The RX8 Cup Series kicked off season 2024 in spectacular fashion marking their fourth visit to the iconic Phillip Island circuit, with perfect weather setting the stage for an exhilarating weekend of racing. An awesome field of 19 cars would hit the track for Qualifying including seasoned veterans and many promising newcomers to the series. 

Ric Shaw, the inaugural champion from 2018, demonstrated he still has what it takes by setting the fastest time with an impressive 1:51.9. Justin Barnes the 2023 Champion was just 0.2 seconds behind Shaw with a time of 1:52.1, showcasing the fierce competition at the front. Queenslander Brock Paine, secured the third-fastest time with a 1:53.1 in his first outing at Phillip Island. Local Victorian driver Jack Pennacchia followed closely behind Paine, clocking in at 1:53.2. Rounding out the top five was Robert Scott, who delivered personal best performance in qualifying with a time of 1:53.8, proving that the competition was tight throughout the grid with just a three second difference between the top 10 drivers. 

Justin Barnes made a strong start to race 1 getting a great jump on pole sitter Ric Shaw. Shaw managed to hold onto the lead for several laps, with intense battles ensuing among the top four drivers as they jockeyed for position. However, minor contact at Turn 4 saw Shaw lose three spots, dropping him back to fourth position. Despite the setback, Shaw displayed good pace mounting a strong comeback to regain the lead and would come home with the win in race 1. Brock Paine held off Jack Pennacchia for 2nd place followed by Justin Barnes in 4th, David Grice with his first top 5 finish in the series and rounding out the top 6 was Robert Scott. 

Race 2 saw Ric Shaw dominate from start to finish, leading comfortably throughout the race. The battles behind him provided plenty of excitement for spectators. Justin Barnes, Brock Paine, and Jack Pennacchia engaged in some brilliant close racing for the second position, exchanging positions multiple times throughout the race. Meanwhile, Jackson Noakes and Mik Hazelton engaged in a thrilling battle of their own, slipstreaming each other down the main straight. Barnes showcased his experience by executing two impressive passes under braking into MG corner, overtaking Pennacchia and then Paine to secure second position. David Grice in the Smart Boating entry applied pressure on Noakes during the final lap but unfortunately out-broke himself into turn 4 looking to make the move. Ash McConchie from New Zealand made up multiple positions towards the end of the race coming home with a top 10 finish. The race would finish with Shaw home 1st, Barnes 2nd, Pennacchia 3rd, Paine in 4th, Rob Scott with his first top 5 finish and rounding out the six would be Mik Hazelton. 

The start of race 3 saw a closely contested battle between Ric Shaw and Justin Barnes, with both drivers making a strong launch off the line. However, it was Brock Paine who got on with the job making some impressive moves, gaining two positions on the opening lap. Barnes and Jack Pennacchia quickly responded, both managing to pass Paine between the Hayshed and Lukey Heights, reclaiming their positions behind Shaw. Unfortunately we would see the deployment of the safety car when David Grice found himself in the gravel at Turn 1. Grice was eventually rescued from the gravel trap bunching the field together. Shaw continued to lead from the restart but shortly after received a 5-second time penalty for a safety car infringement. Shaw would take the chequered flag but would be relegated to fourth position elevating Barnes to the top spot, securing his first win of the weekend. Jack Pennacchia grabbed 2nd over Paine in 3rd. Robert Scott was 5th followed by Jackson Noakes coming home with his best result of the weekend 6th. Ash McConchie from New Zealand delivered an impressive performance, achieving his best result of the weekend with an eighth-place finish. Newcomer to the series Brett Thompson rounded out the top 10

Ric Shaw was determined to bounce back from his previous race penalty, starting the final race of the weekend from fourth position on the grid. Shaw wasted no time in making his way to the front of the field, capitalising on the cold tyre start and executing a strong move after Turn 2. Newcomers to the series, Ross Forbes and Zaki Wazir, battled it out delivering impressive performances, setting personal best lap times and showcasing their potential in the series. Justin Barnes maintained second position throughout the race, finishing the weekend on a high. Behind him, Brock Paine secured third place after a hard-fought battle with Jack Pennacchia, securing the final podium position for the weekend. Robert Scott demonstrated consistency once again, finishing in fifth place and accumulating valuable championship points. Martin Lyall came home in 6th position with his best ever finish in the series followed by Mik Hazelton and Ash McConchie. Aaron Hills fought hard in the final race to bring home a solid 9th place finish ahead of David Grice. 

Round 1 at Phillip Island provided a thrilling weekend with many exciting battles, impressive performances from newcomers, and seasoned competitors showing they are in for a title fight this year. The stage is now set for an exciting season ahead in the RX8 Cup Series. Thanks to our partners One Stop Car Wash Equipment for their support in 2024. Round 2 will take place at Winton Raceway (VIC) 26-28th April 

RX8 Cup Championship points 2024 

1st – Ric Shaw 115 points

2nd – Justin Barnes 110 points

3rd – Brock Paine 104 points

4th – Jack Pennacchia 104 points

5th – Robert Scott 86 Points