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Clancy Harrip
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The opening round of the Hyundai Excel Series X3 Queensland championship will get the green light at Morgan Park Raceway on the weekend of March 17-18 and, with time running short, the MTAQ Racing Team has its collective foot to the floor preparing its racing Excel for the new season.

With time so tight, and with the car’s original engine all but destroyed in the last race of the 2017 season, the team will operate a bought-in engine to start the season as they continue to build and tune their own unit.

“We made a decision to buy a supplier-built unit to start our season,” said team driver David Wood. “It is a good pedigree engine that should serve us well, but we will add our own tune to it.

“We have started work on our own engine, but decided to take some time, develop it properly and do some proper R&D and testing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to do all that in the lead-in to the season, and with the first three events so tightly compacted, it is better to go with a proven unit while we work on our engine.

Hopefully, we will be able to install our own engine by May and I am really looking forward to that. We have found a few things we think will equate to some meaningful gains, so I am very excited.”

With plenty of other work being done on elements such as suspension, electronics and brakes the car has been essentially torn down and put back together, which means that testing will pretty much be last minute.

“Things are tight, but that is the nature of the sport,” said David. “It is a bit of a frenzy, but we will be there for the first round. We won’t test but will do the practice sessions on the Friday of the first event. Ideally it would be nice to test, but we know the car pretty well now and working on all the weaknesses in the workshop should equate to a lot smoother first event of the year.”

The relative success of the MTAQ Race Team’s first season will see the return of many of last year’s sponsors, while a number of new partners have joined up to support the push for success in 2018. With their support, a whole season of experience behind them, and with an exciting trip to Mount Panorama ahead at the end of March to take part in support category racing at the Bathurst 6-hour endurance race, it should be an exciting, and hopefully successful, year for the team.

“I am looking forward to starting the new season and am very confident we will be competitive this year,” said David. “We showed last year that when we got it right, we had real speed – it is just a matter now of getting consistent and reliable, finish every race and rack up points meeting-to-meeting. I am confident that our first race win isn't far away.

If you’d like to catch up with members of the MTAQ Racing Team and catch a look at this year’s race car, the team will at MTA Queensland’s first Cars & Coffee event, to be held at the Association’s head office, on March 25.

MTAQ Racing Team – Race Calendar 2018

March 17/18: Rd 1 CAMS Qld Circuit Racing State Championship, Morgan Park Raceway

March 30 – April 1: Exhibition event, Mount Panorama, Basthurst

April 14/15: Rd 2 CAMS Qld Circuit Racing State Championship, Morgan Park Raceway

July 28-29: Federal Tyres Invitational Cup, Queensland Raceway, Ipswich

Sept 8/9: Rd 3 CAMS Qld Circuit Racing State Championship, Morgan Park Raceway

Nov 17/18: Rd 4 CAMS Qld Circuit Racing State Championship, Morgan Park Raceway

(The date and venue of the Hyundai Nationals meeting is yet to be announced)


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