FullGas Racing drivers Dimitri Agathos and Lachlan Gibbons are calling for organisers of the Australian Production Car Series to conduct an urgent review of the class structure.
Since entering the series last year, Agathos and Gibbons have battled a chronic lack of straight-line performance in their Subaru WRX STI, compared to other cars in Class A1 (Extreme Performance Forced Induction), something they believe was brought into stark focus in the opening round of the 2018 series at Sandown on the weekend.
“We’ve never had the fastest Class A1 car on the straights – that much became clear when we first raced at the Bathurst 6 Hour last year,” Agathos said.
“But with the combined field of national cars and NSW Production Touring Cars at Sandown on the weekend, plus some of the new cars that have come into the national series this year, it accentuated our straight-line deficit.”
At Sandown, Gibbons and Agathos qualified sixth outright after their performance handicap was masked by wet weather on Friday, only to be relegated to 16th in the opening race.
“I lost six positions off the start, before I even reached the first corner,” Gibbons said.
“There’s only so much time we can make up through the corners and under brakes, and it’s nowhere near enough to compensate for our lack of straight-line performance.
“I know the production car series is not a parity formula, but you need to ensure classes consist of cars that are roughly equivalent in performance.
“We’re not opposed to cars like the Lotus Exige and Porsche Cayman coming into the series, but to expect us to compete directly against those cars in Class A1, when we’re losing up to 40km/h to them on the straights, is just not fair.”
Both drivers are calling for an immediate reassessment of the class structure to ensure competitors are not turned away from the series.
“The idea of production car racing should be to encourage variety and diversity of machinery, and the fields are healthy at the moment, there’s no doubt about that,” Agathos said.
“But if teams feel they can’t be competitive because the class structure isn’t properly balanced, people will lose interest.
“We understand they probably can’t make any changes to the regulations this year, but we would implore the series organisers to conduct a review into the class structure and communicate with their competitor base, to come up with a revised system for the 2019 series.”
Following Gibbons’ 16th place finish in Race 1, Agathos drove the Nova Employment/Castrol/Whiteline/All Drive Subaroo/Hog’s Breath Café North Parramatta Subaru to 11th-place finishes in Races 2 and 3, before Gibbons retired from the fourth one-hour race with a fuel issue.
PHOTO: Insyde Media