TOURING CAR SHOOTOUT AT SYDNEY CLASSIC SPEEDFEST

The Heritage Touring Cars series is set to return to Sydney Motorsport Park this Queen’s Birthday long weekend, June 10-11, for the Sydney Classic Speed Festival, bringing with it a glorious collection of golden era muscle.

The Heritage Touring Cars entry list is stacked with iconic race cars, with historic Australian Touring Cars from Group C, contested between 1973 and 1984, and Group A, which ran from 1985 to ’92.

Sure to be leading the charge are a set of Group A’s technological marvels, including one of Nissan’s highly-developed Skyline GT-Rs and a pair of turbocharged Ford Sierra RS500s.

Tony Alford will be aboard the 1991 Sandown 500-winning GIO GT-R and working hard to fend off Carey McMahon, who’ll pilot the ex-Tony Longhurst 1990 Benson & Hedges Ford Sierra. This car was the last Sierra built by Frank Gardner, Jim Stone and the Benson & Hedges team and the only one built entirely at home in Australia.

The second Sierra will be driven by Terry Lawlor and is a legendary machine from Dick Johnson’s stable. The 1990 Shell Sierra is the last of six built by Dick Johnson Racing and competed in the Australian Touring Car Championship until 1992. It recently joined the Heritage Touring Cars series at Bathurst, where Chris Stillwell went three-for-three and set a new lap record.

Six Group A BMWs will compete over the weekend, including David Towe in the ex-Jim Richards/Tony Longhurst JPS BMW M3, Harri Jones in another ex-Jim Richards JPS M3 and Duncan MacKellar in an ex-Anthony Reid M3. Rick Allen’s ex-Tony Longhurst/Johnny Cecotto Benson & Hedges BMW M3 will return to the Heritage Touring Cars series after its debut earlier this year, while Kyle Alford will pilot one of the Mobil Team cars from Bathurst in 1998. David Harris will break out something a little different, competing in his Group A 325i.

David Gardner’s ex-Alf Barbagallo VN Commodore is an interesting car and one to watch. It is one of just a few VN Commodores that were built for Group A competition in Australia.

Fans of many-cylindered muscle should keep an eye out for Garry Willmington’s Jaguar XJ-S. The 5.3-litre V12 is something you need to hear opened up at full race pace!

On the other end of the cubic capacity spectrum will be the ex-Mark Skaife Gibson Motorsport Peter Jackson Nissan Gazzelle run by Brian Henderson and the Bob Holden Motors Toyota Corolla Sprinter of David Paterson.

The Sydney Classic Speed Festival will see the second outing of Craig Foster’s ex-Toyota Team Australia AE86 Toyota Corolla Coupe, after the pair dominated the class at Phillip Island earlier this year. This was the last factory-built Toyota Racing Development TTA AE86 to come across from Japan and it competed from 1986 through to 1989, when John Smith helped Toyota secure a manufacturer’s championship.

Dean How’s ex-Allan Grice/Jim Richards JPS Team BMW 635CSi will debut after 30 years off the track and will show the younger Group A BMWs a thing or two. One of three Group 2 635CSis that Werginz Motorsport in Austria built and raced in Europe, it was brought into Australia by Frank Gardner and Allan Grice. Grice competed in the ’81 James Hardie 1000 in the car and the following year it would be driven at Bathurst by Denny Hulme and Stephen Brook.

Keeping with the European theme, but moving to muscle from a Swedish marque, and you have the Volvo 242GT of Peter Woods. The car ran in the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, driven by Spencer Martin and David McKay.

And, finally, returning home for some classic Australian muscle, the weekend’s competition will see series-regular Frank Binding once again unleash the awesome Army Reserve XD Falcon Group C on Sydney Motorsport Park. The car was originally bought by Bob Muir, who built it up with running gear from an ex-Colin Bond Falcon XC Touring Car and ran it in 1980 and 1981.

Heritage Touring Cars will be one of eight race categories featured through the weekend’s racing on June 11 – 12, amid a prestigious line-up of Formula 5000s, Historic Touring Cars, Group S Production Sports Cars, Historic Sports Racing Cars, Holden HQs, Modern Regularity (-1992), and Formula Ford celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

There will be new and exciting race formats including scratch, handicap and also split-grid starts; and Car Club displays, and Sydney’s newest Concourse event, which should attract hundreds of the best display vehicles Sydney has ever seen!

Head over to www.heritagetouringcars.com.au for more from the Heritage Touring Cars series, or more information on the Sydney Classic Speedfest or to buy tickets in advance and save, head to speedfestival.com.au or call the ARDC on (02) 9672 1000.

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