This coming weekend will see the 944 Challenge series return to Winton Motor Raceway as part of the HQ 4 Hour Event for the final round of the 2016 944 Challenge Championship. Vince Misuraca sealed the State title at Phillip Island, but sits equal second in the 944 points battle going into the last round with Chris Lewis-Williams, the pair of them 7 points behind Cameron Beller. Throw in the special twist of the short circuit layout to be raced at Winton this weekend and it will be an exciting weekend of hard racing!
Once the points battle is wrapped up for the weekend, there will be a special event to wrap up the years racing, with a 20 lap reverse grid handicap race which will be held for the Dennis O’Keefe Cup, this will surely be an exciting race to watch! Lets have a look at the entrants for the weekend:
#55 Cameron Beller. Cameron Beller comes into the final round 7 points to the good, but won’t be able to take it easy with 78 points up for grabs over the weekend. After missing out on the overall title last year, Beller will be looking to make amends for that this weekend.
#15 Vince Misuraca. Vince comes into the final round equal second on points and with the State Series title under his belt and a Race win in the last race at Phillip Island. With Winton being one of his stronger tracks, Vince will be doing all he can to take both titles for 2016.
#37 Chris Lewis-Williams. Chris has had a very consistent season in 2016 and despite missing a round which kept him out of the State series race, the dropped worst round format of the 944 Challenge format means that Chris is right in the hunt for the overall championship equal on points for 2nd with Vince Misuraca. On recent Winton form, Chris won 3 from 3 at Winton in September…
#50 Tony Westaway. Tony is mathematically still in the title race going into the weekend, but would require a bad weekend for the top 3 to be able to capitalise. He is only 3 points ahead of his brother Michael and his focus will likely be to come out top in the family battle.
#45 Michael Westaway. Micheal sits in fifth in the series points after a very strong season so far which netted him fifth in the State Series. While he the fifth and last car that could mathematically take the Series title this weekend, like Tony he could only benefit from a disaster for the top 3 in points. His aim will be to finish in front of Tony this weekend to steal 4th in the series title.
#22 Brad Winter. Brad sits in sixth in the series points, also benefitting from the dropped worst round point structure after missing the previous round held at Winton which kept him in eighth in the start series pointscore, he will be looking for an opportunity to crack into the top 5.
#74 Mark Taubitz. A tough weekend at Phillip Island for Taubitz with car dramas saw him drop behind Winter in the overall series points, although he was able to secure 6th in the State series due to the fact that his dropped worst round was the first round of the series at Winton which wasn’t part of the state series. He will now be looking for a strong weekend to overhaul Brad Winter and secure a pair of 6th series results for the year.
#98 Pedr James. Pedr sits in 9th in the series points going into the last round, but is poised to move up to 8th due to the non appearance of Jason Miller for this round. Following on from a good last round at Winton he will be hoping to end his season strongly.
#13 Jim Gallagher. Jim has suffered in the pointscore due to missing the last two rounds, but has the potential to move up to 9th in the series with a strong result this weekend, and will be looking to make the most of the final round for 2016.
#12 Marius Catrina. Marius also missed the previous round at Phillip Island which kept him out of the top in series points, but a solid weekend could allow him to move back up into the top 10 for the outright series.
#27 John Goddard. One of the stalwarts of the 944 Challenge series, John Goddard has said that Winton will be his swansong event in the 944 Challenge as he hangs up the helmet, and he will be looking to go out with a strong end to his 944 career this weekend, but will hopefully be a feature around the paddock for years to come!
#4 Ken Rowland returns to Winton where he has a very strong round in September, and will be looking to repeat that effort this weekend as he sits as an outside chance to sneak into the top 10 on points if some fortune goes his way!
#29 Ben Raphael. Ben is coming back to Winton for the second time after a good showing in the September round here, and will be looking to continue his move up the field in the 944 Challenge series.
#18 Ross Millar. Ross Millar is back after missing the Phillip Island round and will be relishing getting back behind the wheel – fortunately, there should be no mud on the infield this weekend should Ross decide to take his 944 four wheel driving again as he did back in September!
#53 Peter Doherty. Peter has been enjoying some recent updates to his car and also returns to the track at Winton after missing the Phillip Island round, and will be hoping for a solid weekend to give him a springboard to the 2017 season.
#16 Paul Crocitti. Paul hasn’t been seen on track since the Winton Round in March, when engine dramas ended hsi final race early while running strongly, and he has spent the time rebuilding the engine and upgrading his car ready for his on track return. Look for the 2015 Winton 300 victor to pull a surprise this weekend!
#19 Greg Wood. Another welcome return is Greg Wood, after running the September Winton round Greg acquitted himself very well after being out of the car for a couple of years, and will no doubt be looking forward to a good weekend at his home track in what will hopefully be a good precursor to seeing him on track more regularly throughout 2017.
#32 John Vainoras. Another new driver making his race debut, John has been a regular around the pit area of the 944 series over the past 18 months, learning lots about the 944 series before purchasing the ex Craig Green car and getting his licence to join in the action himself. John will be looking to pace himself as he gets himself out for his first race weekend and will no doubt be loving every minute of it!
We have a few regulars who will be unfortunately absent for this round, Dick Howe who is busy building up his new car for the 2017 season after his unfortunate Phillip Island crash, Andrew Jackman who has started a refresh on his car to come back with a fresh attack for 2017 also. and Keith Marriner who is unable to attend due to work commitments.
Another fantastic round of the 944 Challenge beckons this weekend as we wait to see who will take the 2016 Title, come along and enjoy the sights, smells, and the sounds of some fantastic close racing as the 944’s battle around the historic track at Winton!