RAW SPEED NOT EVERYTHING IN BATHURST PRODUCTION CAR BATTLE
THEY MIGHT not be the fastest cars up, down or around Mount Panorama this weekend, but competitors in the opening round of the Australian Suzuki Swift Series this weekend will probably be having the most fun.Running in conjunction with the New South Wales Production Touring Car (PTC) Series races, the Swifts ‘race within a race’ features one-make, 1.6-litre cars that always offer an exciting brand of close and competitive racing.And despite the fact that they will likely be running towards the back of the massive 48-car PTC field, dual champion Allan Jarvis says it doesn’t matter one bit.”The Swifts around Bathurst are a lot of fun… while we are one of the slowest for straight line speed in the field, we still manage a top speed of 212 km/hr,” he said of the long run down Conrod straight.”Handling is where the Swifts come into their own, out-performing even the all-wheel-drive turbos in one section. It’s not slow, by any extent.”Jarvis won the Swift battle of Bathurst last Easter, finishing 30th outright amongst a field of more than 50 starters.He explained that the Swifts’ surprising cornering performance actually makes it easier for the faster, outright, cars to get past them during the longer-distance races.”I found last year that Bathurst is easier to manage the other cars than any other track. I think it’s because we are a lot quicker through the corners and brake a lot later that they are only able to pass us on the straights.”It’s going to be another great battle this year and while the outright cars at the front of the field will be good, I hope people look a little further back because I’m pretty sure that the Swift field will be spending most of the race in very close company!”The PTC field emphasises the Bathurst tradition of ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’, with a diverse array of cars that you can generally purchase off the showroom floor. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions tend to dominate the series, their four-wheel-drive turbo package ideally suited to a range of conditions and circuits.CXC Global Racing has entered a pair of two ‘EVOs’, one each for the father-and-son combination of David and Dylan Thomas.Dylan Thomas has been a regular frontrunner in the AMChamps series in recent years and heads to Bathurst as one of the favourites amongst the big PTC Grid this weekend.Touring Car Legend Glenn Seton will combine with Greg Symes in a similar Mitsubishi in one of several teams electing to field two drivers for the one hour race on Sunday.Despite the proven track record of the turbocharged Mitsubishi’s, V8 fans won’t be disappointed with the turnout of their favourite cars, however, with a host of Holden / HSV Commodores entered. 2013 winner Matthew Holt, driving a HSV GTS, is amongst the Holden brigade confirmed for a start this year, having scored a remarkable win at the 2013 Event when the leading Mitsubishi’s faltered.The PTC field includes a remarkably diverse array of competitive machinery ranging from the Mitsubishi’s and HSVs at the front of the field, to class racing including Renault’s, VWs, BMWs, Mazdas and more.The New South Wales Production Touring Car Field will tackle two sprint races on Saturday followed by a one-hour enduro on Sunday to conclude the round – part of their NSW State Championship.The Bathurst Motor Festival will be held across the April 18-20 long weekend at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Volunteers to assist in the operation of the Event are still being sought; interested parties can visit www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au and click the ‘officials and volunteers’ tab to find more info. Entry to the Bathurst Motor Festival is by Bank Note donation with all proceeds going towards official Event charity, Legacy.An Event-record 332 entries have been received for the April 18-20 weekend.