Power Rankings Team TRT April 15, 2024 (Comments off) (462)

Power Rankings: Race Phillip Island

Well then. There is oh so much to unpack from the Ford Mustang 60 Years Race Phillip Island for the Shannons SpeedSeries.

So here goes…


ABOUT THE RANKINGS: The TRT Power Rankings are compiled by your nominations from social media and edited by the TRT editorial team. They’re designed to give a balanced, as fair as possible critical overview of those things that excelled and those things that struggled, at each event. It’s (mostly) a democracy, and what you nominate generates the order, so have your say next event via our social media channels, @theracetorque on Facebook, Twitter and Insta. Look for the call out each evening and get commenting!


HOT

1. Tim Miles Vs Brad Schumacher

Who had this pair producing the battle of the season? The two GT World Challenge AMs waged war, and it was thoroughly brilliant. The points wound up going to Miles after Schumacher found the Southern Loop gravel trap late. You could have fooled the crowd trackside into thinking this was a stoush between the two PRO-ranked drivers. More, more, more please.


2. The Event

It was genuinely an impressive crowd. There were plenty of people and cars trackside, and there was a genuine vibe in the air. Not quite to the level of the Phillip Island Classic, but it dwarfed some of the V8 Supercars attendances at the facility, such as 2012. As it transpires, if you give the people what they want, add in the Mustang hook, and promote it well, they will make the trip down to the Island…


3. Mustang Mania

There was genuinely a significant quantity and quality of Ford backing for the event, with the company taking naming rights for the meet in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Mustang. From the displays and parade laps to the involvement in the debut of the GT4 version, which ultimately was hugely successful, there was plenty of Pony to go around. If Ford ever cracks it with Supercars, the brand has options in the motorsport world to engage with an enthusiastic grassroots audience.


4. GT World Challenge Australia

Race one was genuinely entertaining, with multiple lead changes, rain showers, safety cars, dramas and excitement, before it all unraveled with Ben Schoots blasting the fence apart (see: NOT). It was a big win for Chaz Mostert and Liam Talbot, and a huge result for Ferrari, with it having been a long time between drinks for the Prancing Horse in Australian competition. Race two said hold my beer, and it was chart-topping, with multiple storylines leading to a hardcore battle to the finish.


5. Brad Harris

Three wins on Sunday, with two coming on the track and one for getting a jump start penalty overturned. Huge statement from an underdog in a star-stacked field, with the Hondas clearly humming along nicely at the Island. Overall, it was a solid weekend for the TCR brigade, with the mid-pack squabbles somewhat overshadowing the fight for the lead. Shoutout, too, to Ben Bargwanna and Clay Richards for filling out the overall podium – they raced hard and fair all weekend at the pointy end of the field. Most impressive.


6. Trans AM

Not quite a repeat of last year’s extravaganza, but entertaining stuff none the less. James Golding took the overall honours from Nash Morris, Todd Hazelwood, Jordan Boys and James Moffat, with a real mixed bag racing at the front of the field throughout.


7. Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia

Genuinely brilliant racing when it wasn’t behind the safety car, with Caleb Sumich coming out on top after the dust settled. Oscar Targett was on track to claim honours after registering pole and the opening race win, but an overlap on a final race restart proved costly. The enduro cup race, though not televised, on Sunday morning was an absolute balltearer.


8. GT4

A solid statement by the newcomer to the scene. Feisty racing, especially on Saturday, there’s nothing quite like a fleet of brand-spanking new race cars from the factory. The winning Mustang was released to the team on Tuesday, so these things are pretty decent straight out of the box. George Miedecke is having a breakout season 18 years into his racing career, while Rylan Gray is an absolute star of the future. What that name, it is absolutely going places…GT4 could very well be the revelation of the 2024 motorsport season – the cars sound and look great, and are priced appropriately to appeal to a wide competitor base. A 30-car grid of these cars would be sensational.


9. Radical Cup Australia

A solid start to the season, with Peter Paddon and Cooper Cutts tied on points after sharing the honours for the weekend, even if there were some shocking puns.


10. 7mate

When things ran late with the fence repair on Saturday, the Shannons SpeedSeries was given an extra half hour of airtime on 7mate… and that my friends, is HOT.


