The Mazda RX8 Cup has attracted a record 27-car field for Round 4 of its 2019 season, with some well-credentialed drivers set to mix it with the main title protagonists.
In the previous round at The Bend, one of the major talking points was the very unfortunate, medically-induced withdrawal of title contender Stephen McLaine from the remainder of the season. But the silver lining for Stephen is the opportunity for his son Shannon to take over the car for the final two rounds. While it’s Shannon’s first foray into tin-top racing, he has achieved a lot of success in karting, and has adapted well to the RX8 in testing… so he will be quick.
But if McLaine wants “rookie of the round” honours, he will be up against some tough opposition. There are no less than four other debutants in the field, and all of them come into the category with a wealth of experience and achievements in other series.
Multiple Formula Vee champion and production car racer Daniel Reynolds lines up in the S-Sport Racing RX8 driven by Jason Miller in the previous round at The Bend, while former Commodore Cup national series race-winner Matt Chick makes his return to circuit racing, aboard the Matt Butters-owned RX8.
After racing many other Mazdas including MX5s, Mazda6s and a BT-50 SuperUte, Adam Dodd joins the RX8 ranks and the final newcomer is Nandi Kiss, a driver who has raced in national-level classes including Dunlop Super2 Series and V8 Utes, among others.
While the rookie contest will be an intriguing race-within-a-race, the main attention will be focused on the title battle, currently led by the consistent Will Harris.
Harris is yet to win a race in 2019, but is at the top of the points table by virtue of his metronomic consistency, with top-five finishes in all but two races.
McLaine’s absence means Harris’ closest challenger is Aaron Prosser. In stark contrast to Harris, the rapid Kiwi has won no less than six races and qualified on pole in two of the three rounds, but a couple of costly DNFs at Winton have left him 28 points adrift of the series lead.
Also in the mix for the series win are experienced production car racer Terry Lewis, the ever-solid Nick Dunkley, and the always-improving Ben Silvestro, who would be much closer to the series lead had it not been for a brake failure and subsequent crash at Morgan Park.
Points after Round 3:
1. Will Harris – 278
2. Stephen McLaine – 267
3. Aaron Prosser – 258
4. Terry Lewis – 247
=5. Nick Dunkley – 224
=5. Ben Silvestro – 224
Mazda RX8 Cup Round 4 entry list
2. Dani Cashion – Charlies Run 4 Kids Mazda Rx8
3. Simon Slade – Simon Slade Mazda Rx8
7. William Harris – Exclusive Switchboards Mazda Rx8
11. Alexander Cook – Prep’D Motorsport Mazda Rx8
12. Nick Dunkley – Nick Dunkley Mazda Rx8
13. Andrew O’Keefe – Andrew O’Keefe Mazda Rx8
16. Paul Grant-Mitchell – Wet4U/Flooring Innovations Mazda Rx8
19. Aidan Riley – Narcotect/Occsafe Australia Mazda Rx8
21. Tom Shaw – Ric Shaw Racing Mazda Rx8
22. Daniel Reynolds – S-Sport Racing Mazda Rx8
23. Matthew Chick – Continental Appliance Repairs Mazda Rx8
24. Lachlan O’Hara – Occsafe/Lachlan O’Hara Racing Mazda Rx8
27. Terry Lewis – China Merchant Bank Mazda Rx8
39. Andrew Bollom – Red Back Racing Mazda Rx8
44. Justin Barnes – Justintime Auto Glass Mazda Rx8
55. Sam Silvestro – S-Sport Racing Mazda Rx8
66. Jake Lougher – Allstars Racing Mazda Rx8
69. Lachlan Cook – Prep’D Motorsport Mazda Rx8
74. Brad Harris – Exclusive Switchboards/Ric Shaw Racing Mazda Rx8
77. Elliot Malouf – Elliot Malouf Mazda Rx8
80. Maisie Place – South East Quarries & Landscaping Mazda Rx8
85. Ben Silvestro – S-Sport Racing Mazda Rx8
88. Shannon McLaine – Mcdonalds West Gosford Mazda Rx8
91. Aaron Prosser – Aaron Prosser Contracting Pty Ltd Mazda Rx8
TBA. Nandi Kiss – Nandi Kiss Mazda Rx8
TBA. Adam Dodd – West End Mazda/2 Ezy Finance Mazda Rx8
TBA. Adam Spence – Red Back Racing Mazda Rx8