PREVIEW: Field set for Shannons S5000 Tasman Series
THE field is set for the return of one of open wheel racing’s most iconic brands, with the Shannons S5000 Tasman Series to launch into life at Sydney Motorsport Park today (Thursday).
A highly competitive field includes the current S5000 Australian Drivers’ Champion Joey Mawson, former Gold Star winner Tim Macrow and S5000 race winners James Golding and Cooper Webster.
Two internationals, including a former Formula One driver, will join a highly competitive group of drivers from Supercars, TCR Australia and Sports Car racing in S5000s most competitive championship grid yet.
Six teams will field cars in the two event, seven race series pointing to the growth of the S5000 category as it moves into its second full year of racing.
Reigning champions Team BRM will field a trio of entries, each with the support of Alabar and Form 700 – who supported their campaign throughout the Australian Drivers’ Championship season.
Alongside current Gold Star champion Mawson – who will run the #1 on his car – BRM will field the pair of international entrants in the championship in the form of Spaniard Roberto Merhi and Japanese driver Yoshiaki Katayama.
Team Valvoline Garry Rogers Motorsport, who dominated the final round of the 2021 Gold Star championship at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier this year, has entered four cars.
As well as regular S5000 drivers James Golding and Nathan Herne, Supercheap Auto TCR Australia stars Aaron Cameron and Ben Bargwanna will make their category debuts this weekend, the latter under the Burson Auto Parts banner.
Race winners 88 Racing expand to a pair of cars, fielding S5000 rookie Blake Purdie and Super2 race winner Jordan Boys in their two entries.
Tim Macrow Racing will focus on their single-car entry for the vastly experienced two-time Australian Drivers’ champion before putting in place plans to expand to a pair of cars for the 2022 season.
AGI Sport will return to S5000, having fielded several cars in the categories’ debut non-championship events in 2019.
Working alongside GRM, AGI will field Luis Leeds in the Shannons Tasman Series as the team makes a return to the category.
Headed by former Williams F1 engineer Adam Gotch, AGI won the feature race at The Bend Motorsport Park in 2019, with John Martin behind the wheel.
Finally, a brand-new team will also make their debut this weekend in the form of Versa Motorsport.
Versa has entered young Victorian ace Cooper Webster, who starred in his rookie S5000 season when he won in the rain at Phillip Island earlier this year.
Volante Rosso Racing were due to make their S5000 debut in the Tasman Series, however have been forced to put their plans on hold until 2022 due to the border restrictions between Queensland and New South Wales, which prevented regular driver Josh Hunt from travelling.
The team will, however, test in the official test session tonight (Thursday) at Sydney Motorsport Park with another driver to be announced.
The 2021 Shannons S5000 Tasman Series will see drivers battle for $50,000 in prizemoney (including $30,000 to the series champion) across three races at Sydney Motorsport Park and Mount Panorama, Bathurst.
As well as the prize money, the champion will lift the Tasman Cup.
Co-owned by Motorsport Australia and Motorsport New Zealand, the Tasman Cup was awarded to iconic names throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark and Chris Amon.
Action this weekend gets underway with testing under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park, before practice and qualifying on Friday.
Three races will then be contested across Saturday and Sunday, with TV coverage via Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the Seven Network.
ENTRY LIST – Shannons Tasman Series, Round 1
|1||ALABAR/Form700 Team BRM||Joey Mawson||NSW||S5000||5200||Black/White/Red|
|18||Team Valvoline GRM||Aaron Cameron||VIC||S5000||5200||Black/Gold|
|23||UCS Group Racing TMR||Tim Macrow||VIC||S5000||5200||Orange/Black|
|28||PAYCE Alabar/Form700||Yoshiaki Katayama||JAP||S5000||5200||Blk/Blue/Red|
|29||Team Valvoline GRM||Nathan Herne||NSW||S5000||5200||Blue|
|31||Team Valvoline GRM||James Golding||VIC||S5000||5200||Blue|
|37||Versa Motorsport||Cooper Webster||VIC||S5000||5200||Black|
|71||Burson Auto Parts Racing||Ben Bargwanna||VIC||S5000||5200||Blue|
|98||PAYCE Alabar/Form700||Roberto Merhi||ESP||S5000||5200||Black/White/Red|
|101||Hagane Systems/AGI Sport||Luis Leeds||VIC||S5000||5200||Yellow|