SCCSA Twilight Race Meeting 2012, Mallala

There’s something about proper, wheel to wheel circuit racing that just can’t be replicated anywhere else. I think it has something to do with the passion and love that we all have for cars, mixed in with the primal needs for competition and victory that we’re all born with. The track days and hillclimbs that my friends and I compete in are great fun, but they’re still removed afar from door to door racing. The flame for racing burns deep within, and I have promised myself that one day I will be out there mixing it up on the track. But for now, we must live through the racing exploits of others. In some respects you can keep your nationally televised V8 Supercar events, grassroots club racing is where it’s at.

And the fact that this event is one of two twilight race meetings run at Mallala by the Sporting Car Club makes it even better. The glowing red brake rotors and popping blue flames from the rotaries under the glarey beams of the floodlights makes quite the spectacle.

So I guess we might as well start off where we seem to quite a lot on this blog – old racing Porsches.

They really are the quintessential sports racing car, equally at home on the twisty back roads or the red hot heat of competition. Above is the 911 of Amanda Sparks which has been modified to compete in the national Touring Car Masters series that follows the V8 Supercars around. It’s a quick car by even modern standards, and is able to keep up with the front running pack of V8 Camaro’s and Mustang’s.

The individual classes are sometimes pretty slim at these events so they make larger grids by combining several classes, which explains why Amanda is racing an ex V8 Supercar. The V8 was quicker, but not by much and I actually saw the 911 pass the V8 on the inside around the northern hairpin during one race. Unfortunately the old 911 doesn’t have 600hp so she didn’t stay in front very far up the next straight. A valiant effort, though.

This nicely prepared 911S was racing in the historic touring car class. It was prepared to historic regulations which means minimal modifications, but the cool thing about that is these cars are still probably streetable. It’s road registered – if I owned it I’d drive it to the track, race it all day and then drive it home. Just because you can do that when you race a Porsche.

This was one of two 911S in the historic class, the other one painted silver with an orange stripe.

Going all hipster.

Touring cars is a pretty cool class, and I spent the drive home from the track thinking about what would be involved in preparing my X1/9 to historic rules.

I’d probably be down the back of the field mixing it up with the slower Mini’s and cars like this immaculate 2002, but who cares. It’d be a blast.

Improved Production is a very interesting class with some fierce racing. Essentially the rules state that the engine is free, however it must be from the same manufacturer, have the same number of cylinders and be mounted in the same location. You end up with GT Falcon’s fitted with stonking Ford Motorsport Cleveland’s and Torana’s stuffed with huge Chevrolet 6 litres….

… and more modern Japanese machinery like Honda’s fitted with hot B18’s and K20’s and old Mitsubishi’s with modern 4G63’s. Old Datsun 1200’s and 1600’s with SR20’s are usually quite popular, however there weren’t many out this time.

Old mate Andy was mixing it up nicely in his mint AE86 Levin…

… which is fitted with a dry sumped quad throttle Beams motor…

… and a set of ridiculously rare Impul rims.

I managed to find Phil.

I feel dirty for saying this, but I really like the look of the new Hyundai Veloster they were using as the safety car. Liking a Hyundai? I never thought I’d say that. I bet it still drives like a squishy turd though.

Seems V8 Supercar transporters have changed a little. I bet it’s got something to do with the GFC.

There was a really strong field of HQ’s out. It’s good to see the old girl’s still racing, I remember hearing plans to phase them out at least 10 years ago when they introduced saloon cars (VN and VT Commodore’s v. EA & AU Falcons). All these HQ’s have long and interesting histories, I don’t think anyone has actually built a new HQ racer for at least a decade.

The good ol’ Formula Vee’s are still kicking on a good 40 years after the class was introduced. Owning and racing a Vee has seriously tempted me on several occasions, and right now is no exception. A good condition race ready mid-rear fielder can be had for around $6-10k, and a competitive national championship winner for around $15-20k. Now I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a stretch and I would have to almost sell everything I own to do it, but it is within reach and racing an honest to god open wheeler would almost justify the other 42 weekend of the year you’d be sitting penniless at home.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that the top end of the Vee market is also firmly in the bottom end of the Formula Ford market. $15-20k gets you an uncompetitive 10 or 15 year old Reynard or Van Diemen. If you’re any older than about 16 and without a hundred thousand dollar budget you’re not going to win anything of note, so who cares how competitive the car is? A mate of mine used to have an old Van Diemen RF91 which he entered in the Formula Ford race at the Clipsal 500 for a few years. Sure, he was fighting for about second to last place, but how many people do you know have the experience of racing in front of 60,000 people on the Sunday morning of the Clipsal 500? Exactly.

The Australian Sports Car class is exclusively for the West 1000cc motorcycle powered sports racers. They were visibly the fastest things on track by far and looked like mini LeMans racers. You can pick a used one up for around $70,000, and whilst that’s waaay out of my budget right now, I guarantee you won’t go faster for anywhere near that kind of money.

There was a surprisingly big field of MGF’s out for their one make series.

Fernando Wiehrl and Robbie Bolger were two entries I didn’t expect to see on the list of MGF drivers. Ricers will know Fernando as the team driver of the Auto Salon Silvia S15 drift car a few years back, and Robbie as a stunt driver/rider who performs the stunt shows at the Clipsal 500.

I have many more photos than what has been posted here – email for specific requests.

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