AN 11-car field has been locked in for the long-awaited return of the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship at Symmons Plains on January 24-26.
The category will fire back into life alongside the TCR Australia Series the best part of a year after its 2020 season opener was brought to a screaming halt by COVID-19, before a race was run.
A field of 11 will tackle three races in Tasmania, including last-minute addition Joey Mawson who slides in as teammate to Thomas Randle in a second ALABAR Form700 entry.
Mawson is based in Germany, where he has been racing Carrera Cup, and faced a tough logistical challenge to make Symmons Plains.
He underwent a 14-day quarantine in Perth from January 5 before heading to Adelaide for a seat fitting in his S5000 before the team’s truck was dispatched for Tasmania.
Stablemate Randle has been cleared to race following recent rounds of chemotherapy to treat testicular cancer, which he has been fighting since early in 2020.
He won one of S5000’s only two full events completed to date, at The Bend in late 2019, and is among the favourites for Symmons Plains.
Other likely frontrunners include fellow Supercars co-driver James Golding, who forms part of a two-car Team Valvoline GRM lineup with Nathan Herne.
Along with Randle and Golding, Tim Macrow, Luis Leeds, Antonio Astuti, Ricky Capo and Braydan Willmington continue in the class having been among the Albert Park field last March.
Joining Mawson and Herne as new faces are Tommy Smith, who is aiming to also race in Europe this year, and Hyundai Excel graduate Cooper Webster.
Entry list: 2021 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship, Round 1
|16||Team BRM||Tommy Smith||VIC||S5000||5200||Black|
|23||UCS Group TMR||Tim Macrow||VIC||S5000||5200||Orange/Black|
|29||Team Valvoilne GRM||Nathan Herne||NSW||S5000||5200||White/Blue/Red|
|31||Team Valvoline GRM||James Golding||VIC||S5000||5200||Blue|
|39||Astuti Motorsport||Antonio Astuti||VIC||S5000||5200||Yellow|
|89||Braydan Willmington Motorsports||Braydan Willmington||NSW||S5000||5200||Green|
|92||Modena Engineering||Ricky Capo||VIC||S5000||5200||White/Red|
|96||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Luis Leeds||VIC||S5000||5200||Yellow|