Touring Car Masters V8 muscle car ready to rumble at Leyburn Sprints

Filed under: Classic News,Racing |
Graham Alexander - Touring Car MastersA tyre-tearing shootout between popular V8 muscle cars from Australia’s racing heyday is looming as a highlight of the 17th historic Leyburn Sprints on the Queensland Darling Downs next weekend. A 1971 Ford Falcon XY GT, 1967 Ford Mustang, a “ring-in” 1971 Ford Capri Perana and Graham Alexander's 1968 Holden HT Monaro will race against the clock qualifying-style on Leyburn’s 1.1kilometre temporary around-the-houses course for the honour of fastest pre-1972 Touring Car with a more than 5.1litre capacity. Around 190 historic, classic and modern cars representing ten decades of motorsport will take to the track from 8am on Saturday and Sunday, in the annual celebration of the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on a nearby wartime airstrip. The V8 tourers will be a highlight, recalling the late 1960s and early 1970s when manufacturer-fuelled battles for the Bathurst 1000 every October spawned the development of special Falcon GT, Holden Monaro, Valiant Charger and Holden Torana versions. Cars from that era are now among enthusiasts’ most coveted collectables and draw attention whenever they appear at historic events such as the Leyburn Sprints. The Falcon GT of defending Leyburn class champion Jamie Chant, similar to the 1971 Bathurst-winning model, but even more powerful with an 800-plus horsepower engine from the American NASCAR racing series, is a regular crowd favourite as it lays black stripes of rubber off the starting line. Its pedigree includes being guest-driven at past Leyburn Sprints by V8 Supercar personalities Dick Johnson, Mark Winterbottom, Tim Slade, Shane van Gisbergen, Alex Davison, James Moffat and Steven Johnson. Chant, a Toowoomba workshop operator, will face a strong challenge this weekend from Leyburn “rookie” Graham Alexander, who will bring his Holden HT Monaro from Geelong, Victoria. The 500 HP Monaro is a regular in the national Touring Car Masters racing series, where it remains the only entry of its type, and where rivals include the Mustang of John Bowe and AMC Javelin of Jim Richards. Although the 70-year-old Alexander is a Leyburn newcomer, he’s one of Australia’s most experienced racers, having won Bathurst and Sandown endurance events for production sedans, and finished as high as fifth in the torturous East African Safari rally. Alexander is looking forward to the contest, saying, "This is going to be something a little bit different and an event that's over quite quickly, there's no stress, it's all about being out in the car and showcasing the HT for the crowds. "I've done a few similar events before and enjoyed it so by simply putting some more fuel in the car after the last run with the Touring Car Masters, it will be a bit of fun in the lead up to Muscle Car Masters." Thousands of spectators are expected to turn out for the Sprints, one of Australia’s longest-running historic motorsport events. Organised by a community committee, it benefits numerous local organisations and projects and, this year, also Ovarian Cancer Australia and RACQ Careflight Rescue. Competition starts at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. Other attractions include a Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine display on Sunday and a variety of market stalls and food outlets. Adult entry is $15 per day or $25 for the weekend. Children under 14 are admitted free. The Leyburn Sprints receives funding through the Events Queensland Regional Development Program (EQRDP), which is designed to extend the flow of economic and social benefits of events to regional Queensland. In collaboration with local councils and Regional Tourism Organisations, the EQRDP supports a diverse portfolio of events which help to attract a continuous stream of interstate and international visitors to Queensland while also raising the profile of the State nationally and overseas, encouraging future tourism and investment. Events Queensland has created the most comprehensive portfolio of supported events of any State in Australia, with more than $20 million invested through the EQRDP across 918 events since 2001. The Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and the 2012 Australian Muscle Car Masters, with official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing.Tags: