Dean Amos’s Gould GR55B V8 aims to set a new record at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

PHOTO: Dean Amos’s Gould GR55B V8 aims to set a new record at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

Defending champion Dean Amos will debut the fastest car seen at the Historic Leyburn Sprints when he attempts to win a fourth straight outright title at the event’s 22nd annual edition this weekend.

The Lismore-based racer has replaced his familiar Gould GR37 single-seater with a newer Gould GR55B and hopes to beat his record of 42.5447 seconds for the 1.0 kilometre round-the-houses street course - as well as his rivals.

With 650 horsepower (485 kiloWatts) from an Indycar-based McLaren-Nicholson V8 engine and weighing just 450 kilograms – less than a third that of a typical family sedan – the English-built Gould will be a handful around Leyburn’s tight turns, Amos predicts.

“I’ve only driven it twice and I’m still getting used to it. You definitely know you’re alive when you drive it - everything happens so quickly. You have to be super-accurate and even a small bump can throw it off line.”

Amos says the shoot-out style nature of the Sprints, where cars make six or seven individual runs against the clock, will increase the pressure as the weekend progresses.

“The track grip increases across the weekend, but it’s an art to pick exactly when to push – it’s possible to lose half a second in the middle of the day when the temperature is highest.”

Despite the new Gould’s promise, Amos will not lack challengers. Vikki Paxton, Michael Von Rappard and Steven Woodbridge in Italian Dallaras, Harold Von Rappard in a Reynard Formula Holden and Rielly Brook in a Taatus Formula Renault will be among others vying for the prestigious Col Furness Memorial Trophy for outright fastest time.

Competition will be equally keen throughout the field of more than 200 entrants in 59 classes. Starters include everything from two 1925 Austins to Le Mans D-Type Jaguar and Ford GT40 replicas, a host of V8 muscle cars, home-built specials, a World Rally Championship Toyota Celica and even a sole electric-powered sports car.

Sprints President Tricia Chant said everything was ready to welcome thousands of spectators to one of the country’s most popular historic motorsport events.

“The weather is promising to be superb, there’s a fantastic line-up of cars and plenty of attractions off-track. The atmosphere is super-friendly for families and the drivers are always keen to let people see their cars up-close, especially children,” Ms Chant said.

Adult entry to the Historic Leyburn Sprints will cost $20 a day or $30 for the weekend, with accompanied children under 14 admitted free.

Free attractions will include the Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine on Sunday, featuring more than 120 cars, Vintage caravan display, Flair Action Sports stunt show, bands, markets, hot-lap rides, a Saturday night charity auction and Sunday morning charity fun run starting at 7am.

The community-run Sprints benefits local organisations and projects, with funds this year going to the Leyburn State School. Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program provides financial assistant to help promote the event and attract visitors to the Southern Downs region.