FURTHER HOTS

Extended Curfew

With massive fines on the line, Phillip Island granted a five-minute extension to curfew on Saturday to get the finish of the GT4 race in. We thank the tiny penguins for their understanding in this important matter.


TV Things

The new TV package continues to find its stride, and the feedback from the internet was overwhelmingly positive, with an offering that is a perfect companion to your weekend, live and free through 7. Highlights included Josh Buchan, Todd Hazelwood and Will Brown in commentary, plus the incredible The Race Torque drone cam (see below).


Time Certainty

Forever, the subject of time certainty has been a NOT when applied to lap counts in situations where TV windows were a non-issue, however, when applied to the Shannons SpeedSeries, it simply works. When the concept was applied across the board to the Vic State Race Series, plus Super2 and the Bathurst 6-Hour supports, it had the effect of penalising classes that wobbly around on warm-up laps, bring out safety cars, and creating general waffle. On the flip side, categories that race cleanly get extra laps, which seems incredibly fair.


This Photo


Josh Buchan Saturday

A big Saturday at the races – first in TCR, first in GT4 Pro-Am, front and rear wheel drive, nicely done.


Ryder Quinn Fastest in GT4 Practice

A huge bounce back from his Bathurst 6 Hour stack. Excellent.


SUPER MASSIVE MEGA HOT

Although it’s somewhat unorthodox to list the hottest of the hot thing ever below both hot and other hot things (does that even make sense? – Editor), here we are. Over the weekend, we had our branding all over the drone that soared majestically above Phillip Island, and we are most chuffed by the results, especially when it spied into the commentary perch. The actual pictures from the drone were deadset red hot, and it was on the spot to capture most of the major dramas from the weekend. What a thing. So good it’s probably priced us out of the next round, but let’s see.


WHAT

Just. What.


NOT

1. THAT Fence

The year is 2024, and Ben Schoots crashed his Mercedes-AMG into a dirt bank protected by loosely tied-together tyres at the top of the main straight on the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Massive sums of money have been pumped into the circuit to fix safety aspects relating to motorcycles, but somehow, cars continue to find these crappy walls that cause big damage to cars, and once again, caused a significant delay to proceedings. Elsewhere around the circuit, there’s still a lot of work to bring this brilliant facility up to spec. In the case from Saturday, there was a 58-minute delay for the Trans Am, which dragged right into the Free to Air TV window – which is a major blow in any book. Ultimately, this was a frustrating black eye for the circuit and event, and one that doesn’t need to happen in future.


2. A Lack of PA

There was genuinely a crowd trackside over the weekend, it looked great, but in many areas around the circuit, there was a total lack of public address, which frankly sucked. Especially when things were somewhat fluid with the changing program, large portions of those trackside were left completely in the dark. Usually, here we bitch about a lack of a big screen – not even providing spectators with audio (without them streaming the racing or bringing a radio with them) is a significant failure.


3. Circuit Catering

…and another issue facing those trackside was the lack of an accessible concession stand. On Saturday at least, there was one lone outlet selling food, located in the paddock, an area only accessible by punters who crossed the over-circuit bridge and undertook a hike. Subsequently, that stand had considerable queues for large portions of the weekend. Now that this tier of the sport has genuine crowds in attendance, they need to be treated well to keep coming back in future – lining up for extended stints for food doesn’t leave a positive impression.


4. Various Bingles


5. Tony D’Alberto

After a drama-charged Tasmania, which spilled over into the midweek Motorsport Australia hearing that didn’t go in his favour, Tony D’Alberto hit back in perfect style by claiming the TCR Australia pole position. However, it all came to nothing when he was shuffled out at the turn four hairpin, expertly captured by The Race Torque Drone Cam.


6. Josh Buchan Sunday

Ugh, a costly points loss early in the year.


7. Porsche Youngsters Clash

Such a shame – the battle was brilliant up until this point.


8. Ben Grice

Had to sit out much of Friday and all of Saturday in what was yet another tough break for the fan favourite.


9. Weather

Showers over Friday and Saturday were an uncomfortable annoyance. At least it wasn’t blowing a gale or too cold.


10. Dropping it on your discretionary lap…

…when you are the only race car on track. Ugh.


THIS IS DEFINITELY A NOT…

People Cursed by Jealousy


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Congratulations


Ooops


Doing Bert out of a gig


MEME


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