Open Wheel — 16 June 2008


Melbourne driver Lauren Gray will contest the opening round of the 2008 Australian Manufacturers Championship at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this weekend ahead of a season-long campaign in the revitalised ‘Manchamps’.

Altona-based Gray, 21, will compete aboard a familiar ride; her long serving Toyota Echo being prepared for the weekends’ round ahead of an anticipated jump into a newly constructed Corolla later this year.

The Manchamps – formerly known as the Australian Production Car Championship – returns to the Australian Motorsport landscape this weekend after a long absence, the idea of marque vs. marque production racing gaining strength after the success of the revitalised Bathurst 12 hour race held each year.

Gray said she is keen to return to the track for what will be her first major meeting since late last year.

”It’s been a long time since I’ve raced, so I’m really looking forward to being part of the return of the Manchamps this weekend,” she said.

”I’m really itching to get back in the car. We have tested before the round and it went very well so hopefully it will make my first real run for the year a good one.

“But it will be my first real race meeting for the year so It will be nice to get some laps and get back in the car and be part of the rebirth of a series like the Manchamps that has so much history. It’s a name that is very recognisable within Motorsport.”

With the class system again offering a handicap format, Gray believes that she may well be in for a strong result given her cars ability to last the entire race without stopping.

”Every other car in the field will have to complete a compulsory stop, but Class E cars can go right though which gives us a chance to sneak up the order. The Echo certainly won’t be the fastest car there but we have a good setup for Phillip Island and I’m really looking forward to it.

”I won’t have to worry about a co-driver or stopping so I’ll just be pressing on as hard as I can to make sure that I can bring the car home. If we finish and have a trouble free run I think that we can get a solid result to start the year.”

Gray’s LGM team is currently in the final stages of preparing the teams’ new car – a Toyota Corolla – that they hope to debut later this season.

Phillip Island will mark Gray’s return to Production Car racing after competing in the Australian Formula 3 Championship to compliment her Production car activities throughout the past several seasons.

Gray has also raced for Holden Motorsport in the Bathurst 12 hour and lists several class wins on her production-car racing resume’ behind the wheel of the teams’ Toyota Echo.

LGM thanks the continued support of The Kingsville Accident repair centre, Stuart Robson Wholesale Cars, Rockfort and Powcon P/L.

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