STORY: WILL DALE
THE new S5000 category has elected to delay its debut race meeting until September.
The V8-powered open-wheeler class revealed a preliminary six-round calendar on the CAMS Shannons Nationals bill late last year, with their debut race to come at the season-opening round at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 17-19.
Five cars are currently under construction at Garry Rogers Motorsport, but
a delay in supply of critical materials to chassis builders Onroad-Ligier has pushed the delivery of more chassis until late April – too late for the category’s planned May debut.
The S5000 category will now make its race debut at Sandown on September 20-22, although the S5000 cars will make demonstration appearances at preceding Shannons Nationals rounds.
“While it is disappointing that we won’t make the intended first event, we want to ensure that this class is rolled out in the most professional, most competitive manner,” GRM’s Barry Rogers said.
“Having picked up this project in December, we always knew it would be tight to get 14 cars race ready for May, however, we stuck to that plan and pushed towards that as long as we could.
“Even when Onroak were handed the delay of materials, we were still optimistic, however, we decided that the best way forward was to hold back the first event so we can thoroughly ensure that the cars are properly tested and parts are lifed appropriately.
Category managers and promoters Australian Racing Group will issue a revised 2019 race calendar in coming months, ahead of a full-season schedule for 2020.
“Launching S5000 is just that more complex than most other categories because you can’t just go out and buy the cars. In our case, they’re being manufactured here, which comes with its own unique set of additional challenges,” Chris Lambden, category manager, said.
“I agree entirely with our decision to hold back until we’re 100 percent sure we will deliver. There’s no point in going off half-cocked.
“With the first mini-batch of four cars undergoing assembly at GRM, there’s absolutely no doubt S5000 is under way and, having been in at GRM this week, it’s exciting to see the ‘production line’ in place and happening – they’re doing a great job.
“The remaining nine chassis will be on their way soon, which will complete the 14 cars for Sandown.”