The popularity of the Mazda RX8 Cup continues to grow with a record 27 cars lining up for round 4 at Sydney Motorsport Park on September 28-29. Heading into the final two rounds, five drivers are in contention for the title, setting up a thrilling conclusion to the second season.
There would be six contenders in the mix were it not for the unfortunate withdrawal of championship leader, Stephen McLaine. Illness has seen the New South Welshman retire from racing, however, that has opened the door for Stephen’s son Shannon to take over the driving duties in the Mcdonalds West Gosford Mazda RX8 for the final two rounds of the 2019 season. Shannon has accomplished success in karting over the last 10 years and although this is his first occasion racing the #88 Mazda, there is a buzz around his adaptability and raw speed.
That leaves William Harris sitting at the top of the Championship table. A consistent season performance has seen him claim six podium finishes over 12 races, showing that consistency can provide the points needed to be at the top.
Harris’s closest challenger, due to McLaine’s retirement, is New Zealander Aaron Prosser.
Brisbane-based Prosser won last year’s Mod Lites national title and has carried that success into the RX8 Cup winning six races and qualifying on pole at both Morgan Park and Tailem Bend. It’s been an uphill battle for Prosser to get back into champions contention, a pair of DNF’s at Winton’s opening round see him currently 28 points adrift of the series lead.
Also amongst the front runners are Terry Lewis and Nick Dunkley. Lewis is a former Improved Production National Champion, who is making a return to racing after two decades away from the sport. While Dunkley has impressed with his racecraft this season, particularly at Winton where he netted a top three finish for the weekend.
Alongisde McLaine, there will be four other debutantes in the field, making the “rookie of the round” honours a race-within-a-race to pay close attention to. All of the newcomers enter the series with a variety of experience and success in other categories that will make for entertaining racing at the Creek.
Four-time NSW Formula Vee Champion Daniel Reynolds will line up for the first time in the S-Sport Racing RX8. Reynolds is joined by Matt Chick from the Commodore Cup national series in the Continental Appliance Repairs Mazda RX8 and former Dunlop Super2 and V8 Utes racer Nandi Kiss will try his hand at the RX8 class this weekend. Also in the field will be two-time Australian Production Car class champion Adam Dodd. Dodd is no stranger to Mazda racing, previously competing in MX5s, Mazda6s and BT-50 Super Utes.
The new recruits will undoubtably provide an extra dynamic to the record 27-car field, as the title battle heats up across the weekend. Make sure you come and check out Sydney Motorsport Park across the weekend on September 27-29 as the Australian Motor Racing Series heats up Western Sydney.
All of Sunday’s races can be viewed LIVE on Blend Line TV at the link below.
Words by: Charlie Bullis