South Australian Paul Russo has his sights set on becoming the first ever Australian Top Sportsman Champion heading into this weekend's season opener at Fuchs South Coast Raceway.
Russo will make the swap from Super Sedans to take to the eighth-mile Portland track in a ’57 Chev Bel Air capable of 7.5 seconds, and predicts tight battles and side-by-side passes in the opening round 2015 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
The Group Three category is the 12th bracket to be added to the National Series, combining two sedan classes with a dial you own handicap format, with passes ranging from 5.80 to 8.49 seconds.
Russo’s primary reason for the switch was to race cars more like his own.
“There’s not going to be as many cars [as Super Sedands] and there will be more cars like ours from the States or guys that have already gone full on all out,” Russo said.
“This is good, it’s going to be a lot closer and a few my friends will be in it too like Phillip Yaffo and Larry Piscioneri so we’re going to have a laugh, it’s going to be good.”
The South Aussie said the biggest change will be at the tree.
“Even in Super Sedan with my Ute, it was a street car too so it was fun but it was a big gap difference when you’re racing,” Russo said.
“When you’re in Super Sedan you’ll be waiting two, three seconds extra once the other guy has taken off. I’ve had a couple of red lights because you’re not ready, you’re not sure when it’s going to come. It’s going to be good now that it’s closer."
Russo has run 7.5 seconds in testing, and while there isn’t a need for it yet, admitted nitrous is on his mind.
“We still want to run nitrous but we won’t do it in Top Sportsman, we’ll probably wait until a test and tune, run a 10.5 tyre and just have something a bit different,” he said.
“But we’ve got no reason to run the nitrous because it’s running 7.5 seconds now, it’s going alright.”
The Summit Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series opener takes place this weekend at Portland’s South Coast Raceway, with qualifying from 11am Saturday and eliminations from 10am on Sunday.
Image supplied © dragphotos.com.au