Long-time rivals Chris Perini and Peter Paddon are set to face off in the battle for Radical Cup Australia glory this weekend, with the 2022 series throwing up another title decider between the GWR team-mates who duked it out for the series victory back in 2019.
On that occasion, Perini prevailed in an epic duel that came down to the very last race of the season; this time, Perini holds an 18-point advantage heading into this weekend’s finale at The Bend.
“It’s a different feeling compared to last time in New Zealand, because it’s a circuit I’m familiar with and I feel like I have less to prove this time around,” Perini said.
“This time I’m the one with the lead and the advantage, but I’m still feeling some pressure – 18 points isn’t much of a lead if you have an issue in one of the races.”
The rivalry between Perini and Paddon is complicated by the fact they are team mates, and Perini acknowledged the need for them to still work together this weekend despite the fierce contest for the title.
“Pete and I get on great but the rivalry is intense – we’re both super-competitive,” Perini said.
“We’ll both be trying our hardest to beat each other, but from a GWR perspective we need to be aware that Jordan Oon is still a title threat as well, so we need to make sure we fend off that challenge.”
As has been the case throughout the season, Paddon will share driving duties with Peter Carr, and said it is imperative Carr learns the technical Tailem Bend circuit as efficiently as possible.
“Chris and I have both raced at The Bend before, but Pete hasn’t,” Paddon said.
“In saying that, I don’t think it will take him too long to get up to speed, because he’s been so fast this year. To be honest, he’s gone better than I expected.
“Overall, this season has exceeded our expectations. We thought we might get a few podiums but we certainly didn’t think we’d be fighting for the title coming into the last round.”
Another driver on target for a good result in the Radical Cup Australia pointscore is Sue Hughes, who is currently second in the Radical Masters class, for drivers over 50 years old.
Hughes has left no stone unturned in her preparation for The Bend this weekend, even downloading the Assetto Corsa simulation program to ensure her track knowledge is up to scratch.
“I’ve never raced at The Bend before so I’ve been spending hours on the simulator, learning the track corner by corner,” Hughes said.
“I’m hoping to finish the weekend with the car in one piece and I’d like to be up battling with Brad Russell, who’s currently beating me in the Masters division.”
The GWR line-up for the Radical Cup Australia is completed by Stephen Champion, who will be looking to round out a tough 2022 season on a bright note. While Champion has shown strong pace at some events, a variety of mechanical problems and incidents have robbed him of valuable points and consigned him to a lowly 22nd on the points table.
Perini, Champion and Carr are also double-entered in the Australian Prototype Series races.
While much of GWR’s focus will be on the Radical Cup decider, the team will also run the RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia presented by AWS races (PREVIEW HERE), while Indiran Padayachee will look to maintain his current third placing in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Pro-Am standings.
The weekend’s racing will be live streamed on 7Plus.