Auto Action #1844

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Issue #1844 September 8 to September 21, 2022 $9.95 INC GST


FORMULA 5000 RETURNS TO BATTLE IT OUT FOR THE AUTO ACTION ROSE CITY 10000 REVIVAL AT WINTON MOTOR RACEWAY In a tribute to the fabulous racers of the past, a great field of the epic V8 powered race cars will fight it out to see who takes home the Rose City 10000 Revival Trophy. See some of the great names of Formula 5000 racing on hand, along with all the great makes and models of Formula 5000 car - competing on the track or will be on display for all to appreciate including Lola, Elfin, Matich, McRae, Chevron and March.

Images supplied by Peter Ellenbogen






HOW ALPINE LOST TWO DRIVERS IN ONE MONTH! AA’S ON-THE-SPOT F1 MAN EXPLAINS HOW IT HAPPENED THE FIA F1 Contract Recognition Board’s ruling that Oscar Piastri’s contract with McLaren was the only registered one with that FIA panel was a huge blow for Alpine’s management, as CEO (of both Alpine and its F1 team-pictured above with Alpine driver line-up at season launch) Laurent Rossi was fully convinced his team had full rights over the young Australian’s services for next year. The Frenchman had already been caught completely unaware by Fernando Alonso’s decision to accept a multi-year deal with Aston Martin, so losing Piastri’s services is a double blow for Rossi, who had made a good impression in his first year as Alpine’s CEO by cleaning up the team’s structure and making clinical hirings for key positions – but has now seen his lack of Formula One’s inside knowledge exposed. How the whole situation imploded for Alpine is quite demonstrative of a certain amateurism or naivety on the French team’s side, as opposed to McLaren, which worked very quickly to secure Piastri’s services, and the young Australian’s management, who made it their top priority to get him a competitive race seat for 2023 rather than waiting another year, or two, to sit in a car capable of fighting at the front of the midfield.

Late in November last year, Alpine and Piastri signed a ‘Terms Sheet’ in which both sides agreed they intended to work together for 2023 and 2024 with the Australian racing for the French team. However, while Piastri’s management kept waiting for a full contract to be sent, for them to analyse and have their driver sign it, Alpine’s legal team alleged in the CRB hearing that they were overwhelmed by the workload they were being given, so only when it was urgent to have Piastri fully signed – so he could fulfill his role as reserve driver from the start of this season – was a new document sent to Mark Webber, exactly with the same text as the Terms Sheet, the only change being adding “legally binding Head of Terms”. That, together with a Reserve Driver contract for 2022, was signed by Piastri and registered with the CRB and, apparently, Renault’s legal team believed it was a binding contract for the next two seasons as well. Frustrated by getting no contract proposal for the next two years and believing, rightfully, as it turned out, his driver was a free agent for next year, Mark Webber went about the business of securing him a race seat for 2023, in the knowledge that Rossi was offering Alonso a one-year contract that

would force Piastri to race somewhere else next year before eventually getting a race seat at Alpine. Williams was the team most likely to land Piastri’s services, but Jost Capito wasn’t offering a one-year deal to the young Australian: he insisted on getting the Formula 2 champion on a two-year deal, for 2023 and 2024, as with Alex Albon in the other car he would have a very strong lineup for the coming seasons. A document to that effect was sent to Piastri on May 19 and detailed that Alpine could have first call on his services for 2024 without guaranteeing that would happen. The contract would also keep Piastri at Alpine until the end of 2026, but his management felt the immediate future was the priority for them. Given Williams has the least competitive car in the field, Webber felt this was not a good option for his driver and got in touch with McLaren, where he knew Daniel Ricciardo’s chances of seeing out his threeyears contract were minimal. It was easy to agree terms with Andreas Seidl, his former boss in the Porsche WEC program, but given McLaren had already two race contracts registered for 2024 in the CRB (Norris and Ricciardo), what Piastri signed on July 4 was a contract that committed him as McLaren’s

reserve driver for 2023, with a guaranteed race seat for the following year. One month before, the two sides had already signed a Driving Agreement that was dependent on Piastri being a free agent for next year. That was only accepted by the Australians because Webber and Piastri were assured by Seidl and Zak Brown that McLaren would pay Ricciardo off to leave them at the end of the year if that was the last available resort – as at the time they still hoped they could reach a better deal with their current driver. In the end, as we know, Ricciardo stood his ground and will be fully paid by McLaren if he gets no salary for his driving services from elsewhere and, once the terms of the contract termination were agreed, the road was clear for Piastri to join McLaren as a full race driver from the start of next year. For Alpine this is a huge blow – the fact the team will have to pay around A$900,000 in legal costs is an extra pain to add to their public humiliation – and it won’t be a surprise if this complete disaster leads to the quick departure of Laurent Rossi from his role in the company – or at least in his direct involvement with the race team, opening the way for Otmar Szafnauer to have full control of the Formula One operation. Luis Vasconcelos


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THE THREE Australians involved in the McLaren/Ricciardo/Piastri saga have all spoken to each other and ‘kissed and made up’ according to those involved. Ricciardo, who could have had his nose out of joint, was on the front foot over the Zandvoort weekend. “We hadn’t seen obviously each other in person,” Ricciardo explained of his conversation with Webber. “I feel he didn’t need to, but he felt like he wanted to, in a way, apologise and try to just see how I’m doing. “Obviously I know how this sport is: it’s nothing personal to me. And he wanted to make sure that I knew that and understood that. And just to make sure that I felt okay. “He feels really bad, obviously, in how it’s gone down and obviously how things have been put out there in the media. So yeah, it was obviously nice to speak to him.” “I’ve also spoken to Oscar, to be honest, and just made sure that there’s no bad feelings there. I understand how this works. “He’s trying to make it: he’s trying to get into Formula 1. And this moment should be also really big for him. I don’t want to make it a bad situation for him. “That’s that: it’s nothing personal. So that’s all the conversation was. And I truly do wish him well. I want him to have a good run in Formula 1.” In an interview with the official F1 website, Piastri revealed the awkward events involving Alpine team principal Otmar Sfaznauer. Piastri confirmed he had been in the simulator when Sfaznauer told him he was going to be announced as an Alpine driver from the 2023 season. According to Sfaznauer, Piastri just “smiled and was thankful”. But Piastri told F1: “That was a bizarre and frankly upsetting episode. “It was done publicly in front of some members of the team who were oblivious to the situation [regarding his contract talks with McLaren] and I

didn’t want to cause a scene in front of them,” Piastri said. “Once we were in private, I told Otmar what our position was and what he had been told multiple times before that. “To have that falsely announced was something my management and I felt we had to correct and there was also potential legal implications if we didn’t deny the announcement,” added Piastri, who subsequently announced on social media he wouldn’t be driving for Alpine. Piastri said there had been a lack of clarity from Alpine and a “breakdown in trust” with the French team, which prompted his decision to leave the team which was employing him as a reserve driver. He felt his future was uncertain as the team were discussing a contract extension with double world champion Fernando Alonso, who subsequently announced his departure for Aston Martin at the end of the season. Piastri, though, had already signed for McLaren by then. “The lack of clarity around my future, and ultimately a breakdown in trust, I felt the very attractive offer of McLaren and the positive dealings with them thus far were all reasons

FIA STATEMENT: DECISION OF THE CONTRACT RECOGNITION BOARD THE FIA’S Driver Contract Recognition Board (CRB) was set up to deal with the registration of contracts for drivers in the FIA Formula One World Championship, and any issues related to the priority of contracts between drivers and Formula 1 teams over the same time period. The CRB consists of four persons, each having a different nationality, and four alternate members. All are qualified lawyers of international standing and experience and with suitable experience in contract law.

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“A Tribunal appointed by the Contract Recognition Board held a meeting on 29 August 2022 when counsel for Alpine Racing Limited, McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Oscar Piastri were heard,” the statement read. “The Tribunal has issued a Unanimous Decision that the only Contract to be recognised by the Board is the Contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022. Mr Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing Limited for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.”


CONTRACT DECISION COSTS ALPINE AS IF to rub salt into the wound, the F1 CRB ruled that Alpine is responsible for the legal costs of everyone involved – including McLaren, Oscar Piastri, and the four Board members. The team will pay £229,965.00 (A$390k) to McLaren, £120,086.14 (A$200k) to Piastri, with the arbitrators’ fees ranging from £34,000 to £74,400 (A$57k to 125k). Along with some CRB costs, Alpine’s total bill will total A$900k … plus its own costs!

Three Australian F1 drivers met at Albert Park ... Piastri and Webber at the Motorsport Australia annoucement of Oscar’s second receipt in a row (2020/21) of the Sir Jack Brabham Award – for “outstanding achievement and determination as a motorsport competitor in international competition,” joined by retired former F1 racer Tim Schenken. Piastri, Webber, and Daniel Ricciardo have confirmed there’s no bad blood between the Aussie trio after the recent legal kerfuffle ... Above right: Piastri celebrates with his 2021 F2 crew after winning the championship. why I felt McLaren was where I was best off,” said Piastri. “My decision was made well in advance [of Alonso’s departure], which made Alpine’s announcement probably even more confusing and upsetting because we had told the team that I wasn’t going to continue. It was quite upsetting as the announcement was false and it also denied me the opportunity to properly say goodbye to everyone at Enstone [Alpine’s UK base].” But Piastri had sympathy for Ricciardo, whose future in F1 is uncertain. “As a fellow Australian, it’s unfortunate that of all people on the grid, it’s Daniel who I will be replacing,” he said. “Daniel is someone who I have watched as a fan




for over 10 years, since I started racing effectively. “I have immense respect for Daniel. His achievements in the sport – his race wins and podiums – but also his personality he brings to the sport. I think he’s a fantastic personality for the sport. “I wish him all the best for whatever his future holds. That being said, I don’t get to choose which driver I replace. “I can’t not take an opportunity because the previous driver in that seat was Daniel. McLaren were extremely keen to have me onboard and it was an opportunity that was too good to refuse.” AA Staff

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MANAGING DIRECTOR of McLaren F1, Andreas Seidl, has outlined why the team were keen to have Oscar Piastri on board: “First of all, the signing of Oscar as a race driver in 2023 had nothing to do with the reserve driver agreement. “In the end, we wanted to get Oscar on board for two reasons. First, he has shown that as a race driver, with his success he had in his junior career, especially in F3, and F2, winning it first time each year, that he’s a great talent, and has a lot of potential. “But also, the way, Zak and I got to know him, in terms of personality, we think he’s a perfect fit for us. He’s, he’s young, full of energy, ambitious, I think he has the right level of self-confidence as well. “But at the same time, he’s very humble,

he’s fully aware of the big challenge that is ahead of him. He’s very loyal. And that’s why I wanted to get him on board. He wanted to be with us. And that’s why we’re very happy that we could announce he’s with us from next year onwards. “And yeah, for sure the same is also valid, regarding his management; we had conversations with Mark (Webber) as well throughout this process, which is important. “It’s important for drivers in these days in this complex environment in Formula One as well that you have, let’s say, a team around you that helps you in finding the right opportunities, and helps you also getting started in F1. “And I think Mark, with all his experience, will be a great help for Oscar to get started in Formula One with us.” I 5


MCLAREN/PORSCHE RUMOUR GROWS WHAT IF PIASTRI IS JUST ONE TICK IN A SERIES OF BOXES FOR MCLAREN AND PORSCHE? WITH YOUNG star Oscar Piastri – managed by former Porsche sports car world champion and current corporate ambassador Mark Webber – now signed to a multi-year deal with McLaren; and the team managed by another key ex-Porsche employee (Andreas Seidl), European sources are speculating there could be more McLaren/Porsche love to come. With hiccups appearing in a proposed partnership/merger between Porsche and Red Bull, could there be a late switch of deals which would see Porsche return to partnership with the team which gave it three world championships back in the 1980s? With its current use of its own Red Bull Powertrains (nee Honda) power units proving successful, Red Bull last week reiterated its stance that any deal with Porsche (from 2026) would be entirely on Red Bull’s terms. A proposal that Porsche would acquire 50% of the Red Bull Technology business looks to have hit a hurdle, with reports that Christian Horner, Helmut Marko, and tech chief Adrian Newey are opposed to selling any controlling share in the team – in Horner and Marko’s case there’s a suggestion that under those circumstances they might lose their jobs (see F1 news pages) ... As Horner said last week: “For 2026, nothing is fixed. Red Bull Powertrains is established, we have more than 300 people recruited. So, that is our path.” Any buy-in by Porsche would result in the Red Bull Powertrain being rebranded as ‘Porsche’ – something of an irony given

McLaren took three world titles (1984-86) last time they worked with Porsche – could it be on the cards again? Image: Motorsport Images

the engine was developed by Honda. Horner and Marko are reportedly flat out trying to convince Honda to re-enter the fray again as an engine manufacturer.

It’s a complex issue, made more complex with the 78 year-old 49% shareholder in Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, also reportedly aware of the

need to consider a personal exit plan that cements the future of the team. He is the force behind Red Bull’s huge motorsport investment, and would seek to secure the team’s future before his departure (at which point the Thai investors who control the rest of Red Bull, would assume full 100% ownership). At this point, Mateschitz sees the Porsche deal as a good option – though Horner and Newey are trying to convince him otherwise ... Porsche has maintained it has no capacity to develop an F1 engine of its own in time for 2026. Any deal with a team, let’s say McLaren, would thus potentially involve a sharing of the costs of developing an engine with sister company Audi, already committed to F1, and thus a Porsche branded, Audideveloped engine for a team such as … McLaren. With the F1 driver roundabout now looking more predictable – the big question being what next for Daniel Ricciardo – attention will focus more on Porsche’s desire to be part of F1 from 2026. Given existing relationships, the suggestion is that could now be with McLaren rather than Red Bull, given the reluctance of key personnel at Red Bull to sell a shareholding. With a mid-October deadline for 2026 F1 power unit manufacturers to commit, if they want to have input on regulations for 2026, Porsche is faced with needing to cement a Red Bull share purchase deal in the next six weeks or consider the alternatives. With that looking shaky, a cobranding deal with Audi becomes more likely – and a partnership with McLaren a possibility, according to latest speculation. Or, unhappy with that more limited form of involvement, Porsche could simply lose interest and walk away ... Auto Action staff

RICCIARDO’S OPTIONS LIMITED WILLIAMS OR Haas are looming as the two realistic options for Aussie Daniel Ricciardo if he wishes to stay in Formula 1 next year. With Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitting over the weekend that Pierre Gasly has been released from his Red Bull contract, the move by the Frenchman to join the other Frenchman (Icon) in the French Alpine team seems almost certain. While the Haas team has shown bursts of speed in recent F1 races, the question is whether it would provide enough of a potential competitive challenge to attract Ricciardo – whose 2023 salary (A$21m) will be paid, whether or not he has an F1 drive. Williams, showing some form of late with Alex Albon moving up the field a bit with the team’s latest developments, is the other option and would likley be keen to have the Aussie replacing Latifi … but again is it a challenge Ricciardo would want to take on? Once Gasly is confirmed at Alpine, and with a Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri unlikely to show interest, Daniel’s immediate future in F1 – if there is one – should take shape fairly quickly. Image: Motorsport Images

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Image: Bruce Williams

MASI APPOINTED TO ROLE AS SUPERCARS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN AFTER WEEKS of speculation – and sometimes denials – former Formula One Race Director Michael Masi has been confirmed as the new independent Chair of the Supercars Commission, replacing interim Chairs Neil Crompton and, briefly, Shane Howard. Masi’s appointment is a huge pick-up for the sport, but has not been without its controversies as the paddock speculates on the reasons behind Crompton’s resignation. The Supercars Commission is an advisory body to the sports owners, providing input around sporting and technical issues. Masi’s return to Australia earlier this year after working in Formula One, opened the door for change on the revamped for 2022 Commission. Under the ownership of the RACE consortium, the teams gave up their 35% stake in Supercars and at the same time the Commission was revamped to reflect that change. As a part of the move from the old Racing Entitlements Contracts (REC) to the new Teams Racing Charter (TRC), the Commission moved from having elected representative members from the teams to allowing every team a seat at the table, along with Supercars CEO Shane Howard. Mark Skaife from the RACE consortium sits on the Commission as an observer. Under the TRC, the appointment of a new independent Chairman has to be endorsed



by the Commission (ie, the teams) and its members were asked to approve Masi’s appointment at Sandown. Despite some to-ing and fro-ing around the process and debate around the resignation of Crompton, the requisite numbers were achieved and Masi’s appointment was confirmed on 1 September by Howard. “I am delighted the Commission has appointed Michael to this important position for the sport,” Howard said. “The role of Commission Chair needs to be an independent, strong and robust leader. The person needs to effectively manage the Commission and its process, broker compromise where required and be a good communicator.” Masi came to prominence on the Australian motor sport scene in a variety of roles, initially with TOCA Australia, then soon after with TEGA, the Touring Car Entrants’ Group, and later with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (now Motorsport Australia). In 2015 Masi was appointed as the Race Director for Supercars Dunlop Super2 Series. In 2016 he was appointed to the role of Supercars Championship Deputy Race Director under the guidance of Tim Schenken. In 2018, while maintaining both his Supercars roles he was appointed by the FIA as a Formula 1 Deputy Race Director alongside Charlie Whiting at several Formula 1 events including the Australian Grand Prix.

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After Whiting’s tragic death on the eve of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, Masi was promoted to the Race Director role in F1, a position he held until earlier this year. Masi returned to Australia in April and spoke to Auto Action recently: “I’ve been home a few months,” he said, “and yes it’s been a great chance to spend some time, gather my thoughts and focus on my next steps. “Basically getting my feet back on the ground after what was a particular hectic few years in my FIA position. “Yes, it’s pleasing just to be considered for the position and now that it’s confirmed, I feel very proud to follow in the footsteps of the previous Commission chairs. “They have all been supportive and have all offered to give me their support should I need it from them.” Mark Skaife was the inaugural Supercars Commission Chairman, followed by Steve Horne and for the past couple of years Neil Crompton has been the interim commission chairman. “I’m looking forward to getting into the job and working with the other members of the commission, most of who I have known and worked with for a very long time.” “The position will take up a certain amount of my time, but it’s certainly not a full time role, and should other opportunities present I will look at them. “And no, they don’t have to be limited to roles within motorsport.” Masi said.

“It’s an exciting time and we are all focused on the future and the introduction of the new Gen3 Supercars on the grid for the start of the 2023 Championship season.” Masi said, in a Supercars Media release: “I view this role as continuing the amazing work already done by Neil and the Commission to lead Supercars into a brand new era with the introduction of the Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. “I’m very proud to have been appointed to this role and look forward to working with the key stakeholders in the sport to ensure the future is an exciting one for our teams, partners, sponsors and most importantly the fans,” Masi concluded. Supercars CEO Shane Howard said “Michael has worked closely and industriously with Supercars team owners, principals and stakeholders for many years and returns to Australia with vast experience and leadership which will be invaluable in guiding our sport into the future. “I have met very few people with such an extensive understanding of the industry combined with an amazing passion. Michael will be a great successor to Neil who did such an outstanding job. “We welcome Michael back to the pinnacle of racing here in Australia and look forward to working closely with him in his role as Chair of the Commission.” Bruce Williams/Andrew Clarke I 7


PREMIAIR RACING LOCKS IN EXPERIENCED ENGINEER PREMIAIR RACING has secured the signature of experienced engineer Dr Geoffrey Slater for the remainder of the 2022 Supercars Championship season, starting this weekend in Auckland. After a difficult short stint with Walkinshaw Andretti United to start the year, Dr Slater joined forces with PremiAir Racing in one-off appearances at Townsville and The Bend, acting as Race Engineer for Chris Pither in the #22 Holden Commodore. Both he and the team liked what they saw and have now agreed to a full-time deal for the final four rounds of 2022. The appointment is a significant one for PremiAir Racing, as the team has struggled to make an impact on the track in its first season under new ownership, sitting 12th in the Teams’ Championship. Slater has a lengthy CV across several categories at home and abroad. The 45-year-old has engineered race winning cars at Dick Johnson Racing

and Tekno Autosports, winning the Bathurst 1000 with the latter team in 2016. Overseas, Slater has tasted success in Australasian GT racing, the 2020 Daytona 24 Hour, the 2020 Michelin Endurance Cup and finished runner-up in the IMSA Sportscar Championship. Already familiar with both PremiAir Racing’s previous iterations and current Team Owner Peter Xiberras, Slater is excited to make an immediate impact at the team. “I am very excited to see what we can build together here at PremiAir Racing across the remainder of the 2022 season,” Slater said. “I have been a friend of Pete’s for over a year. He asked me to come and help out at Townsville and then at The Bend, and while I was there, I could see the team has huge growth potential, so it is going to be an exciting adventure to see where we can go together.”

Image: Supplied PremiAir Racing Team Principal, Matt Cook, is likewise looking forward to having Slater’s expertise on hand. “We are very excited about having Geoff join the team. He comes to us with a wealth of experience, he has been around the industry for a very long time,

and we are very grateful to get him,” Cook said. “Part way through the season it is very hard to find experienced personnel, and we have been very grateful that he has graced us with his presence and will be with us until the end of the year.” JN


Image: Thomas Miles TO THE passer-by, it appears to be another ordinary shed, but open the door, and you will discover a slice of Australian motor racing history. Sitting inside the garage is the rarely seen first-ever Erebus Motorsport Gen3 chassis, which will become a Chevrolet Camaro ahead of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship. One step away lies the chassis David Reynolds and Luke Youlden drove to victory at the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in the pouring rain. Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan recently visited the Mount Gambier fabrication shop and was thrilled to see the rear clip and centre section of the new Gen3 chassis already completed. With a revised front end of the Camaro

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still being finalised, he said this is a major milestone and a relief because the squad has completed as much as possible despite a heavily interrupted process which has included multiple delays. “It has been a long journey so far, and there is still a long way to go before we turn the first laps in the car early next year,” Ryan said. “(Fabricator) James White has done a brilliant job, as usual, getting this done in pretty much three weeks, and we have left no stone unturned making it the way we want to build it. “A lot of other teams are buying it off a manufacturer, but doing it this way means we can control everything better.” The man behind it all is Mount Gambier fabricator James White, who

has been building chassis for the best part of two decades. His relationship with Ryan began in the early 2000s when they worked at Perkins Engineering with the legendary Larry Perkins. Now White is based in the Blue Lake City and has been building the Erebus Supercars there since the team switched from Mercedes E63 AMGs to Holden Commodores in 2016. His work makes Mount Gambier one of just four manufacturers building the Gen3 Supercars alongside Walkinshaw in Melbourne, Triple Eight Race Engineering and PACE Innovations in Queensland. White said it has been taxing to construct the Gen3 chassis given the fluctuating deadline, but revealed it

has not been as physically arduous as previous tasks. “It has been around 350 hours so far, and it will take another 30 hours to get it done,” he said. “We rushed to make everything 12 to 18 months ago but only got the parts two weeks ago. “It has been worth the wait because the car itself evolved to be better and more refined. “For the previous generation of car, we organised and made everything in-house, but the Gen3 kit has been supplied by PACE Innovations which has taken 500 hours out of the build in the bigger picture. “I found it much easier than the current car because it had so much panel work to enclose everything. “I would say yes (it is physically demanding) because there is a lot of contortionist work, but it is no different to anyone else because every job has its challenges.” Despite seeing the first chassis nearly completed, there is still plenty of work to ensure both Erebus drivers Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki can line up on the grid at Newcastle in their respective #9 and #99 Camaros. Ryan revealed a second chassis is expected to be completed before Christmas, while a third spare chassis is also in the works. “It has been good (so far), but we still have not got anything for the second chassis yet,” he said. “Hopefully, that will be in the next month or so.” Thomas Miles

Image: Motorsport Images.

NOT JUST A NICE GUY YOU’VE HEARD plenty this past week about what a nice guy Lee Holdsworth is after he announced his retirement, but that ignores the hard-nosed racer that lives within, which is how he would like his time in Supercars remembered. Hard but fair. He won his first race in the Series in a wet and treacherous race at Oran Park in a Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore. That win set him on a career path that netted more than 500 races and three more wins, including last year’s Repco Bathurst 1000. Along the way, he’s changed teams a couple of times. The first switch was to Stone Brothers Racing, which was bought by Erebus a year later and switched to running the Mercedes, a challenge that eventually proved too big for the team – although Holdsworth did score the team’s first win in the car. He says he “still talks to Betty about that one as being a very, very cool moment”. Then it was Team 18 on a steep learning curve, followed by Tickford, where a REC was ripped from beneath his wheels after his second season and left him without a drive in 2021. But that opened the door for a famous Bathurst with Walkinshaw Andretti United and one more full-time season at Grove Racing. Now, he’s looking beyond motor racing and into a career in commercial



real estate and more time with his young family. “I guess I’ve never really reflected on my career until I made this call,” he said from his shiny new Melbourne office, “the 500 races a few weeks ago was a huge milestone to achieve. “That got me thinking about what I’d do after racing. What is the 50-yearold Lee Holdsworth going to look like? I couldn’t imagine myself racing cars at 50, so I thought I needed to get on with life and make a career outside of motorsport. “There’s a lot that goes into being a full-time driver. Although it’s a dream job, we sacrifice a lot to do it. Our whole lives are devoted to making a career in motorsport, and when you’re in the moment, you feel like there’s nothing else in life. “But when you step outside into the real world, you realise there are other things to life. My family has put a lot into it, and I need to give back to them. “It’s been an amazing ride.” As for being the nice guy? He’d rather that than the alternative, but he also hopes people recognise him as a hard but fair racer. “I don’t think anyone calls me a nice guy on the track. I think people would call me a fair, hard racer on the track, and I pride myself on that. I take [being called a nice guy] as a compliment, but I don’t want to be just

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known as the nice guy that’s for sure. “I want to be known as a racer that made the most of his opportunities and got the results when he could. A driver who had great door-to-door racing with many good competitors. I pride myself on having respect from the guys around me and also giving back respect if they deserved it.” When Tickford lost its fourth Racing Entitlements Contract (REC) at the end of the COVID-affected 2020 season, Holdsworth was left without a drive when he was seemingly coming into the peak of his powers with the Ford squad. He was the fastest qualifier at Bathurst and was getting his head around the Mustang. He was on target to win the 2020 race when Shell V-Power Racing played its games with Fabian Coulthard – forget The Giz talk, Holdsworth was in the box seat. Losing the full-time drive for 2021, while gutting, opened the door to joining Chaz Mostert for Bathurst. Holdsworth was more than just a co-driver in that race. He was pitted against the Series regulars at times and put in such a great performance that his stint in the car was extended. But, aside from being remembered as a nice guy, it is his 2020 and 2021 runs at Bathurst which will long be remembered. A lot of work went into getting there.

“In this sport, it’s all about opportunities and putting yourself in the right place at the right time. It’s hard to get all the ingredients around you to enable you to do the job, and I’ve always felt that every year I’ve gotten better. The results may not have shown it, but I think I’ve improved every year. “Last year (losing the Tickford drive) was a real kick up the ass, and that pushed me to get on with life outside of motorsport because I never thought I’d be coming back full time. It was a wake-up call. My focus has shifted, and I now know where my future lies outside of motorsport. “I had an opportunity to push on for next year, which I know would’ve been a good opportunity, but I feel it’s unfair for any team to have a driver whose focus is not 110% on motorsport. It is time to do what I am doing. “I’d love to race Bathurst for a long time to come. That win last year was so special. It would be just as special if it were your second, third, fourth, or whatever win at Bathurst. I don’t think that would get old. I’d love to go back next year and have another real red hot crack at it, and then the year after and… ” In the meantime, if you’re looking for commercial real estate in Melbourne, look him up at CBRE in Melbourne. Andrew Clarke I 9


TAYLOR LOCKED IN FOR DAKAR RETURN MOLLY TAYLOR has been confirmed for Dakar in 2023, as well as October’s Rally Du Maroc with Can-Am Factory South Racing. The 2021 Extreme E champion and 2016 Australian Rally champion will return to Dakar where she finished in 14th place in the SSV Class with co-driver Dale Moscatt earlier this year (right). The gruelling 16 day Dakar rally in the Saudi Arabian desert was a bucket list event for Australia’s youngest ever national rally champion, and she returns this year with a strong team backing after a successful first stint. “I’m so excited to be heading back into the desert and taking on Dakar again as well as Rally du Maroc as part of my ongoing partnership with the Can-Am Factory South Racing team,” Taylor said. “My first experience in Dakar was one I’ll never forget, but this year is all about achieving the results that I know I can. “And having the continued support of the Can-Am Factory South Racing – a 5-time Dakar winning team – gives me the confidence that we have everything in place to allow me to perform at my best.” Taylor also recently travelled to Las Vegas with the team as they competed in the Vegas to Reno, spending time with the team in preparation for Morocco and Saudi Arabia. CEO of South Racing, Scott Abraham, spoke about having Taylor on the team ahead of the busy rally schedule.

“We’re excited to confirm that Molly will be with us again in Morocco and Dakar,” Abraham said. “She’s an integral part of the Can-Am

Factory South Racing team and with one Dakar now under her belt and the team’s ongoing support, I can’t wait to see what she can do in the desert come January.”

The Rally du Maroc is contested over five stages on October 2-6, whilst the 2023 Dakar rally will run over 16 days and 14 stages from December 31-January 15. TN


Zach Bates – Super 2 budget almost out of reach ...

SUPER2 MOVING OUT OF REACH? SUPERCARS’ CONTROVERSIAL decision to restrict next year’s Super2 Series to Mustangs and ZB Commodores appears to be having an inflationary effect on the class that may prevent some competitors from taking the grid. Canberra-based Rick Bates has recently scoped the costs for moving his son Zach from the Toyota 86 class into Super2, and he says in this economic climate, it might now be just out of reach, echoing the thoughts of Matt White in the previous

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edition of Auto Action. “We had a look at Super2, but it’s going to be awfully expensive,” Bates said. “With the new cars and everything else, it is a big step. “I’ve got a price and a rough idea of budgets. I don’t know what is included, but we would need $500,000, and in this environment, I think it isn’t easy to raise that sort of money. “I reckon that would be just a car on the grid too. I’m just not sure of how competitive it would be.”

Current estimates suggest it could cost up to $700,000 next season to field a potential race and title-winning car. Bates hasn’t yet looked at Super3, but he doesn’t expect it would be much cheaper. “The problem is that Super3 will be the current Super2 cars, and I’m not sure they’d be much cheaper to run. It might be one or 200 less, but if it’s 700 for a winning car in Super2 that makes it 500 to be competitive in Super3.” Andrew Clarke

MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA and the Victorian Police have confirmed that two competitors have been killed in a crash during a round Australian Off Road Championship - the Rainbow Desert Enduro, held in the far northwest of Victoria, at Rainbow - approximately 400 Km’s from Melbourne. It’s the first time since 2019 that the event had been held at the venue. A Victoria Police Media release said a vehicle at the Rainbow Desert Enduro, left the road and hit a tree, before catching fire. The driver and co-driver both died at the scene. They are yet to be formally identified. Motorsport Australia confirmed that a double fatality occurred on Sunday 4 September, during the second day of the Rainbow Desert Enduro in Victoria, and that the Sunday race had been abandoned. “Motorsport Australia is currently providing support to event organisers and those at the event, with Victoria Police currently in attendance at the scene,” “The organisation extended its condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” a spokesperson said. There were 63 teams competing in the seven-lap race of the 75-kilometre track, which is made up of dirt, mud, grass and desert. The race at Rainbow was the second-last round of Motorsport Australia’s six-round off-road racing championship. Auto Action extends our condolences to the friends and family of the competitors who passed away at the event, as well as the competitors and officials of the event. Bruce Williams

THE TRUE COST OF THE WAKEFIELD PARK CLOSURE With the Australian motorsport fraternity still reeling from the closure of Wakefield Park Raceway last week, the true cost of the loss is only just coming to light as the Benalla Auto Club (BAC) starts rearguard action to try and revive the circuit. Businesses as diverse as the local hotels and motels to dedicated suppliers of motorsport and driver training services are facing financial losses and, in some cases, the closure of businesses. Earlier this year, BAC tried to get clarification around certain issues with the local council and other government authorities before undertaking some upgrades. The request opened a can of worms with a handful of distant residents, resulting in a revised operating licence that allowed four track days per month, regardless of the activity. BAC says with that little track time, there was no longer enough revenue to support

the venue and locked the front gate on September 1. One of the most severely impacted businesses is John Boston’s Trackschool, which is mainly centred on driver training and hotlaps at Wakefield. He says he is now facing the closure of the business he has spent more than a decade developing. “It’s huge for us,” he says. “We started our business in 2011, and now we’re Wakefield Park’s largest client. We run up to 60 days a year there, so the closing of Wakefield Park affects 80 to 90% of my business. “Unfortunately, we don’t have another option at the moment. We run days down at Wodonga, but that’s not the same. We employ up to 12 people on a daily basis, and they don’t get that work anymore. When we have our events at Wakefield Park, it’s massive, so the local area misses out too.

“It’s a huge shock and very disappointing.” He says operating out of the driver training facility in Wodonga is not enough to sustain his business, and he is contractually blocked from using Sydney Motorsport Park, leaving Trackschool as a potential casualty. “I don’t think we can run anything like we were doing in the short term. We’ve got around 14 hire cars in our fleet, they’ve all just been parked, and we can’t really do a great deal with them.” Boston works full-time in his business and, along with others adversely affected, he doesn’t know what the future holds, although he remains hopeful BAC finds a solution. “Trackschool is a big little business, and I don’t know what we can do now. It has all come to a standstill. I don’t even know where we can go to do the observed licence tests, so that stops too. “But it’s the ripple effect through the whole

industry. I don’t think a lot of people realise how big it is up there. I’ve touched base with suppliers like Gordon Leven Motorsport Tyres, and Gordon said the last two months have been like a December; people aren’t buying tyres. It is going to affect not just businesses, but the sport immensely.” He said he has worked with Wakefield Park and the local council on noise issues and has cars that run at 75dba, so he doesn’t believe that should be an issue. In the meantime, he just has to hope he can hang while a solution is sought. “Everybody’s doing their bit to try and get the place up and running, but we just need support. Even though there’s a new council, we need MPs, and we need people from the government to stick their hand up and support the venue and show how good it is for everybody. If we don’t get that support, that could be it.” Andrew Clarke



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D’ALBERTO IN TCR BOX SEAT TONY D’ALBERTO leads a raft of young challengers in the TCR Australia Series title race as Sandown Raceway prepares to host the penultimate round of the 2022 season. The Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships will descend on suburban Melbourne for an action-packed weekend of motorsport from September 16-18, with the frontwheel-drive TCR machines headlining the program. D’Alberto (right – heading the field at QR), who drives a Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R, is currently 58 points clear at the top with two rounds remaining after breaking through for two race victories at Queensland Raceway. Next in the pecking order is Jordan Cox, who is still in the hunt despite failing to grace the podium in Ipswich. Just two points behind him, series bolter Jay Hanson will also fancy his chances of pinching top spot before the season is out. The 18-year-old started the campaign in ‘win it or bin it’ fashion but has stayed out of trouble in recent times and reaped the benefits. With four race wins to his name, watch out for the Melbourne Performance Centre Audi driver at Sandown. The next three drivers in the standings, separated by just 14 points, are also within 100 points of the leader. In fourth, privateer Zac Soutar has had a breakout year, punching above his weight to score a maiden race victory in his Honda. Rounding out the top five, experienced contender Josh Buchan is the top ranked Hyundai driver. After starring at Sydney Motorsport Park, Buchan struggled in Queensland, however he is still figuring in calculations. Conversely, past champion Will Brown jumped up the rankings at the last round and is well placed to close out the

Image: Kalisz/ARG season on a high. The Audi steerer is one of just two drivers to have clinched a podium the last time TCR visited Sandown in 2019 – Brown was second in Race 1 while D’Alberto came home third in Race 3 as guest driver Nestor Girolami dominated. Outside of the top contenders, eyes will be on Aaron Cameron who recently earned himself a call up to represent Australia at the FIA Motorsport Games. Likewise, HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny deserves attention as the top ranked rookie. Sweeny is the clear pick of the new additions with a Bathurst

triumph to his name, and he is now aiming towards a top five overall finish. “Top five is definitely within reach and my form at Bathurst was pretty good so I hope we can string a good end to the year together to be in there by the end of the season,” Sweeny said. TCR Australia will be joined by a slew of categories at Sandown – Touring Car Masters, the Trans Am Series, Australian Production Cars, Porsche Sprint Challenge and GT World Challenge Australia will all run at the historic venue. JN

KARTING STAR SET FOR S5000 TEST KARTING PRODIGY Alex Ninovic is both nervous and excited as he prepares to jump into a 560-horsepower open wheeler at the S5000 Open Evaluation Day this September. The S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship will host a slew of talented youngsters at The Bend including Ninovic, one of six drivers who have been named to sample a Versa Motorsport AF01/V8 machine at the venue. Promising Formula Ford drivers Xavier Kokai and Jake Santalucia will join Ninovic in testing with Versa, as will Super2 racer Matt McLean who gets his first shot at steering an open wheeler. WA F1000 open-wheel champion Gianni Lutzu and fellow Western Australian Sebastien Fiorenza, who competes in the Radical Cup Australia, round out the Versa Motorsport driver list. Ninovic is a rising star on the karting scene, with a KA3 National Karting title under his belt. The 15-year-old is looking forward to getting behind the wheel on September 20. “It’s pretty exciting, how fast the cars are and how different they are from what I’ve been driving,” Ninovic told Auto Action. “I’m a little bit nervous, not knowing how it’s going to feel when all that power kicks in so I just want to learn how the car feels and get confident with it, build up speed. “It’s a great opportunity.” Despite having his hands full with karting and school commitments, the Sydneysider has taken the

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time to research the world of S5000. It’s a category that Ninovic sees himself racing in down the line, however the teenager’s long-held dream is to reach the pinnacle of open wheel racing … Formula 1. “I’ve been watching a couple of the (S5000) races and videos on how the cars are built, it seems like a really cool category, it’s a category that I would like to see myself in,” he explained. “The end goal is Formula 1, I’ve also always watched Supercars.” Team BRM, Garry Rogers Motorsport, and Tim Macrow Racing will also be fielding S5000 machines at the evaluation day, with their drivers to be announced soon. Current S5000 competitors will be on hand to offer coaching and support for interested drivers, with the event also doubling as the launch of the 2023 S5000 season. Toby Pope of Versa Motorsport spoke about the aims of the unique event. “The whole idea of the S5000 Open is to give new people an opportunity to sample these cars, and there’s no doubting that this group of drivers qualifies as talent!” Pope said. “We’re really excited to give the six drivers selected a chance to experience the S5000 performance for the first time. “It’s a really diverse group of talent and it’s going to be fantastic to see the different approaches from drivers coming straight out of karting, compared to someone with Supercars experience.” JN

Mcleod leads the young chargers at Morgan Park. Image: MTR Images

FORMULA FORD TOPPED BY FUTURE STARS THIS YEAR’S Formula Ford Championship is being dominated by a litany of young aces, snarling up the table from first to fifth, with just 68 points separating them with two rounds to come. August 27-28’s round five at Morgan Park Raceway in QLD saw local 17 year old Cameron McLeod claim his first national victory in Race one, which he then followed up with his second in race two, and another podium with a second in race three. The outright weekend victory puts young McLeod and his #92 Spectrum 015 into third place in the standings behind Valentino Astuti, and James Piszcyk. AUTO ACTION spoke with McLeod, who’s level head has helped him find enough consistency to put himself in the championship canon. “I really underestimated how good a win in national level motorsport would feel. I haven’t had that feeling before, so it was just really great,” said an elated McLeod. “It just gives me a lot of confidence going into the final two rounds of the season, and if I can get consistent podiums for the rest of the season, I’ll be in with a chance of winning the title.” In his first National season, McLeod spoke about finding the control that guided him to his first victories. “Starting from the first round, I would just lose my temper and patience ... I didn’t have that mental control.

Now I’m constantly thinking, controlling myself and the car, which has improved a lot of aspects of my racing. It’s all in the mindset I’ve found, once you can get the mindset, it changes everything. I know that I’ve got a shot at this, so whatever it takes to do it, I’m going to do that.” Astuti managed a podium third in Race 1, collecting just enough points in his #2 Mygale SJ15 to beat McLeod for second place at the end of the weekend. “Race 1, I was leading for a bit until I ran wide to finish third, and as for the rest of the weekend I was consistent in sixth and fifth,’ said Astuti. “Nothing’s over until it’s over, so I’ve still got high hopes and I collected decent points this round. I’ll keep pushing forward and hope for the best.” The championship heads to the Bend on September 17-18 for the next round, before the season finale at SMP on October 29-30, where one of these up-andcoming young guns will net themselves a first National title. TN

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS James Piszcyk Valentino Astuti Cameron McLeod Jordan Sinni Winston Smith

210 174 163 153 142

CAMERON BOUND FOR FIA MOTORSPORT GAMES TCR AUSTRALIA Series young gun Aaron Cameron has been announced as the Australian TCR competitor for the FIA Motorsport games at Paul Ricard circuit in France this October. The 22-year-old will race in the TCR competition in a Peugeot 308 TCR and will be steering for his country in the gold, silver, bronze format games. Since the inception of TCR in Australia, the driver from Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs has finished third in 2019, second in 2021, and is currently running eighth in this year’s title fight, driving in a Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) 308. “It is going to be amazing to represent Australia at the FIA Motorsport Games in France,” Cameron said. “Not very often in motorsport you get to fight for medals and I’m hoping to bring home the gold for Australia. “I’m going to be racing a Peugeot 308 TCR over there against lots of world-renowned racers, so it should be good and really tough


competition and hopefully we can represent Australia in the best way possible. “I’ve never been to the Paul Ricard Circuit before, but from the research I’ve done, the Peugeot should be well suited there. I’ll be doing some sim work prior so we can hit the ground running from the opening session.”


Cameron will join the other Australian racers already earmarked for the games, with the Grove family team, Stephen and Brenton Grove, completing their European summer of racing in the Porsche GT category. This year they have raced in the Spa 24 Hour as well as the Porsche Super Cup, in which they

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visited the French circuit. In the inaugural 2019 FIA sanctioned games, the pair took home gold in Pro-Am class. Garry Rogers, from GRM, is elated to be a part of the representation come the October 26-30 games. “It is awesome that we will have an Australian representing us in touring cars at the FIA Motorsport

Games,” Rogers said. “We all know that motorsport isn’t accepted or considered an Olympic event, but this is as close as it gets. We’ll have our home grown product representing Australia and the GRM team, and that is very exciting for us. “Who knows what will happen, but a good Prime Minister will give us all a national holiday when he wins the gold!” Eugene Arocca, CEO of Motorsport Australia, is proud of Cameron and the great opportunity he has to represent Australia. “Congratulations to Aaron for being selected to represent Australia in TCR at this year’s FIA Motorsport Games,” Arocca commented. “Aaron has enjoyed great success in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and we expect that he will certainly challenge for some form of silverware during the event. “Like the other competitors on Team Australia, I have no doubt Aaron will do a fantastic job representing the nation and we wish him and the rest of the team great success in France.” TW Neal I 13


FINAL SPEC OF THE MARC GT TAKES TO THE TRACK THE FINAL specification of the new MARC Car took to the track at QLD Raceway last week for a series of tests prior to being shipped to owner Mark Petch in New Zealand. The new MARC GT was fitted with the final version of the carbon/composite body panels for the final testing program. Last week’s test followed earlier tests, including a day at QR when the prototype ran without the major body panels now fitted to the complete prototype. The MARC GT is the third evolution of the MARC Car program, with cars that first began racing in 2013 and the latest incarnation is themed on a Mercedes C63 coupe. MARC Cars was originally developed by Ryan McLeod and later purchased by long time MARC Car racer Geoff Taunton. Developed in conjunction with PACE Innovations the MARC GT is a significant development over the previous two models. Petch, who owns Racer Products, is the importer of MARC Cars into New Zealand. This chassis will be shipped to Racer Products and will continue with some further testing locally and will be displayed to potential customers in New Zealand. MARC Cars Team Manager Alyson Fradgley spoke to Auto Action from QLD Raceway during the test about the program and the plans to start building the new MARC GT for customers. “It’s been a little while coming, but today we are testing the final version of the car complete with the final bodywork specification. “It’s also exciting that we are also giving some of our confirmed and potential customers a taste of the car as we have fitted a passenger seat to the car. “Although the car looks very much like a

The The new MARC GT leads the MARC II at QLD for the first complete test session for the new model. Image: Mick Reynolds-MTR Images C63, to save on build costs and in keeping with the MARC Cars ethos, we are always looking to maximise the value of the cars and keep the build costs as low as possible, so it does carry over some of the major components from the previous MARC II. “We have firm orders for four of the new cars for local competition and we are building two cars to send to New Zealand. “Now that the prototype is complete and proven, we will start the build program for the customer cars next month, with the expectation that the first of these new cars will be delivered to customers next January.” Fradgley confirmed to Auto Action. On hand for testing duties was MARC Cars CEO Geoff Taunton, who told Auto Action about some of the changes to this version on the MARC Car program. “It’s a proud and exciting moment for MARC Cars and PACE Innovations because we have made some significant updates to

this new-third generation of the car. “The changes made to the MARC GT platform make the car cheaper to build in the first place and we believe that it will see significant reductions in the costs to race the cars as well. “This is the latest technology, developed over the MARC I and MARC II programs, and PACE Innovations have worked hard come up with this new package, building on what we know.” Taunton confirmed. While maintaining much of the engineering and many of the major components of the MARC Car program, one major change to the new race car will be the power plant, with a shift to the Chevrolet LS3 engine. The LS3 platform will deliver slightly more power and it is claimed that running costs will be cheaper than the previous Ford Coyote powered MARC I and II race cars which have seen service for the past several years.

Explaining the move to the Chevrolet LS3 engine program, Tauton told Auto Action about the change to the LS3 platform. “The LS3 6.2 litre engine is significantly cheaper to purchase over the Ford Coyote engine package that our other MARC Cars have used. “They are brand new engines and are like the power units which are fitted to the locally raced Trans Am cars, so we have plenty of knowledge of how they perform and the reliability they will deliver.” Taunton told AA. “Once fully developed, we believe that lap times produced will see performance similar to Porsche Cup Car, it’s a race car with all the latest GT technical features such as traction control and ABS, all controlled by MoTeC systems. The planned 2023 MARC Series will allow all versions of MARC Cars to race together, separated by classes depending on model of car. BW

TCM SET FOR LONG AWAITED SANDOWN RETURN THE GULF Western Oil Touring Car Masters (TCM) will hit the Sandown Black Top for the first time since 2019 for round four of its series, and round five of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships on September 16-18. Amongst the excitement of the series’ return to Melbourne, is the fact that Steve Johnson will be reuniting with a Ford Mustang in the place of Cameron Mason in the Alan Moffat inspired Brut #33 colours from the early 70’s. It will mark the 13th occasion that the fan favourite TCM series will take to the historic Melbourne track, where last time out, John Bowe took out the sweep ahead of Johnson and Aaron Seton. That particular event also featured AUTO ACTION’s own editor and chief, Bruce Williams, taking out the trophy race ahead of Mason and Tony Karanfilovski. Sandown’s big straights will be a welcome return for the heavier cars, with the Torana’s having dominated the last time out in Townsville, with Ryan Hansford, Bowe, and Andrew Fisher

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Image: Ross Gibb Photography filling the podiums. TCM hasn’t hit the track since early July, where Hansford stamped his authority on the Townsville Street Circuit with a double P1’s over championship leader and racing legend John Bowe. Bowe still leads the championship but only just, holding a slender two point lead over Hansford, and will be returning

to compete after being reunited with a DJR Sierra at the Historic Touring Cars in Pukekohe on September 9-11. Third place runner Cameron Tilley has been rumoured as a chance to return, with the #60 Pacer said to be going through some test runs at Eastern Creek this Friday after an extensive rebuild to the rear of his Pacer.

After a massive crash with Carrera Cup driver Michael Almond, who was competing in Whiteline Racing’s #95 Camaro SS, it would be an almighty effort for Tilley to get back on the track by Sandown. If Tilley does return, it’ll be a great return battle between his Pacer and the Torana’s, with the heavier Pacer sure to force the issue down Sandown’s fast straights, leafing into the hard braking corner’s. If Tilley doesn’t return, that leaves George Miedecke in his #85 Camaro SS to push up into third, sitting just six points behind Tilley. The Shannons Motorsport Australia championship’s are bringing a huge show to the historic track, with the TCM joined by The Porsche Sprint Challenge, TCR Australia, Trans Am, GT World Challenge Australia, and the Australian Production Cars. For fans not being able to attend, Stan Sport will be televising the event from 11:00am to 5:00pm on the Saturday and Sunday. TN

FORMULA 5000 TO STAR AT NEW WINTON FORMULA FESTIVAL IN A tribute that will pay homage to the halcyon days of Formula 5000, the Rose City 10000 will be revived and will be the headline act as part of a new ‘open wheel motorsport festival’ to be held at Winton Raceway in October this year. The event will see a gathering of one of the biggest fields of the five litre hero cars that has been seen for years, as they battle it out for the Rose City 10000. The event was originally one of the biggest events for Formula 5000, which was the premier open wheel category in the 70s and early 80s. Formula 5000 will be the major drawcard at the new event that the Benalla Auto Club/ Winton Motor Raceway are organising. The event will be called the ‘Winton Formula Festiva’ and will be held over the October 15-16 weekend. The event will also host the Formula Ford and Formula Vee nationals, with prizemoney on offer for the winners of each Formula Ford category as the Formula Ford Festival is revived. Organisers of Formula 5000 Australia, the group the drives the historic racing class, are excited about the event. Auto Action spoke to Rod Carroll who is part of the event organising committee. “We are very excited to announce that we are reviving the Rose City 10000 as part of the Winton Formula Festival.” Carroll told Auto Action.

The Lola T332 is the iconic F5000 car, Chas Talbot and others will be at Winton. Image: Peter Ellenbogen “It’s something that we have been working towards for some years and we think that this will be a great event for our Formula 5000 owners, fans and motorsport enthusiasts in general. “Winton is a great venue, and it was an exciting place for Formula 5000 races back in the day, and we think that this event will generate a heap of interest from people that are not just Formula 5000 fans, but motorsport enthusiasts that are interested in all open wheel classes. “We have at least 15 F5000 cars confirmed for the weekend’s competition including the same Elfin MR8 Chev that James Hunt drove to win the last Rose

City 10000 in 1978. The car is owned by a Benalla local Mike Glynn, and it will be fantastic to hopefully see it back on the track being demonstrated. “We are hoping that we can encourage a few more owners to bring their fabulous and fast Formula 5000s to this event, it’s something that we want to grow and have as an annual feature on the calendar.” Stephen Whyte, Benalla Auto Club Group General Manager told Auto Action that the event has been years in the making. “We were planning for a return of an open wheel festival for some time, but of course like many activities COVID stopped the planning in our tracks.

“Formula 5000 is a great category to have back at Winton as the star attraction. “Winton saw one of its biggest crowds of all times back in 1978, when Formula 1 world Champion James Hunt raced and won in the Rose City 10000. “We already know it will be a great event, Formula Vee will have plenty of entries and we are hoping that the Formula Ford competitors will want to add their own name to the Formula Ford Festival trophy.” While deemed too short for Gold Star rounds, the Benalla Auto Club organised $10,000 in prize money and created the Rose City 10,000 for ANF1 cars and Formula 5000 in 1976. Alf Costanzo won it aboard his Lola T332 Chev. The Rose City 10000 was an event last run in 1978 and saw the 1976 Formula 1 World Champion James Hunt compete in the race – which he won. It was one of the few events that James Hunt contested outside of Formula 1. Driving an Elfin MR8 Chev, Hunt took on the best of the locals including Alfie Costanzo, John McCormack as well as current Formula 5000 racer, Victorian Chas Talbot who finished a fantastic fifth in the 10,000 event and will be at the event in 2022. In a fast, measured performance all weekend, Hunt won the 30 lap 10000 from Costanzo and Kevin Bartlett driving a Brabham BT43 Chev. Bruce Williams




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Image: Revved Photography


RANDLE MUSTANG PAYS TRIBUTE TO PUKEKOHE THOMAS RANDLE’S Tickford livery will feature a tribute to the outgoing Pukekohe Park Raceway, with the #55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang to sport a silver fern and a supporting message. The message reads “ngā mihi, Pukekohe”, the Te Reo Māori phrase meaning for “thank you, Pukekohe.” The Pukekohe name itself is an abbreviated Te Reo phrase, translating to “hill of the kohekohe,” which is a tree native to the region. Pukekohe has been hosting races since 1963 and is due to host it’s last motorsport event in April 2023, when the Auckland Thoroughbred Racing group take it over for re-development. Although it will be Randle’s first outing

at Pukekohe, he has happy memories of competing in New Zealand where he won the Castrol Toyota Racing series, a five-week single seater series in which some the world’s best up-comers come and ply their trade in the off-season. That year, Randle managed to beat Nick Cassidy, Lance Stroll, and Lando Norris. “I’ve never actually raced at Pukekohe before, but I have some great memories in New Zealand from winning the Castrol Toyota Racing Series back in 2017, hopefully we can replicate that success when we head across the ditch!” “Pukekohe has such a rich history of motorsport from over the years, and while it’s sad that this will be our final

race there, I’m thrilled to get to race a Supercar there, especially with this awesome livery aboard the Castrol Racing Mustang. “It’s a great tribute to New Zealand motorsport, the country is just mad for motor racing and the Supercars race is always packed there, so I’m really looking forward to being a part of it. Randle had his best finish finishes of the season at Sandown in the last Supercars round, claiming his first topten finishes with a P9 and a P8. Pukekohe’s Auckland SuperSprint gets underway on September 9-11, with support from the Toyota Gazoo Racing 86 series, Central Muscle Cars, Historic Touring Cars and Formula Ford.

Brendan Jones will be in the fight for the Formula Ford 1600 category. Image: Revved Photography

TITLES ON THE LINE AT VSRS FINALE SEVERAL TITLE fights will be resolved at the final round of the Victorian State Race Series, which will be hosted by the Mini Car Club at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from September 23-25. Over 170 entries have already been confirmed for the event, which will include all the staple categories – Formula Ford, Formula Vee, Hyundai Excel’s, Improved Production, Saloon Cars, Sports Cars and BMW E30s. After four rounds of close racing, top spot is still up for grabs in many of the categories. As such, expect plenty of drama to close out the 2022 season. In Formula Ford, Matthew Hillyer is 46 points clear of Jordyn Sinni, while just

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two points separate Richard Davison and Brendan Jones in the Formula Ford 1600 category. The same margin splits Andrew Magilton and Andrew McLeod in the HQ Holdens. A nailbiter is also expected in Formula Vee – Heath Collinson and ex Super3 Series racer Reef McCarthy will duke it out for the crown. Likewise, the winner of Sports Cars and Sports Sedans will be finalised at the final event, the former category taking on a 40-minute race on the Sunday. The rest of the categories will have qualifying on Saturday morning, an eightlap race on Saturday afternoon, the same

on Sunday morning and then a nine-lap encounter to finish on Sunday afternoon. VSRS representative Michael Holloway says the 2022 finale will be one to remember. “I am expecting over 220 entries and it’s going to be pretty exciting seeing so many title battles decided over the weekend,” Holloway told Auto Action. “The canteens will be open, access to the pits and the paddock will be free and the Visitors Centre at the racetrack will be open as well. “Phillip Island is a fantastic venue for spectators, with great viewing from everywhere including the top of the pit buildings.” JN

THE 30TH Historic Sandown event, scheduled for November 4-6, will be open for motorsport fans for the first time since the advent of COVID, with the event being labelled ‘30 Years of Thunder’. The event went ahead in 2021, but was restricted to a small group of drivers, with 2022’s incarnation expected to draw big crowds, reuniting with their favourite cars from yesteryear. Among the celebrations will be the 60th anniversary of the MGB, arguably one of the most recognisable sports cars ever made, with the small and affordable convertible first appearing in 1962. As per usual, hundreds of cars will return to Red Hill after the day’s events, where enthusiasts continue to display their toys from unique vantage points, with spectators free to follow. Everything is conveniently located for fans at Sandown Park, with free access to the pits and the grandstand where excellent viewing of the trackside action is available. A fine array of trade stands will be on the offing for fans to grab a bargain or a piece of motoring history or memorabilia, as well as provided food outlets. They will also be joined by the Ford Capri GT V6’s, and the Fiat X1/9’s, which continue their own 50 year celebrations. The Sunday will witness the E-type Jaguars, flaunting their sleek and classic lines, with the combination of beauty and high performance, continuing to delight enthusiasts for the last 60 years; including Australian fans when in 1963, Bob Jane took out the Australian GT Championship at the wheel of an E-type. There’s plenty of historic categories racing at the event, starting with the Group J,K,L and invited Sa, M & O Sports and Racing and Formula Vee, P Q & R Racing and Q & R Sports up to 2000 cc’s. Also competing are the Historic Formula Ford, F 5000’s, Group Sa, Sb & Sc, Historic Touring Cars, MG & invited British, HQ Holden’s, plus Sports Sedans and Regularity events. David Bellinger, of the Member Organising Committee, was excited to have the event back in its full glory after a difficult few years. “We’re certainly very excited that after two years of Covid we will have no restrictions or limitations on attendees and competitors,” said Bellinger. “The fact spectators will be able to get up close in the paddock, and see the cars that they love with access to the garages and all sections out-side of the track is just a fantastic thing to have back. “So we’re back to a normal Historic event as we’ve seen in the past, which I’m sure a lot of people will be looking forward to.” JN

WAKEFIELD HITS THE FINISH LINE THE CHEQUERED FLAG fell, for the forseeable future, at Wakefield Park on August 28. All circuit activity ceased and just days later, at the end of the month – as revealed in AA’s last issue – the complex was closed. It was in the final Super TT race at the Motor Racing Australia Series event that Matt O’Brien in his Holden Commodore VS saw the last flag first. Most hope it won’t be the last time that it falls. The Land and Environment Court of NSW handed Wakefield Park the news that the owners, the Benalla Auto Club, didn’t want to hear. It can only operate four days per month. As such it would be unviable for operations to continue. Many spectators turned up on the Sunday in what was called the “Cruise for Wakefield” to support the circuit. It was also aimed to maybe make the government aware of what the closure means to the motorsport community, particularly in NSW. By the end of the race meeting, the cruise had well and truly departed. Many of the preceding category competitors were either packed up or already departed. There was no fanfare at the end, no local TV, no anything . . . it was over, done. So after 28 years, we have for the moment lost another race circuit. Whether it destined to be consigned to the history books in the same way as Mt Druitt, Catalina, Warwick Farm, Amaroo Park and Oran Park, remains to be seen. The location was geographically well chosen. It was two hours out of Sydney, an hour from Canberra and accessible to the large community of Wollongong as well as the NSW South Coast. It was


with Garry O’Brien

THINKING OUT LOUD also only three hours or so from Victoria. Located 10kms south of Goulburn on the Braidwood road, it meant accommodation and dining facilities were not far away. The circuit was the creation of John Carter and Paul Samuels and named after the founder of Castrol, Charles Wakefield. It was essentially aimed at historic racers and that was reflected in the quaint associated amenities, resplendent in a colour scheme of a bygone era. Amaroo Park and Oran Park were almost on life support due to ‘progess’, so it seemed likely that even back then, Wakefield Park would become New South Wales’ only permanent motor racing facility alongside Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek). Potential patrons and customers (ie racers) had their first look at the new 2.2 kilometre race track on May 15, 1994. Road cars, with a sprinkling of race vehicles of the visitors – mainly Historic Sports & Racing Car Association (HSRCA) members – sampled the newlylaid hotmix at moderate speeds. During the following week, the circuit was praised by competitors in the Repco Rally. Around 100 rally cars took part in lap dash, hillclimb and flying one-eighth competitions. Later in the year, on November 20, the first privately funded motor racing circuit in Australian in 35 years was opened by then NSW Premier John Fahey.


It was planned that he would have laps of the track in a 1936 Delage D6/70 Le Mans Sports Car. To complement the significant day, there was an HSRCA historic race meeting which had 230 entries. There were many notable drivers including Sir Jack Brabham and David McKay who would be present to launch the new complex. Reports from the first weekend of racing was that there were a lot of happy people. Being two hours from Sydney, where the majority would have come from, the Goulburn circuit was a weekend away. And there was a great social atmosphere, not to forget, the added traffic in the township itself. Patrons marvelled at the setup of the complex, from the spacious pits and the paved areas around them, to the accessibility to load

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Images: Riccardo Benvenuti and unload trailers. The last hour of the program was delicately hastened along to conclude with everyone loaded and packed away before the predicted storm struck. Competitors also came from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and West Australia and winners at that first race meeting included Duncan Picketts (1936 REA), Ross Hodgson (Cooper MG), John Dawson-Damer (Lotus 39), Mike Ryves (Brabham BT11a) and Richard Carter (March 73B). Frank Dartell took two Group N wins in his Morris Cooper S, as Don Thallon (Chev Corvette) and Peter Griffin (Iso Rivolta) took out the Group S categories. While the complex has been a second home for Historics, it would later hold the CAMS (now Motorsport Australia) State Circuit Racing Championships. It has hosted the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, the Australian Superbike Championship, the Australian Motor Racing Series, drifting, as well as Speed off the Streets and motorcycle ride days. The facility has also been used for driver training. Ten people will be made

redundant, and additional casual staff will not be required. A PCYC program to break the “welfare dependency cycle” of at-risk youth is also likely to wind up. Local businesses will lose out on the financial boost the circuit brings. One local hotel spokesperson said that their business has a healthy weekend trade all year long, but on race weekends the premises is far busier. NSW has already seen the proposed Shoalhaven facility shelved because of a native orchid. The ramifications for future developments should also be kept in mind. It appears the prospects are slim, given the amount of red tape to be processed make it hardly worthwhile. The reasons for the closure of Wakefield Park have been well documented and drew some scathing and diverse reactions. Many wrongly blamed the few noise campaigners, the local council, developers and the circuit operators. In this case, the NSW government has to act . . . And let’s hope they do. Garry O’Brien I 17


VALE NIEL ALLEN: RACE AND REAL ESTATE ACE NIEL ALLEN, one of Australia’s first F5000 aces and long term Bathurst lap record holder died in Sydney after a battle with dementia on August 6, aged 80. Allen commenced racing a Triumph TR3A in 1962 at about the same time the 21-year old’s (born September 4, 1941) nascent N.E Allen (Real Estate) Pty. Ltd development business came to the notice of Sydney’s senior property tzars. He progressed through an Austin Healey 100-6 and a furiously-quickly driven Jaguar E-Type, which doubled as his road car, before getting more serious with a Lotus Elan 26R. His battles with fellow factory-racing-Elan pilot Fred Gibson thrilled Sydney racegoers in the mid-sixties. By 1967-68 Allen raced at elite level in touring cars, sportscars and singleseaters; Ford Mustang, Elfin 400 Chev and Brabham BT16 Climax. They were among the fastest, most demanding cars in the land which Niel drove with great vigour and skill. When he was too busy with business commitments Gibson stood in for him. At the end of the ’68 Tasman Cup he bought Piers Courage’ F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA. It was in this car he had the mother and father of high speed accidents during practice for the July Gold Star round, when he lost-it through Lakeside’s kink, took flight, then landed end-over-end spreading expensive shrapnel over 100 metres. The only thing which saved his life was the six-point harness – the first fitted to


REG HUNT, a giant of the Australian motor industry and 1950s motor racing, died at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne from Covid-19 complications on August 22. At 99 years of age (born May 14, 1923) Hunt was Australia’s last surviving elite driver of the 1950s and the very final driver alive globally to have raced the Maserati 250F, one of Grand Prix racing’s finest machines. His passing is truly the end of an era. Born in Manchester to a motor trading family, Reg was keen to escape grey, grim, post-war Britain and spent much of 1948 researching the Australian motor industry. In 1949 he and his extended family; wife, son and parents alighted from a ship at Station Pier, Port Melbourne with Reg soon trading cars from the family home in Elsternwick. As his business grew, Reg built the Hunt 500 aka Flying Bedstead, a Cooper-esque, spaceframe, midengined machine powered by a JAP motorcycle engine. He was as successful on the track as in the motor trade, so much so that he took a year off and raced an F3 Cooper 500 throughout Europe in 1954. He won several races on grids which

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Allen, Elfin 400- Bathurst April 1969. Image: a racing car in Australia – installed in the McLaren not long before by Sydney’s Dr Michael Henderson, author of Motor Racing in Safety. The racing world looked carefully – forensically – at this accident and the role played by the harness in saving Allen’s life. Such belts were fitted to all GP cars between mid-1968 and the end of 1969. Allen’s penchant for McLarens extended to Formula 5000 which was adopted for the 1970 Tasman Cup. He bought a new M10B Chev, and with it, won the final round at Sandown in front of other hotshots including Frank Matich, Graham McRae, Kevin Bartlett and Graeme Lawrence.

F5000 cars weren’t Gold Star eligible that year so race-fans were denied an epic battle between Allen and Matich, but Allen took his 500bhp roller-skate to Mount Panorama’s Easter meeting. Over the bumpy circuit, two-humps-and-all, he set the lap record of 2:09.7 seconds, thrilling those fortunate enough to witness it. By the 1971 Tasman, Allen and Peter Molloy had one of the quickest McLaren M10Bs on the planet. Niel won the NZ GP at Pukekohe and the Teretonga International. He was in a winning position to be the first Australian to lift the cup but mechanical ailments at Sandown

Hunt on the way to victory aboard his Maserati 250F in the Victorian Trophy at the Moomba 1956 Albert Park meeting. Image: David Zennert Collection

included later F1 icons Stirling Moss and Graham Hill. When he returned home, he brought with him a Maserati A6GCM 2.5-litre Grand Prix car, the just superseded model. Armed with this classic, big, red front-engined twin-cam six-cylinder Italian racer he raised the bar for other front-runners. The man to beat in 1955, he only dipped out on the Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield when a broken cam-follower gift-wrapped the win to Jack Brabham’s Cooper T40 Bristol. Purchase of the latest Maserati 250F late in the year forced Lex Davison, Stan Jones and Ted Gray to respond; a Ferrari 500, Maser 250F and Tornado Chev were their responses. The calibre of local grids improved via this knockon effect. Unfortunately for Hunt, the first

Australian Drivers Championship – the Gold Star – was awarded in 1957. Had the competition commenced a year earlier, he would have won it. He was victorious in most of the blue-riband Formula Libre races that year at Gnoo Blas, Albert Park, Bathurst and in the ‘Olympic’ AGP at Albert Park where he was the first local home in a race won by the Moss works Maserati 250F. At the end of the year, with a growing family and burgeoning business empire, Reg departed racing just as he was able to dominate it. He returned to historic competition aboard a Maserati 300S sportscar later in life, but in the interim built a staggering, multi-franchise, dealership business based on his Golden Mile of Cars on the Nepean Highway at Elsternwick. Mark Bisset

when in the lead, and at the Surfers Paradise final round cruelled his chances. Matich, the fulltime professional, could never believe the way Allen could switch from business to racer mode, but Niel retired at the end of the Tasman series, selling his two M10Bs to Kevin Bartlett and Alan Hamilton. He had second thoughts 12 months later, but a flirtation with a Lola T300 comeback resulted in a Surfers Paradise practice crash and broken bones. With that, Niel Allen focused on his family and business interests, riding the ups-anddowns of a very competitive and sometimes unpredictable industry. Mark Bisset

SMP TO HOST MOTORSPORT MINISTRIES FUNDRAISER SYDNEY MOTORSPORT Park (SMP) and the Australian Racing Drivers Club will host a fundraiser for Motor Racing Ministries and the Reverend Dr Garry Coleman on October 15. Hosted by driver and TV personality Grant Denyer, the event will take place in the Hinxman Room above pitlane and feature an appearance from 1975 Tasman Cup Champion Warwick Brown as a guest speaker. The proceeds from the night will go to Motor Racing Ministries, an organisation founded in 1986 which provides chaplains to motorsport events across the country. Chaplains assist members of the motorsport community in times of need, providing counsel after incidents which take place during competition. Reverend Coleman has provided his services at the top tier of Australian motorsport decades, acting as the Supercars Chaplain since 2002, and was presented with an Order of Australia medal as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2010. The October fundraiser will kick off at 7pm on Saturday, October 15, and include prizes, raffles and a silent auction. AMSOIL Australia are sponsoring the night with a prize for the best car club which has booked a table of 10 and entered in the Car Club Challenge. Tickets are $40 per person and now available online. Attendees can book a table of 10 or just come alone with a single ticket. JN

MULTIPLE FORMULA FORD MANUFACTURERS NOW LIKELY FORMULA FORD is now likely to remain as a multiple manufacturer category after Motorsport Australia took note of competitor feedback. Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations Michael Smith opened up to Auto Action about the current state play “Don’t of forget, allin thisthe incredibly popular sh** with Oscar at Alpine Ford category. Australian Formula started well before I joined Smith explained that the original them! ...” idea Formula Ford now appears to be Image: Motorsport Images substantially less likely after listening to competitors views. “We’re really wanting the DNA to stay the same,” he said to AA. “I know one of our preliminary recommendations was to look at a single manufacturer path,” he said. “Whilst the (Formula Ford) working group hasn’t formed a view, one way or another on that, I think we’re coming AA’S COLUMNIST around to the view that, potentially a CAN’T WAIT FOR THE multi-manufacturer format would be a better path to go, because that’s NEXT SILLY SEASON consistent with what Formula Ford has REVELATION. always been in this country. “We had the stakeholder forum, we THE OLD saying ‘it will all then had the survey, and then we come out in the wash’ has invited people to make submissions.

“We’ve taken the time to speak to every single one of those people or email every single one of those people. “I guess as a consequence of that we’ve come around to the view that perhaps a multi-manufacturer concept is the way to go.” Smith feels that if they can get the rules right, then a multi-manufacturer series will continue to work successfully. “In order to do that (a multi-brand category) you have to get the rules right, we know that, it’s a lot simpler to craft a set of rules when you’re only have one homologated manufacturer.

evolution of Formula Ford Racing, as distinct from trying to introduce something that’s entirely new that we know with our Formula 4 experience hasn’t worked.” Smith also admitted that the plan for a 2023 introduction along with the reintroduction of championship status is looking ambitious. “If I’m being really honest, I think 2023 introduction might be a bit ambitious at this point,” Smith felt. “But we haven’t formed a fixed view on that, the Formula Ford Association “But ultimately, if we’re, wanting to of course, will be key to all of this as achieve or carry on the philosophy of well. Formula Ford Racing we need to be “What I will say is our current thinking able to do it in a multi-manufacturer is to run Formula Ford, the current Image: environment.” cars as a national series next year, and Smith believes the reason that then at a point in time, whether that’s Formula 4 did not work in Australia 2023 or 2024, we will introduce a new was because it did not appeal to the car as a championship. the fact that Piastri’s By coincidence, Ferrari shook Australian motor change sport scene, this is “We’d run existing cars in parallel rookie season will be watched down its new hypercar a few why it is essential that Formula Ford with the new ones as sort of a mixed newcomer before him. It the announcement of remains as closelike as no possible to its grid anddays thatafter would happen for a won’t be easy for him to shine for Ricciardo’s McLaren exit. roots. period, broadly speaking, I’d be McLaren alongside its favourite Who knows, he might still end up “Formula 4 didn’t work here,” he anticipating that it’d be three to five son Lando Norris – the bloke at Alpine next year. admitted. “It’s clear, people are very years, something like that. may well have ended Daniel that the Enstone team passionate aboutwho Formula Ford Racing “I guessNot ultimately, it depends on the Ricciardo’s career. really deserves to have him after “Our thinking is have it as an take up of any new car. DM

DIRTY LAUNDRY with Luke West


never rung truer. Hopefully Ricciardo is on the their shambolic and calamitous The Alpine team should have the following paragraph. “The everFirstly, the knuckleheads running grid, too, come April 2’s Australian handling of Alonso’s and Piastri’s known better than to air its smiling Ricciardo has been a class the joint let the great Fernando Grand Prix. But not if the only contracts. dirty laundry in public, as it did act throughout this melodramatic Alonso slip from their grasp and option is a seat in backmarker In any case, there’s still plenty in accusing Oscar Piastri of episode. Can we say the same for then treated his successor, Piastri, team. I can see him happily to play out in world motorsport’s of the illustrious names that won in the ONE OF the country’s longest serving snubbing them. For when Formula his McLaren replacement?” with a similar lack of respect by spending much of 2023 on the game of musical chairs. We now category administrators Margaret Hardy category. 1’s Contracts Recognition Board By no means did I throw the stringing him along. Plus, Alpine family farm in Western Australia turn our attention to McLaren Hardy assisted all of these drivers on passed away from cancer on Thursday tossed those soiled items into Piastri/Webber double act went as far as publicly announcing awaiting a stronger 2024 option. Racing’s and Chip Ganassi their route to Australia’s top-level. August 19. the top-loader Whirlpool it was under the bus, but I’m now a tad him as a 2023 driver AFTER he It’s easy to forget that Riccardo is Racing’s spat over reigning IndyCar She was liked by all who knew her Hardy was involved in motor racing always going to come back and embarrassed that I wondered out had informed them he was going a 12-season F1 veteran, so perhaps champion Alex Palou. in the industry which is why the motor for decades and was known for her bite them. It’s just that none of loud whether Piastri and Webber elsewhere! the curtain has closed on his fine With the door to an empty sport community is sad to hear of her dedication to Formula Ford. us outsiders knew the extent of had acted entirely properly. Oh me How could Alpine not have F1 career. McLaren F1 seat having now passing. Hardy joined the Light Car Club as Alpine’s sloppiness. of little faith… Piastri under the lock and key Dan the Man has said he is not closed, has the Spaniard selfDuring her time in the category, the office manager and began working Lo-and-behold, at the end of the I now feel proud of the way my contractually? After all, he was the interested in IndyCar, which is detonated his burgeoning career – she was named a Life Member of the with the Australian Formula Ford wash cycle, Oscar’s reputation countrymen have conducted team’s much-prized prodigy. And a pity as he would bring many and his reputation – in a bid to get Formula Ford Association. championship 1978, doing paperwork came out clean as a whistle, in themselves throughout this how could they pretend they were eyeballs to the ultra-competitive to F1 with the papaya squad? Formula Ford Association for the category throughout the ‘80s. sharp contrast to that of the French bizarre saga. in the right? and entertaining North Perhaps I’m being a little unkind Early in the following year she became representative Phil Marinon said marque’s, which still exhibited My pre-September 2 opinion was It seems incompetence exists at American series. to Palou, as the last week has she remained very connected to the the administrator of the category and some of those hard to shift stains. influenced by Alpine holding the all levels ... Joining the World Endurance shown us that things are not category. was tasked with organising national Before the CRB’s surprise findings moral high ground so publicly for Just goes to show how easy it is Championship may be more always as they seem. Who knows, and was always focused on the result and present took to social media to “Margaret was a tireless Administrator series events, a role she held until 2013. exposed the real story, many weeks, accusing Piastri of a lack of for motor racing insiders to live in enticing. Ferrari’s return to the Spaniard and McLaren might rather than looking for accolades. send their condolences. for Formula Ford Association and also She has dealt with many of Australia’s questioned whether Piastri and his integrity. a bubble far removed from the real the outright class of world unexpectedly come out the AFFM including category manager “Margaret was very dedicated to Outsideagain of Formula Ford, Margaret motor sport stars over the years and manager Mark Webber’s rejection I can’t remember another world. Plenty of that happening in championship sportscar racing smelling like roses – or fabric also took on roles such as the race for the national competition,” he told all things Formula Ford and has was well-known as a hardworking and of Alpine’s public advances occasion when an organisation other categories at head office and a 50-year absence would – as McLaren did in the secretarysoftener for Sandown Raceway. Auto Action. recently assisted after the association in passionate worker. amounted to disloyalty towards projected such ethical selfamong the teams. surely appeal to a bloke so Piastri case. Hardy was diagnosed with “Her attention to detail and ability to the production of a book on 50 years In her time as category manager the team which had funded his assurance, only to tumble so Anyway, the positive is that Piastri outwardly proud of his Italian And remember, what doesn’t Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2019 support the competitors has been very of Formula Ford in Australia and seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig rise through the junior categories. spectacularly from its high horse has a much-deserved 2023 drive heritage. It would be a pretty cool come out in the wash, comes out and went into Stage 4 in May. strongly acknowledged on social media disappointingly will not get to see the Lowndes, reigning 1000 victor, Will I was as guilty as anyone. My most and faceplant into the ground. with a revered F1 team, one with gig, too, especially if he could lead in the rinse. More silly season Auto Action sends its condolences to and is undisputed. final result.” Davison, David Reynolds, Chaz Mostert recent Revved Up contribution on It’s a massive fall after a giant fail Antipodean origins. Ferrari to outright victory at Le surprises could be just around her friends and family. DM “Margaret was a very private person Many Australian racing legends past and Anton de Pasquale are just some the Auto Action website ended with public relations fail. None of these latest revelations Mans. the corne


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CHRIS PITHER HEADS HOME FOR NEW ZEALAND SUPERCAR RACE LIKE ALL Supercar teams, PremiAir Racing is heading across the Tasman this week to compete at the Auckland SuperSprint. It will be the last ever Supercars event at Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend with the team hoping it will a memorable one for all the right reasons. While this will be the team’s first visit to New Zealand as PremiAir Racing, its members collectively have plenty of experience at the venue, including drivers Chris Pither and Jimmy Golding. Pither in particular has completed many laps at the venue. Hailing from Palmerston North on New Zealand’s North Island, he will be one of only three Kiwi Supercars racers taking part and is expecting to be boosted by the groundswell of local support at his home event. The driver of #22 PremiAir Supercar jetted over to New Zealand last week to spend time with family ahead of the big event. Pither has raced in a Supercar at Pukekohe once before in 2016 and has spent many years racing there in other categories. “It is good to be back in my home country,” Pither said. “I made the trip across the ditch a week early with my family which was nice. I’ve missed a few family milestones, like Gran’s 90th, and my daughter Audrey will share her second birthday with family who are yet to meet her. This is the first-time home since COVID-19, so that will be special. “I am definitely excited to race at Pukekohe, being my home event. My first Supercars experience was at Pukekohe in 2001, where I raced in the Formula Ford support event. There I watched home hero Greg Murphy dominate the round, and that is where my passion and desire to race Supercars grew. “I raced at Pukekohe regularly in my junior years from Formula First to HQ Holdens. The track is certainly a favourite – it is fast, it requires big commitment and always creates exciting racing. “Given it is the final time Supercars will race at Pukekohe, I feel grateful to take part and I am aiming high. I’ve got a lot of support from my fellow kiwis, so I look forward to putting on a good show.” PremiAir Racing heads to this weekend’s event having just secured the signature of experienced engineer Dr Geoffrey Slater for the remainder of the 2022 Supercars Championship season, starting this weekend in Auckland. Already familiar with both PremiAir Racing’s previous iterations and current Team Owner Peter Xiberras, Slater is excited to make an immediate impact at the team. “I am very excited to see what we can build together here at PremiAir Racing across the remainder of the 2022 season,” Slater said.


AS THE Team 18 Supercars were loaded onto the flight to New Zealand at the Gibson Freight outlet last weekend, the teams’ drivers, Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom, discussed the final race at Pukekohe Park Raceway, and are looking forward to a strong result at this weekend’s Auckland SuperSprint - the final Supercars event to be held at New Zealand’s famed circuit. The Auckland SuperSprint features a three-day format, with drivers battling to win the 8th annual Jason Richards Memorial Trophy. Pukekohe Park is one of the last ‘old-school’ circuits on the Supercars calendar and one of the fastest on the schedule for average speed, approaching 170 kilometres per hour. The 2.91km circuit rewards bravery and commitment from the drivers at the highest level and favours a car that handles the severe bumps through high-speed sections at Turn 1 and the final sector at Turns 10 and 11. Pye who heads to Pukekohe off the back of his best point-scoring event of the season last time out at Sandown, rated the high-risk, old-school nature of the circuit as a favourite amongst the Supercars drivers and predicts this year’s event could be the biggest yet for the final Supercars race there. Pye has found success at Pukekohe

in the past, with two podiums in 2015 and 2016. “It’s a shame this will be the last time we will get to race at Pukekohe as it’s one of my favourite circuits. It’s old school, it’s high risk. I’m sure the fans will get around the last event and I’m sure it’s going to be bigger than ever. “I’ve been on the podium a couple of times there and I almost got pole there in ’16 and it was a cool feeling starting on the front row and leading into Turn 1. It’s one of those tracks where there are so many moments that you remember as it’s so fast with so many good battles, but the podiums are always a good memory. “Sandown was a great event for us, we rebounded and hopefully that’s the end of our bad luck and we can roll into the remainder of the year with some amazing events coming up and get some good results.” Scott Pye said. Likewise, Pukekohe has been a happy hunting ground for Winterbottom in the past, with three wins, six podiums, one pole position and 13 top five finishes from his 33 races contested there. Winterbottom likewise rates the circuit as one of his favourites on the calendar and believes the team is in good shape heading to Pukekohe after a strong performance at Sandown. “I’m looking forward to farewelling Pukekohe, but it’s sad when you see

these good tracks go. I’m not a Kiwi but I love going there and it’s one of my favourite tracks, with the atmosphere of the fans on the hill, the vibe is amazing and the circuit itself is one of the great tracks and it’s been one I’ve got to race on a lot and had great success at.” “I think Team 18 is really hitting their stride which is great. Pukekohe out of all the tracks we go to I feel really confident at. It’s one I go to thinking ‘I’m going there for a trophy’, so we’ll see if we are good enough this time around. “As a team we have done a lot of work. The cars survived Sandown really well, they were fast, we were close to a podium there, so we have good momentum. We’re in good shape and the results will tell the story of how we perform.” Winterbottom enthused. Cars first hit the track for a sole practice session on Friday at 2:40pm local time (NZDT). All three races will be staged over 41 laps on the Dunlop Hard Tyre, with Race 27 of the championship held on Saturday, and Races 28 and 29 held on Sunday afternoon. The three-part knockout qualifying format returns for Saturday, with each part lasting 10 minutes each. Two back-to-back all-in 10-minute sessions will set the grid for Races 28 and 29 respectively.



THE UPCOMING Sandown Touring Car Masters races will mark the return of Keith Kassulke and his big silver Ford Falcon XB GT Hardtop Without doubt, one of the series’ most popular cars, the stunning Silver Falcon has not raced for some years, however Kassulke will join an expanding TCM grid when the series returns to the iconic Victorian venue next week. The car is being prepared by the experienced Gary O’Brien and his team at Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars, the same outfit who look after John Bowe’s Holden Torana. “It’s going to be great! I’m looking forward to being at Sandown again and am aware that it may well be the last time I get to race there - but I hope not. “It’s a fantastic circuit and I’m sure the XB will be a popular addition to the category given they have been absent from the grid for some years. It was always fast at Sandown so we will see how it goes against the newly built TCM cars.” “The car hasn’t raced for a few years, but Gary and his team are working hard on the XB to get it back to great condition and I’m looking forward to driving it again.” “If the package runs OK, then I will look to having a run at the TCM races at Bathurst in November.” Kassulke said. The XB was built by the late Jim Morton

and in 2011 the iconic Falcon was first raced by Glenn Seton at Sydney Motorsport Park that year. In Seton’s hands and sporting #30, the car won the Bathurst round in 2011 - famously delivering Seton an October Sunday victory at Mount Panorama - and qualified on pole at the street event at Sydney Olympic Park later that year. The car was purchased by Kassulke, who had earlier made his TCM debut driving a HQ Monaro GTS, in time for the 2012 season and in his capable hands finished on the podium twice that season - finishing third at Queensland Raceway and Bathurst. Kassulke then scored pole position and finished second at Queensland Raceway in 2013, scored pole position again at Sandown before winning that year’s season finale’ at Phillip Island, his first win in the category. He scored two race victories at the high-speed Victorian circuit that weekend, claiming the overall round win ahead of Eddie Abelnica’s similar Coupe and Tony Edwards, driving the Monaro. The result helped Kassulke finish fourth outright in the championship - behind Jim Richards, John Bowe and Andrew Miedecke - and the top Pro-Am driver. Elevated to the Pro class in 2014, Kassulke finished third in the championship trailing only Bowe and Miedecke.

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He notched up three further podiums across the 2014 and early 2015 seasons before an accident at Queensland Raceway badly damaged the car, forcing it to be parked up while being repaired. Some seven years later the car will make its racing return at Sandown - while Kassulke will make his first TCM starts since the 2017 season, where he raced his HQ Monaro GTS 350 in selected rounds. Papua New Guinea-based Kassulke has continued to build on his wealth of racing experience since his last start in the category, including two class wins at the Bathurst 12 Hour driving a MARC 11 Mustang. He also raced his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro at The Bend recently in the Historic NC class, finishing third and second in the first two races before a differential failure in race 3 finished the weekend. All four Gulf Western Oil TCM races will be broadcast live and ad-break free next weekend on Stan Sports, as part of their massive coverage of the SpeedSeries/ Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships event at Sandown. Saturday afternoon’s first championship race will also be shown live on free-to-air TV on the Nine Network. Tickets remain on sale for the event and can be purchased from motorsportickets.

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AUSTRALIA’S JORDAN Love and the Haupt Racing Team had a difficult outing at the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe in Hockenheim, Germany, with their #4 Mercedes AMG GT3 failing to finish after an early collision. The former 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup winner, along with his Haupt Racing teammate’s – Jannes Fittje and Alain Valente – managed to qualify in 10th for the Endurance Cup Silver Class. Love hadn’t been able to get any time in the AMG GT3 on the Saturday, with limited track time making it a difficult opening day for the team in the seasons penultimate round. Matters were then made worse on the Sunday, when a turbulent start resulted in heavy contact with Fittje in the car on the opening laps of the race. The damage sustained was too much to continue racing and the team was forced into an unfortunate early retirement. Love was disappointed to not get a drive over the weekend, with circumstances not falling his, or the team’s way. ”This weekend was definitely one to forget, we just did not have any luck on our side,” Love remarked. “We missed quite a bit of running on Saturday which put us on the back foot for Sunday but the team pulled together and we showed our resilience. “Unfortunately in the race, Jannes (Fittje) was on the wrong end of some contact and the car couldn’t continue…which is a shame as I wasn’t able to drive. But we will go again in Barcelona, and we’ll be pushing to end the season on a high note!” Love, Valente, and Fittje currently occupy eighth position in the endurance Silver Class, having just missed out on two podiums with two P4 finishes at Paul Ricard and the Spa 12 Hour. The Haupt trio are still within reach of a potential championship fourth going into the last round in Barcelona, providing they break through for a season maiden victory and other results fall their way. The Haupt Racing Team also sit sixth in the Silver Class Team Championship, with a fourth place finish also possible at the season’s end. The final race of the season will be held in Barcelona, Spain on September 30 – October 2.

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MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA RELEASE URGENT NOTICE FOLLOWING AORC RAINBOW TRAGEDY FOLLOWING THE tragic deaths of two competitors in the Australian Off Road Championship at Victoria’s Rainbow event, Motorsport Australia have released an urgent safety notice to all participants.

ARC CONFIRMS SIX ROUND SEASON FOR 2023 THE 2023 calendar for the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) has been confirmed, with six rounds making up the season. Spread over eight months, the season opener will run in Launceston Tasmania on March 24-26, rather than in Canberra, which has been confirmed as the finale for November 24-26. With only six rounds, Coffs Harbour will miss out, with the 2023 ARC season also heading to Western Australia, Queensland, and Victoria. Queensland will get a second bite at the cherry after this season’s round was cancelled due to heavy rains and flooding, with the Brisbane Sporting Car Club to once again host the Gympie rally, which will also be the 50th edition of the event. WA will again see the Forest Rally run on May 19-2, whilst Victoria’s Gippsland rally and the Adelaide Hills running will again be back-to-back events from August 25-27, and October 13-15 respectively. Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations for Motorsport Australia, Michael Smith, is happy with how the ARC’s ’23 edition will pan out.

“We’re really pleased with how the 2023 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship schedule is looking and there are plenty of benefits for all stakeholders,” Smith said. “A six-round season is a good representation for what a competitive championship should be, as we head to all corners of the country and allow a decent amount of downtime between each round. “I think having these bigger breaks is significant for the longevity of the season, as it gives teams more time to work on their cars ahead of each round – especially in the opening three rounds where there are three events requiring the most amount of travelled distance. “This calendar is also favourable to all event organisers and clubs, as crews having more time to prepare may be the difference on if they go or not, which will help with entry numbers at each event. “There is also the added benefit of Tasmania and Canberra happening in warmer seasons, meaning that nice weather should play a big role in attracting competitors. “All in all, we’re content with this calendar

and really looking forward to what will be another fantastic season of the ever growing championship.” This season’s rendition has two rounds remaining, with the Adelaide Hills Rally to run on October 21-23, followed by the Coffs Coast Rally on November 25-27. The last rally was run in Gippsland for Victoria’s Middle of Everywhere Rally, which was taken out by Lewis Bates over Troy Dowel and Max McRae. 2023 RSEA SAFETY MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR ROUND 1: Rally Launceston, Tasmania – 24-26 March ROUND 2: Forest Rally, WA – 19-21 May ROUND 3: Rally Queensland, Gympie – 14-16 July ROUND 4: Gippsland Rally, Victoria – 25-27 August ROUND 5: Adelaide Hills Rally, SA – 13-15 October ROUND 6: National Capital Rally, Canberra – 24-26 November

MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA SAFETY NOTICE AS AN interim measure, from Monday 12 September, 2022, Motorsport Australia requires ALL off road vehicles competing under Motorsport Australia sanction to carry additional hand held fire extinguishers, such that all off road vehicles must now carry an additional 2kg (minimum) of extinguisher/s to those already mandated in accordance with Motorsport Australia Manual; Technical Appendix – Schedule H Fire Extinguishers. This brings the total required capacity of fire extinguisher/s onboard to 4kg. The additional 2kg2 extinguisher/s must be mounted in accordance with Schedule H, however the additional extinguisher/s will not be required to be mounted within reach of the driver (or crew) and may be mounted external to the cockpit. Competitors and owners should be aware of this information and consider carefully whether it is appropriate to compete in any side by side or off-road vehicle pending finalisation of our investigations. 1. Schedule H is being amended to reflect the changes in this Notice and owners and competitors are encouraged to visit to view the amended regulation 2. The minimum capacity of 2kg may be made up by the fitment of 2 x 1kg extinguishers. MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA 7 September, 2022 The vehicle involved in the fatal at the Rainbow Desert Enduro incident was a 2021 CanAm Maverick X3 XRS Side by Side. An investigation into the condition of the vehicle’s fuel system and fuel tanks is currently being undertaken after it was engulfed by flames.

Motorsport Australia also added:

If you participated, spectated, volunteered, or are generally distressed from the events that occurred at Rainbow, Motorsport Australia can refer you to our remote counselling service. Please call the Motorsport Australia Hotline, 1300 883 959, on Monday to Friday between 9am–5pm AEST, and our friendly Member Services team will be able to provide you with details on how to reach out for assistance. You may also wish to refer to other free providers such as Lifeline on 13 11 14, or seek advice from a Doctor or General Practitioner about seeking help for your mental health.

BROOK RULED OUT OF TRANS AM TIM BROOK’S Turtle Wax Trans Am season looks to be over after budget constraints mean he will miss Sandown’s season finale on September 16-18. After a fantastically consistent season, Brook sits fifth in the standings after having won races 1 and 2 at the season’s opening Tasmania round, as well as three podiums (P2’s) at Bathurst. Brook, who races in the Wall Racing #38 Mustang, has been without a major sponsor since the start of the year, and has endured through the series with the assistance of some helpful contributors. After finishing third last season, the 2022 series has been fought out with some high quality talent throughout the field, with Brook dropping from third to fifth following a disappointing Queensland outing last August. “It’s been a tough year financially, so we have made the decision to park it to the

side with a plan to re-group and have a decent crack at it next year,” Brook said. “I would like to thank everyone that has been in the process to keep us going this year, because we were nearly sitting out Round 2 at Phillip Island and almost again for Round 3 at Bathurst. “There’s been plenty to juggle this year, which has definitely taken a toll on me. It’s been a big effort from everyone, a few people have chipped in more than what they wanted just to try and keep the ball rolling and keep the program going. “We’ve had good people around us this season and we’ve ticked a lot of the boxes where we can. I’d like to think that rolling into any round this season we have been as competitive as anyone.” The Wall Racing driver will now spend the rest of the year rejuvenating from a long year on the track, and will head into 2023 hopeful of securing a grid spot for the

series’ resumption. Nathan Herne leads the series in the GRM #1 Mustang, topping Owen Kelly in his #73 Mustang by 19 points. Brook’s absence - meaning he’s also likely to miss the Trans Am Bathurst International event in November - means that sixth place sitter, Jon McCorkindale, has a strong chance to push up the rankings. The Trans Am series will reach its

conclusion at Sandown on September 1618, with the 100 km Bathurst International running to follow on November 11-13. TRANS AM STANDINGS 1. Herne 912 2. Kelly 893 3. Holdsworth 827 4. Gurton 796 5. Brook* 779 6. McCorkindale 777


THE FOUR-TIME championship winning NASCAR driven by Kim Jane in Australia’s last incarnation of the category will be on display as part of Repco’s 100th anniversary celebrations at Mt Panorama. The John Sidney Racing built #27 Chevrolet Monte Carlo swept the last ever NASCAR races held in Melbourne’s Albert Park before the pin was pulled on the Bob



Jane sponsored series that had started in 1989-90. It also won four straight titles from 1997 to 2000 when it was sponsored by Bob Jane T-marts, before Repco became its major sponsor in that last season. It will be featured as part of a special display at the beginning of October in the lead up to The Great Race at the National

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Motor Racing Museum at Mt Panorama. Jane will also get behind the wheel on the morning of the Bathurst 1000 as part of a special parade, with the former NASCAR Australia champion delighted by the reunion. “It’s a wonderful car, it’s got a lot of great history,” Jane said, after being reunited with the Repco liveried Chev at the Calder Park Thunderdome. “The Repco sponsorship started in the 1990s with David Tennant, who was the marketing manager at the time. Repco started as a small sponsor when the car ran in Bob Jane T-Marts colours, and we had an opportunity to sell the whole sponsorship to Repco for what turned out to be the last season of NASCAR racing. “To see it now, back in that look as it raced for the last time, is a wonderful feeling.” “The NASCAR era is an incredible chapter in Australian motorsport history and one we’re very proud of our involvement in. Brad Owen, Museum Coordinator of the National Motor Racing Museum, is excited to add the car to its recent series of displays. “We’ve celebrated Craig Lowndes, Dick

Johnson and Larry Perkins in recent displays and 2022 is the perfect time for us to celebrate Repco’s incredible racing history and heritage in its 100th anniversary year,” says Owen. “The line-up of cars being assembled is exciting and will give fans at the Repco Bathurst 1000 added reason to visit the Museum this October.” The car - now owned by Zac O’Hara, and raced in the National Stock Car Series - has been re-liveried by former NASCAR team owner and signage expert Scott Williams of Slipsteam Signs, who also did the original design’s application 22 years ago. The majority of the # 27 Monte Carlo’s wins were had at Calder Park Thunderdome, but it also won at the Adelaide International Raceway, as well as claiming those final victories at Albert park. It also finished runner up in the 1998 Bathurst 100, and competed in the 1999 Winston West NASCAR round in Japan. The last ever season of the Australian NASCAR series was won by Whiteline Racing’s Andrew Miedecke, also in a Monte Carlo.


CAMPBELL SELECTED FOR FIA MOTORSPORT GAMES AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL Porsche star Matt Campbell has been announced as the latest member of Team Australia to represent the country at the FIA Motorsport games at Paul Ricard on October 28-30. The Porsche factory driver will compete in the GT Sprint, joining the father-son Porsche pairing of Stephen and Brenton Grove, who will contest in the GT Endurance category. The other drivers named so far are TCR representative Aaron Cameron, and youngsters Aiva Anagnostiadis and Peter Bouzinelos, who will be racing in the Karting category. The 2016 Carrera Cup Champion, who’s also leading this season’s IMSA GTD-PRO championship, spoke about his selection ahead of the prestigious games. “I’m looking forward to my first participation in the FIA Motorsport Games later this year

with Team Australia, and joining Brenton and Steve in the GT component,” Campbell said. “It should be a lot of fun as it will be the first time driving together with the Groves after competing against each other for many years now.” Campbell has built an impressive international resume since winning Porsche’s Global Junior Shootout (the first driver from the Southern Hemisphere to do so). Highlights of his international career to date include an outright third place in the 2017 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, outright second in both the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship LMGTE Am class and 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup - the former of which included a class victory at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. Add to the fact that he just needs to get to

the green flag to win the IMSA title, Stephen Grove is elected to have a competitor of such quality added to the Aussie games roster. “I have known Matt for a long time and have experienced first-hand his exceptional car control and race craft,” said Stephen. “He will bring invaluable experience, not only to the GT race but will be a great asset for the entire Team Australia.” Brenton echoed his father’s thoughts about the talented Queenslander and was looking forward to competing alongside him. “We were always keen to try and line up a drive together so when the opportunity presented itself, we had to take it,” Brenton said. “To have him continue his relationship with Grove Racing into a car he’s more familiar with is exciting, we’re doing everything we can to try and generate

another medal for Australia.” The sentiment was also shared by Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca, adding: “A big congratulations to Matt for being selected as the latest representative for Team Australia at the FIA Motorsport Games. To have a driver of Matt’s calibre join the team is a major boost for our campaign at this year’s FIA Motorsport Games and I have no doubt his addition will have a positive impact. “As an individual with a successful racing history, Matt brings a wealth of experience in GT racing and we wish him all the best in his endeavours for Gold in France.” The FIA Motorsport Games will take place at Circuit Paul Ricard in France on 28-30 October, with a Gold, Silver, Bronze style medal format adopted for the winners.

BATHURST 1000 SUPERCARS SCHEDULE RELEASED THE 2022 Supercars Bathurst 1000 race will officially kick off at 11:15am AEST, on Sunday October 9. The full schedule has been released leading up to The Great Race, including that of the support categories for the October 6-9 event. Supercars will feature on all four days, with teams and drivers to be doing their all to get ready for the Mt Panorama classic, which will also be the very last Supercars Holden vs Ford battle to take to The Mountain. All eyes will be on defending Bathurst Champions Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth who will be lining up in separate teams this year. Mostert will be trying to defend his crown in the famous Walkinshaw Commodore that won the 2021 race. It will be Walkinshaw Andretti United’s final Bathurst 1000 competing under the Holden banner before the famous squad moves to Ford in 2023. Holdsworth will be lining up in the Penrite Ford Mustang for his final Bathurst event as a Championship driver. The Super2 and Super3 series will once again be supporting

Practice 1 at 11am-12 (all drivers), and Practice 2 at 15:55 to 18:55 (co-drivers). FRIDAY SUPERCAR SESSIONS Practice 3 will start Friday at 10:10 to 11:10 (all drivers), with Practice 4 at 13:00 to 14:00 (all drivers). Qualifying session at 16:15 to 16:55, with the Top-Ten shootout selected from this session.

the main game, with the Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia Series, V8 SuperUtes and the Heritage Revival Series to complete the line-up of support categories. THURSDAY SUPERCAR SESSIONS Proceedings will get going on the Thursday, with two Supercar practice sessions:

SATURDAY SUPERCAR SESSIONS Saturday gets underway with Practice 5 at 10:20 to 11:20 (co-drivers). Practice 6 will be at 13:00 to 14:00 (all drivers), before the Top Ten Shootout at 17:05 rounds out the Saturday. RACE DAY – SUPERCARS Sunday morning from 0800 to 0900 will be the warm-up and drivers’ parade, before the Bathurst 1000 (161 laps) start at 11:15am. Tickets for the Bathurst 1000 on October 6-9 are available on and Ticketek.

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CAPO TAKES FIRST DTM TROPHY PODIUM AT NÜRBURGRING AUSSIE GT4 driver Ricky Capo (above and right) has sensationally captured his first podium in the DTM Trophy category of the German DTM series, finishing in P2 ahead of Porshe teammate Daniel Gregor. After a season of frustrating mechanical errors and a string of misfortune, the Melbourne-born 26yo finished just 2.209s off championship tearaway Tim Heinemann after qualifying in P2 for Race 2. Capo had slipped back into P6 on the first lap but managed to wrestle back into P4, where he had the speed to patiently tail Audi driver Thiago Vivacque around the twisty Nürburg circuit, tracking him down on lap 7. From there, the ex S5000 speedster ate off an initial three second gap to his Küs Bernhard teammate, leading to a thrilling final lap showdown, with Capo brilliantly taking the inside lunge heading into the hairpin corner. Gregor didn’t have the tyres to fight back on his #26 teammate, giving Capo a just reward in what’s been a trying first season in the German Touring car production category.

“Overdue is probably the first word that comes to mind,” Capo told Auto Action from the small South Western town of Landstuhl. “It wasn’t the best start but there was nothing wrong, I just got pushed around a bit, but thankfully there was a small tangle and I managed to get back into contention. “it was a good battle with Gregor, and I definitely had the pace to win it. I wasn’t expecting team orders or anything like that – it was just a good clean battle. Looking ahead with four rounds to go, Capo is hoping for a cleaner run of luck in a series that he had to get his head around fast, having entered Germany just a week prior to the first race of the year at Lausitz. “It’s been a huge learning curve this year, and things change from track to track, and now with Spa coming up and our car being rear engined, it perhaps doesn’t suit us as much, but I’m feeling more confident now. “Just getting a good start and keeping our nose clean is important in the DTM … we’ve definitely got the pace, and anything can happen in this category.

Images: Motorsport Images “At the end of the day, we really should be fighting for the championship, but for one reason or another we just aren’t,” Capo said with an air of frustration, “so I’m just focusing on the best results possible, and not worrying about points. “If there’s an opportunity for me in these closing rounds, I’m just going to be sending it. There’s no hesitancy like there would be if I was competing for the championship and every point counts. So it’s just focusing on the bigger picture.” With three rounds to come, Capo will be taking on Spa on September 9-12, before heading to the Red Bull Ring and Hockenheimring to finish off the season. Timothy Neal

A MIXED few rounds in the Formula 2 Championship have seen Australian Rookie Jack Doohan go through the elation of his maiden victory at Spa, to the frustration of what could’ve been at Zandvoort. All the cards seemed to be falling right in the Netherlands, with he and Felipe Drugovich vying for victory in a chaotic flag-filled race, prematurely ending for the #3 Virtuosi driver on the second major re-start. Ironically, it was Doohan’s team that led to the fateful incident, with teammate Marino Sato leaving the pits with a loose front right wheel, which flung off and sent the Japanese driver into the wall at the pit exit. At the time, Doohan had the run on Drugovich who was on cold Hards, whilst Doohan was making excellent pace and once again looked like pulling the Brazilian in after an earlier lockup prevented him doing so on the Softs. The week prior, Doohan had dominated at Spa with an early undercut on the Brazilian championship leader which set up the dominant win. He also took P2 in the Sprint behind New Zealand driver Liam Lawson, who had his F1 practice debut earlier in the day, driving Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri. That victory had Doohan in an excellent position going into Zandvoort, with the opportunity to get the jump on Logan Sargeant in the rookie standings after his lap one exit. It wasn’t to be for Doohan, but the situation remains identical for him at the upcoming race in Monza, where he can still go to third in the championship, and take the rookie lead from the American Carlin driver. The other F2 Aussie, Trident’s Calan Williams, didn’t fare too well in Spa with a punctured tyre costing him any chance in the sprint, and a P18 finish in the main race. But the young Melbourne driver managed to grab P12 at Zandvoort after qualifying in P20. Doohan sits just nine points off Sargeant and three points above Lawson with two races remaining. TN


Image: Motorsport Images

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THE INDYCAR title is Will Powers to lose with one round remaining following his P2 at the Portland Grand Prix. The 2014 IndyCar champion finds himself in a familiar position, having now led the chase for the Astor Cup on four occasions going into the season finale. His closest rival and Penske teammate, Josef Newgarden, could only manage P8 in Portland, giving Power a 20 point edge on the chasing pack. Before Portland there were seven contenders, now cut down to five following Scott McLaughlins dominant win, making it a 41 point difference from first to fifth. Power’s day was nearly undone after a restart on lap 88, with Pato O’Ward hitting

his side-pod in a desperate attempt to stay in contention. “It’s another day where we did everything we could. We had a little gettogether with Pato (O’Ward) so luckily that came out alright,” Power said. “I just want to win this championship for the guys who have been with me for more than a decade like my engineer Dave (Faustino) and my data acquisition guy Robbie (Atkinson) and the group. “It’s a lot less selfish for me this time around because they deserve it. I feel their pain over the years of losing so many. I’d love to win it for them. Laguna Seca in Monterey, California remains the final obstacle between Power and the title, who can ensure the

championship with a podium. Team Penske was unable to practice at Laguna Seca during the week, with Chip Ganassi contenders Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson both getting runs in ahead of the Portland GP. A pole position will also write Power into the history books as the all-time pole getter, currently tied with IndyCar legend Mario Andretti on 67. NZ driver Dixon is tied for third with Newgarden on 503 points, with Ericsson on 484, and McLaughlin holding up the big five on 482. It’s the 17th straight season where the IndyCar title race has gone down to the last round, with the Laguna Seca race going ahead on September 10-12. TN

MOURNING OUR LOSSES TOO MANY GREAT CIRCUITS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS THE CLOSURE of Wakefield Park is a disaster. It’s a tragedy, too, as well as a whole lot of other words which should not be printed in Auto Action. There are too many threads in the story to unravel here but the bottom line is simple — it will take some sort of administrative miracle to save the circuit. Hopefully — and there are many thousands of fingers crossed on this – some commonsense will be applied to the problem. It’s not just a question of motor racing, either, because Wakefield Part is just as important for driver training and even the NSW Police use the circuit to educate their drivers. Then there are the massive economic impacts for a town — Goulburn — which has become one of the many, many struggling communities which were cut off from the life blood of the Hume Highway in the race to bypass traffic lights and bottlenecks. As a former Canberran, I stopped many times in Goulburn for fuel or for a lash-up meal at one of the old-school cafes alongside the main drag. These memories came flooding back as I recalled my personal connection to Wakefield Park. My earliest memory comes thanks to Wheels magazine, and its firebrand editor Mr Peter Robinson. On the ‘back road’ from Goulburn to Canberra — which passes by Tarago, properly pronounced as ta-ra-go and not the tar-a-go used by Toyota — there is a long curved corner with a giant hump. It’s where Mr Editor Robinson once flung a hugely expensive MercedesBenz S-Class limousine into the air for a spectacular picture. The same road is where I first saw the signs of Wakefield Park and, for many years and many

Image: Riccardo Benvenuti

with Paul Gover

THE PG PERSPECTIVE days and many laps, where I trekked to the track. I’ve never raced on Wakefield Park, but I know it very well and — apart from dreadful weather and squadrons of summer flies — I have many good memories. It’s the sort of track that forces you to slow down and think, also to commit in places, and is great for learning. But Wakefield, which has some heritage touches around the buildings and was named after the founder of Castrol — Charles Wakefield — is not the only dead racetrack that has provided me with wonderful laps and glorious memories. Catalina Park was one of the first tracks I visited as a spectator, and I can remember Big Pete Geoghegan hustling his

Mustang sideways through the ’Tunnel of Love’ and Frank Matich exploding around the bullring in the centre of Katoomba in his SR4 sports racer. Years later, driving my Honda S800 sports car — there is a book in the many disasters — I got to try it myself on a car club lap dash. The track was epic, I was not … Then there was Warwick Farm, always my favourite circuit. We caught trains to the track before I could drive and my first experience there was under the uncompromising Peter Wherrett at one of his advanced driving days. The parents’ Austin 1800, running on recapped tyres, was — once again — sub-epic, but I

credit Wherrett from saving me from myself in the early days of my adventure in motoring. Years later, I was back at ’The Farm’ with Jaguar and had some memorable passenger laps alongside Stirling Moss. He was epic. And then two more tracks that fell to developers and eager house owners — Oran Park and Amaroo Park. I raced at Amaroo a number of times, never more happily than when I pulled off a lastlap pass to bank many of the points that took me to a national championship. That day, perhaps, I was a little epic … Oran Park? I could write a book, starting with mid-week bicycle rides from my home in Campbelltown to watch private practice sessions — including the roll-out of Frank Gardner’s brilliant Corvair sports sedan — after my best friend Mark ‘Minder’ Walton and I were lured by the distance thunder of V8 engines. Once I was able to convince my mum — bless her — to drive

the track in the rubbish Austin on a midweek afternoon when no-one was looking. As a journalist, I also dropped into Oran Park each week to talk racing with Allan Horsley. He was, is, and always will be an epic figure in Australian motorsport. It was at Oran Park that I first drove a touring car, the explosively scary Nissan Bluebird, and took passenger rides with many legendary drivers. As a driver, it was a track that was tough and a bit scary. But when you did a good lap at Oran Park you knew it had been a good day. These days, I often drive past Oran Park Town — the dreadful over-development of houses — and a take moment to dream and remember it all. Now I’m hoping like crazy that I don’t have to put Wakefield Park into the memory books . . .


My last column, about Trans Am, was not popular with Roland Dane. He is a fan and supporter of Trans Am and did not appreciate the way I used some of his comments about the class. He called to accuse me of using him as ‘click bait’ for a story which took a twist away from his direction. I plead guilty. Not to the ‘click bait’ charge, but to using his words as the hook for my column. My only mitigation is that Roland Dane is a towering figure in Australian motorsport and his opinion always counts. When RD talks, it’s always worth listening. For offending him, I humbly apologise and ask for forgiveness.


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COMPREHENDING THE MASI STORY The following is correspondence is from and to a reader in the days following our Edition 1843 story headlined ‘Push for Masi to join the Supercars Commission’ and preceding the confirmation of Masi’s appointment as chairman of that body. So there’s a push for Michael Masi to replace Neil Crompton as chair of the Supercars Commission. A push by whom? Those pure of heart only thinking of the “love of the sport”? Get real! It’s all about self-interest groups with their own agendas thinking. ‘How can I make money out of this’. The only place Masi should be pushed is out ... out of motorsport for life! The day I watched Masi use his “authority” to stack the Formula One field to place Max Verstappen behind Lewis Hamilton, leapfrogging Verstappen (on fresh tyres) up behind Hamilton, and embrace that advantage to win the race was the most fraudulent ‘official’ decision ever made in F1. That was the day that Verstappen’s ego covered him with shame, made the word “sportsmanship” really mean “sportsmanshit”, and placed the ethics of the sport into irreversible disrepute, all thanks to your pal Michael Masi. I haven’t watched or taken any interest in F1 since that time. The FIA has grown into an elitist entity full of self-righteous hypocrites ... sorry, I meant “officials” supposedly working hard to promote the ethics of fairness! Let’s bring back Bernie Ecclestone. At least he was honest about manipulating everything for the power and money! Michael Masi has single-handedly been responsible for the exodus of millions of fans from F1, and they won’t be coming back. If he made the biggest error of judgment at the top of F1 who should trust him back in the arena of commoners? It’s not your job to promote unethical individuals in your magazine. If you want to play the “holier than thou” card, print hymn books! Phillip Hilzinger PUBLISHER’S REPLY: Thanks for taking the time to write to Auto Action. You certainly have some strong views. I’m not sure who you are referencing with your “love of the sport” quote.

However, let’s get something straight. Auto Action has not tried to promote Michael Masi into the position of Supercars Commission chairman. Your suggestion is a classic example of not reading what we have published and jumping to your own conclusions. We reported that there is a move by people to insert Masi back into Supercars. (Now since confirmed) Auto Action will have been the only place that you have read that there are team owners in pitlane who don’t think it’s a good idea. Did you read that elsewhere? In our story we accurately reported that Masi left the FIA in a cloud, and that he made ‘errors’ with his actions. We also reported that the FIA have made changes to the regulations so that the same ‘mistakes’ can’t be made again, and we have reported that people believe that Masi’s return to Supercars is logical. Again, we were not promoting him for the position; we simply reported that a move was going on. If Auto Action wanted Masi in the

role I would have penned an ‘Opinion Piece’ and said ‘Bring Masi back’ – but we didn’t consider that. Again, thanks for taking the time to send us your thoughts. Bruce Williams - Publisher A FOLLOW UP FROM PHILLIP Hello again. Thank you for acknowledging my letter of August 27. It’s quite unusual these days to get replies to correspondence that the recipient may not have found to their liking. By the tone of your reply you certainly have some strong views too. In regards to my “example of not reading what we have published and jumping to your own conclusions”, I concede that the article by Andrew

Clarke contained factual information in regards to the controversial error made by Michael Masi resulting in him being replaced as the Formula One race director. However, the article included what could only be described as a character reference, followed by all kinds of promotional praise. “Masi has spent his entire career ... where he was Formula One race director to Charlie Whiting”; “and the push was on at Sandown for Masi’s appointment”; “and a return to Supercars where he cut his teeth has always seemed logical”; “A document as part of the Teams Racing Charter was doing laps of pitlane for the teams to sign to endorse Masi’s appointment”; “Masi is generally well respected in the Supercars pitlane”. So your statement that Auto Action has “not tried to promote Michael Masi into the position of Supercars Commission chairman” is from your point of view technically correct, but the content could be construed by the reader as promoting Masi positively, even if unintentionally. Even any blame associated with

Masi’s erroneous behaviour was ambiguous. “Masi was cleared of any wrongdoing” followed by “the investigation into the race said he made an error” followed by “and he was replaced in the position”. That means “Masi was innocent”, Masi was guilty”, Masi was sacked”. But when I lived in Japan I was told never to let my ego rule my destiny. I apologise if I have offended you in any way. I will take your stern warning and endeavour to be more particular when reading your magazine. Anyway, regardless of our opinions I will continue to be a reader of Auto Action. Luis Vasconcelos is a prized asset. Luke West is the rough diamond who will always help your magazine sales. Phil Hilzinger.


More on Oscar Piastri’s Formula 1 moves; all the news and coverage of the Supercars in NZ for the last race at Pukekohe; Formula 1 Italian Grand from Monza; Can Will Power take the Indycar Series? – all the news and coverage from Laguna Seca; Coverage of all the NASCAR action; WEC racing from Fuji. Heaps of local news, including the Shannons Nationals from Sandown.

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TOO MANY CHIEFS, NOT ENOUGH CLARITY Have been hearing and reading about a Supercars Commission lately. So there’s the Supercars organisation managed by Shane Howard, the new RACE (Racing Australia Consolidated Enterprises), this Commission and Motorsport Australia (formerly the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport). Do we need all these entities? What do they all do? And, in any case, does Mark Skaife really run the whole show from the commentary box anyway? Reckon it was all better when CAMS just ran things (and we didn’t hear much about them) and we had ‘Pete’, Moff, Brocky and Dick putting on the show. Simon Newman, Windsor, Sydney Publisher’s note: Perhaps best that these organisations step forward and explain for themselves, Simon. Happy to make space available to them to take up the invitation. WANT EVIDENCE OF ADELAIDE COMING ALIVE What’s going on with the Adelaide 500? Know it’s been announced that it’s back at the end of the Supercars Championship, but haven’t noticed much about it at my regular news sources, including Auto Action, since the announcement. Maybe it’s at the wrong end of the championship now. It might be pretty flat as a dead rubber if ‘Giz’ has clinched the title before the event. It always used to generate a lot of attention when it started the season. Perhaps it’s a mistake to be at the end of the year. Anyway, when will the marketing and promotion kick in? Want to know what’s happening. Dom Pennington, Mt Gambier, SA Publisher’s note: The Adelaide 500 is a pet project of the new South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas. Like you, Dom, we’re waiting for details of what the organisers have in store. FOOTNOTE; While we can sometimes fall foul of the comma police, we won’t be editing readers’ letters, so they are published, as supplied, by our readers.



TOTO WOLFF and Christian Horner’s reaction to the fallout between Alpine and Oscar Piastri was textbook Formula One thinking. While they gave a vague opinion about what they believed was going on, measuring the rights and the wrongs of the young Australian’s behavior, what seemed to be on their mind was, “how can this affect me and my team?” Both Red Bull and, in a much smaller scale, Mercedes, have junior driver programs like Alpine and, going down the paddock, Ferrari, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and Williams have also been involved in their own driver academies over the years. In fact, only Aston Martin and Haas don’t have a young driver program, showing how popular this scheme – started by Red Bull more than 20 years ago – has become. Irrespective of the outcome of the Contract Recognition Board’s decision and of Piastri’s immediate future, it’s clear the eight Formula One teams that invest human and physical resources and, in some cases, money into young drivers’ careers are all now looking at the standard contracts they have in place and asking their legal departments to make them bulletproof. They want to avoid finding themselves in the same situation Alpine is in now, risking the loss of all the money they put into Piastri’s career over the last few years – including contributing to his budget in Formula 3 and especially in Formula 2; giving him track days with last year’s A521; plus all the training (physical and mental); and time in the simulator they could provide to prepare him for a career in Grand Prix racing. Formula One teams have very different approaches to young driver programs. Mercedes, for example, starts picking young


The 2021 F2 podium – where are they now? L to R: Robert Shwartzman (second), not racing – test driver at Ferrari; Oscar Piastri, F2 champion, not racing – reserve driver, Alpine/McLaren; Guanyu Zhou (third), F1 driver, Alfa Romeo ... Image: Motorsport Images

with Luis Vasconcelos

F1 INSIDER drivers in karting and selects only a handful to work with, all racing in different categories, while Dr. Marko’s approach at Red Bull is to support many, many drivers at the same time, in the hope one per year will be good enough to make it to Formula One. At the last count the Austrian had supported over 120 drivers in the last 20 years, so his selection process doesn’t seem to be very… selective, but when you have the


money to buy a Verstappen while he’s already in Formula 3, for example, you can even have five drivers competing against each other in Formula 2 – like it was the case at the start of this year – that your budget will withstand the pain easily. Ferrari has an interesting process to select drivers, starting with an association with TonyKart, where all candidates to be part of FDA undergo serious testing. Those

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who graduate to Formula 4 tend to do it with Prema, a reference in all junior formulae. After that, when a young driver gets to Formula One, Ferrari gets him a seat at Haas or Alfa Romeo and if he’s good enough, like Charles Leclerc was, he then gets promoted to the Scuderia. On the subject of Piastri, Horner said that “contractually it should never happen. If Renault or Alpine has invested in his junior career, it’s with an eye on the future and with that comes loyalty. I don’t understand what is going on contractually, but if Piastri is in a position where he doesn’t think he has to drive for Alpine next year, then something is wrong.” For his part, Wolff added that “it is important that the junior

programs of the teams are treated with respect. I think some kids should be careful what they post on social media about multinational corporations. I believe in karma and I believe in honesty. But it is not really for me to judge, since I am not aware of the entire legal situation.” While it’s clear no Formula One team is going to shut down its junior driver program if Alpine leaves this saga empty handed, I fear life will become more difficult for young drivers in the aftermath of this situation – being forced to sign completely one-sided contracts – as teams will do everything they can to protect their investments and offer no alternatives to any prospective new charge. I 23


SOUTH AFRICA’S FAILURE KEEPS SPA IN THE CALENDAR LACK OF FINANCIAL guarantees have aborted Formula One’s attempt to return to South Africa from next year, sources from Liberty Media told us in Spa-Francorchamps. Until the Hungarian Grand Prix, Formula One’s CEO Stefano Domenicali was quite optimistic Kyalami would be back in the calendar in 2023, bringing to an end a period of 30 years in which the sport hasn’t visited the African continent. At the Hungaroring, the Italian had told us that, “there are still details to be ironed out, but I believe we’ll be back in South Africa next year, possibly with a race on April 16.” During the summer break, though, things changed for the worse. Until then the main sticking point in the negotiations had been who would pay for the development work Kyalami still needs to get a Formula One Grade A license – Turn 10 needs to have massive work done in the run-off – and the circuit owner, the Grand Prix promoters, the local authorities and Formula One all refused to foot the bill. But things became even more complicated when the South Africans were unable to give Formula One the financial guarantees for the five-years contract Domenicali insisted on, as they were only able to deposit the guarantee for next year’s race. When it became clear the situation could not be resolved in the time available before the first provisional 2023 calendar is published, Domenicali changed course and told us at Spa-Francorchamps: “we won’t be returning to South Africa next year, unfortunately, because we couldn’t

Spa ... one more race guaranteed. Images: Motorsport Images finalise the deal, but we are already working on a contract to get back to Kyalami from the start of the 2024 season, because Formula One wants to go back to Africa and South Africa is the country with the best possibilities of putting a Grand Prix together.” With many doubts surrounding the real possibility of China getting back in the calendar next year, Domenicali wanted to guarantee there will be at last 23 Grands Prix next year and that has opened the door

for Spa-Francorchamps to get a new oneyear deal that will keep the very popular Belgian track in the calendar. The problem with a return to Shanghai is that the way the Chinese authorities are dealing with COVID-19 makes it very difficult for Formula One to even plan going back there in September 2023, the date required by JussEvents, the race promoter, as it hoped that getting extra five months when compared to the race’s traditional date, would be enough to have the country

reopened for business. As there’s a contract in place, China is still highly likely to feature in the provisional calendar Formula One hopes to announce during the Italian Grand Prix, but if recent history has taught us anything, it will be the race promoters that will pull the plug on the event, possibly at the start of next year, when the government will make it clear to them it won’t allow thousands of foreigners to come into Shanghai, even by the end of the summer of 2023. Luis Vasconcelos

AUDI ANNOUNCES 2026 F1 ENTRY AUDI OFFICIALLY confirmed on Friday morning in a press conference held in Spa-Francorchamps that it will be entering the Formula One World Championship with its own team from the start of 2026, . With FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also attending the event, Audi’s CEO Markus Duesmann announced that, “Audi has officially registered as a PU in Formula One. “Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” says Duesmann. “Audi has always been successful in motor racing. If you think of Le Mans, Dakar, where we compete now, Formula E or DTM. “Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals.” The German, however, refused to be drawn into discussing the imminent buyout of the Sauber Group, but admitted, “we won’t be starting a brand new team, that is certain, but we have yet to fully decide on which team will be our engine partner. We will design and build the entire powertrain in our facilities in

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Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1, with Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Oliver Hoffmann, Head of Technical Development at Audi Sport GmbH, and Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG showcase the new Audi Sport F1 concept car) Germany, making us the only German manufacturer to have its powertrain base in our country”, he added, in a direct dig at Mercedes, that has its engine facilities in its UK base in Brixworth. When pressed on a timeline for announcing which team Audi will be effectively taking over, Duesmann insisted, “the final decision has not been made but we expect to be in a position to make that announcement later this season.” Audi’s CTO Oliver Hoffmann explained that, “we started to electrify our motorsport program in 2012, we were the first winning Le Mans with the TDi, the

first to win Le Mans with the electrical powertrain, so the logical next step is to enter Formula One. Our engineers will learn a lot about the next generation of electrical engines. We love the challenge of Formula One. “In view of the major technological leaps that the series is making towards sustainability in 2026, we can speak of a new Formula One. Formula 1 is transforming, and Audi wants to actively support this journey. A close link between our Formula One project and Audi AG’s Technical Development department will enable synergies.”

A man with deep knowledge of Audi, due to his former role in the company after leaving Ferrari, Formula 1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali was clearly excited by welcoming the German manufacturer into the sport: “I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator. This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow. It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector. “We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course.” FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem summarised the feeling in the paddock by saying, “this is, first of all, a milestone.” He then made sure there was credit due to himself and his team, by explaining that, “this journey hasn’t been an idea that has come up now; it took six months from my time but this is the fruit that work is bearing. There was no way a manufacturer would come to Formula One as a PU supplier with a current supplier, so the new rules are an exciting prospect for all of us. It took time, but we made it.” Luis Vasconcelos

MARKO, HORNER PUT THE BRAKES ON PORSCHE DEAL BY LUIS VASCONCELOS THE DEAL between Porsche and Red Bull, that was nearly announced during the Austrian Grand Prix, before the German company decided to delay it until its IPO in the Frankfurt stock exchange went ahead, is now being put in doubt by Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, with sources from the Milton Keynes-based team telling us the two men who run Red Bull Racing are doing all they can to stop it from happening. Audi’s CEO, Markus Diesmann, gave Porsche’s entry into Formula One as a given, when his own company announced its entry into the sport from the start of 2026 – but later in the weekend Christian Horner cooled expectations. The Red Bull Team Principal said that, “there are still many details to be

clarified. Porsche is welcome, but the matter is not that simple; it’s quite a complex situation. I hope that the negotiations will come to a good end”, he added giving no timeframe for the final decision to be made. But during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend it has transpired Horner has joined forces with Marko in trying to convince both Dietrich Mateschitz and Chalerm Yoovidhya, the two men who owns Red Bull, to put a stop to the negotiations with Porsche and, instead, join them in trying to convince Honda to remain in Formula One from the end of 2025, when new engine Technical Regulations come into effect, promoting cheaper Power Units that will also be much more road-relevant than the current ones. During the summer break the two men split their efforts, and even though Marko

cancelled a visit to Tokyo, where he was scheduled to meet Honda’s management, he’s still contacting the members of the Board of Directors he’s familiar with, to try and convince them it’s in Honda’s best interests to remain in Formula One. At the same time, Horner, who has a closer relationship with the Yoovidhya family, has been trying to convince the Thais that the best option to keep their team competitive is to stick with Honda, even though Red Bull has heavily invested in a new Powertrains division, both in terms of facilities and in a massive recruitment drive, notably hiring dozens of engineers that were previously working for Mercedes’ Formula One program. Some people in the paddock believe that the reason Marko and Horner are doing

all they can to abort Porsche joining Red Bull, initially buying 50 per cent of Red Bull Technologies but being likely to take full control of the Formula One program, is that they suspect they’ll lose their jobs as soon as that happens. Porsche won’t need Marko – who ironically won the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours for the German company – and is very likely to appoint one of its own as new Team Principal of its Formula One team, making both men redundant. With the Porsche IPO expected for the end of September, Horner and Marko are running out of time to reverse the course of negotiations, especially as, for once, Mateschitz doesn’t seem to be listening to what the other veteran Austrian is telling him and seems determined to sell his great Formula One team to Porsche.

DOMENICALI INSISTS ON MORE F1 SPRINT RACES “SESSIONS THAT COUNT FOR SOMETHING” STEFANO DOMENICALI and Formula One are not giving up on increasing the number of Sprint race weekends from three to six next year and have also suggested, in a video conference, that the entire weekend format of all Grand Prix is under review, saying that from, “a fan perspective, it’s very important there’s something to fight for every day.” The Italian defended the push for more Sprint race weekends, explaining, “there is a reason why we’re working to have six sprint races. We are working together with the FIA to finalise this. We are ready to work on details, to change something on the actual sprint format.” Using the fact MotoGP has recently announced it will feature sprint races in every event from the start of 2023, Domenicali added that, “if the people that are following our Grand Prix or MotoGP races are happy,



Max Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, George Russell,and the rest of the field at the start of the Sprint race In Austria.

and the promoters are happy, the media is happy. We’ll say the outcome should be easy to find in terms of a solution. Of course, it’s a different way to interpret the weekend and there is fine-tuning to do.”

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He then concluded that, “what we want is to discuss in the next F1 Commission how to make some corrections on the actual sprint format. To see if there’s something we can improve.”

The Italian went on to talk about further changes he’s considering for the future, saying that, “from a fan perspective, ensuring that every day there is something to fight for on track is very important. You see, free practice is very interesting for the engineers or for the drivers. But at the end of the day, in sport, you need to fight for something. “There are already limitations on the calendar to [change having] three practice sessions on the weekend. So, I’d be very aggressive to have one free practice session on Friday morning and then every time we go on track, there’s something to be awarded. There is some action going on. Every time we’re on track, there should be something to fight for in terms of points or award. I would like to see any single session on the track, apart from the first maybe, to award something.” He then concluded by saying that, “this is something I’m really keen to discuss with the drivers and the teams and with the FIA, because I think it will add the intensity that everyone wants to see when you’re on the track.“ Luis Vasconcelos I 25



Images: Mark Horsbugh-Edge Photography/Ross Gibb Photography/ Neil Hammond/Main Bruce Williams/AA Archives

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HE WAS born there, went to school there, runs his business there, has lived there for 61 years, and will probably end his days there. “It’s a beautiful part of the country — apart from the winter,” Wyhoon says, as he begins the story of his life and his life in racing. “In peak hour, the drive to work takes me four minutes. If it’s off-peak, it’s probably three-anda-half . . . “ And there you have it, exactly – the laconic ocker sense of humour that has been an Aussie signature down through the generations. Wyhoon also has an old-school work ethic and a rock-solid commitment to his family — Dana and 12-year-old Ryan — but a laugh is never far away. “There are worse places to live than Korumburra, I’m sure. But you always look forward to the holidays when you live here,” he laughs. “A holiday for me can be just taking the wife and the young fella down to the beach for the weekend. We do a bit of fishing and what-not. “I’ve also just come back from the ’states. I love my NASCAR and we know a few people over there.” His friendships in NASCAR have deep roots,

from back in the heyday of the Thunderdome at Calder Park and, even before that, dirt-track racing on rural racetracks around Victoria in a succession of home-built cars. “I’m a lifetime mechanic. I used to spend a lot of time with my dad, trying to fix his old Morris cars so he could get to work,” Wyhoon says. “My favourite brand is Holden, but my first car was a Ford. It was a ’59 Customline Star model, with a 272 Y-block V8. “I went to high school in Leongatha, the technical school, to study automotive.” Once he was into his apprenticeship it didn’t take young Terry long to go racing. “It was a Nyora speedway. The class was called A-Grade Hotrods —a bit like a sprintcar without the wings,” he starts. “I built my car out of anything I could scrounge out of the Korumburra tip. I put it all together and made it happen. “I can’t honestly remember my first win. But I crashed a few cars. “You used to get a ribbon and $3 if you won. I can remember winning all three races one night and shouting the whole crew at the local Chinese takeaway on the way home. It was good, getting all my mates together to help me. And we’d go to the pub afterwards — if I didn’t have a busted ankle or anything. “It’s a bit different these days.”


That’s more than an understatement from the bloke that created Image Racing to compete in Super2 and Super3 after scoring some serious successes in AUSCAR and NASCAR racing. “Image Racing was a name the fatherin-law, Tom Rowe, came up with. It tells people you’re proud of your work.”

He still runs his race shop alongside his general mechanical business in Korumburra — and many of his crew are volunteers and day-rate contractors — but Wyhoon is regarded as a new king maker in the same way that Garry Rogers set many drivers on the path to success. “I enjoyed the mechanical side, but the

driving I enjoyed even more. After we started winning a few local races, went down to Melbourne speed bowl and won a few races. We raced all over. I won quite a bit.”

Then came the event that changed everything. Even if the telling doesn’t fit in today’s woke world.. “I remember calling in to the Thunderdome on the way back from the speedway, and I had the old Bedford van with the speedway car on the back. “I was watching Terri Sawyer win her first race I thought if she could win then I figured we could build one of those (AUSCAR) Commodores pretty cheap and get out there and have a go. And that was the next step. “That night I went to Warrnambool and won $400. I heard Bob Jane was paying good money. “And I thought it couldn’t be that tough, if a chick could win – but then I found out that Terri really could drive! “I realised this shit was not as easy as it seemed. I had to knock a few dents out from trying to keep up with her.” So he was up and running in AUSCAR at a time when some real stars — Brad Jones, Jim Richards, John Faulkner, Marshall Brewer, Steven Richards, Bruce Williams — were doorhandle-to-doorhandle at the front of the field. “I bought a shell from a guy called Kel Gough, and apparently he and his brother raced at Bathurst in the early days. He

Behind the wheel, Wyhoon was a regular winner in AUSCAR, then NASCAR (above). These days, Image Racing helps young stars such as Jordan Boys learn the ropes in Super 2/3 and in Jordan’s case (left, at Winton) a Supercar Wildcard event or two.



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WILL BROWN. Jack Perkins. Grant Denyer. Jordan Boys. Renee Gracie. All five have done time with Image Racing, but they are not the start or finish of the list. Now there are Jay Hanson and Jay Robotham. What they all have in common — or had when they were strapped into one of Terry Wyhoon’s Supercars — is youth. There have been some old(er) timers as well, including Jono Webb, Taz Douglas and Steven Johnson, but Wyhoon knows what he is doing. “We’ve had 30-odd drivers through Image Racing, mostly youngsters,” Wyhoon tells Auto Action. “I get a kick out of helping some of the kids we have run. They don’t have the funds. That’s the shot in the arm for me. “I know how hard it is. I know how hard it was for me.” Wyhoon is never going to get rich from Image Racing, which he runs on a shoestring alongside his mechanical workshop. “She ain’t no Triple Eight, that’s for sure. This is Super2. “The general repair workshop always subsidises the race team. But I won’t know if it will have to this year. We’ve had a good year, with reasonable budgets, and people are paying on time — which is always good.” He is not the best-funded team in Super2 and Super3, but he does his best and has a bunch of eager helpers and subcontractors. “Not everyone has got a $700,000 budget. We do what we can to get them as far up the ladder as we can. “I’m never going to retire off it, but when we have ripper kids I want to do it more. And when we get bad ones, I want to stop tomorrow.” A full-season budget at Image is somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000, including four or five test days. It works for Wyhoon, and his

workers, but there are no frills and it’s about racing. “We don’t make it cheap. We make it so we can buy the right parts and keep the cars properly serviced. But we don’t go and throw a couple of hundred grand on top because we can.” Is there one piece of advice he has for youngsters? “I always tell them that it can be done. If they want to do it, we can make it work. “Young Boysie is a motor mechanic who gets $800 a week. But he’s knocked on doors and found the budget. That goes a long way with me. “If they want it bad enough, they can make it somehow.” But he also wants to win. “The best one we’ve brought through, from the ground up, is Jordan Boys. He won in Super3 and then won in Super2 and he has a terrific family to go with it. And hopefully my son Ryan is the next one. But it won’t be with me.” But Wyhoon, now 61 and enjoying the first new car of his life — a Holden Colorado, bought by his wife, Dana — is not thinking about moving on. “It’s been sustainable. When Covid hit, the only person on the books was me, and the accountant said it made more money in those 3 months — with Job-keeper — than it ever had done before. “What else do I do? I’ve worked on cars since I left school. I can’t exactly become a builder or anything. “We go away to enjoy it. I have a good bunch of guys — one of their dads used to work with me back in the AUSCAR days. “My wife keeps them happy by making sausage rolls in the kitchen in the truck. The crew get to pick the menu for the evening. “We go to win races, but if we can’t have fun and have a beer then I’m out of it. If it starts getting too serious …”

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started a VK Commodore but never finished it. “I sold the speedway car for 15 or 20 grand and paid the same for the AUSCAR. “I raced AUSCAR from ’89 to ‘96. And then I went into NASCAR for three years. “I only won one race on the oval in AUSCAR, a short sprint race, but that year I won two races on the Calder Park road course and took the championship. “We knew we were fast on the Thunderdome, but I ended up winning the Peter Brock Classic on the flat track. The season flowed on with a lot of seconds and thirds. That was pretty cool.” But the laconic bush bloke never had tickets on himself. “Never once did I think I was good. I just liked what we were doing. I wasn’t the person to sit at home and think ‘Jesus, we

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could win a championship’. “One race on the Gold Coast, we were third or fourth, and someone came up and said we were only a few points off leading in the championship. “We just had a lot of fun on the way. We went to try and win races, but you go and have a crack and do what you do with what you have.” Wyhoon’s next break meant a step up into the NASCAR ranks. “Bob Jane and his sidekick Steve Bettes said they’d like me to move up to NASCAR and Bob would help with some support. I don’t know that I ever had an ambition to go to NASCAR, but I thought ‘Why not, if someone is going to help you pay for it?’ I had a bit of sponsorship myself, including BP, and if you had a win, it would pay $12,000 or $14,000. “It was probably a downfall of

Bob’s, to give that much away. Everyone wanted to be there and take a bit of his money. It was a bit like Bill France did in the early days.” When the Thunderdome faded and fell, Wyhoon decided to do something else. “I liked the wheel-to-wheel. It’s totally different to what people see and think — it’s not just driving around in a circle. “I liked the ovals, but the issue was I didn’t need a technique like heel-and-toe. One was like rock-and-roll and the other was like ballet. “I had never done road-course racing in my life. I had no intention of going Supercars. I had no real interest in it.” But then he heard there might be an affordable watch to make the switch. “Someone told me there was going to be a series for old touring cars, sponsored

“I built my car out of anything I could scrounge out of the Korumburra tip. I put it all together and made it happen.”

A young Terry Wyhoon up to his elbows in an AUSCAR car build (left). Below: Wyhoon’s latest youngster, Jay Hansen (49), up front and battling out Super2 with Triple Eight’s Cameron Hill. He is joined in the 2022 Image Racing squad by Jay Robotham (above left).

by Konica. So I thought we’d better do something. “So we went and bought an old HRT VR Commodore and started with that.” The financial step wasn’t too tough, as he was able to sell his NASCAR Thunderbird for solid money, but he had a lot to learn. “Shit it was hard. I bought this car that was complete turn-key and it had 550 horsepower and a five-speed Holinger gearbox. Then I bought an EL Falcon from DJR in 2001, which was a much nicer car and a lot more competitive.” Wyhoon was never a star in what became Super2, but he still liked to dabble. “I probably couldn’t tell you the last time I drove a Supercar. Probably when I had a run at Bathurst in ’17 or ‘18 in a sports sedan race.” But he does remember the starting point as a team owner. “I ended up buying an AU Falcon from 00 Motorsport and a guy, Graeme Crawford, asked me about having a run in the my old EL Falcon. “He said he always wanted to have a crack, and that’s where the idea of running a race team and giving guys a crack started. And it snowballed from there.” As for his own driving career, Wyhoon put the helmet on the shelf after a final hit-out as a tribute to a mate. “The last time I actually raced was 2019 and I drove Dean Neville’s Group NC Camaro at Winton. I was preparing the car for my mate — he used to sponsor me for years — and he went for a run along the beach, fell over and hit his head, then drowned. “His wife asked me to drive the car. It was a fairly emotional weekend. Well, we won. Winning all the cups for them was quite nice.” But Wyhoon also learned a lesson he has carried forward. “It was a bit different to the Supercar. I had my first taste of a car I was setting up for someone else. When I drove it myself I realised he had been a better driver than I thought!”



Wyhoon Snr and Junior with Jordan Boys.


Hands-on in the truck and at the track (below) hands on the wheel of Dean Neville’s Camaro (2019).

IT’S NOT quite Toro Rosso, but there are genuine similarities between the Italian F1 team and Image Racing in the Super2 paddock. Just as Toro Rosso is the junior partner for Red Bull Racing, Image now provides the junior academy connection for Erebus Racing. It’s a recent tie-up, but hardly a surprise. “I’ve known Barry Ryan for a long time. I bought a VF Commodore off him when I was looking for a Super2 car at one stage,” Wyhoon recalls. “He told me ‘I’ll sell you the car, but we’re really busy concentrating on the main game so I can’t offer any assistance’. Then he called me to say I hadn’t been in touch to ask for any help …” Ryan and Wyhoon are similar blokes, both old-school racers who are not afraid of hard work and earned their place in motorsport. “Barry is a racer. He’s not into the glitter. Deep down he’s a racer and he’s not frightened to get his hands dirty. “He’s got some really good people around him, and there are also Betty and Daniel. I’ve been known to do a vodka shot with Betty. “Now I run the junior program for him. And he does the contracts for me. And we work out the front of the Erebus garage in the pitlane, and there are always people offering help.” The Erebus Academy is a first for Australia, with a structured plan to find and develop young talent, but Wyhoon knows youngsters still have do do the work. “I had a kid walk up to me at a racetrack, not long ago, and he was eating a hamburger in his right hand and he shook hands

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with me using his left hand. Not that it tells me anything about his driving ability, but I just walked away after a quick chat. It’s the little things.” In Wyhoon’s case, the big things are his Super2 and Super3 race cars. “We’ve got two FG Falcons, ex-Stone Brothers. One was Shane van Gisbergen’s car, the other was Tim Slade’s. They are the Super3 cars. “We usually only run one car in Super3, and two regularly in Super2. Both of those are Commodores, built by Walkinshaw, that we bought from Erebus. “I don’t care what model it is. I’ve always been a Holden man, but I’m not fussy.” But he is fussy about preparation and his drivers. “If people think they’re going to get a free ride, well … But I would put my left nut on the line to say they won’t get ripped off. “There are more kids out there trying to go through than there are seats available. So if we can get them to an enduro level, in the main game, then we’ve done our job. “We are kinda lucky, because we can bring kids through Super3 and Super2 and then hand them on to Erebus. Kids ring me, Baz looks at my list and I look at his.” It’s early days for the Erebus Academy, but Wyhoon is happy with how it’s going and can see the potential. “I’m enjoying working with them. We just need to get it organised a bit better and a solid plan happening. “Barry has got a million good ideas but he forgets there are only so many hours in the day. You’ve got to love the guy, but if he had 48 hours in a day he’d fill it.” I 29


Jet Johnson has started to deliver regular race results with podiums in the National Trans Am series and wins in the TA2 Series. Image: MTR Images



Main image: Jack Martin Photography-ARG


Johnsons – second and third generation. Image: Daniel Kalisz-ARG YOU WON’T find many names more apt for an aspiring driver than Jett Johnson. The first half just screams speed, and as for Johnson … well any motorsport fan in Australia understands the weight that name carries. After all, Jett’s grandfather Dick Johnson tallied up five Australian Touring Car Championship titles and three Bathurst 1000 wins in a storied career. More recently, second-generation racer Steve Johnson carved out a 15-year career in the main game of Supercars including

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three race wins and 16 podiums. So, what about 17-year-old Jett? Unsurprisingly, he wants to drive a Supercar too, and he will do everything in his power to reach that lofty goal. It’s been the objective that Johnson has had for his whole life – however the last couple of years have only fuelled the fire. With his famous family name adorning the car window, Jett has taken the TA2 Muscle Car Series by storm, before successfully transitioning into the national Trans Am Series in 2022.

Speaking to Johnson in August as he mows the lawns of the Queensland family home, there is an unmistakable confident determination in his voice. “With where everything’s heading, it’s making me want to push more and more to get to a Supercars level,” Johnson tells Auto Action. Jett is not yet of the age to drive solo on the street, but the platform is already set for him to embark on a long career in motorsport. From the beginning it was about following in the steps of dad and grandad. “It started with me going to Supercar meets, growing up around the environment,” Johnson junior explains. “Eventually dad gave me the choice between dirt bikes and karts. Of course, I chose karts, to try and follow what dad and granddad did. “From there, everything evolved into what it is now.” A brief stint in karts morphed into a first tin top foray, namely in the Queensland Hyundai Excel series. Excel racing has become one of the most popular entry level circuit racing avenues, and it served the still young Johnson

perfectly as a bridging mechanism. With some confidence and experience under the belt, it was time to join the big boys in 2021. Considering Johnson’s end goal, TA2 was an obvious choice. Combining the car power and body type of a Supercar with affordability, the regional category along with its national counterpart attracts droves of aspiring steerers each year. Not all succeed though – for many the door-to-door racing and jump in horsepower exposes previously masked weaknesses. For Johnson, however, it was a flawless transition. Driving a mean black and green Ford Mustang, the bright-eyed teenager topped the Northern Series standings by 55 points as a rookie, scoring four race wins and missing the podium just twice. Johnson says that he felt right at home in TA2 from the get-go. “It actually felt more natural driving a rear wheel drive, big horsepower car than it did driving an Excel,” he reveals. “The Excel is really backwards with how you have to drive it, it’s a weird driving style. “You really have to throw the TA2 cars around the track, that really helped to

From karting , to Excels (below) – it’s a common pathway ...

standings, and among the best prospects for future development. He is not getting carried away though. The rest of this season is about acquiring experience to take momentum into 2023 when results will be the priority.

Karting image lan Ward - Excel image MTR Images develop my race craft quite early.” However, reflecting on his dominant season, the emerging talent did not hide his surprise at tasting success so quickly. “I thought if I was lucky, I might collect a win over the season but getting on the podium at the first round was just unbelievable for me. “The whole season felt just incredibly surreal.” Such was his first up success, guided by the best of mentors Johnson elected to take on double duties in 2022, pairing a Trans Am campaign with TA2 duties. The machinery may be the same, but Jett figured out early that the national series was going to be a different ball game. He finished 10th in both first two encounters at the Symmons Plains season opener, before improving to fifth in Race 3. It was certainly an eye-opening experience, considering Johnson was never outside the top five in the previous year. “The driving standards in Trans Am are just a completely different kettle of fish,” he admits. “Everyone is really, really serious in Trans Am. It’s something I wasn’t really prepared for. “That first race in Tasmania I was thinking ‘wow, this is this is completely different to what I’m used to’.” Johnson’s sophomore round was no less challenging, as he emerged with just one top 10 finish at Phillip Island. Round 3 at Mount Panorama brought more of the same, including a first DNF. Regardless, it was a special weekend for the Queenslander who also took part in the 6 Hour endurance race in a BMW M135i. “My career highlight so far is going to Bathurst,” he confirms. “I’m pretty proud to say that my first laps of Bathurst were done in a Trans Am, it was

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You really have to throw the TA2 cars around the track, that really helped to develop my race craft quite early.

quite daunting but I was able to enjoy the place.”

Despite running in the midfield in Trans Am, Johnson had plenty to smile about approaching the halfway point of his first year on the national scene. Jett had solidified himself as the frontrunner in TA2 for a second year running and then on a historic day in May at Queensland Raceway, he was given the opportunity to share the track with both Dick and Steve in a Ford Mustang Supercar as part of the Dick Johnson Racing Evaluation Day. It was a special occasion that all three revelled in, and one that solidified Jett’s will to reach the top tier of Australian motorsport. “I was in tears for pretty much that entire session,” Johnson remembers. “It was an emotional day for us, a day that I’m never forgetting.” Both men have played integral roles in Jett’s journey, filling him with gratitude. “Without dad and grandad, none of this would have happened. “Dad puts in a huge amount of work on and off track, and grandad always calls after every session.” Since the Evaluation Day, it’s been full steam ahead. At his home track, Queensland Raceway, Johnson put in the best performance of his Trans Am career to chalk up a pair of podiums. Those results were made even sweeter by the fact that he outperformed Erebus Motorsport Supercars driver Brodie Kostecki, who brings plenty of star power to the grid. As a result, Johnson sits 12th in the overall

It’s certainly been a thrilling ride so far, a ride that has required Johnson to live in the moment. However, when prompted, his vision for a future in Supercars becomes clearer. “I don’t really have a timeline personally – if we can somehow get some sort of Super3 Series drive next year, that’d be nice,” he reveals. “But at the end of the day, I don’t want to try and rush into getting into a Supercars drive. “I’d rather take my time and make sure I am ready to take that next step.” Time is certainly a commodity that Johnson is rich in. With years to hone his craft and the backing of an enviable support team, young Jett is surely embarking on a long ascent where the sky is the limit.

The Johnson Clan ... Image: Daniel Kalisz-ARG

Jett Johnson has been honing his TA2/ Trans Am skills at Queensland Raceway – here the NAPA car shows the way at the QR Trans Am round. Image: Daniel Kalisz-ARG



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Left: Lola’s new owner is determined to return the marque to self-sufficient greatness. The comapny has produced a diverse and spectacular range of race cars over the years: Patrick Tambay in the Can Am Lola T530 (below left); Graham Hill in the 1974 T370 F1 car (below); The classic Lola T70 sports car (above); Warwick Brown in the fabulous Lola T332 F5000 car (right); David Hobbs flies in the 1967 F2 Lola-BMW T100 at the Nurburgring ...

REVIVING LOLA HAS BEEN LYING DORMANT FOR A DECADE, NOW PART-TIME RACER AND FULL-TIME FINANCIER TILL BECHTOLSHEIMER HAS A DREAM TO REVIVE ONE OF THE MOST EVOCATIVE NAMES IN WORLD MOTORSPORT. AUTO ACTION’S ANDREW CLARKE SPOKE TO THE MAN BEHIND THE REVIAL PLANS Images: Motorsport Images and Lola TILL BECHTOLSHEIMER is a racing driver you wouldn’t have heard of in Australia unless you are a motorsport tragic. But now, that part-time drive is the force behind the revival of one of motorsport’s most famous names – Lola. Like many of us, Till has been a motorsport fan for most of his life. Like some, he was lucky enough to start karting at a young age before study and career got in the way of anything serious. “I was about 10 when I did a deal with my dad; he agreed

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to get me a go-kart if I agreed never to ride motorcycles on the road,” he explains from his New York home. “So at age 10, it was an easy deal to make because getting a licence for anything roadworthy was still seven years away, which felt like an eternity. “So I made that deal, got a kart and did a few seasons. When I left school, I did a season of rallycross in a Mini, which they called Mini-cross. After university, I started a career and didn’t do any racing again until I was probably about 30. “I decided to get back into racing a bit for a bit of fun. So I bought an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, started doing some

historic touring cars, and got the bug again. I got a bunch of different classic cars over the years and enjoyed racing them all over Europe. “It was on my honeymoon when I was talking to my wife about the idea that I wasn’t that old yet, and I’d love to give modern motorsport a go again. She encouraged me to do that. I did a couple of test days with a team based out of Austin – CJ Wilson Racing – and ended up doing a partial season in IMSA’s Continental Tire Championship. “Then we stepped up into the GT3 category. Then we did an entire season in the SRO, Pirelli World Challenge, and the full

LOLA sprint series in GTD. And this year, we’re doing the endurance championships, the four long races, the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 hours, Watkins Glen 6 hours, and Petit Le Mans. “I’ll look at racing anything with four wheels because my dad is still alive and I can’t do two!” So what you get from that is that he likes his racing and sportscars. You don’t get the sense of business and his success away from the track. “I run an investment firm based out of New York called Arosa Capital. My partner and I founded it in 2013, and we’re focused on anything energy-related. But for the last five or six years, the focus has been increasingly on energy efficiency and renewable energy. “I think there’s some overlap with what I do career-wise and our plans for Lola, which makes some sense as well.” Lola was one of the world’s biggest and most successful racing car manufacturers. It succeeded in sportscar and ChampCar (IndyCar) and built some iconic machinery. But its quest to conquer Formula One brought it unstuck and sent the business broke in 2012. Today, the wind tunnel and the tech centre remain operational, but that is it. And that is what will change. The move into Lola came when Bechtolsheimer read an article about the assets of Lola being up for sale. He shot an email off and started toying with the romantic idea of bringing Lola back. “I felt it was sad to see an iconic motorsport brand being assigned to the history books. There was this slightly romantic notion of whether I could play a small part in trying to prevent that. I think it’s one of the greatest motorsport brands ever, and it’s been such a force in so many different forms of motorsport for half a century.



“That was what initially got me interested. Then seeing the process required for a revival, I began thinking it was something I could do. The idea that motorsport is going through so much change at the moment and we could be part of that really got me. “All the regulations in all the major series are seeing massive overhauls, but more importantly, I think the role that motorsport is playing within the broader automotive industry is important. I believe some fundamental questions are being

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asked, and I think the role it plays and can play. “With all that change, I think there’s an opportunity for any new entrants. I think there’s a lot of overlap with my primary business in energy efficiency. Motorsport has always played a role in driving efficiencies of all kinds, and most efficiencies really come back to energy efficiency.” So there it is, how Bechtolsheimer will blend his business and passions into something he hopes will be meaningful. “My interest in Lola is partly because I want to re-establish the I 33

Lola’s most recent international success came in the form of the Rebellion-run Lola B12/60, which contested LMP1 events from 2012. Below: New Lola owner Till Bechtolsheimer poses with a 2010 Lola-Mazda. Bottom: Lola T598 Sports 2000 was a popular low-cost sports car. Bottom right: Lola cars contested both LMP1 and LMP2 ...

brand at the forefront of modern motorsport, but I think the way to do that effectively is to embed energy efficiency and trying to drive solutions in the world of energy efficiencies through motorsport. Making that the core of Lola’s revival is I think what will allow us to make Lola relevant again.” Bechtolsheimer has bought all the designs and IP of Lola, but while that is important it is looking backwards. Lola Technical Centre has been running on a shoestring – it has a wind tunnel and a seven-post rig and a model room along with lots of important assets that you need to get back to designing race cars. But that’s really it. “Task one is to invest in that technical centre to bring it back to being a state-of-the-art facility, both as a standalone commercial facility available to third parties and as a resource to Lola’s internal design and engineering projects. “Secondly, it’s to rebuild a team and its engineering team. We’re in the early stages of doing that. We did get Chris Saunders to join us, who was still operating the windtunnel at relatively low utilisation rates. Chris has been working throughout, and he’s joined Lola and has been scoping out all of the upgrades we would like to make to the windtunnel. “Then I hired a guy called Michael Wilson, the chief technical officer at AER Advanced Engine Research). Before that, he ran the Mercedes DTM team, and before that, I think he was the lead race engineer for Mercedes F1’s engine department. His primary job is to build a technical team around him.

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“My goal is to find that first halo project and build a team around that project. We make the infrastructure around that project so that we’re not building a team in a vacuum, not really knowing what we’re building for. It’s a bit of a chickenand-egg situation, but ultimately, we’re working on a handful of projects simultaneously that are really exciting to me. “None of them is fully baked yet, none of them ready for public consumption, but they are in both the single-seat and sportscar worlds; interesting projects, and we have to get at least one of those over the line and then build around that project.”

The deal took more than a year to settle and was closed in December 2021, which gave him time to work on a few things before announcing the sale in June. He’s been in many behind-closed-doors discussions with race organisers, automotive OEMs and race teams with confidential discussions to scope the opportunities for Lola. The investment, however, doesn’t stop with the purchase of the business. The next phase is investing in rebuilding what was once great. “I think the first part’s easy because it’s a known quantity. You get comfortable with that, and you move on. But it was

The Lola-Hart THL-1 (Beatrice Lola) was the car underneath Alan Jones’ F1 comeback in 1985. Below: Lola’s successful T93/00 CART car took Nigel Mansell to his 1993 CART-Indycar crown.

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At some point though, Lola needs to be able to stand on its own two feet, and I think that’s absolutely doable.

The Lola-built Nissan R90CK was used for Group C racing from 1990. done with the knowledge that there’s a second part, which is the more daunting and scary part because it’s not a known quantity and it is ‘how long is a piece of string?’ “It comes down to what’s the nature of the first project that we’re going to do, and how much support will that project need – how commercially viable is that first project.



“I’m committed to providing a level of investment that I think is necessary to re-establish Lola and to get the ball rolling. At some point though, Lola needs to be able to stand on its own two feet, and I think that’s absolutely doable. “I think it’s possible to do this in a more asset-light way than would’ve been possible 10 or 20 years ago.

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We don’t have manufacturing capabilities anymore. Our autoclaves were sold, for instance, and we don’t have the manufacturing space. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Lola is based in Huntingdon in the British Motorsport Valley, where we have a really robust motorsport industry with a lot of capabilities, a lot of composite shops as an example. “Why recreate the wheel when you can leverage a robust local supply chain and do it in a way where you don’t have to carry all of those overheads? We can then focus the overhead burden more on the differentiating assets like wind tunnels and seven post rigs.” The more you talk to Bechtolsheimer, the more you understand why it took 12 months to seal the deal. He has looked deeply at where to take this business, how to revive the name and how to build something that works with his existing business focus. “Motorsport should always be the core of what Lola does, but from a business perspective, I view Williams Advanced Engineering as a success case of what a motorsport-led endeavour is capable of. Trying to build that part of the business alongside what we’re doing on track will hopefully make Lola a profitable and valuable business over time. That’s the goal.” I 35

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SPEEDWAY NEWS with Paris Charles DARWIN IS alive and kicking with Speedway action on and off the track as the city embraces the 2022 running of the Ostojic Group Chariots of Thunder Series – for the first time incorporating both Speedcars and Street Stocks with the traditional Sprintcars taking the centre stage. Mitchell Street was lined with thousands of people as a group of the above-named classes were paraded in a carnival-like atmosphere down the main street, in addition to the many public promotions and activities such as a Golf Day, a fan appreciation day at the popular The Precinct function centre down on the waterfront area and various team displays throughout the township as many racegoers visited the popular watering holes and tourist destinations. Back at the track, the 45 Sprintcar teams from all parts of the nation quickly buckled down for Night 1 of action, incorporating the ninth round of the track championship at the 7Darwin Northline Speedway. It would be the race-fit and well-travelled Lachlan McHugh (pictured) finding the fastest way home in an incident packed 30-lap feature race after his recent stint of racing in North America. McHugh would claim the Dash to square up on the front row alongside Steven Lines and at the drop of the green he would lead, while

Lines was next as Jamie Veal and Brock Hallett battled for third before Matthew Dumesny would spin to bring on the first caution. The next green flag to fall would set off a succession of red lights, all towards the pointy end. Lines’ run would come to an end, rolling heavily, also bringing Grant Anderson to the infield. The following start would see Hallett and Veal tangle to tumble out of contention, taking four of the front runners out with just two laps in the books. McHugh would again set the pace, while Kale Quinlan would sit in his tyre tracks as the field settled into rhythm. Ryan Jones would move to second, followed closely by Cody Maroske. Jack Lee was next but would soon trigger the next caution as he rode the Turn 1 wall, ending his run. On the green, McHugh again led the charge. Jones advanced to second, relegating Quinlan to third followed by Adrian Redpath and Chad Ely advancing into the top five. With 10 laps down, McHugh hit lapped traffic – however Jones was not able to strike as real-estate between the two would work to the leader’s favour which remained that way until Chase

Images: Scott Kernahan Karpenko brought on another red light stoppage after tagging the wall and rolling out of contention. With a dozen to run, McHugh would again make the most of his clear track as he led Jones, Redpath, and Quinlan as Dumensy would fire back into the equation running the top side and trying to chase down Redpath for the final step on the podium. With two remaining, Redpath and Dumensy snuck past Jones to finish in that order behind an untroubled McHugh. Matt Egel and Jock Goodyer followed as Quinlan

and Ely dropped back through the field. Daniel Pestka and Maroske rounded out the top 10. Mitchell Wormall was one lap down and was followed to the line by Callum Williamson, Glen Sutherland and Daniel Harding rounding out the finishers after struggling the duration of the race with a wounded car. Heat race wins were shared with Maroske, Hallett, Quinlan, McHugh and Lines each sharing the honours while Jake Smith claimed the C Main and Redpath the Tristar Industries B event.



Photo: Peter Roebuck (supplied by LMRWA) FROM ESPERANCE to Perth and against 11 other Late Model competitors Greg Horan (pictured) made every post a winner as he dominated Round 4 of the Renegade Race Fuels & Lubricants Winter Series for Late Models at Allwest Plant Hire Ellenbrook Speedway with a comfortable 6.160 second winning margin and flag to

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flag victory in the 15-lap feature event. From the drop of the green flag Horan shot to the front and from that point forward set the tempo despite an early caution period when a smoking Darren Ahearn retired on the third lap. Again, Horan would quickly pick up the tempo as David Boyes followed suit. Steve Schofield made his

way onto the podium with a late race pass, relegating Ben Strautins to fourth while Jeremy Hale and Abbey Pickering rounded out the top half dozen in what would be a bruise-free race. Both qualifying heats would prove identical with Horan, Boyes and Ahearn filling the top three placings.

