The week leading to Round 3 of the WRX and SAU Club Championship was miserable with Melbourne experiencing cold weather and some extreme down pours. But in a twist of good luck, we got up Saturday morning to clear skies and a dry weather outlook! With Sandown just 25km from the Melbourne City centre we knew it was going to be a popular round and the day sure didn’t disappoint!
John Santiago kindly contributed some of his pictures and you can check out the full gallery on his flickr page.
When we arrived, a quick scan of the parking lot confirmed a huge turnout and interestingly we also spotted a stretch limo parked out the back of the car park too. We wondered who it might belong to and all made sense when we spotted Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling’s WRX! (To owner: Sorry. You probably get this all the time!)
The Sandown Round was also attended by the Porsche Club of Victoria who joined forces to co-host the event. The Porsche Club has a huge following with over 1300 members and judging by the number of Porsches there we wondered if they had all decided to enter!
While most were privateer entries, there were some amazing race cars as well like this Harrop 997.
With members from three Clubs present, it was a frenzy of cars down pitlane and at times resembled a Melbourne morning traffic jam with Porsches, Subaru and Nissans nose to nose on the starting grid. Credit to the organisers and marshalls who kept the day running as smoothly as possible and keeping competitors well informed throughout the day.
Only a few other Marques were represented and Mitsubishi had a few Evos there to keep the Subarus honest.
This Evo had us staring in awe too! It looked well sorted for circuit racing with stripped out interior, aero additions and side/rear glass replacement windows. We didn’t see it running on the day but hopefully it will turn some laps at the next round.
The Porsches were almost outnumbered by the WRX! With so many WRXes of different generations, this made for awesome spectating as the WRX Club Championship was also a closely run contest.
The blue Got It Rex GC8 (#47) was stalking in the pit lanes and managed to record a fastest lap on the day of 1:20.9003. This was only a few seconds short of Chris Thomson’s R33 GTR who set the fastest Skyline time of 1:17.1671. Both times are just shy of Sandown’s Porsche Cup record of 1:16.84 set by Martin Wagg driving a Porsche 993 Supercup car way back in 2000.
Big horsepower is handy at Sandown. The 3.1km track has two long straight sections which can see speeds over 220km/hr from the faster cars! (Top speeds of 260km/hr are reached by the V8 Supercars!)
We’ve run into Kyle and his WRX a few times now and we’re digging his concept of covering the car with a sticker from each trackday! Hope to see the car covered completely in stickers one day!
Nissans were not to be outdone either with some very unassuming cars packing a mean punch. This R33 GTR looked fat with 285 width Advan AD08Rs underneath it.
Great to see GTRs of all vintages on the track too with only the R34 missing from the mix! The SAU Victoria team have also added a new feature to their Championship with a 3 Track Challenge spread across Sandown, Phillip Island and Winton. Each competitor’s fastest laps from the 3 circuits will be tallied together in the mini challenge and prizes will be awarded at the end of the season.
For a full view of the results from the day, check out the Natsoft Website. Spectating at Sandown couldn’t be better on this day and you can get some unique vantage points from the deck above pitlane and from the undercover seating area.
Round 4 heads to Winton Raceway on May 17th! Horsepower isn’t as big an advantage at Winton’s smaller circuit so we’re looking forward to another great Round.
Or for a preview of Round 4, check out John’s last visit to Winton Raceway.
Winton track day