GWR Australia has announced a five-car attack for this weekend’s opening round of the new-look Radical Cup Australia Series, to be held as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships at Phillip Island this weekend.
Chris Perini, Steve Champion, Sue Hughes and Ash Samadi will drive solo, while Peter Paddon has enlisted the services of former Aussie Racing Car star Peter Carr as his co-driver.
The last time a national one-make Radical Series ran all its scheduled rounds was in 2019; the 2020 and 2021 seasons were prematurely halted after just a single round due to COVID interruptions.
The winner of the 2019 title was Chris Perini, but he said the long break since the last fully-completed season means he isn’t feeling like the defending champion.
“The 2019 season seems a long time ago now,” Perini said.
“The most frustrating thing is that I started both the 2020 and 2021 seasons in great style by winning the first round, but unfortunately COVID had other ideas. Hopefully this year is more trouble-free.”
Hughes is returning for her first season in Radical Cup since 2017; while she was temporarily sidelined by a nasty accident, Hughes has returned to full race fitness over the last couple of years with appearances in the NSW Supersports and Australian Prototype Series, and said she has fond memories of Phillip Island.
“In one of the Radical Cup rounds at Phillip Island, it started raining while I was in the marshalling area – I had chosen wet tyres and everyone else was on slicks,” Hughes recalled.
“We nailed the strategy that day, and I ended up finishing in the top three. I’m really looking forward to racing at a national level again, and in particular I think the 50-minute race on Sunday morning will be fantastic, because there will be a strong strategic element. Garth and the GWR crew are always very smart with working out the right strategy, so I think that will work to our advantage.
“I’ve been training every day with cardio and strength exercises, so I’m fully fit and ready to go for the long race.”
Paddon is no stranger to success when it comes to national-level Radical competition, but this time there is a wild card in the form of his co-driver Peter Carr.
“Pete has been one of my best mates for about 15 years – I met him on a friend’s boat when I heard him mention race cars, and decided I needed to have a chat to him!” Paddon said.
“He was a front-running competitor in Aussie Racing Cars for a few seasons and was always trying to get me into that series, while I was trying to convince him to have a go in a Radical.
“The last few years, he’s been doing some off-road racing but on the few occasions he’s driven a Radical, his times have been very impressive. I think he will get up to speed quickly this weekend and hopefully surprise a few people.”
GWR’s squad is completed by the ever-consistent Steve Champion (who finished on the podium last time the Radical Cup raced at Phillip Island in 2019) and former Australian GT and Carrera Cup racer Ash Samadi, who makes his debut in national-level Radical competition.
The races will be shown live on Stan Sport as part of their coverage of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships.