Ultimate test of endurance
ONE-HUNDRED laps is a long way and that's what drivers face when they contest the marathon Australian Wingless Sprintcar Grand Prix at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway this weekend.
The fixture represents the first two-night meeting of the season with qualifying heats and preliminary main events tomorrow night culminating in the Saturday final.
It is the longest wingless sprintcar race in Australia and track conditions are expected to become slick and hard in the second half of the event.
Because of the distance and changing track surface, tyre combinations and suspension set-ups are vital for drivers planning on being in contention toward the end of the event.
Tyre wear can be the difference between winning or losing the endurance contest.
Lismore regular Kevin Willis is the defending titleholder and certainly the form driver of the season so far.
His performances in the first half of the 2016-17 campaign have been outstanding. He is the current point leader in the Lismore Workers Club Driver to America track premiership.
One of many drivers who comes into calculations is local Warren King, who filled the runner-up spot in the inaugural 100-lapper two years ago.
King turned in a big drive that year and came from near the back of the field as he timed his run almost to perfection in the thrilling final laps.
He has entered again this year and will be keen to perform well in the vital qualifying heats to ensure a safe qualification passage through to the final.
"The heats are important and this is a long race and in some ways is not like any other feature race we run. The car has to be set up accordingly to run the distance,” King said.
The grand prix, which is sponsored by long-time supporter of the venue Hernes Freight Service, is twice as long in distance than any other feature race the wingless sprintcar category contest around the country.
Race officials are anticipating well over 30 entries for the race, with drivers from New South Wales and interstate on hand.
Another feature of the two-night program will be the running of the NSW Formula 500 Championship.
This state title is one of the oldest events on the Australian speedway calendar with a heritage that traces all the way back to the inaugural running at the former Windsor Speedway west of Sydney in 1960.
The impressive entry list is headed by the reigning Australian titleholder Liam Williams. The nominations also include former national and state champions.
Josh Buckingham is the defending state champ after he won the crown at Gilgandra Speedway last season.
Promoter David Lander first brought the NSW Formula 500 title to Lismore in 2010 and again held the race at the showground venue the following season.
Like the wingless grand prix, the battle for NSW Formula 500 honours will extend over two nights, with preliminaries set down for Friday before the state final goes under the flag on Saturday.