WITH OVER 60 Junior Sedan competitors (Top Stars / New Stars) in attendance for the running of the prestigious Tom Green Memorial Gold Cup held for Junior Sedans, reigning West Australian champion Beau Oldfield proved why he wears the #1 mantle on his car after leading all 20 laps of the main event, hotly pursued over the journey by former state champion Jhy Pack. Zach Munro, Donny Davis and Tyler Scott would head the top six on the lap scoring chart for the Top Stars final while Kaden Harrison claimed the New Stars win over Mitch Binning, Colby Bosley, Jake Fisher, Jesse Hamon and Noah Bain rounding the top six home. Branden Fraser celebrated the Prelude to the Production Sedan Classic event with a flag-to-flag victory despite a strong challenge from Mitch Killeen and Josh Fraser also standing on the podium. Rounding the top half dozen from the 23 competitors was Lawson Mayes, Jamie Graham and Robbie Trenaman.

BEARE BREAKS OUT FOR STREET STOCK VICTOR SOUTH AUSSIES Nathan Thorne and Anthony Beare shared the front row for the EB Graphics Feature Race. Nathan would lead the opening portion hounded by Beare every inch of the way with Lenny Bates and Justin Brumfield in striking distance. The leaders encountered lapped traffic and the top three switched lines as they negotiated the slower cars – racing down the front straight three wide you could throw a tissue over the trio. Bates would be the big winner, taking the lead, with Thorne relegated to fourth., but Beare (pictured) would claim

the lead on the next lap, with Jake Koivumaki, Ben Blatchford, Michelle Gill and Daniel Ameduri pausing the race and retiring to the infield with 15 to run. Lance Carew, Kane Lloyd and Russell Gunn would retire at the next stoppage. Debris on the track would cause a further stoppage as Bates challenged for the lead. At this point the race would be declared. Beare was followed home by Bates with Jason Duell rounding out the podium. The heats were shared by Bates, Justin Brumfield, Beare and Thorne who would also claim the Top 8 Dash.

TOM TAKES MIDGETS RETURN THE SPEEDCARS made a welcome return to the Darwin clay after a lengthy hiatus of over two decades and it was West Australian Tom Payet (above) who entered his name at the top of the record books, over 13 other competitors, after claiming the Hidden Valley Ford 20-lap feature event. Daniel Harding led for the majority of the journey and looked comfortable leading the charge until looping it at the


EGEL FLIES HIGH FOR ROUND 2 NIGHT TWO of the COT series and round 10 of the track championship, would see McHugh continue his fine form, lining up on the front row for the all important 30-lap feature. However, this time alongside would be the defending Chariots of Thunder Series Champion Matt Egel (pictured above). McHugh would set the pace with Egel, Jamie veal, Matthew Dumensy, Brock Hallett and co all in pursuit. Egel slid by for to lead amongst lapped traffic with four laps in the books, McHugh would fight back only to spin a full 360 degrees with front wheels pointed to the heavens, thankfully he controlled the spin and race continued without stoppage. Egel stretched his legs while Dumensy, Hallett and Grant Anderson slipped by McHugh. Anderson’s fortune would soon change, brining on a caution as he spun to halt. McHugh would retire to the infield with a flat left rear tyre. Egel raced away with a



clear track ahead, while Hallett advanced to second, quickly followed by Jock Goodyer with Dumensy relegated to fourth. Goodyer, on a charge, moved to second and held steady until Hallett came back with nine laps remaining. However, a red hot Veal shot to second but could not hunt down Egel in the run to Victory Lane. Hallett would take the final step on the podium. Goodyer, Steven Lines, Dumesny, Chase Karpenko, James Inglis, Ryan Jones, Jack Lee, Anderson and Cody Maroske rounded off the top dozen. Kris Coyle, Mitchell Wormall, Benny Atkinson Jr, Daniel Pestka, Kale Quinlan, Hayden Brown and Chad Ely all greeted the chequered flag. Veal, Dumensy, Egel and Hallett all took heat wins while McHugh claimed a heat and the Dash. Jake Smith claimed the C Main for the second night straight and Maroske salvaged victory in the B Final.

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WEST AUSTRALIAN, Daniel Harding had been kept very busy doing double duties in both the Sprint and Speedcar divisions and with the amount of laps under his belt he would use it to his advantage to claim the Round 2, 20-lap feature event of the Speedcar portion of the COT’s series. Harding would Start on the front row alongside Tom Payet. At the drop of the green, mayhem broke loose as Robert Heard and Keenan Flemming came together, sending the latter to the infield. At the complete restart, Harding would adopt the top line while Kiwi Kaleb Currie worked the bottom, making it an interesting duel over the course of the journey until Harding made contact with South Aussie rookie driver Justin Tuttle, sending him over and out of the race. With six laps to go, Harding powered home uncontested to pick up the win. Joining him on the podium would be Matt Jackson for the second night straight with Currie relegated to third. Payet made a last lap pass on Heard for fourth and Garth Thompson the final finisher in sixth. The heats were shared by Payet and Harding.

recommencement after a red-light stoppage when New Zealander Kaleb Currie rolled while running in second. Payet would inherit the lead to the chequered flag while Matt Jackson and Tyson Bryden would also share the podium celebrations. Robert Heard and Garth Thompson rounded out those to travel the distance. The four 8-lap heats were shared with Payet and Rusty Whittaker claiming two apiece.

Image: Scott Kernahan ... AND BEARE GOES BACK-TO-BACK The Mount Gambier duo of Anthony Beare and Jason Duell squared up on the front row and at the drop of the green Beare took control only for a series of early caution periods to bring them back for a third Indian File restart. From this point Beare would set the pace as he negotiated the lapped traffic hotly pursued by Duell until the yellows blazed with just three laps remaining bringing the field back together. With clear track ahead Beare made the most of the clear track as he marched to the finish line. Meanwhile the battle for second was a thrilling affair as Duell held off a fast finishing Lenny Bates and Justin Brumfield, with Mark Jennings making it three Borderline Speedway club members in the top five. Daniel Ameduri, Jayden Giezendanner and Nathan Thorne (in the only front wheel drive of the series) were next and rounding out the top 10 home was Jake Koivumaki, James Dennis Duell, Beare, Thorn and J. Brumfield collected the four qualifying heat wins.

CHARIOTS OF THUNDER MID SERIES SUMMARY AT THE half way mark of the Chariots of Thunder Series for Sprintcars the defending series champion Matt Egel leads the 46car field with 290 points, hotly pursued by Matthew Dumesny (282), Jock Goodyer (280), Ryan Jones (274), with Lachlan McHugh, Jamie Veal and Brock Hallett tied in fifth with 260 points. Chase Karpenko and Mitchell Wormall are equal on 256, with Cody Maroske (254), Kale Quinlan (252) and rounding out the top dozen is Steven Lines with 250 points. Tom Payet leads the Speedcar points tally with 603 points, Matt Jackson (567), Robert Heard (524) Caleb Currie (512), Keenan Flemming (453), Justin Tuttle (450), Garth

Thompson (438), Daniel Harding (415), Louis Rodriguez (390), Tyson Bryden (277), Rusty Whitaker (239) and with 38 points is Domain Ramsay rounding off the top 12. The Australian Street Stock Champion, Anthony Beare is showing why he wears the #1 on his Holden Commodore as he commands the division points with 648. Lenny Bates (575) is next, closely followed by Jason Duell (572), Nathan Thorne (506), Jayden Giezendanner (485), Justin Brumfield (471), Daniel Ameduri and James Dennis tied on 436, fast female Megan Henderson (421), Jim McGorman (410), Jake Koivumaki and Russel Gunn equally tied on 403 points in the battle of 21 hard chargers. I 39


GONZALEZ GETS HIS FIRST IT WAS the first every win for Daniel Gonzalez when he and Caleb Ash (right) won the Kirra Rally, round four of the West Australian Championship on August 20. The event was held out of Manjimup’s Rose Park, the new three-stage rally was made up of a total of 119km across Mooralup, Cardac, Yardup and Yeticup forests and included a Super Stage in the area of the Motocross Track. At the wheel of their Hyundai i20N, Gonzalez and Ash won by 1min 14.6s over Ben Searcy and Daymon Nicoli (Mitsubishi EVO 9) with Jack Flanagan and Daniel Adams (Subaru Impreza WRX) third, a further 1min 5s away. In a dream start, Gonzalez won the first stage and finished 1.6s ahead of Searcy. Craig Rando and Scott Beckwith (WRX) were third in front of Flanagan and Michael Steele and Kate Oxley (WRX). Gonzalez also won Stage 2 where Rando was second ahead of Flanagan, Nic Box/Tammy Adams (Nissan Silvia S13). An engine dilemma cost Searcy who finished 11th and dropped to fourth. On the third stage it was Gonzalez from Rando and Garry Whittle/Ryan Doe (WRX). Searcy was fourth in front of Box, but trailed by over a minute. Searcy lost a little more on Stage 4 with fifth place as Gonzalez scored another win ahead of Flanagan, Alex Rullo/ Steve Glenney (EVO 9), and Rando. Gonzalez made it five stages straight on the next where Rullo was second from Searcy,

Image: Tim Allott Flanagan and Rando. The latter was out on Stage 6 with an engine failure. The stage was won by Searcy with Gonzalez second. Thomas and Lister were third ahead of Michael Steele/Katie Oxley (WRX) and Box.

The last stage went to Gonzalez ahead of Searcy and Flanagan. Dave Thomas and Thomas Esterbauer (WRX) were fourth and John Macara and Tim Jackson (EVO 7) fifth.

Overall fourth place was taken by Box who also claimed 2WD honours. Steele was fifth outright in front of Thomas, Macara, Whittle and Gary Mills and Mitch Gray (Ford Fiesta). Garry O’Brien


Image: Otway Edge Photography

SHORT RUNS ON LONG COURSE FOG DELAYED the start and limited the runs available for the 80 entries at the Bryant Park on August 28. It was seventh and final round of the EZIUP & Go Victorian Hillclimb Championship where David Mahon (pictured) produced the fastest time of the day. The event was staged on the Clockwise Figure 8 layout with additional loop and organised by the Gippsland Car Club. Mahon propelled his Hayabusa-powered Dallara around with best effort of 71.99s on his second run. Alan Foley (R Foley) also circulated quickest on his second run and was 0.75s behind. Third spot went to Brue Minahan (Hayward) with under 1.3 litre Formula Libra cars first, second and third. Mike Barker (Hayward) finished fourth and was the first of the up to 2.0lt entries. Ewen Moile (up to 1.3lt Ramblebee) was next ahead of Wim Janssen (Wimp 003) and Peter Minahan (Hayward). Jordan James (Mitsubishi EVO 4 4WD Sports Sedan) was the best of the Tin Tops in eighth ahead of the historic IDS open sports car driven by Tom Inkster. Tenth fastest was Rhys Yeomans in his Improved Production Honda Civic. Eleventh was Damien Pennycuick in his Non Logged Booked Nissan Skyline ahead of Warren Heath (2WD Improved Production Ford Laser Sport), Stuart Haverkort (Sports Sedan Honda Civic), Brendon Byfield (Time Attack Subaru WRX Sports Wagon) and James Callahan (4WD Sports Sedan Mitsubishi EVO). Garry O’Brien

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IN THE Tough As Mini Pave 250 at Port Germein on August 27-28, Simon Tucker and Rylee Skinner (right) hung on to win round two of the Motorsport Australia South Australian Off Road Championship. Adam Bierl and Nyree Burmingham (Jimco/Chev Pro Buggy) pushed hard over the two-day event but didn’t quiet have enough to grab the win from the Southern Cross NextGen/Nissan ProLite crew. Hamish Lockert (RIDS Race Frames Digrite/Suzuki) put up a spirited performance in his Superlite to claim a safe third. After a flat tyre robbed them of the lead and dropped them out of the top 10, Andrew and Teegan Mowles (Razorback/BMW) fought back for fourth. Si Heaslip had a steady first outing in the ex-Trevor Copeland Jimco/Chev for a well-deserved fifth. Next across the line were Geoff Brennan and Brett Beaty (SXS Pro Can-Am Maverick) just in front of Jamie and Naomi Parker (Extreme 4WD Nissan Patrol/Chev) who performed well despite breaking the front diff on Saturday and completing the race in 2WD. Not far behind were Gavin Chant and Ian Langford (Southern Cross/ Honda) while Jodie Vernon and Simon Herrmann (Can-Am) had a good crack

Image: David Batchelor to come home ninth after they spent day one in 2WD with a broken CV. Hadyn and Neil Vanstone (RIDS Race Frames Joker/VW Super 1650) made it home safely in tenth. Next were Michael Shipton and Paul Chorlton (Performance 2WD SBH ford Ranger/Chev). Nick Hicks and Christian MacIntosh (Element Prodigy/ Nissan) salvaged 12th after they lost a lot of time on lap four on Saturday. Matt and Gary Curtis (GCR Rhino/ Nissan) briefly led the race on Saturday before they went out with

power steering problems. Robbie and Frank Gadaleta stepped up from their Can-Am to the family’s Pro Buggy Jimco Chev only to roll and damage a hub on lap one. Early Perf 2WD leaders Andy Maxwell and Cody Pickert (BA Ford Falcon) pulled out with overheating issues. Ron and Debbie Ireland (Polaris RZR XP 1000) were on top in SXS Sport. Heath and Michelle Weedon (Nissan Patrol looked set the win Perf 2WD but the engine failed with three laps to go. David Batchelor





Image: B Team

PART OF the Australian Rally Championship was the fourth round of the Till Hino Victorian Rally Championship. The state leg was won by points leaders Adrian Stratford and Kain Manning (above) in their Subaru Impreza WRX on August 27. The VRC was over two heats on day one, and ran behind the national field. The rally took place in the mountains north west of Heyfield, between Walhalla, Toombon and Glenfalloch. Stratford had to use an engine borrowwed from Tim Clark, but was second in the first heat, and won the second. Apart from a sticky throttle on occasions in Heat 1, it was a relatively straightforward run. Brothers Jamie and Brad Luff (WRX) finished second despite a couple of times

NATIONALS WRAP with Garry O’Brien when the brake pedal went to the floor. Brendan Reeves and Kate Catford (Datsun P510) finished third and were first in 2WD. While not eligible or not claiming VRC points, Tim and Leonie Clark (WRX) and James and Mark Leoncini (Toyota Corolla

AE71) were fourth and fifth. Also not up for points was Tayor Gill and Daniel Brkic (WRX) who won two of the four Heat 1 stages to be the front runners. They went out strongly in Heat 2 as well with wins in the first three stages, but went out with a broken gearbox input shaft on the last stage. Luke Sytema and Tracey Dewhurst (Ford Fiesta) finished fourth in Heat 1, but stage five brought about their undoing with a rollover. Sixth place went to Warren Lee and David Lethlean (Mitsubishi EVO 9) ahead of Kevin Millard/Adam Branford (Datsun 1600), Brad Till/Mitch Garrad (WRX), Andrew Murdoch/ Kelvin North (Ford Fiesta ST150), and Simon and Ian Ellis (WRX) in 10th of the 26 finishers. Ten were retirees. Garry O’Brien

KEMPSEY A PRO EVENT PRO BUGGIES filled the top three spots at the Jim Anderson Earthmoving Kempsey 300, round three of the Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship on August 27-28. The Kempsey Macleay Off Road Club-run event was won by Mathew Huxley (right) in his Thronbuilt Wasp/Chev V8 by 4mins 6.3s over Darren Williamson (Jimco 2000/Chev) with another 3mins 56.9s to Ben Scott (WC/Toyota). The event was held at Dungay Creek, Wittitrin, 20kms west of Kempsey, and comprised three races for a total of 16 laps of the 18.7km course. It was preceded by a prologue and a top ten shootout for the 37 entries.


Huxley kicked off with a win in the prologue ahead of Tait Svenson (ProLite Stealth Predator/GM Ecotec) and David Chandler (Jimco/Chev). The same three topped the shootout. The first race was over four laps where Huxley was a dominate winner. He finished well over 2mins ahead of Michael Spokes (Rivmasta/Nissan) with Gerard Bawden (Southern Cross/ Toyota Turbo) third ahead of Brendan Turner (Mirage/Honda V6) and Williamson. Chandler was seventh while Svenson was outside the top 20. In the second race over six laps. it was Huxley from Williamson, Spokes, Scott, Chandler and


Image: KMORC Turner. The same two were at the top of the six-lap race three as Scott took third ahead of Scott, Svenson and Dean Meginley (Tatum/Honda Sportslite). The latter was able to snare fourth overall ahead of Des Woods (Super 1650 ), Michael McLean (SXS Turbo Can-Am), Svenson and Kym Vonholdt in his Hayabusa-powered

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Sportslite. Ninth went to Aaron May (Raceco/Honda) and Ross Newman (SXS Sports Yamaha YXZ). Shane Ramsay (Nissan Patrol V8) won Extreme 4WD), Tim Battle (Verco Hornet 2/Suzuki) took out Sportsman, and Darren Blackburn (Patrol) was the Production 4WD winner. Garry O’Brien


NATIONALS WRAP CATEGORIES FLOCK TO COLLIE FOR THE fourth time in season 2022, regular State Championship categories raced at the Collie Motorplex on August 20-21.


TWO FOUGHT it out for top honours where the result between Jack Clohessy and Brett Sherriff hinged on who won the last race. In the opener Sherriff led as he and Clohessy gapped the rest and finished line astern. Jake Passaris was third ahead of Craig Charnley, Alex Newton, Harrison Douglas and Steve McGregor. Sherriff was best away in Race 2, followed by Passaris and Clohessy who moved to second and on the last lap, seized the lead and won. Passaris was third from Douglas and Newton. Sherriff also led Race 3 but lost out to Clohessy much earlier while Passaris secured another third ahead of Charnley and Douglas.


AN EARLY weekend drama failed to stop Stuart Young as the best outright performer. Clinton Rayner (Chev Camaro) led the first race from the start to take the win. Mark Cates (Ford Falcon XY GT) was second. From the back of the grid, Young (Holden Torana XU-1) was third. He missed qualifying due to the engine running lean. Cates got the best of the Race 2 start and led. Gary Croswell (Chev Impala) had a spin in the flip flop on lap one. Cates led for the next couple of laps as Rayner closed quickly and went to the lead on lap four. The red flags were out on lap seven when Croswell speared off at the last turn and ended up in the fence. The race was declared due the possibility of damage to the fence and the time required to remove the car. Rayner was first despite leaks from the brake calipers, from Cates and Young. A reduced grid faced the starter for the last race where Cates led for six laps when he slowed with engine dramas and retired. This left Young to take the win from Cono Onofaro and Blake Watson, both at the helm of Mini Coopers.

and Brian Searles (Ralt RT1) had their own battle and changed positions numerous times. Race 2 was a repeat of the first, although Carwardine was given a 5s penalty which did not change the result. During the last race Gates had minor engine glitch, but was still able to hold off Carwardine while Thompson was third. McCrudden and Searles scored their third fourth and fifth.

Harvey, Hoy and Martin lead the Saloon Car pack._Images Mick Oliver


FORD FALCON AU driver Mason Harvey scored a trio of Pro class and outright victories as Michael Koberstein (Holden Commodore VN) produced a similar result in Pro-Am. It started with a first up for Mason with a first up effort over Chase Hoy and Matt Martin in their Holden Commodore VTs. Grant Johnson (VT) missed the race and started the second from the back as Hoy led. Midway through Harvey made his move and went on to win from Hoy and Martin. Hoy again got the best start in race three but was passed by both Harvey and Johnson to finish third. Behind Koberstein Reg Ralph was second in Pro-Am and ahead of Matt Jenkin, both in VNs. Ralph had the best start in Race 2 and led until he stopped on the back straight. Koberstein won from Jenkins and Des Murphy (VN). In Race 3 Jenkins held second until passed by Murphy.


FROM the rear of the grid, Austin Pearson (Jacer) was the 1600 and overall winner. Mackenzie Matthews (Jacer) led David Caisley (Jacer) and Rod Lisson (Sabre) in Race 1. Three laps in, Caisley grabbed the lead. Pearson surged to second while Matthews finished third. The second race lead changed several times between Caisley and Pearson while Franz Esterbauer (Jacer) and Lisson fought over third. That was until the last lap when Lisson encountered the Turn 4 barrier and brought out the red flag. After that win, Caisley was well down the order in the last

Michael Brandt took a pair of Street Car wins. where Pearson led home Esterbauer and Paul Moltoni (Mako). Despite a 5s penalty Callum Lamont (Polar} led the 1200s throughout Race 1 and followed up with a second win ahead of Brett Scarey (CD-Vee). The latter glimpsed the lead in the last before Lamont went by. Allan Yeo (Ajay} scored a couple of thirds interrupted by a DNF in Race 2.


IT APPEARED that Grant Gellan (IP Ford Escort Mk1) would be hard to beat but he was missing from the Race 2 grid and subsequently Michael Brandt (SC Mazda RX7) scored two wins. On the second lap of Race 1 Luke Streat (Honda Civic) spun after Turn 1 and scattered those following. Gellan opened a gap and won from Brandt and Drew Watkins (SC Nissan 180SX).

Brandt led Race 2 from Michael Sciorio (Ford Falcon) and Ben Peachey (Datsun 2000). The race was red flagged when Derek Burns (Honda Civic) spun on his own oil. After the restart Ashley Selsun (Holden Torana) spun at the end of the back straight. Brandt won ahead of Watkins and Peachey with Sciorio the best IP entry. The third race was taken out by Brandt from Watkins, Peachy and Gellan.


IN EACH outing Michael Howlett netted victories with Peter Marsh second in each, and ditto for Dennis Russell in garnering third places. Troy Kent followed with fourth at each outing while Todd Forknall collected two fifths and Mark Alfonsi one. Mick Oliver


THREE RACE wins where he led each throughout, went to Elliott Cleary in a Van Diemen RF94. He led the first race from Josh Matthews (RF92) until he had a moment and dropped to fifth. That elevated Craig Jorgensen (RF93) who held off Tom Chapman (RF01) for the remainder. The second race was red flagged when on the second lap Tom Brown (RF92) had an off. At the restart Cleary opened up a gap with Jorgensen second with Matthews third. The latter had a change of vehicle for Race 3 while the top three was again Cleary, Jorgensen and Chapman.


NOBODY COULD best Daniel Gate (Ralt RT4) over the three races. He won the first from Lance Carwardine (Jane Brabham) and Craig Thompson (Van Diemen RF82). Further back Neil McCrudden (Macon)

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Mark Cates had a mixed weekend in his Historic Touring Car Falcon XY GT.

BIG FAREWELL TO WAKEFIELD PARK THERE WAS a big rollup of entries to the sixth round of the Motor Racing Australia Series on August 27-28, the final event at Wakefield Park for the foreseeable future.


SLATED FOR three races on Saturday, it was a two-car dice for the overall honours between reigning champion Kurt Macready (Nissan Silvia) and Mat Harris (Honda Civic). Harris grabbed two race leads from the start and held off Macready throughout both. Ryan Jagger (Holden Barina) was third in front of Matt Birks (Toyota Corolla) and Nathan Stephens (Suzuki Swift). Macready was able to get past Harris on the first lap and go onto win Race 3. Jagger pulled off at Turn 8 which left Justin McClintock (Civic) third after a DNF and an eighth earlier. Birks finished fourth ahead of Stephens and was third overall.


IN THE first two races, Trevan Spiteri made race-winning starts and led throughout. Then in the third he was an early casualty when the Mitsubishi EVO threw a belt. Lachlan McBrien (BMW E46) was second in race one ahead of Ben Algie (Nissan Silvia) and Scott Tutton (EVO). In the second, the three were dicing for second from the start to the finish with Algie toppling Tutton and McBrien. Back in the pack, Andrew McMaster’s BMW saw airtime when it had contact with Steve Engel’s EVO and both continued. With the demise of Spiteri in the last, Algie held off McBrien for the race and overall win. Tutton was third in front of Nigel Williams (Holden Commodore) and Stig Richards (Mazda RX7).


FIVE WERE in contention to be the overall winner before Adrian Wilson (BMW M4) scored two race victories and a second. Race 1 was particularly close where Greg Boyle (Nissan Skyline GTR) won from Wilson, Mark Boudib (BMW/Chev), Aaron Gabriel (Mazda RX7) and Lloyd Godfrey (Honda Integra). Boyle started last in Race 2 due to a blown front diff. In the meantime Gabriel led from Boudib and Wilson who eventually came though to win. Then came Godfrey, Gabriel and Boudib while Myles Jones (Honda Civic) was a lonely fifth. Godfrey led Boudib and Wilson early in the last before Wilson took the win, just in front of Boudib. Godfrey was a DNF after contact with a lapped car at Turn 8. Boyle finished third ahead of Jones and the Subaru Imprezas driven by Dimitri Agathos and Chris Sutton.


HERRING RACING kicked off with a onetwo-three result in Race 1 before Jaxon Fraser won the next two encounters. Verne Johnson was the initial race winner ahead of Richard Herring and Todd Herring. Fraser finished fourth ahead of Zac Raddatz and Tim Herring. Johnson led the second race after the start from Richard Herring and Fraser. The latter soon pocketed second and then passed Johnson for the lead. Herring fell back to sixth and finished behindthe battling pair of Tim Herring and Raddatz.



Macready heads Harris in Improved Production. Image: Riccardo Benvenuti Adrian Wilson took out a close Super TT contest. Image: Riccardo Benvenuti

David Brown comes off worse for wear in a typically physical Excel contest .... Image: Sportz Fotos In the third race Tim Herring had a brilliant start and led from Johnson. Todd Herring and Fraser relegated Johnson before Tim Herring slowed and retired with a blown turbo gasket. Johnson would also be a retiree. That left Fraser in front to the end, and ahead of Richard Herring, Todd Herring, Raddatz and Sarah Medley.


IT COULDN’T have gone better for Tim Colombrita as he won each of the three races, and he did it from the front. He held off the challenges which came from William Seal primarily, who in turn was pressured by Wil Longmore in the last. They ultimately finished second and third overall. The first race was a short one and finished under Safety Car conditions. Lewis Buhagiar and Max Geoghegan had contact at Turn 1 which put the former into the sand trap. There was a separate incident which involved Hayden Auld, David Brown, Joel Strode and Scott Ford. Colombrita took the chequered flag ahead of Seal, Geoghegan, Preston Preust and Monique Sciberras. Colombrita was pressed all the way by Seal in the second as Longmore fended off Breust. Sciberras likewise held off Geoghegan, Dylan Debono, Shannon Williams and George Mawad. In the last it was a three-way scrap ahead of Geoghegan, Mawad, Debono, Cameron Brown, Sciberras and Buhagiar. Bruest was a retirement.

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BY THE end of the three races, Josh Craig had comfortable wins, but he had to do the hard work early to get in that position. Dan Smith headed the challengers and finished second in each while Brock Stinson took the remaining podium place. The pair were a close second and third in the opener and were clear of Dimitri Agathos, Harrison Inwood, Jordan Cox, Beau Pronesti, Will Foot, Jamie Craig and Mark Crutcher. Both Foot and Crutcher were spinners in Race 2 where Josh Craig won ahead of Smith, Cox, Stinson, Agathos, Inwood and Jamie Craig. Smith was able to glimpse the lead in the last, but it only briefly as Josh Craig soon took over. Smith was second and Stinson was next in front of Inwood, Jamie Craig, Scott Tidyman, Chris Manning and Pronesti. The latter two were penalised and placed behind Ian Joyce, Foot and Jamie Canellis. Cox retired when a ball joint popped out.


THE PRODUCTION-TYPE cars also included the BMW E36s and the Veloce Alfa Romeos. Strong getaways in the three races for Dimitri Agathos (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) gave him the advantage over the Holden Commodores driven by Matt O’Brien, Tony Virage and Daniel Flanagan. Virage was second behind Agathos in Race 1 where O’Brien was third ahead of John Boston (Subaru BRZ), Simon Kendrick (Nissan Pulsar), Charlie Viola (Honda Integra)

while Flanagan slipped up and finished eighth behind Michael Ricketts (Pulsar) and Robert Seritti (Alfetta). O’Brien outpoint Virag off the start of Race 2 and placed second behind Agathos. Flanagan was fourth ahead of Boston, Seritti, Kendrick and Grahame Fraser (Commodore). Agathos led the last and was set for victory when the Subaru ran out of fuel on the last lap. O’Brien won from Flanagan, Boston, Kendrick, Fraser and Rob Boaden (E36).


TWO WINS would not be enough for Josh Versluis (PRB Birkin S3) to take the day as he was a retirement in the third. That left Chris Barry (PRB Composite) to triumph in the last while Stuart Shirvington (Birkin) snared a trio of seconds. Graham Roberson (Locost) had the first race lead until a Safety Car when Sue Tahir (MMR Vortex) speared off after Turn 5. Roberson subsequently spun at Turn 2 and Versluis won. Ivan Srejber (PRB Clubman S4) finished third ahead of Barry. Shirvington had the lead of Race 2 before Versluis passed him while Barry was third ahead of Jos Kroon (S2). In the last, the three each led until Versluis took over and proceeded to drive away. But it came to nothing when he pulled off on the main straight and Barry went on to win. Peter Gates (Widebody) picked up third when Kroon had a moment. Garry O’Brien I 43

NATIONALS WRAP LOCALS BOLSTER AMRS THE AUSTRALIAN Motor Racing Series’ journey to Queensland Raceway for Round 4 went with limited categories on August 20-21. The two were TA2 Muscle Cars (already reported) and Australian Formula 3 and they were joined by local Touring Cars, Superkarts and Porsche Supersprints.


FIRST ACROSS the finish line in each of the three races was Noah Sands (Dallara F308/11) and despite being relegated to third place in the first one, he was the round winner. He significantly jumped the start in Race 1 and was given a 15s penalty as a recourse, finishing behind Trent Grubel (F307) and Mitch Neilson (F307). Grubel was at the wheel of a Gilmour Racing car as his F312 was still waiting on bits after the last round engine failure. Fourth went to Chris Gilmour (F311) in his comeback drive, ahead of Ryan Astley (F308/11), Ethan Brown (F308/11) and Roman Krumins (F307). Ross McAlpine (Mygale M11) finished two laps down and would not compete in the later races. Gilmour made a great start in Race 2 to lead Neilson, Sands and Grubel. They stayed that way until Neilson ran off at Turn 3 and brought out the Safety Car. After the race resumed Sands passed Gilmour for the win while Grubel was next. Then came Brown ahead of Astley and Krumins. Not only did Sands lead all the way in Race 3, but he won the inaugural Gilmour Memorial Trophy and increased his points lead. With Grubel second and Gilmour third, it was a Gilmour Racing trifecta. Astley and Brown was next after they passed Neilson who was third early, and Krumins was seventh after he stalled at the start.


Despite a Race 1 jumped start penalty, Noah Sands comfortably won F3. Images: MTR Images of Gary Anger. Ettore Vosolo (E36) took out Class C ahead of Hudson James (Commodore) and Paul Bonaccorso (Ford Falcon XE).


Chris Brown dominated Queensland Touring Cars.

THE FIVE races were all won by Chris Brown (Class A Holden Commodore VT) and he took the weekend’s honours over class rivals Chris Sharples (Holden Monaro) and Gary Lange (BMW E46). Robert Bellinger (E46) was second in the first outing but was a no-show after that. Sharples who was third, collected second places in the next contests, each time ahead of Lange. Michael Woodcroft (Holden Torana) finished fourth overall and

ahead of Les Hanifin (Commodore VK) and Class B winner Ben Malpass (BMW E36). The latter had two class victories to finish ahead of Nathan Marks (E36) with one and Gary Anger (Commodore VX) who also had two class successes. In Class B it was Ben Malpass (BMW E36) honours was one of the highlights of the weekend, with the overall class victory eventually going to Ben Malpass in his BMW E36 M3, ahead of the similar car of Nathan Marks and the VX Commodore

THE 250cc Internationals dominated, in particular Russell Jamieson (Anderson Maverick) who won the four races. Brock Nicholas (PVP) was second in three races after he missed the first due to muffler repairs. Doug Amiss (Anderson) was second in race one ahead of Dylan Mavin (Anderson) before three thirds. Amiss was the best of the 125s Gearbox ahead of Tim Philp (CRG Road Rebel) and Mavin. The 85ss Gearbox class went to Lindsay Jamieson (Goldkart) over Drene Jamieson (Gladiator). Ben Longland (Arrow X1) took out 125 Non Gearbox, and Andrew Cain (Arrow X5) won Rotax Heavy.


