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KUMHO BACKS NEW V8 CLASSIC SERIES

THE need to use up a range of tyres left over since the Super3 Series moved to race with Supercars and use Dunlop tyres and the creation of a less expensive arena for racing ex-V8 Supercars are the motivating factors behind Kumho Tyre Australia backing a new ‘V8 Classic Series’ that is tabbed to commence next month.

But the new series will not be run at Motorsport Australia events. Instead it will run under AASA (Australian Auto-Sport Alliance) sanction at rounds of the Australian Motor Racing Series (AMRS).

Scheduled to commence at Queensland Raceway round of the AMRS on August 6-8, the Kumho V8 Classic Series will be open to ex-V8 Supercars ranging from the early Falcons and Commodores of the 90s through to FG Falcons and VE Commodores from the end of the Project Blueprint era.

The series will be run by Kumho National Motorsport Agent David Atkin of Prime Race Service Pty Ltd and has scheduled further rounds at Wakefield Park (October 22-24) and The Bend Motorsport Park (December 3-5).

The new series is completely separate to the V8 Touring Car Series, of which the Australian Racing Group is Category Manager.

That series, established as a home for former V8 Supercars in 2008, is administered by long-time category manager Liam Curkpatrick. The V8 Touring Car Series currently runs under the Super3 Series banner, a brand owned by Supercars.

Kumho V8 Touring Car Series action at Wakefield Park in 2011. Photo: Supplied.

The V8 Touring Car Series has used Kumho control tyres exclusively from its beginnings in 2008 through to the end of last year’s COVID-affected season (of which only two rounds were held), the first year it ran on the same grids as the Dunlop Super2 Series.

This year the Super3 cars have had to use 18-inch Dunlop tyres as part of its agreement with Supercars, leaving Kumho with stockpiles of 17-inch rubber, hence its support of establishing the Kumho V8 Classic Series on the AMRS bill in order to recoup its outlay on the tyres originally produced for Super3 use.

Series organisers are offering a competitor package that includes a prepaid debit card of $750 to assist with travel, tyres charged at $360 per tyre (with $30 from each purchase going into an end of season prize pool) and three races per round with 125 minutes of total track time at each round and live streaming coverage.

Classes will include Outright, Masters, Heritage (with original livery) and Invitational.

“We’re appealing to the owners of the era of cars that have been restored and want to run them but not race for sheep stations with the young guns in Super3,” says Atkin.

“We’ve had a lot of comment from the Australian 5 Litre Association guys that they are keen to run. Launching something new halfway through the year is difficult, so a first up grid of 10 to 12 cars would be a good result. I’m confident we can get 10 to 15 cars this year and look at fields of 20 next year.

“We were all set for Super3 for whole seasons in 2020 and 2021 and had brought tyres into the country when the category was a Kumho 17-inch control tyre and then Super3 was taken over by Supercars and converted to 18-inch Dunlops. 

“So, from a business point of view and having been involved with the third tier of V8s for over 10 years, we wanted to stay involved and this is the only way of doing it. Really the only alternative for us was to go to an alternative sanctioning body and create something new.

“With Super3 now in the Supercars system, that doesn’t leave any business area for us to develop so we looked at it and said that this direction we’re going in is really appealing to the private car owners of the older cars, as opposed to the young emerging guns driving for established race organisations.

“We were using, with five or six rounds a season and testing, the best part of 1000 tyres a year, so that’s what I had ordered for 2020-21. With COVID we have to order so far in advance, so the tyres have arrived, and we’re got a season’s worth of them sitting in warehouses and no one to run on them.

“This is really a stop gap measure to get these cars on the track and using our 17-inch tyres. We will however be looking at a five or six round series in 2022 once we have established the category.”

One distinct difference is that the series will not have standing starts. Instead, it will have rolling starts for each of its races in a bid to cut down on the potential of start line accidents, a measure aimed at attracting more restored and Heritage class cars.

“That’s one of the reasons why we won’t have standing starts and have introduced rolling starts,” says Atkin.

“It reduces the risk of start line crashes more. With these totally restored cars that reduces the risk of people scratching them in a start line accident.”

Atkin says there has been current positive interest from prospective entrants including Andy Cantrell (ex-CAT FPR Falcon), Jason Foley (ex-Jim Beam DJR Falcon), Jamie McDonald (Pro-Duct Commodore VP) and Steve Langley (ex-Ellery Supercheap Auto Falcon BA).

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