The RX8 Cup Series returned to the historic Winton Raceway for Round 2 of the 2024 championship. Another great looking field of 20 cars would hit the track for Friday practice with Bailey Sweeny and Jett Blumeris showing some great speed during the days sessions. Saturday morning’s 15 minute qualifying session would set the grid for race 1 with 2023 Champion Justin Barnes setting a great benchmark time, however on debut Jett Blumeris pipped him at the end claiming an outstanding Revolution Racegear Pole Positon with a time of 1:37.2. Barnes found himself 2nd, 0.243 seconds behind Blumeris and closely behind for 3rd Mik Hazelton a 1:37.5. A personal best qualifying result for Robert Scott saw him secure 4th spot on the grid and rounding out the top 5 TCR star Bailey Sweeny.

Barnes made a brilliant start to race 1, quickly gapping the rest of the field in the opening laps. Mik Hazelton was the fastest of the challengers behind making up two spots moving his way from 4th to 2nd position. Behind the leaders, Jackson Noakes was having a great dice with Bailey Sweeny and Martin Lyall. With just 3 laps to go and with a comfortable lead Barnes ran into trouble with some power steering issues making it challenging for the 2023 champion to bring home the race win. Hazelton quickly closed the gap in the final few laps and would briefly pass Barnes coming into the final corner on the last lap. Barnes would outbreak Hazelton and out drag him to the finish line bringing home Race 1 by 0.2 of a second. Robert Scott would claim his first RX8 Cup podium finish in 3rd, Noakes and Blumeris completed the top 5.

Race 2 saw Hazelton get the jump over Barnes and take control of the race lead early. There were many awesome battles throughout the race with Noakes, Scott and Lyall dicing for 3rd position. Further back Hills, Sweeny and Blumeris battled fiercely. Zak Wazir made up two spots from the back of the grid but would unfortunately have a coming together with Ross Forbes coming out of turn 7. This incident resulted in a safety car, bunching up the pack. Once racing resumed, Hazelton continued his form up front with the battle for 2nd place heating up between five cars. Robert Scott was holding off Noakes, Sweeny, Blumeris and Barnes. On the final lap of the race Barnes would make a late lunge down the inside of Noakes at turn 10 resulting in contact with the #27. The race would end with Mik Hazelton victorious after a commanding drive taking out his first RX8 Cup race win. Robert Scott 2nd and Jett Blumeris 3rd on debut with his first podium finish. Aaron Hills and Martin Lyall completed the top 5 with Sweeny receiving a post race time penalty.

A couple of the top 5 drivers had their work cut out starting from the back of the grid in Race 3 with Barnes and Noakes having to negotiate the whole field to get to the pointy end. Another clean getaway from Hazelton saw him lead the field on the first lap. The 3-way battle for 2nd position would continue on from race to race this time consisting of Scott, Hills and Sweeny. Mid way through the race Noakes and Barnes were 10th and 11th respectively making up ground. Unfortunately it all became unstuck for Barnes when he collided with Canellis at turn 3. Barnes receiving a 30 second penalty for this indiscretion. Matt Totani was having a great dice with Lyall and New Zealander Andy Duffin. Hazelton won comfortably from, Sweeny in 2nd and Robert Scott claimed another podium finish. Hills was 4th and Lyall 5th both collecting great points.

Hazelton continued his run of great starts and lead the pack away in the final race of the weekend. The field negotiated the esses cleanly, however in the run towards turn 3 Robert Leonard and Andy Duffin had a coming together with Duffin’s car colliding the wall on the left-hand side. Multiple cars did their best to avoid the incident on the narrow section of track but unfortunately John Freeland and Tom Donohue also had contact trying to avoid the the situation In front. After a long safety car procedure the race would return to green with a sprint to the finish. Hazelton continued leading from Hills and Sweeny seeing these two battle it out for the 2nd place finish. Sweeny would make a great pass on Hills into turn 3 with great respect shown between the two drivers. Mik Hazelton brought home his third race win a row from Sweeny and Hills rounding out the podium. Robert Scott was 4th and after an awesome recovery Jackson Noakes finished 5th. Matt Totani and Brett Thompson finished 6th and 7th both with their personal best finishes in the series. Lyall was 8th and Barnes 9th. Rounding out the top 10 and completing his 50th RX8 Cup race David Grice.

Round 2 at Winton Raceway was certainly nothing short of action packed with many awesome stories headlining the weekend. Congratulations to Mik Hazelton taking out the round win, Robert Scott who now leads the championship finished 2nd for the weekend ahead of TCR star Bailey Sweeny. Thanks to our partners Scott Property Group and Disc Brakes Australia for their support in 2024. Round 3 will take place at Sydney Motorsport Park (NSW) 24-26th May 

RX8 Cup Championship points 2024 

1st – Robert Scott 190 points

2nd – Mik Hazelton 182 points

3rd – Justin Barnes 157 points

4th – Martin Lyall 148 points

5th – Jackson Noakes 128 Points