Even to car guys, a lot of modern racing is boring because there simply isn’t a lot of differentiation in the actual cars. Sanctioning bodies have made the rules so strict that in many cases the cars are basically identical. That’s why the Improved Production class in Australia is so fascinating.
We posted some clips last year of IPRA support races surrounding the Bathurst 12 Hour enduro, and loved the spectacle of cars from all eras and makes duking it out together. Glance at the grid and you’ll see a Datsun 510, B110 Sunny, Mazda RX-3, and SA22 RX-7 — and that’s just the 70s cars. From the 80s, you have AE86s and Nissan S13 and S14 Silvias, but all these four-bangers and rotaries are going head-to-head against modern Ford Falcons, BMW 3-Series, Lancer Evos, and Toyota GT86es.
The first IPRA races of 2018 have just finished, run as support events for the Adelaide 500. There were four in total, all were fairly short, giving teams time to fix their cars for another attempt at glory. The series allows any road cars, as long as 200 or more examples have been sold in Australia. Modifications are welcome.
The races don’t always play out the way you’d expect. For example, Ray Hislop’s V8 Falcon is a beast on the straights and takes the win in Round One after an AE86 that’s been dogging him the whole race breaks down. In the second round, however, that same AE86 driven by Chris Brown manages to take the checkered flag in a reversal of fortune. Round Three is won by a Mazda RX-7, and so on.
We will admit, it is a bit painful watching a Mazda R100 crash or an AE86s head towards a wall. They are probably a bit more plentiful in Australia than they are in the States, but still. Regardless, it’s eminently entertaining to see such a diverse field of cars all competing together, televised, with color commentary. Some things are just better in Oz.
Thanks to Andrew H. for the tip!