekend.
Finally, the Queensland Superkart Championship is back in action, after a two-month break, for their last hit-out of 2018 as well.
Twenty karters will take to the track, for a five-race program, across two days of competition.
Unlike previous outings at Lakeside Park, there'll be no split grid this weekend, with both Gearbox and Non-Gearbox Karters competing all weekend long.
While Tim Weier has already wrapped up the 250cc National title, other divisions are still wide open, so there's plenty to play for.
All up, it's a thirty race program, and one that will mark the end of another great year of QRDC competition, and a stellar 2018, as far as racing at the QR venues is concerned.
It all commences at 9:30am tomorrow morning.