Canberra to host record Production Cup field

The Mainfix ARC Production Cup will kick off with a bang as part of next month’s Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season opening event in Canberra.

A record field of 19 Production Cup crews will contest the Techworkz Automotive Rally of Canberra, with a diverse range of experience up and down the order.

Headlining the entry list will be Molly Taylor and Andy Sarandis in her 2019 Subaru WRX STI – the duo returning to the nation’s capital after a well-deserved class runner-up finish last year.

With Taylor and Sarandis the only confirmed crew from last year’s Production Cup top five entered for the season opener, the door is open for a number of crews to get an early jump, including Nathan Stokes and Ian Wheeler, who finished the season sixth overall, while Victorian Danny Traverso and West Australians Frank O’Shea and Shane Smith ended up 11th to 13th respectively on the Drivers’ standings.

The trio of drivers and their co-drivers Anthony Carr, Murish O’Connell and Wayne Richardson will be hoping to take advantage of the new Sprint format – which sees the event split into two Heats.

A core of group of regular ARC competitors will also make the step up from other classes, including Aidan Peterson and Mitchell Newton, Trevor Stilling and Jon Thomson, Peter Dimmock and Paul Bennett, Dave and Kelly Thomas and 2023 Trenching Systems Australia 2WD Classic Cup Champion, Dave Thompson and new co-driver, Lachlan Nordsvan.

After showing plenty of promise in the Junior Cup last year and the Adelaide Hills Rally, Mitch Garrad also returns to the fold, with Taylah Murphy calling the notes.

Garrad is once again cross-entered in the Production Cup and the Junior Cup for the round, with fellow rising star Jaidyn Gluskie to do the same – while having Lucy Gluskie as his co-driver.

Garrard and Gluskie aren’t the only youngsters capable of scoring some good results, with Queensland duo Joshua Wiedman and Ryan Williams and their regular respective co-drivers Nick Reid and Brad Jones making their return.

One crew for fans to look out for are the ever-experienced Mick Harding and James Thornburn, with Harding also serving as the event sponsor.

“We love the Production Cup as it’s a nice sub class, we love Subaru and we love that it’s our home event, so we are very excited for the weekend and to be the event sponsor,” Harding said.

“Our aim is just to get to the end as it’s a very tough event – almost like a war of attrition, but we just have to find our groove early and see where we end up.

“With the event being a sprint, it does help a little bit, but you can’t just go flat out – it’s about picking moments and winning every corner. You can’t go too crazy as one failure can really hurt your chances.

“Even though we have an early 1993 Subaru, I think our car will hold its own in the event and I think we will have a good crack at the result.”

Rounding out the Production Cup field are Sharath Hegdé and Nicola Hoey, Justin Northage and Scott Muhling, Michael Caine and Tomas Vadoklis and local Canberrans, Dave Wright and James Ford.

View the full entry list.

The Techworkz Automotive Rally of Canberra kicks off the 2024 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship on 5-7 April.