In 2004 Tasmanian driver Ray Hislop won the Improved Production Car Nationals at Phillip Island in his 5.0 litre V8 EB Falcon and then after an eight-year break, won the title in 2012 and 2013 in a later model BF Falcon.
Since 2015 the combination has dominated the Nationals and next weekend, Hislop will be aiming for his fifth straight win and the eighth overall when he lines up at Baskerville against some of the best IP cars and drivers in the country.
While the opposition may argue Hislop has a home-state advantage he was quick to point out that he had not raced on the circuit since 2012 when he established the IP lap record at 58.3 seconds.
In addition, the circuit was completely resurfaced at the end of 2017 which adds a new dimension to the amount of grip and finding the right setup of the car.
"We did some testing a couple of weeks ago and found the character of the circuit had changed and the bumps I remember from before are now gone," Hislop said.
The current IP record for Baskerville is 57.3 and was set by fellow Tasmanian Matthew Grace in his turbocharged Nissan 200SX but Hislop is confident that subject to weather, that time will be lowered.
The modifications allowed for the IP category are limited with all cars required to use an engine from the manufacturers of the car brand and the maximum allowable capacity is 6.0 litres.
There are allowances for the gearbox choice which in Hislop's car is a six-speed H-pattern Hollinger designed and built in Melbourne.
Wheel size is mandated for each car subject to engine capacity and all cars have to use the control Yokohama AO5O tyre which has proved to be very competitive.
However, before next weekend Hislop has an issue he wants resolved regarding the legality of the 6.0 litre engine that has powered the Falcon to such dominant success.
There have been ongoing comments and questions from other competitors regarding aspects of the engine to the extent Hislop has initiated a special hearing in Melbourne on Tuesday to establish once and for all the legality of the engine.
... Hislop has an issue he wants resolved ...
Hislop has sought opinion from a renowned mainland engine builder as well as legal advice and is confident the hearing will make a determination in his favour.
It's unfortunate the issue has reached this stage and hopefully next weekend all 45 IP competitors will adopt a sporting attitude to their premier event of the year.
There are a number of other Tasmanians who should be front runners including Matthew Grace who, with his father Trevor, has been developing the Nissan with success at the Nationals as the objective.
Veteran Leigh Forrest from Hobart will line up in the venerable turbocharged Toyota Celica and providing the mechanical issues the car suffered at the previous Symmons Plains meeting have been resolved, he should be on the pace.
The 6.0 litre Commodore of Brad Chick was very impressive at the Symmons Plains meeting and could spring a surprise despite, like the Hislop Falcon, size and weight counting against them in comparison to the smaller lighter cars on the tight two-kilometre circuit.
Jarod House and Adam Williams in their 6.0 litre Toranas have proved to be competitive in the past at Baskerville and they should feature in the V8 battle with the Torana of Darren Martin and the Commodores of Jason Grimwood, Mathew Logan, Kyle Organ-Moore, Bob Brewer, Neil Crowe and Scott Arthur.
The Mazda RX7 is a popular choice for IP competition and there are five entered for Andrew Reader, Stuart Steyn, Sam Hinds, John Perkins and young Queensland gun Zac Hudson.
Hudson, who is one of 11 Queenslanders entered, is so determined to win the title he flew down recently and borrowed a car to learn the circuit.
Fellow QL drivers Troy Marinelli and Drew Lawrence are rated by Hislop as very fast in their four-cylinder turbocharged S13 Nissan Silvias while former Tasmanian Scott Willing will be hoping for wet weather in his four-wheel drive Subaru STi.
The IP cars will get their first look at the circuit in general practice on Friday with qualifying and the first round of heats on Saturday to be followed by more heats and a repechage on Sunday.
Points accumulated from the heats will determine who makes the 25-lap final and their grid position except with the top ten point scorers going into a one-lap shootout for pole position.
While the IP National competition will be the focus of attention the meeting is also the final round of the CAMS Tasmanian Circuit Racing championship.
There will be races for Formula Vee, Sports GT A, B and C, Hyundai Excel, HQ Holdens and a diverse field in the Regularity events,
In a very generous move local HQ stalwarts Otis Cordwell and the Ashlin family are making cars available for three Queensland competitors to compete against our drivers on what is the oldest permanent race track in the country.