29 Jul HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FIGHT IN THE NIGHT RETURN LOOMS
The showcase of the Australian Production Cars, the Fight in the Night, returns to Queensland Raceway in just over a week’s time after a three-year hiatus.
The race will be back in all its glory on the evening of Saturday August 6, and will be preceded and followed by 30-minute races for the APC field to make up round two of the series’ 2022 season.
The event is popular with both competitors and spectators thanks to the fact it is truly a spectacular in the dark with limited track illumination, a blaze of headlights and colourful LEDs.
The revamp of the Queensland Raceway facility for viewing will make the viewing experience even more alluring, and the traditionalists can still park their cars and watch from trackside to marvel at the ingenuity of the coloured lights on the race cars.
Night racing for Production Cars dates back to Mallala with a one-hour race in 2007. The ‘Fight in the Night’ at QR concept became a reality in 2012 with a 65 lap, one-and-a-half-hour Saturday race after the sun set at the 2012 Shannons Nationals. It was complemented by a similar 200 kilometre race the following afternoon. For the 2016 race, it was lengthened to 300 kilometres and was run over 96 laps, as it will in 2022.
Of the eight held, Beric Lynton and Tim Leahy have been the most successful. In all they have four Fight in the Night wins (including the last two) with two in their current M3 F80 and the others in the superseded 1M. They backed those up with two firsts and four seconds in the Sunday outings.
“The night race is a great mix for our series,” said Lynton.
“We really enjoy it. The lighting in the safety areas has improved and they have reflectors on the braking markers.
“We did a state round there recently under lights but despite that, I don’t see there is a home track advantage.”
Lynton also sees the positives for teams that go above and beyond with LEDs on their cars.
“Some of them spend a lot of time on them. They look great and it makes it easy for us to identify them too,” he said.
“The ‘Fight in the Night’ is popular, we had 35 cars in 2018 and it will build up to those sorts of numbers going forward.”
Five Class X BMWs (both M3 and the coupe version M4 F82) head the entry list for round two of the Australian Production Car Championship and if history is anything to go by, they are favoured to take out the ‘Fight in the Night’ and the two 30-minute sprint races that bookend it in the daytime.
Besides Lynton/Leahy, Wayne Russell and his sons, Drew and Aaron who won the first round, will be strong, as will brothers Grant and Iain Sherrin, Anthony Soole/Adam Burgess, and Karl Begg/Stephen Dukes.
That is not to say that other teams are out of the equation. Dean Campbell placed third in the Sydney distance race in his Class A1 Mitsubishi EVO X and the model had four wins at the ‘Fight in the Night”. Their EVO competition will be Hadrian Morral/Tyler Mecklem, and Jimmy Vernon.
The other classes will provide enormous competition among themselves. A pair of BMW M3 E92s with Ben Gersekowski and Chris Begg/Ashley Hooper will duke it out with the Chris Lillis/Matt Holt HSV Clubsport, and Tony Levitt/Jason Simes (Mercedes C63 AMG) in Class A2. An outright winner from A2 is not out of the question.
Class C appears to be Jake Camilleri’s domain in his Mazda 3 MPS, although Chris Gunther (BMW 130i), Chris Holdt (HSV Astra) and Zoe Woods (Hyundai i30N) will dispute that.
The APC is being contested over five rounds in 2022, providing a mix of endurance formats from 30-minute races to one-hour races to 300km events across the five rounds; with competitors able to compete on their choice of tyre from a nominated tyre panel featuring Hankook, Dunlop, MRF Tyres and Yokohama.
Round two of the 2022 APC will hit Queensland Raceway across August 5-7 as part of the latest event for the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships. It will feature two 30-minute races (Saturday morning and Sunday morning) and one 300km night race on Saturday evening for all APC competitors.