IN EVERY sprint Kevin Vedelago (Porache 911 GT3 Cup) was fastest, each time ahead of Stuart Ellis (GT3 RS). David Lees (GT3) was third in four sessions, and Steve McLellan (911) in the other. Garry O’Brien

MORGAN PARK FIRSTS FOR FORMULA FORDS FOR THE first time, a round of the Australian Formula Ford Series was staged at Morgan Park, on August 27-28. Cameron McLeod was the round five winner over Ryder Quinn and, even though James Piszcyk was third, he did increase his points lead. Piszcyk (Mygale) was the fastest in qualifying but fell to fourth in Race 1 initially, and then dropped more places to sixth shortly after. Meanwhile Valentino Astuti (Mygale) led from McLeod (Spectrum) until the third lap when the latter grabbed the lead and his first national victory. Quinn also displaced Astuti to finish second as teammate Winton Smith (Mygale) progressed from sixth to fourth ahead of Zak Lobko (Mygale). Behind Piszcyk came Jordyn Sinni, Edison Beswick, Kyle Evans and Jude Bargwanna, all in Spectrums. There were two Safety Cars, one for Kye Cavedon (Spectrum) who stopped at Turn 3 on the third lap. McLeod led all the way in Race

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Cameron McLeod heads for the Round 5 win. Image: Formula Ford-MTR Images 2 where Quinn was second until three quarter distance. Once Smith won his early dice with Astuti, he was able to snare second for a brief period before Quinn was able to retrieve the spot. Astuti also lost out to Piszcyk

and Bargwanna on the last laps. They were followed by Sini, Evans, Lobko and Xavier Kokai (Spectrum). After the start, Quinn was able to grab the third race lead and had a clear margin over McLeod by

the end. After he diced with Smith who lost several spots midway through, Piszcyk was a close third. Lobko made it to fourth after eighth at the start and finished ahead of Astuti. This was also the first round of

the Kent National Series which saw Mitch Gatenby (Spirit) take each race ahead of Jason Liddell (Swift) while Gerrit Van de Pol (Van Diemen) and Mark Zellner (Mygale) tied on points for third. Garry O’Brien

A STATE CATEGORY RACING FEST IT WAS a busy August 27-28 weekend at Morgan Park with the running of the third round of the Queensland Circuit Racing State Championships, with most categories in for four races while Production Cars had their two enduros.


AT THE head of the huge 43 car field, Jarrod Hughes netted three race wins and won overall ahead of Ryan Casha and Bradi Owen. Hughes started the weekend off with the fastest time in qualifying and led all the way in the first race. Hughes’ front row partner Rylan Gray went off at Turn 1 on the second lap which left Casha second in front of Owen, Brock Giblin and George Wood while Cooper Barnes also dropped down the order. Casha glimpse the lead in Race 2 before Hughes took over for a narrow win. Owen was next from Giblin, Treigh Maschotta and Holly Espray. Casha chased Hughes throughout Race 3. Giblin was passed by Owen early before he fell out around half distance. Owen held third until passed by Maschotta on the last lap. Barnes improved five places for fifth in front of Espray and Gray.

Andriske and Madden in close HQ competition. Images: Trapnell Creations Alex Macdonald three-wheels to Vee victory.


THE TWO 50-minute enduros were the realm of BMWs. Shane Smollen (F82 M4) won both ahead of Ben Gersekowski (E92 M3). Third place in each were Richard Beggs and Jamie Manteufel sharing their Holden Clubsport R8. Anthony Levitt (Mercedes Benz C63 AMG) held third in the first race and eventually finished fourth. In the second he was again chasing the BMWs and ahead of the Clubsport when failed power steering put him out. Jake Camilleri (Mazda 3 MPS) placed fifth in race one ahead of Scott Dean (Mercedes A45 AMG) and Calum Bellinger/Paul Keefer (Volkswagen Scirocco R). In the later enduro Robert Gooley and Maika Ter Horst (Mitsubishi EVO X) scored fifth behind Dean while Camilleri was next.

“It’ll buff out ...” Er, no ... Capstick and Wilkins in Excel action. second in Race 2. Sparks was next ahead of Learoyd after Godson stopped. Wilson and McFadden traded the third race lead before the former won. Sparks had a drama and lost third spot before he fought back to fifth behind Waters and Learoyd. In the last it was Wilson all the way from McFadden as Learoyd got the better of Waters for third.


THREE OF the four contests were very close, yet Alex Macdonald (Jacer) managed to be at the front when it counted. In the first he duked it out with Tim Alder (Raper) and Alex Hedemann (Rapier), and the trio were less than a second apart at the end. Someway behind Jabiru Bee Cee pilots David Hedemann and Matt Dicinoski were close for fourth and fifth. The Race 2 lead changed hands several times before Macdonald edged out Alder. Alex Hedemann fell to 10th early before he recovered for fourth behind Dicinoski and ahead of David Hedemann. Race 3 was similar early before Macdonald skipped away and Dicinoski snatched second from Alder. Alex Hedemann was nearby and clear of David Hedemann before he again took the fight to Macdonald. There were many lead changes before Macdonald just prevailed. Dicinoski was third from David Hedemann while Alder slipped to eighth.


FOUR RACES, and all wins went to Jason Clements (BMW E36) with the next best two being David Waldon (Mazda RX3) and Khan Noack (Honda Civic).




Shane Smollen took out both Production Car enduros. With pole, Clements won the first although Waldon briefly held the lead. Brock Paine (Mazda RX7) had second for a couple of laps before he retired. Ryan Gorton (Nissan 200SX) finished second ahead of Jason Grimmond (Holden Commodore) who missed qualifying while replacing the clutch, Simon O’Dell-Fontana (RX7) and Noack. In Race 2 Grimmond was a close second with Waldon progressing from eighth through to third ahead of Gorton and Kyle Organ-Moore (Commodore) from the back. Grimmond led the third encounter until electrical gremlins set in. That left Waldon in second while OrganMoore continued forward for third ahead of Noack and Gorton. Waldon was second

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in the last, by less than a second, as Oran-Moore was next in front of Noack, Grimmond and Matt Dwyer (Toyota Celica).


WINS IN the last two races were enough for Shane Wilson (Porsche GT3 Cup) to take the overall victory ahead of Steven McFadden (Porsche 997) who won the second race. They were third and second respectively in Race 1 behind Greg Waters (Chev Corvette Z06). When sitting second Michael Learoyd (Z06) had a moment on the penultimate lap and fell to sixth behind Grant Sparks (Porsche) and Hugo Godson (Nissan Skyline R35). McFadden and Wilson were ahead of Waters at the end of lap one to finish first and

GEORGE KULIG took four wins in his Chev Monte Carlo and each time he was ahead of Matt Haak (Holden Commodore). Third in the first was Allan Murray (Mini Challenge) just in front of James Campbell (Mini R56) who followed through with a pair of thirds. In the last he retired which saw Peter Bray (Commodore) pick up the minor place. With two fourths and a fifths after the initial third, Murray was third overall ahead of Bray, Anthony Elliott (Mini Challenge) and Campbell.


THE SALOON Cars showed the way, where Jaiden Miscamble (Ford Falcon) won the first encounter before Jamie Manteufel (Holden Commodore) captured the others. Tim Barwick (Falcon) was second in Race 2 ahead of Miscamble and third in the next. Meanwhile Joe Andriske was the best of the HQs/Geminis with firsts ahead of Jake Madden and one over Scott Andriske. Yet Peter Coleman was third overall, ahead of Andriske and Rebecca and Mark Gray in their Geminis. Garry O’Brien I 45

Troy Johnson (above) took out Sports GTA, while fastest Excel qualifier Campbell Logan (below) recovered from an early off to provide comeback action. Images: DMAC Photography

TELLING TERMS AT SYMMONS WHILE IT wasn’t quite to that extreme, the weather certainly tested drivers in the fourth round of the Tasmanian Circuit Racing Championships at Symmons Plains on August 13-14.

Logan (DMAC Photography)


THE FIRST day saw almost summer conditions, which was ideal for a track record in Sports Sedans. Brad Sherriff and his awesomely quick Nissan Skyline R32, smashed his own lap record by 0.5s in the first race. Unfortunately, the second heat was later in the day when conditions were a little cooler and then Sunday’s weather was either atrocious or dry and everything in between. That meant Sherriff would have no more chances to lower his record again. As the weekend progressed, the small field dwindled, either due to weather or mechanical dramas, with Sherriff the only remainder by halfway through the second day. David Paine (Holden Commodore) was on target for a strong GTA result, until he didn’t appear for the final. He still managed to gather enough points to jump into the series lead. Troy Johnson (Porsche GT3) won the round and was super consistent in the changing conditions to finish third in every race, including the final. That was won by his brother Beau in an identical car. Scott Smith (Porsche GT3) was on target for a round win with a second and three wins in the heats, yet he also didn’t front up for the final. Luckily, he had banked enough points to finish second for the round and move to third in the series behind Paine and Troy Johnson.


THE CATEGORY provided the largest field and best racing of the meeting. Over the five heats, there were three different winners and plenty of dramas. Josh Webster won the round and won the first heat each day. Tim Shaw was next best, as he took out rRces 2 and 4. His fourth in the double points final was his worst result. Campbell Logan proved a cat amongst the pigeons in his first outing of the season.

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Brad Sherriff broke his own Sports Sedan lap record ... Logan top qualified and won the final on the Sunday, but a minor off track excursion in the wet in heat three saw him finish 15th. His progress back through the field in the next two events a real highlight. The best race was undoubtedly Heat 4 which saw multiple lead changes before Tim Shaw won from Josh Webster by 0.009s in a rare break in the weather when the track was dry. Charlie Parker was never far from the front as well, a handful of top five placings kept him second in the series behind Webster.


A RECENT trip to Darwin for the Australian HQ Nationals saw Phil Ashlin return with the title and a renewed hunger to race HQs after forays in Historic Touring Cars. Unfortunately for his rivals it meant they were vying for second. Ashlin won three of the four heats and the double-points final, in a dominant display. Andrew Toth was the best of the rest after he topped qualifying and took out Race 1 from Ashlin. Toth’s handy haul of points extended his series lead over Otis Cordwell, who bagged a handful of podiums.


IT WAS the Jeremy Dyer show, as the Elfin Crusader pilot clean swept as top qualifier and four heats win plus the final, to further extend his already significant series lead.

Richard Gray (Bee Cee Jabiru) took the challenge to Dyer on occasions but blotted his copybook in the final when he spun off in the wet. Adam Prewer (Elfin) had been consistently in the lead pack with multiple podiums. That included a second in the final after Gray’s demise, which consolidated his second in the series ahead of Gray.


A DEPLETED field didn’t detract from the racing, as series leader David Walker (Datsun 1200 Ute) and Jason Lemon (Holden Commodore) traded blows all weekend. Lemon top qualified and won both races on Saturday, before Sunday belonged to Walker, with the victory in the double-points final ahead of Lemon’s second, which made him a narrow round victory.


SERIES LEADER Jared House (Holden Torana) did what he does best and won everything by a huge margin, except for the final. House pulled to the side of the track after Turn 1. Anthony Martin (Holden Commodore) had some early success but didn’t start in the final. David Waldon (Rover SDI) was consistently third. He won the final to take the round victory and move to second in the series behind House, who already had a big lead. Martin Agatyn


Images: Liam Meyer Photography

FRESH FACES FILL ARC GIPPSLAND PODIUM LEWIS BATES took out the RSEA Safety Australia Rally Championship (ARC) Round 5 at the Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally, finishing in front of Troy Dowel and Max McRae for his maiden ARC victory. Championship leader Harry Bates and his co-driver John McCarthy had the best of the Sunday, but a breakdown on day one cost the pair a continuation of this season’s dominance, finishing in P10. Bates (above) finished 02:47.6s in front of Dowel with an overall time of 1:51:35.2, with McRae just two seconds off in third in an extremely tight contest for the minor podiums, with both young drivers enjoying their first ever ARC podium finishes. Along with co-driver Anthony McLoughlin – who has climbed on top of the co-drivers outright table – the two nursed their Toyota Yaris home in style “It was a bit frightening to be honest with you – both Anthony and I were as relaxed as we could be and just making sure everything was running smoothly,” Lewis said. “The strategy for Anthony and I was to try and get a good rhythm in the first two stages, I think we did a pretty good job of that – we extended our lead and then just sort of had to sit on that in the afternoon. “It’s nice to get a good result for the team. It’s unfortunate that Harry and John didn’t have much luck yesterday but I’m glad we could get the victory for the team, as well as getting mine and Anthony’s first victory. “A big congratulations to Troy and Bernie and also Max and Mac, on both their first podiums – it’s a podium of firsts and it’s pretty cool.” Dowel, who is having an incredibly consistent year to sit third in the overall championship, beat McRae in after the two went neck-and-neck for most of the second day, with a spin out costing the latter of potentially grabbing P2. “I’m just relieved, it was a really tough rally



with lots of challenges and some technical stages so i’m just happy to finish,” Dowel said, who had to recover from an illness late Friday to take to the roads at all. “It’s amazing what a nice rest does to you. I was feeling good this morning so I was happy to push. It was just a case of little concentration lapses during the day ... I was just feeling bad I guess. “I was slowing down for the risky stuff really. Just taking each stage-by-stage and not taking any risks. I think Max had a few moments in the first stage and went off the road and that gave us an opening.” Dowel sits just 49 points off Lewis Bates, with the Adelaide Hills and the Coffs rally to come. Young McRae, who comeas from an elite stock of rally drivers, not in-the-least his legendary uncle Colin McRae, was elated to grab his first podium, and an overall class victory in the Production Cup Class. “It’s cool to be on the podium for the outright ARC. I didn’t think it’d happen so soon,” McRae said. “It clicked pretty early on and went hard on the first four flowing stages and then just brought it out to the next stages. It’s great to just be on the podium, so I’m happy. “I have definitely grown as a driver in terms of seat time and experience and pace, note making and commitment, it has all been a massive step. Especially going with faster thinking and faster driving in a faster car.” McRae and his co-driver Mac Kierans did enough to take out their second Production class victory of the season from two ARC outings, after winning the first at round two’s Forest Rally in his home state of WA, and an overall P9. Top honours in the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup, and P7 in the ARC outright, went to Guy Tyler and co-driver Zayne Admiraal, coming in over Dean Ridge and Phillip Bonser, and James Dimmock and

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Max McRae – Production class win and third outright. Image: Rallysport Magazine.

Troy Dowel – second outright; first ARC podium.

Paul Bennett for P3; the latter also scoring victory in the ARC Junior Cup. In the ARC Classic Cup, Brendan Reeves was the only finisher for the weekend, steering his Datsun P510 to outright sixth place in the process. The next round of the ARC heads to the Adelaide Hills on October 21-23, followed by the season finale at the Coffs Coast Rally, which will appear on the back end of the inaugural Coffs Coast Festival of Motorsport, a huge month long offering of motorsport event across the entries region, starting on November 5. (

ARC CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS H Bates 353 L Bates 288 Dowel 239 Dalton 205 Bustard 142 Gonzalez 127 Reeves 126 Clarke. 115 McRae 108 Ridge 106 I 47


CARUSO WINS IN THE WET AND TAKES DES WALL TROPHY Heimgartner won the opening race, but fell foul of a backmarker in the Des Wall Cup race.

Steve Lacey’s Camaro finished eighth in the Des Wall Cup and leads the NSW Sport Sedan Series.

JORDAN CARUSO came a step closer to securing the Precision National Sports Sedan series when he won the fourth round at Sydney Motorsport Park on September 3-4. At the wheel of John Gourlay’s Chevpowered Audi, Caruso won two of the three races, including the Des Wall Trophy, to increase his lead. Second in the points, Steve Tamasi (Calibra/Chev) was runner up while Andre Heimgartner was third in Mark Duggans’s Aston Martin/Chev. The large entry (38) and wet conditions meant a split field for qualifying. Caruso was fastest of the national competitors while Shiels headed the locals of the Kumho Tyre state championship fourth round. As it turned out the pair were the fastest two overall and would share the first race front row. There was no respite from the rain for the first race where Caruso led from Shiels STANDINGS AFTER RD 4 1 Caruso 532 2 Tamasi 505 3 Woodman 375 4 Robinson 307 5 Crompton 252 6 Taunton 218 7 Bradford 194 8 Cameron 181 9 Cox 179 10 Jarvis 172

who slipped up slightly at Turn 2 and allowed Heimgartner through. Heimgartner took the lead on the run to Turn 6 and held a consistent 2s lead over Caruso until the Turn 1 on the final lap. A lapped car made way for the leader but left Caruso wide and off the track. He dropped second to Tamasi but finished ahead of Shiels. Fifth went to Mason Kelly ahead of fellow MARC 1 V8 driver Darren Currie, and Geoff Taunton (MARC II). From 13th Steve Lacey (Chev Camaro) made it to eighth in front of Nick Mantikos (MARC II), Will Fercher (Toyota/Chev), Birol Cetin (Camaro), Lachlan Gardner (MARC I), Nick Smith (Mazda RX7/Nissan Turbo) and Ash Jarvis after he spun the Col Smith Monaro/Chev at Turn 8 on the final lap. A traction control glitch saw Heimgartner swamped at the Race 2 start on the wet track. Tamasi was the early leader. Caruso passed Shiels for second at Turn 2 and by the end of the first lap, Caruso was in front and led to the finish. After a couple of laps Heimgartner passed Caruso for second while Shiels held off Taunton and Currie for several laps. Ultimately Taunton got by, but was penalised post-race and relegated to sixth behind Jarvis. Gardner was next when he passed Cetin later. Lacey spun at Turn 5 on lap one, dropped well back before he recovered to

Images: John Morris

Ashley Jarvis took out the Precision Achievement award in his Holden Monaro

A solid fifth place in race 1 went to Mason Kelly in the MARC 1 V8 11th. Kelly was ahead of Currie but was off track at Turn 11 and dropped many places. Frank Mammarella (MARC Focus) went into the tyres at Turn 5 and was joined later when Smith spun into him. Caruso won the last but not before Shiels audaciously stole the lead off him and led the first lap. Heimgartner overtook

Shiels on lap five before he was run off at Turn 10 by a lapped car. Shiels finished second with Tamasi third, Taunton was fourth with Heimgartner next and ahead of Gardner, Jarvis, Lacey, Kelly, Daniel Crompton (Ford Mustang) and Shane Woodman (BMW/Chev). Garry O’Brien

Caruso’s Audi leads the Shiels Fiat 124 Coupe into a very wet Turn 1, with Heimgartner close by ...



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AUSTRALIAN PORSCHE ace Matt Campbell and co-diver Mathieu Jaminet, (above) edged out the Corvette Racing team of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in Virginia for the IMSA GTD PRO class win in the penultimate round. The win was the pairing’s fifth of the year, and Campbell’s 10th overall career victory in IMSA. With a maximum 350 points on the line for the final race, but 200 points available

down to tenth spot, Campbell and Jaminet would need a DNF to not take out the title for Porsche’s Pfaff Motorsports team. The 12th round of the IMSA championship was all an GT affair, with two hours and 40 minutes scheduled for the 5.2km track, with competitors coming in at 86 laps. After qualifying in P3, the championshipleading Pfaff team found itself in a fuel strategy battle, with Jaminet taking the 911 GT3 R home to the chequered flag over not

only his GTD PRO rivals, but also the GTD class drivers, to win the race for Pfaff in outright first. The Frenchman took a final pit stop for fresh rears and a refuel, managing his fuel consumption for a final assault over Aston Martin’s GT3 driver Alex Ribberas for the class lead, who’s co-driver, Ross Gunn, had earlier started from pole position. Jaminet also passed the GTD class leader Maxime Martin in his Aston Martin, who was driving on an extreme fuel saving strategy with 10 minutes to run after earlier passing Ribberas. Jaminet then had to nurse the Porsche home on the fuel available with GTD Pro rival Garcia coming home fast to get within 0.823s after Taylor had earlier given the Corvette Racing team an 11 second lead. Such was the precision of Pfaff’s fuel strategy that Jaminet stopped dead on the warm-down lap, running out of fuel and needing to be pushed into the victory lane. The Vasser/Sullivan, Lexus GT3 team of Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth, came third in the class, and ninth overall.

Images: Motorsport Images

That result slips them into third in GTP PRO behind the Corvette Racing team, leaving Barnicoat more or less out of contention for the championship with one round remaining. In the GTD class, Philip Ellis and Russell Ward (below) took out victory in the Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for an outright podium third, coming in ahead of Maxime Martin and Roman De Angelis, beating the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 by 6.336s. The Virginia victory puts Campbell/ Jaminet 270 points up on Garcia/Taylor ahead of the Petit Le Mans finale at Atlanta on September 28 to October 1.

MIXED DEBUT FOR TCR COROLLA THE NEW Toyota Corolla TCR machine has made its longawaited debut in the TCR South America Series, displaying strong speed at Termas de Rio Hondo before encountering issues in the single endurance race. Thiago Camilo and Jorge Barrio piloted the Corolla TCR in its first appearance, driving it to sixth in Qualifying, just 0.5s off pole in the aggregated lap time format. Barrio got the best out of the fresh Japanese product, producing a 1m 49.342s to be fourth fastest overall. Debuting the car in an endurance event was always going to be a tall order, and that proved to be the case. Camilo got the team off to a strong start, battling with Matias Milla’s CUPRA Leon Competicion and Carlos Okulovich’s Lynk & Co 03 in the top 10, however soon things went downhill.

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After running as high as fifth, the Toyota was forced into the pits with a suspension fault 10 laps into proceedings and re-joined 17 laps down. As such, Camilo and Barrio weren’t classified. However,

they were able to complete the distance of a normal sprint race (50km) and proved over the weekend that Toyota’s new TCR racer is equipped to compete with the best machines on the grid. Australian interest in the new TCR offering has already been confirmed, as the local series looks to welcome more marques onto the grid in coming years. “Well, I think when you’ve got Toyota being the number one selling brand in the country and of course being a touring car series, you’d love to have Toyota represented,” said Australian Racing Group CEO, Matt Braid back in June. “We’re watching it very closely. I think there’s a lot of interest. We know people are asking the right questions locally, so fingers crossed. “I think you’ll see Toyota represented on the grid.” JN



Images: Motorsport Images REPORT: Josh Nevett ERIK JONES (above) scored the unlikeliest of victories in the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 16 opener at Darlington Raceway, beating all 16 title contenders in a shock Playoffs result. The 26-year-old, who finished 18th in the regular season standings, managed to keep his #43 Chevrolet straight and crossed the line first as trouble befell several of the big names. As a result, none of the 16 post-season qualifiers were able to book their spot in the next stage of the Playoffs, the Round of 12. It was a third NASCAR Cup Series career

win for Petty GMS Motorsports steerer Jones, and the first by a non-playoff driver in a postseason race since NASCAR launched the elimination format in 2014. Several star drivers copped mechanical failures throughout the encounter, paving the way for Jones to triumph. With less than 40 laps remaining, Martin Truex Jr. was forced into pitlane from the lead when his #19 Toyota developed overheating issues. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch inherited the lead at that point, cruising out front before the final yellow flag caution. In a cruel twist of fate, Busch’s #18 Toyota

engine then failed during the caution after running at the front for a race-high 155 laps, gifting Jones the win. “It’s just awesome. Just so proud of these guys,” Jones said. “We’ve been so close all year, and I didn’t think today was going to be the day. “It was going to be a tough one to win, I knew, but no better fitting place. I love this track. I love this race. On that trophy twice, man. I was pumped to be on it once, but to have it on there twice — pretty cool.” Playoff drivers Denny Hamlin and Tyler Reddick completed the podium, while pole winner Joey Logano earned himself top

DILLON FORCES WAY INTO NASCAR PLAYOFFS AT DAYTONA AUSTIN DILLON made the NASCAR Playoff series by winning the Daytona 400 in the final round of the regular season, securing his fifth postseason appearance. The Richard Childress Racing driver survived the chaos of the 13 car melee on lap 125, a three hour red flag period due to inclement weather, and had some assistance from his teammate Tyler Reddick to ensure his victory and subsequent Playoff berth. P2-getter Reddick, who already had his Playoff spot clinched, drafted his teammate home after Dillon fell behind Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric, closing the gap behind Dillon after he tapped Cindric on lap 158 of 160 of the 15 lap re-start to take the lead. Image: Motorsport Images “There was a lot going on there, I knew



that if we got to the final lap, I was afraid somebody would wreck behind us, so I wanted to go ahead and get the lead. We were able to get it,” Dillon said. “I had a big run to him, and then I had my teammate back there. I knew we were in good shape there to the end. He did a good job checking up any kind of run. Just a little too much push there and I got him (Cindric) loose.” Cindric said after the race that all is fair in love and war when it came to the winning

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shove, with Cindric also having qualified for his NASCAR Playoff debut. “I think that’s fair game any race of the season, but that meant a lot for him to win that race, he had three cars that were certainly going to be able to work with him,” Cindric said. “I feel like he got the run too late, and then he hit me straight on the entry to the corner. Just glad I saved it, glad I got a shot to still come back up through the field…but I hate losing.” Timothy Neal

spot in the playoff standings with a fourthplace finish. William Byron is second in the playoff standings after finishing eighth. Regular season champion and top playoff seed Chase Elliott was struck down on lap 113, spinning his #9 Chevrolet at Turn 1 before copping heavy rear quarter contact from an unsuspecting Chase Briscoe. Kevin Harvick was also brought undone by mechanical woes, forced to retire after his Ford caught fire on lap 275. It’s a long way back for the driver, who now sits at the bottom of the playoff standings, 13 points below the current cut-off line. PLAYOFF STANDINGS Chase Elliott, 2040 points (four wins, five stages, 15 bonus points) Joey Logano, 2025 points (two wins, five stages, 10 bonus points) Ross Chastain, 2020 points (two wins, five stages, five bonus points) Kyle Larson, 2019 (two wins, three stages, six bonus points) William Byron, 2014 points (two wins, three stages, one bonus point) Denny Hamlin, 2013 points (two wins, three stages) Ryan Blaney, 2013 points (five stages, eight bonus points) Tyler Reddick, 2012 points (two wins, two stages) Kevin Harvick, 2012 points (two wins, two bonus points) Christopher Bell, 2011 points (one win, two stages, four bonus points) Kyle Busch, 2010 points (one win, two stages, three bonus points) Chase Briscoe, 2009 points (one win, four stages) Daniel Suarez, 2007 points (one win, two stages) Austin Cindric, 2006 points one win, one stage) Alex Bowman, 2006 points (one win, one stage) Austin Dillon, 2005 points (one win) I 51


McLaughlan led all but six of the race laps enn route to a strong win. Images: Motorsport Images

MCLAUGHLIN TURNS INDY POLE INTO PORTLAND VICTORY Images: Motorsport Images AN ALL Trans-Tasman podium took Indycar’s Portland Grand Prix by storm, with Scott McLaughlin turning his pole into a dominant win over championship leader Will Power on Sunday. Scott Dixon came in third, finishing just 0.4214s behind Power, who trailed McLaughlin to the chequered flag by 1.1792s. Power’s P2 puts him in a strong position for the title, with Josef Newgarden’s P8 giving the Aussie 20 points breathing room at the top. The seven contenders who were split by just 58 points going into Portland, were split up with Graham Rahal taking P5, followed by Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi. McLaughlin’s win puts him into fifth, leapfrogging Alex Palou who came in P12, just behind the Swedish contender in Marcus Ericsson. The ex-Supercars champion led the race for 104 of the 110 laps, making it a truly dominant performance in what was a must-win race to keep him in contention. The early portions of the race all belonged to the #3 Penske kiwi, with he top six trying out early tyre changes to rein in the runaway leader. The expected calamity at the tight Turn 1 never happened from the green flag, which allowed McLaughlin the clean run he needed, with a fairly flowing race allowing him to push further ahead of Power in P2. By lap 33, that lead had been pushed out to 7.5s, with an incident free Portland Race looking possible for the first time since 2007. Power managed to cut that lead to 4.4s by lap 71 and on lap 80, the three Penske drivers in McLaughlin, Power and Newgarden all pitted for their final stops. For all of McLaughlin’s hard work, the first caution finally came on lap 84, with his lead being completely erased. When Rinus VeeKay clipped the Carvana Honda of the Jimmie Johnson on the straight into Turn 1, Johnson went into the wall which ensured Portland would not go incident free.

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Power (left) couldn’t get to McLaughlin, but heads to the final round with a healthy 20-point lead over Newgarden. It was Australasia day at Portland, with Scott Dixon (below) making a super recovery from grid 14 start for third.

PORTLAND RESULTS 1 McLaughlin 1:56’15.6892 2 Power +1.1792 3 Dixon +1.6066 4 O’Ward +13.8892 5 Rahal +14.8208 6 Herta +16.3030 7 Rossi +17.0044 8 Newgarden +17.6062 9 Ilott +18.0978 10 Rosenqvist +18.6356

An all Penske/Australasian front row ...

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1 Power 523 2 Newgarden 503 3 Dixon 503 4 Ericsson 484 5 McLaughlin 482 On the lap 88 restart, McLaughlin simply blew away the field once again, with Power retaining P2 in front of O’Ward. Power had a scare when O’Ward clipped his side-pod with an optimistic dive at Turn 1, which then caused O’Ward to block Dixon who was coming hard for the P3 position. O’Ward was forced to give the position up to Dixon, which effectively ended his title hopes, dropping him just out of touching distance for Laguna Seca. “The car was unreal and I’m really proud of the pit stops. It was a full-team effort,” McLaughlin said. “We came here with the belief that we could do this weekend and win like we did

and get pole, and we did. I’m really proud of that. “I just had to really concentrate on where I wanted the strengths of the car to be and work with those and make the best of the weaknesses. The Chevy has been fast all weekend, and It’s been right where we needed it.” That ‘big seven’ has now been reduced to five contenders, with McLaughlin bottoming out that list 41 points in arrears of Power. Newgarden’s P8 keeps him in second position in the championship, with Dixon tying him for points in third. Last season’s champion Alex Palou was eliminated from the title race, as well

as Pato O’Ward, whose desperate move on Power most likely cost him a season saving podium. “We had to come out with the win to truly have a decent shot at it (the championship) headed to Laguna,” said O’Ward. “We didn’t have enough for the Penske boys. All weekend they dominated everybody. I tried to make the pass on Will and we had an injured left side of the car for the rest of the race and had to nurse it from there.” The season finale is set for Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on September 10-12, with the IndyCar series entering its 17th consecutive season with the title up for grabs in the last round. Timothy Neal


While not in contention for the championship kiwi Marcus Armstrong took out the Sprint race at Zandvoort. Images: Motorsport Images

DRUGOVICH ON THE VERGE OF F2 TITLE FELIPE DRUGOVICH won an eventful Formula 2 race in the Netherlands, putting him on the verge of the title heading into Monza. The race began under duress with a Safety Car called from an incident at Turn 7 after Carlin driver Logan Sargeant had his right front clipped, lifting his car off the ground and sending him into the wall. Aussie Jack Doohan had begun the race in P2, and looked the faster car after the re-start, but locked up heavily in an attempt to pass Drugovich on lap nine, flat spotting his left-front. Remarkably, Doohan managed to keep pace with Drugovich, needing to stay close to stop the Brazilian gaining too much of a lead ahead of his first pit. Doohan finally pitted on lap 13, and with Drugovich pitting on lap 14, he re-entered on cold Hards just in front of Doohan by just over a second.

