The Radical Australia Cup will return to the scene of one of the most unpredictable rounds of season 2018, with a second visit to the new ‘The Bend Motorsport Park’ in South Australia, competing alongside the Supercars Championship across two 23-lap races on the 4.945-kilometre ‘International Circuit’.
Last April Radical made their debut at the new Tailem Bend facility with outright victories going to two rookie teams - Brad and Mitch Neilson overcoming challenging intermittent weather to win their first RAC race outright, and ultimately the round win, before Chis Perini claimed his maiden outright win just a day later after weathering a late race assault from Radical driver coach and part-time competitor James Winslow.
More than 12-months on the South Australian venue has changed dramatically, and with Spring weather fast approaching, teams are expecting less of an impact from mother-nature, and an opportunity to card some serious championship points with just one round remaining after The Bend weekend.
Of all the drivers looking to make an impression on The Bend circuit, Peter Paddon would have to be a likely favourite, the three-time Radical Australia Cup champion is looking to make amends for his stalled 2018 Bend assault, an event which saw him plagued by electrical issues and for the first time in more than a year, outside the podium placings..
Equal on points with GWR team-mate Chris Perini - a winner at the circuit in 2018 - Paddon knows that The Bend could be the turning point of the season, and he will be doing his best to combat the growing experience of his younger rival.
Both though will be mindful of another South Australian winner, a driver who has just recently stepped into a later generation SR3RSX, taking that car to victory last time out at Phillip island - Sydney’s Mitch Neilson.
Stepping outside of the car which handed he and father Brad a win 12-months ago, and into the ex-Rowan Ross RSX for the penultimate round of the season allows Mitch to focus on another outright win to add to his wins at Bathurst, Sydney Motorsport Park and Phillip Island - his race one DNF at the Island impacting his championship points leaving him 26-points down on his rivals, but hungry to take back the points lead.
The Bend weekend will see one of the biggest fields of entries since the season-opening Bathurst event, with 16 cars entered for the weekend, a field that includes some Radical Australia Cup rookies, and some returnees intent upon making an impression.
The biggest addition to the field will come from Western Australia where the high profile Arise Racing team - who campaign a fleet of Radical SR3s in their Barbagallo-based driver training program - will debut with not one, but three entries.
Overseen by former F3 and prototype driver Jordan Oon and the experienced BD Soutar-Dawson, the Arise team will run entries for New Zealander Ashleigh Stewart, the pairing of Adam Lisle and Soutar-Dawson, and a car for the returning Aaron Love who was a podium finisher on his Cup debut at Bathurst earlier in the year in the Tony Haggarty SR3RSX.
With half a season of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge experience under his belt (he currently sits second in outright points with two wins to his name), Love could be expected to take the fight to the Cup front-runners, providing another element for the leading trio to consider in the battle for championship points.
They won’t be the only drivers that could have an impact on the outright championship points, with GWR regulars Stephen Champion and Paul Braico also impressing on their Cup debuts - both of them graduating from the NSW SuperSports Series with great success to see the Cup podium during their cameo appearances this year, whilst fellow GWR pilot Kostinken Pohorukov will also present a big challenge in his return season.
Their biggest setback though will be the lack of miles at the Tailem Bend circuit, an advantage that the points leaders will be hoping to put to good use as the championship nears it’s conclusion.
The penultimate round of the 11th Radical Australia Cup season will also be in support of Bowel Cancer Australia, the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and the best care for everyone affected by bowel cancer.
Action for the Radical Australia Cup begins on Friday, 23 August with two official practice sessions and qualifying ahead of the first 23-lap race (4:40pm) on Saturday, followed by race two at 4:25pm on Sunday, 25 August.
Follow the action across the weekend through LIVE timing (http://racing.natsoft.com.au/results/#1) and via the Radical Australia Facebook page.