FIRST SHOTS FIRED IN 2021 MRF TYRES APC BATTLE

Round one of the 2021 MRF Tyres Australian Production Cars season was successfully run and won at Sydney Motorsport Park at the weekend.

While there was plenty of action across the pack, it was Shane Smollen who dominated the proceedings, clean sweeping the weekend in his X class #56 Prestige Connex BMW M4.

He was not without competition, however. Duane West was hot on his heels in race one before a broken gearbox forced the retirement of his Class A #9 Kelair Holden HSV GTS, while Cem Yucel in the Class B #40 Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R and the Class C entries of Jake Camilleri (#36 Grand Prix Mazda backed Mazda 3MPS) and James Keene (#50 MWM Racing Volkswagen Golf R) all in the outright mix across the weekend.

Yucel would go on to claim a trio of second places for second outright and first in Class B, while Camilleri locked down a fourth (behind Keene) and two thirds for third outright and first in class C, ahead of Keene (2nd in class and fourth outright) and Chris Holdt (#51 Prime Motorsport/ Air & Allied Sales Pacific HSV Astra, 3rd in class), with the latter suffering a DNF in the final race following a fuel miscalculation.  

The weekend had originally been set to host four races for the MRF Tyres APC competitors, however heavy fog delayed the start to Sunday’s proceedings and subsequently saw race four abandoned, although race three was extended from its original 30 minutes to a 40-minute duration.

While Classes X, B and C may have locked out the outright podium, classes D and E delivered plenty of action on the track with the Class D #16 Syntec Mini Cooper S R56 of Michael Sloss and the Class E Mini Cooper S R53 of Richard Luff and #27 TOA57D Motorsport Suzuki Swift of Alan Jarvis stealing the show multiple times over the weekend with their exceptionally close battles. When all was said and done, it was Luff who triumphed over Jarvis for the Class E honours and 5th outright while Sloss was the Class D winner and sixth outright.

The 2021 MRF Tyres APC season is being held over five rounds. Rounds one through four are being run as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships at Sydney Motorsport Park (May 1-2), Morgan Park Raceway (June 25-27), Sandown Raceway (September 10-12) and Tailem Bend Motorsport Park (October 15-17). The fifth and final round for the 2021 MRF Tyres APC Season will be held as part of the Bathurst International. Competitors interested in securing spots at 2021 MRF Tyres APC events across the year should contact Troy Williams on troy@onticsports.com.au.

QUOTEBOARD: ROUND ONE, 2021 MRF TYRES AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION CARS

Shane Smollen - #56 Prestige Connex BMW M4 – 1st outright and 1st in class X

Image: Speed Shots Photography

“We had really solid and consistent car speed the whole weekend. For us, the car is still a new car, it ran for the first time at the Bathurst 6 Hour where we were successful. We are still in the process of getting to know it, and Sydney Motorsport Park is a very different track in terms of its dynamics and grip levels compared to Bathurst. In the sprint format it was a really great opportunity for us to get to know the car further. It really ran flawlessly just as it did at the Six Hour and that is a credit to Aaron Reed and the team who built the car. We have had basically no significant gremlins or tweaks to make since we were first put it on the track only a few weeks back. It was a really valuable weekend, and it was great to have a consistent run with the pole and three wins, allowing us to take an early lead in the championship. It is also always great when you can put the car on the trailer without a scratch or any mechanical issues. It was really just a flawless weekend for us, and we are looking forward to having an expanded field on track for the next round. Thanks to Aaron (Reed) and Hamish Pemberton who were my crew this weekend, they really went the extra mile.”

Cem Yucel - #40 Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R – 2nd outright and 1st in class B

Image: Speed Shots Photography

“It was a good weekend for us, the car was super reliable as always and we also ran a new Racing Line tune through Harding Performance which delivered great performance and we saw a big bump in horsepower from that. The car was handling well, the brakes were working fantastically, it was all just really smooth. Second outright and first in class is a good result for us and we are looking forward to seeing more numbers on track at the next round. Our thanks goes to Harding Performance, Team Trade, Racing Line Performance and Miltek Sport for their support.”

Jake Camilleri - #36 Grand Prix Mazda-backed Mazda 3 MPS – 3rd outright and 1st in class C

Image: Speed Shots Photography

“It was a very tough weekend for us, especially to start – we had only ever run the MRF Tyres once before and we went into qualifying totally wrong, so that didn’t go so well, and in race one the car was virtually undriveable as we messed the pressures up, so we had to put our heads together a bit after that and thankfully we got it to be better for races two and three. It probably isn’t quite there still, so it has been a bit of a learning curve for us. Once we worked out what we had to do we were starting to get back there but it just took a little bit. Given all of that third outright and 1st in class is a good result, but I guess I feel like we were a little off the pace. We also haven’t really touched anything on the car since 2015, so we are probably lacking a bit of power and have a few things we need to look at and freshen up. But overall, it was a good result, it was a long weekend but the guys we were racing were great and a big thanks to Troy (Williams, Ontic Sports GM) who worked to keep the weekend running as smoothly as possible for us. Thanks also to our supporters Grand Prix Mazda Caboolture, Enviro Tek and Castrol.”

Michael Sloss - #16 Syntec Mini Cooper S R56 – 6th outright and 1st in class D

Image: Speed Shots Photography

“I had a great weekend. It was really a fantastic weekend. All of the guys were great, and it was good to be back – I haven’t done a lot of APC racing in recent times, but I did a full season back in 2014 and I have been involved with other drivers since but not driving myself, so it was great to be back and be a part of it all again. We had some great fun especially with the Swift and the other Mini out there and we all improved our driving and times as the weekend went on. I love that everyone is so helpful – as much as we are competitive, everyone is trying to help each other out which makes it really good. Troy did a great job too and made it easy for me as a competitor to be involved, so thanks to him. And thanks also to our sponsors, Beyer Dynamic and Syntec.”

Richard Luff - #5 MWM Racing Mini Cooper S R35 – 5th outright and 1st in class E

Image: Speed Shots Photography

“We certainly had some good times out there! We had some great battles with Slossy and also Allan, and we were all still friends afterwards!” Luff laughed. “They are really a great bunch of people on and off the track and it was such an enjoyable weekend. To claim fifth outright was a bonus. We had such a ball on the weekend. Thanks to Trevor and James Keene of MWM Racing as well as Driver Dynamics and Luff and Associates.”

For more on the MRF Tyres APC, please visit www.australianproductioncars.com.au or www.facebook.com/AustralianProductionCars or contact Ontic Sports General Manager Troy Williams on 0483 035 466 or troy@onticsports.com.au

2021 MRF TYRES APC SEASON CONFIRMED DATES:

• Round 1: Sydney Motorsport Park – May 1-2

• Round 2: Morgan Park Raceway – June 25-27

• Round 3: Sandown Raceway – September 10-12

• Round 4: Tailem Bend Motorsport Park – October 15-17

• Round 5: Bathurst International – November 26-28