Verschoor then pitted and came out between the two, but Doohan took him on the outside and worked on pulling the championship leader back in with the extra lap of warmth in the tyres helping him reduce the gap rapidly. The prelude to the next Safety Car occurred with Doohan’s Virtuosi teammate Marino Sato leaving the pits with his front right tyre not fitted properly, sending him into the wall on the exit and causing another stop to the already chaotic race. With the advent of the Safety Car, the first six cars, Led by Kiwi drivers Liam Lawson and Marcus Armstrong had yet to take the mandatory pit-stop. That left Drugovich in P7, with Doohan in P8 on the warmer Hard compound tyres. On lap 22 the Safety Car was called back in, but Lawson seemed to slow down and missed the restart, causing the field behind him to become blindsided. That caused Dutchman Richard

Verschoor to run into the back of Doohan, causing him to crash into the barrier on the starting straight and ending his chance of back-to-back victories. Lap 26 saw the restart, with the top six all pitting over the next few laps which saw Drugovich take back the lead in front of Versvhoor and Ayumu Iwasa. Despite the damage to the front of Verschoor’s Trident car, he pushed on in front of his home crowd and managed to hang on for P2, coming in 2.405 behind the MP Motorsport championship leader, and 1.240s in front of Iwasa. “Extremely happy with the race, it was an eventful one but we managed to get the job done for the Dutch team at Zandvoort, so I’m really happy with the result,” said Drugovich after the race. “I really wanted to make sure I got it done today, and we did it so I’m very happy. The car was awesome and I think we judged it perfectly.”

After the race, Verschoor commented on the incident with Doohan, which cost the young Aussie his chance at the rookie lead after Sargeant exited the race early. “First of all, I have to say sorry to Jack; it was definitely not my intention to hit him. I thought everybody was going and then we all slowed. I locked all my wheels but I couldn’t avoid it,” said Verschoor. “It’s not the way I want to finish second, anyway with the wing I don’t think I really damaged it – it did feel like that the first lap but after that it was okay.” The F2 field heads to Monza next week on September 9-11, with Drugovich a strong chance to tie up the title. TN F2 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Drugovich 233 2. Pourchaire 164 3. Sargeant 130 4. Doohan 121 5. Lawson 119 6. Iwasa 114

DOOHAN TAKES MAIDEN F2 VICTORY AT SPA YOUNG AUSSIE ace Jack Doohan (right) won his first Formula 2 feature race of the season in comfortable fashionat Spa, romping home from fourth on the grid over Felipe Drugovich and Kiwi Liam Lawson. The Virtuosi driver pulled off an early undercut in the heat, with his pace and fresh tyres proving too much for Drugovich, the championship leader. “I’m stoked! Finally my first Feature Race win and for it to all come together like that this weekend, obviously not perfect, but P2 in the Sprint from P7 and P1 today from P4 is the most I could’ve asked for,” Doohan said. “I’m really happy. Now it’s just eyes forward on the next two rounds and the remainder of the season.” It capped a big weekend for the F2 Antipodeans, with Lawson capturing his second straight podium on a weekend where he made his F1 debut in Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri in the first practice session on the Friday, as well as winning the F2 Sprint on the Saturday. Doohan also finished in P2 in the sprint.



leaving him and Richard Verschoor in the front two spots, but when Drugovich pitted on lap 11, leaving Doohan to take chase at Verschoor with some comfortable space between him and Drugovich in P3. By the time Verschoor pitted on lap 17, Doohan was able to take a comfortable lead, with Verschoor coming out in P9,19 seconds off Doohan. From then on in, the son of Australia’s former MotoGP world champion, Mick Doohan was irresistible out front, coming home without a challenge on the final lap to take his third win of the year, but his first Feature, to go with two Sprint victories. That moved Doohan up to fourth in the overall standings on 121 points, seven points over Lawson in fifth heading into the Zandvoort race. TN

Doohan got a great start off the line, leapfrogging Enzo Fittipaldi into second entering La Source, with Lawson also moving early on Fittipaldi. Theo Pourchaire, who is in title contention,

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suffered mechanical issues which slid him down the field, making his championship chase all that more difficult against a consistent Drugovich. Doohan pitted before Drugovich on lap 10,

SPA F2 RESULTS 1. Doohan 52:16.133 2. Drugovich +1.942 3. Lawson +6.772 4. Vershoor +3.765 5. Sargeant +8.787 I 53

Formula 1 Round 14 Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgian GP

VERSTAPPEN ON A DIFFERENT GALAXY By LUIS VASCONCELOS Images Motorsport Images “MAX IS on a different planet this weekend”, pole sitter Carlos Sainz said at the end of qualifying, after being beaten by the Red Bull driver by more than 0.6s – even though the Dutchman used just two sets of tyres throughout the session, against the Spaniard’s five! In a different planet Verstappen may have been on Saturday, but if that was the case, then on Sunday he was on a different galaxy to all his rivals. Only 14th on the grid after taking a penalty for using a fourth completely new Power Unit, Verstappen was already up to P8 after one lap. Even with a Safety Car stopping his progress for three laps, the World Champions got into the top three on lap eight, took the provisional lead four laps later – passing Pérez immediately after Sainz did his first pit stop – and became the ‘de facto’ leader of the Belgian Grand Prix by lap 18. At the time he was lapping a stunning 2.5s faster than the Spanish driver while both were using the Medium compound tyres – a gap the difference of four laps in tyre life is far from explaining. Throughout the race Verstappen’s pace was just stunning, even compared to team mate Sérgio Pérez, gaining more than one second per lap until the two stopped for the second time for tyres. Even taking it easy (after setting a fastest lap that was not to be beaten), Verstappen continued to open the gap to win by nearly 18 seconds. There were, however, a couple of differences between the two RB18s, as Pérez made a point of explaining at the end of the race: “Max was very quick all weekend, for sure, and there are things we need to understand but there were also a couple of differences between our cars, one of them being a new floor that was only available for him – I’ll get it in Zandvoort.”

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The Mexican didn’t explain what the other difference was but, with Verstappen getting a completely new Power Unit for this weekend, there was already an extra advantage on his side, as new PU’s always deliver a bit more power than used ones. The Dutchman, from his side, explained that “this weekend we really nailed the set-up overnight, as from Saturday morning the car was the best I’ve had all year. We were very quick down the straights, which is essential here, but we were also very quick in Sector 2, where there are a lot of corners, so the team did an amazing job and the car was a delight to drive.” As he crossed the line, Verstappen thanked his team saying, “guys, the car was really a rocketship” and when asked what he meant, he admitted, “we really did have a lot more speed than the others. I wasn’t making any predictions of how the race would go – I took it really carefully in the first lap because there was a lot of action right in front of me. It would have been silly to risk getting any damage with the car we had but, after the Safety Car period, I could really start to push, picked them all off one by one, but still was surprised to be in the lead so early in the race.”

Team Principal Christian Horner was also delighted, joking that “I’d probably have to thank Toto for the Technical Directive!” Then, he added that “In all seriousness, I think this circuit has played to our strengths. We have a very efficient car, we’ve found a very good setup and Max has just been in phenomenal form from the very first lap in first practice. This is one of the most dominant performances that we’ve had as a team since either 2010 or 2013. It’s right up there with that period and I don’t think we’ve ever won a race starting 14th on the grid. A phenomenal performance and a lot of credit has to go to the people behind the scenes, because what you see here is just the end product – the drivers having to optimise that to the best effect, but behind the scenes all the unsung heroes back in Milton Keynes have done a tremendous job with this car and obviously Power Unit.”


The expectation was that the Technical Directive Horner referred to would hurt the RB18 more than other cars, but the Red Bull man denied that was the case: “A lot was made and a lot of expectation was put on that

Sainz made a blinder of a start and led easily into Turn 1. Right: Ocon drove from the back of the field to finish on thet tail of his team-mate.

TD, so perhaps it’s hurt others more than it’s hurt ourselves. So we haven’t really changed the way we operate the car. Obviously, grounding here has always been an issue because of Eau Rouge, but that’s not unique to us – that’s the same for every team.” Across the pit lane other teams were left scratching their heads, looking for an explanation for the sudden leap of performance Red Bull got this weekend. According to a few experienced engineers, the big question mark before the Belgian Grand Prix was how much each team would have to lift the car to save the floor edges. As it turned out, Eau Rouge wasn’t the big issue, but Turn 15, Stavelot, was as the drivers had to hit the external kerb to gain as much speed entering the very long back straight – and that’s something you cannot learn on the simulator. The suspicion is that Red Bull found a way to keep the downforce running with higher ride heights. If that’s the case, then the rest of the field will be in for a very, very long end of the season…

MERCEDES MORE PUZZLED THAN EVER George Russell had “mixed feelings” at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix and joined


Above: The revised Eau Rouge (run-off-wise and grandstand) is stunning. Right: Another so-so weekend for Daniel R. Below: Lewis didn’t leave enough room on the inside for Alonso and paid the price ... (Hmmmm, maybe he wasn’t to blame back at Silverstone last year ... same theory, different track ...)

the team in being at loss to explain “why, on Saturday, we were two seconds off the pace and today I could fight with a Ferrari for third place.” In qualifying, Hamilton and Russell had no pace to fight even with Alpine and the seven-times World Champion’s mistake in the first lap, shutting the door on Alonso and causing contact, put him out of the race. Russell soldiered on, quickly left Alonso for dust, and with better tyre management nearly caught Sainz in the final few laps. The young Brit rued a late mistake, when “I just braked a bit late before the back straight, went a bit wide, got the car on the marbles and that was game over.” Admitting the team doesn’t know why the W13 has such swings in competitiveness, he concluded that “we definitively didn’t get it right in qualifying; we were probably missing one second per lap just with the tyres. Today


we put on a much stronger show, but I do believe that this circuit exposes some of the weaknesses in our car philosophy. I hope things will be improved from next weekend onwards, but it’s confusing at the moment ... there’s no guarantees.”


Fernando Alonso’s hopes of turning his third place on the grid into a podium finish were dashed when Hamilton caused contact at the Les Combes chicane, right at the start of the race – even though “having the left front wheel fairing moving a lot” didn’t seem to affect the A522’s speed, Alonso lost positions to Pérez and Russell and was never again in a position to challenge even the Mercedes driver. With Verstappen and Leclerc coming through the field, Alonso looked set to end the



Pos Driver Time

Pos Drivers


Pos Driver

1 Max Verstappen




Max Verstappen


44 1:25:52.894 s14


Max Verstappen


2 Carlos Sainz




Sergio Perez





Sergio Perez



3 Sergio Perez




Carlos Sainz


44 +26.886s t2


Charles Leclerc



4 Charles Leclerc




George Russell


44 +29.140s s 1


Carlos Sainz



5 Esteban Ocon



5 Fernando Alonso


44 +73.256s t2

5 George Russell



6 Fernando Alonso



6 Charles Leclerc


44 +74.936s s 9

6 Lewis Hamilton



7 Lewis Hamilton





44 +75.640s s 9


Lando Norris



8 George Russell



8 Sebastian Vettel


+78.107s s2

8 Esteban Ocon



9 Alexander Albon






+92.181s t1




10 Lando Norris



10 Alexander Albon


44 +101.900s t4



11 Daniel Ricciardo



11 Lance Stroll


11 Kevin Magnussen 22


12 Pierre Gasly



12 Lando Norris


44 +104.739s s5

12 Sebastian Vettel



13 Zhou Guanyu



13 Yuki Tsunoda


44 +105.217s s7

13 Daniel Ricciardo



14 Lance Stroll



14 Zhou Guanyu


44 +106.252s s4

14 Pierre Gasly



15 Mick Schumacher (19)


15 Daniel Ricciardo


44 +107.163s t8

15 Mick Schumacher 12


16 Sebastian Vettel



16 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI


+1 lap t4

16 Yuki Tsunoda



17 Nicholas Latifi

Esteban Ocon Pierre Gasly


Margin +17.841s

Fernando Alonso

10 Valtteri Bottas

Points -



17 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI


+1 lap s2

17 Zhou Guanyu



18 Kevin Magnussen (12)


18 Nicholas Latifi



+1 lap t7

18 Alexander Albon



19 Yuki Tsunoda



NC Valtteri Bottas





19 Lance Stroll



20 Valtteri Bottas



NC Lewis Hamilton





20 Nicholas Latifi



Note - Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Leclerc received a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.



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race in sixth place before Ferrari’s decision to pit the Monegasque with two laps to go (to try and get the point for the fastest lap), backfired tremendously, putting Alonso up to P5. Unable to resist taking a dig at his former team, the veteran admitted, “their call was a surprise, but Ferrari always takes some strange decisions…” Alonso scored the most points for his team but Esteban Ocon was the on-form driver for Alpine, qualifying ahead of his team-mate but starting from P16 as he was one of eight (yes eight!) drivers incurring grid penalties due to changing mechanical components putting them above their yearly allocation. The Frenchman drove through the field in style. “I passed two cars at the same time on three occasions”, he said, and finished just 2.3s behind his team-mate, who had started the race 13 positions ahead of him! With McLaren scoring no points – Norris and Ricciardo had no top speed to overtake anybody – the Australian was further hindered by being forced to drop the Spaspec rear wing due to a failure in its structure. Alpine opened a gap of 20 points in the battle for fourth place in the Constructors championship and, with momentum on their side, the French look set to win this battle. Sebastian Vettel proved it’s not due to lack of speed that he’s leaving Formula One at the end of the year, a gritty drive, including defending hard against team mate Stroll in the opening lap, putting him in eighth place, his second best result of the year. Behind the German, Pierre Gasly recovered from a pit lane start – the electrics on his AlphaTauri failed when he was due to start from P8 – to score two valuable points for his team, with Alex Albon’s heroics handing Williams the final point. The Thai kept a long line of cars – Stroll, Norris, Tsunoda, Zhou and Ricciardo’s – behind him for the last quarter of the race, making the most of his car’s great straight-line speed, while “doing all I could to avoid lock-ups, because that’s what costs you positions.”

MISSING OPPORTUNITIES AND LOSING HOPE CHARLES LECLERC’S face at the end of the race said it all. Stern, almost absent, the Monegasque went through his media duties without showing any emotion, not even anger, but his frustration was clear for all to see. And there were reasons for that, of course. First, he was unlucky someone else’s helmet tear-off got stuck in the right front brake duct during the early Safety Car period, forcing him to pit as early as lap four, dropping to 17th place. Then, the lack of pace that made it impossible to even dream of catching George Russell and finish in fourth place; and then, of course, Ferrari’s risky decision to pit him with two laps to go, to try and help him score an extra point with the fastest lap, a decision that the Monegasque clearly questioned on the radio: “It’s too risky, I wouldn’t do it, he pleaded,” before his engineer confirmed the call to pit. In the end, Leclerc was caught speeding in the pits, incurring in a 5s penalty, didn’t get the fastest lap, as Alonso got ahead of him and slowed him down in the first three corners of the final lap – so what would have been P5 and 10 points, became sixth place, with the loss of two points. Devastated, Leclerc explained that, “I think we need to look a little bit more at the overall weekend. It’s been a very difficult weekend. If you look at Red Bull, they were on another level, and they found something this weekend that is a bit worrying for us, because for now, we don’t exactly understand. They are still extremely quick in the straights – it looks like they have no downforce, but then they get into the corner and they are as quick as us, or quicker. So it’s a bit worrying.” While Leclerc initially took the blame for being caught speeding in the pit lane, Team Principal Mattia Binotto explained that, “we were really unlucky, we were not using our normal sensors measuring the speed because they have failed during the overheating of the front right due to the tear off of Max’s car being stuck on the brake duct. Our backup program was not so accurate for the 0.1 of a Km/h, so I think overall, it has been an unlucky situation.” To make Leclerc even more upset, Pérez got away with hitting him under braking for Les Combes after the Mexican’s first stop for tyres, but the Ferrari driver didn’t even try to get the FIA to look into it: “ I said what I thought on the radio and I don’t know what they did ... I guess no action. I think we touched, but I felt it was a bit on the limit, but it’s like that.” But what was clear on his mind is that the chances of fighting with Verstappen for the title have taken what may be a final hit: “It is definitely looking extremely difficult now, especially after the pace they’ve shown today ...”

Winner winner, Max’s chicken dinner! I 55

Formula 1 Round 15 Zandvoort, Dutch GP

Verstappen was surprised by the Hard tyre performance of the Mercedes cars, but a late Safety Car, and a mixed Mercedes tyre strategy call, saved the day.


ONE WEEK after completely dominating the Belgian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen won in front of his adoring Dutch fans, but his success in Zandvoort didn’t come easy. Red Bull made life difficult for itself when Verstappen stopped after just seven laps in FP1 due to a gearbox issue. Behind in track time, Red Bull went the wrong way on the setup for FP2 and the Dutchman was really on the back foot for qualifying and the race. But, as he said after qualifying, “one of the biggest strengths of our team is that we never panic. There was great work done overnight in the factory, on the simulator, and from Saturday morning we were heading in the right direction. We did some very useful running on full tanks, that put us in good stead for the race – but I was still not confident we could get pole.” But he delighted the crowd by beating Leclerc by 0.021s and Sainz by 0.092s, to secure another pole and, with a good start, things continued to look good. Until, of course, it became apparent Mercedes was on a one-stop strategy and with great pace on the Hard tyres. Red Bull had gone into the race wary that Max would be on his own against Leclerc and Sainz – Pérez had crashed out in Q3 and was only starting fifth – but their focus quickly turned to the two Silver Arrows. On the Soft tyre – the best for the F1-75 – Leclerc was dropping around 0.3s per lap to Verstappen and even though Red Bull reacted to his stop on lap 17, pitting the Ducthman one lap later, it was clear Mercedes was going to be the main threat to his domination on home ground. Opting to start both cars on the Medium tyre, with Hamilton (4th) and Russell (6th) keeping their places in the opening laps, the German team was going for a one-stop strategy, using the Hard compound for the final part of the race and completely skipping the Softs, a tyre they couldn’t warm up properly the whole weekend.

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That was not an option for the Dutchman, who knew the harder compound was the weakest one on his RB18. When Hamilton finally pitted, on lap 29, Verstappen regained the lead with the seven-times World Champion down in P5 and 19.9s behind his rival. The Silver Arrows was flying on the Hard compound, and six laps later he had cut his deficit to 17s. Clearly, Verstappen would drop behind him – and possibly behind Russell as well – once he’d finally pit for Soft tyres with around 20 laps to go. At Mercedes the simulations showed the Dutchman would emerge from the pits behind their drivers, with 8s to make up in those 20 laps, a realistic challenge but also not a foregone conclusion, as the Softs would start to drop off towards the end of the race. A VSC period called after Tsunoda twice parked his car by the side of the track on lap 48, gave Verstappen a free stop, but too early to put Soft tyres on: “I said, ‘don’t use the Hard tyre’, but we had to, because of the VSC. We went out and we were clearly lacking a little bit of pace on that Hard compared to the Mercedes cars on the Medium – Mercedes had done the unscheduled second stop to go the oppositive way and try to keep their chances alive. I think the gap was still big enough to manage it to the end. But they

would have definitely gotten a lot closer than 11.5 it was at the time. “Then the Safety Car came out and then there’s no way that we could stay out on a Hard tyre. So, we had to box, but I didn’t request it. You have to trust your team to make the right calls and they did. They boxed me, we put a Soft tyre on but we dropped back. Then George also pitted for Softs and then we were back into P2. Surprisingly, we had a really good restart and then with the extra top speed we have over Mercedes, I could get a run into Turn One.” Obviously, the Dutchman was delighted with his win: “It’s always special to win your home Grand Prix. It was already last year. This year, I have to say I had to work for it even more. An incredible weekend and I’m really happy we got the Dutch Grand Prix. “It was not a straightforward race and I think it’s extra rewarding to win like this. We couldn’t really do our preferred strategy” – that would have seen him pit 20 laps from the end and put a set of used Soft tyres on – “and that, I think, made it a little bit more difficult for us, up until the last Safety Car, as we could switch back to the preferred tyre, the Soft, and we could get back into lead.” As for the moment that decided the race, with a big smile Verstappen explained that,

Mercedes strategy screwed Hamilton – and he let them know it ...

“we timed it really well out of that last corner into the banking and then you could see the draft was quite strong and we got ahead!” Pérez, who was never in contention both in qualifying – even before crashing out on the last lap of Q3 – and the race, only moved up to fourth place due to Sainz’s 5s penalty, the Mexican having an off color weekend on a track he admitted, “probably isn’t the most suited for my driving style.”


Rarely have we heard Lewis Hamilton lose control with his team over the radio, but in the final laps of the Dutch Grand Prix he really lashed out: “I can’t believe you guys f…… screwed me. I can’t tell how pissed off I am.” He became a sitting duck for Verstappen, Russell and Leclerc to all get past him, all on Soft tyres, when he had been left out, in the lead, but with Medium compound tyres, for the last 11 laps of the race. Until the VSC period called to retrieve Tsunoda’s car on lap 48, things were looking pretty good for Hamilton and Mercedes. As in Hungary, the W13 came alive on the harder compounds and the team’s decision to start both cars on the Mediums was putting them in a position to dream of a one-two finish, as their one stop strategy and the pace, especially Hamilton’s, on the Hard tyres was putting them in a strong position against Verstappen, who was on a two-stops strategy. Then, it all went south, the VSC giving Verstappen a free pit stop, with both Mercedes also pitting and going out on Mediums, while the Dutchman swapped to Mediums. With no more stops necessary, the 12.5s was always going to be too big for Hamilton to bridge – and even if he’d catch the Red Bull driver, he would lack the straight line speed to pass him for the lead. And any hopes they still had the pace to catch the Dutchman, who was not happy on the Hard tyres, vanished when a full Safety Car period started on lap 56, as Bottas’s engine


Zandvoort’s Turn 3 is a very unique, multi-line corner – Alonso and Tsunoda , and others, run side-by-side ... Above left: A Safety Car changed the whole race’s complexion. Above Right: With his departure settled, Daniel Ricciardo had a low key race ... had stopped him at the end of the pits straight. Again, Verstappen got a free stop and returned to the track behind the two Mercedes, but on Soft tyres. The next lap, with everyone forced to go through the pits behind the SC, Russell changed to Softs too, losing the position to Verstappen and leaving Hamilton with no protection from the Red Bull’s attack at the re-start, which explains why Hamilton was so incensed. Toto Wolff explained that, “the thinking that we had, was that we had a Medium that had five racing laps on it, plus track position, and we took that decision. I don’t think that on a par, with the same tyre we could have overtaken the Red Bull with the straight line speed they had. “We’ve seen that with Sainz that we aren’t really able to pass him at the beginning, so that was the call. We just split the strategy. If


we would have left both out on the same tyre we would have had the blocker and the two cars in the front, but if the new tyre was really much faster then both the cars may have been eaten up, also maybe by Leclerc, and everyone else who came behind. So we split the strategy, kept track position and maybe the car is fast enough to do this rather than to take any other decision.” Hamilton took his time to finally speak to the media after the race and was in a much more conciliatory mood than while he was in the cockpit: “I was just on the edge of breaking point with emotions and my apologies to the team, because I don’t even remember what I said – I just lost it for a second.” But he then added, “wiithout the Safety Car I think we’d have been challenging them for the win at the end, on the one-stop, which I don’t think the others could do.”


Pos Driver


Pos Drivers



Max Verstappen



Max Verstappen


72 1:36:42.773


Charles Leclerc



George Russell




Carlos Sainz



Charles Leclerc



Lewis Hamilton



Lewis Hamilton





Sergio Perez


5 Sergio Perez





George Russell


6 Fernando Alonso



Lando Norris




72 +19.306s


Mick Schumacher


8 Carlos Sainz



Yuki Tsunoda





10 Lance Stroll


10 Lance Stroll



10 Valtteri Bottas



11 Pierre Gasly


72 +27.009s



12 Esteban Ocon


12 Alexander Albon


72 +30.390s s3

12 Sebastian Vettel



13 Fernando Alonso


13 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI

72 +32.995s t-5

13 Daniel Ricciardo



14 Zhou Guanyu


14 Sebastian Vettel

14 Pierre Gasly



15 Alexander Albon


15 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI

72 +36.869s s3

15 Mick Schumacher



16 Valtteri Bottas


16 Zhou Guanyu


72 +37.320s t-2

16 Yuki Tsunoda



17 Daniel Ricciardo


17 Daniel Ricciardo


72 +37.764s

17 Zhou Guanyu



18 Kevin Magnussen


18 Nicholas Latifi



+1 lap s2

18 Lance Stroll

5 s1

19 Sebastian Vettel


NC Valtteri Bottas



DNF t-3

19 Alexander Albon

4 t-1

20 Nicholas Latifi


NC Yuki Tsunoda



DNF t-11

20 Nicholas Latifi


Pierre Gasly


Lando Norris Esteban Ocon




Pos Driver 1

Max Verstappen


+4.071s s5


Charles Leclerc

201 s1

72 +10.929s t-1


Sergio Perez

201 t-1



George Russell

188 s1



Carlos Sainz

175 t-1

72 +18.754s s7


Lewis Hamilton





Lando Norris



72 +20.916s t-5


Esteban Ocon




Fernando Alonso





Kevin Magnussen 22


+21.117s s3








Auto Action

And, with a smile, he concluded, “Singapore cannot come soon enough…” For the team, Russell’s second place was a good consolation prize, the young English driver admitting that, “coming from P6 this feels like a win, but I’m here to get real wins, so this is still not what I want. I asked to change to Softs at the end, because on Mediums we would have stood no chance, so I’m happy we took the risk, but it was the first VSC that thwarted our race.”


Even though Ferrari backed into the midfield for a good part of the race, the race for the other drivers was always going to be for seventh place. On a track where McLaren was expected to have the upper hand, good tyre choices – betting the Hard tyre would be the most efficient one – and great straight line speed helped Alonso move up from 14th on the grid to seventh by the flag, before Sainz’s penalty moved him up to P6. Ocon also added valuable points to Alpine’s tally but was disappointed with ninth place. Gaining three positions in the first lap, the Frenchman looked set for a strong finish, but a late first pit stop and the team’s decision to leave him out on used Hards during the last SC period left him unable to defend himself. That helped Lando Norris secure P7, benefiting from Sainz’s penalty but, although he was clearly quicker than Alonso, he lacked the straight-line speed to pass him in the closing stages. With Daniel Ricciardo unable to find the pace on his McLaren from the start of FP3, Norris admitted, “I was alone against the two Alpines, so they could play different strategies and I couldn’t cover both, so they had it easy.” Things could have been worse if the VSC and SC periods hadn’t hurt Lance Stroll too, the Canadian scoring the final point on the table in what was one of his best weekends of the season.

GREAT QUALIFYING, POOR RACE PACE – NO CHANGE FOR FERRARI FOR FERRARI the race was an uphill struggle. Sainz never had the pace to stay in contact with Verstappen and Leclerc until Ferrari performed another comedy of errors – left rear tyre missing in his first stop, messy second stop as well, that earned the Spaniard a 5s penalty that eventually dropped him from fifth to eighth place … Leclerc’s slim hopes vanished the moment he switched from Soft to Medium tyres at the end of lap 17: “We just didn’t have the pace; we weren’t quick enough, especially on the Medium tyre. On the Softs, in the first stint, and again in the final stint, after the Safety Car, it was not too bad, but the harder the tyre, the bigger the trouble we were in.” The Monegasque then concluded that, “this is the main focus at the moment, to try and bring back the speed that we had at the beginning of the season. We seem to have lost it, a little bit of pace in the in the long runs especially”, before sending an ominous warning back to Maranello: “Mercedes is also in the fight and they are very quick. They were extremely quick today, especially on the Harder compounds. “I think our pace on the Soft was really good at the beginning. We had used tyres, Max was on new, so I think the difference was more or less what we expected. But then, on the new Medium, we were slower than expected, for sure.” Sainz had good reasons to feel hard done by – twice! – admitting the radio massage to pit for Mediums, with the left rear not yet in the pitlane to be fitted, “came quite late, probably entering the last corner, so I had to react very quickly and then that happened. It came when I wasn’t expecting it, so I guess it was a last second decision ...” That cost him 10s and any chance to fight for the top five, but the VSC put Pérez on the back foot, so fifth was, again, on the cards. Then, under the SC the Spaniard stopped, had to slow down on his way out as Norris had just stopped ahead of him and by doing so forced Pérez to brake too, incurring a 5s penalty that left him quite unhappy: “I was launching into the pit lane correctly, the problem was that I had to brake to avoid taking a McLaren mechanic out of this life … If for taking avoiding action they give you a penalty, I’ll find it very frustrating.”

Home-town champers ... I 57



Action crossword TEST YOURAuto MOTORSPORT KNOWLEDGE Test your Motorsport knowledge 1 2

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2. Which manufacturer controversially won the 1992 Bathurst 1000? 3. Who won the Monaco Grand Prix in 1992 with a famous defensive drive? (surname) 5. Who is the driver photographed in Williams gear? (surname) 7. How many V8 Supercar Championship rounds did Greg Murphy win at Pukekohe Park? 8. Who is the youngest driver to score a WRC podium finish? (surname) 10. The current Pukekohe Park layout contains how many corners? 11. Who took pole position for the 1992 Bathurst 1000? (full name) 15. Which track in New South Wales closed down for the foreseeable future at the end of last month? 19. Liam Lawson made his Formula 1 practice debut at Spa-Francorchamps with what team? 20. Which Australian rider won at Laguna Seca in MotoGP on three occasions? (surname) 23. Which Italian took his only F1 win in Monaco in 2004 driving for Renault? (surname) 24. In what country was 1967 Formula 1 World Champion Denny Hulme born? 27. For what team did Jamie Whincup make his V8 Supercars debut? (abbreviation) 28. Who is the sole New Zealander to win a World Rally Championship event? (surname) 29. Who will represent Australia as a Touring Car driver in the FIA World Motorsport Games this year? (surname)

1. Andrea Dovizioso ended his MotoGP career last weekend on what brand of bike? 3. Which Spaniard won his second and final World Rally Championship for Toyota in 1992? (surname) 4. At what circuit did the A1 Grand Prix Series visit when it raced in Australia? (name of circuit at time of racing) 6. Which Formula 1 World Champion sadly lost his life at Bathurst in 1992? (surname) 9. Which team won the 2022 Formula E Manufacturers Championship? 12. Who famously said “do my eyes deceive me or is Senna’s car sounding a bit rough?” (full name) 13. Who drives car #2 in the Supercars Championship? (surname) 14. Who won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1992? (surname) 16. For how many years were Bryce Fullwood and Chaz Mostert teammates? 17. Who claimed his sole Formula 1 race victory in the Spanish Grand Prix back in 2012? (surname) 18. Damon Hill won his sole Formula 1 title racing for what team? 21. Which French manufacturer took its first of three Le Mans 24 Hours wins in 1992? 22. Bryce Fullwood made his Bathurst 1000 debut in 2018 alongside who? 25. Who won the V8 Supercars race at Pukekohe Park in 2001? (surname) 26. Which car manufacturer sponsored the Laguna Seca circuit from 2001 to 2018?

Created using the Crossword Maker on

Down #1843 Crossword Answers: 1 down – Nissan, 2 down – Senna, 2 across – Suzuki 3 down – HRT, 4 across – Renault, 5 down – Everingham, 6 down – Rovanpera, 7 down – Watkins Glen, 8 across – Vandoorne,

hich manufacturer controversially the 1992 Bathurst 1000? 1. Andrea Dovizioso MotoGP career last weekend what 9 down – one, 10 down won – Barrichello, 11 down – zero, 12 across – Canto, 13 across – Sydney, ended 13 downhis – SBR, 14 across – Symmons Plains, 15on down – four, 16 across – Mercedes, 17 across – Brazilian, 17 down – Brabham, ho won the Monaco Grand Prix in 1992 with a famous defensive brand of bike? 18 down – Brad Jones, 19 down – Mears, 19 across – McLaren, 20 across – Coulthard, 21 down – Gibbs, 22 across – Tander, 23 across – Mazda, 24 down – three, 25 across – Rossi, 26 across – Scheckter ? (surname) 3. Which Spaniard won his second and final World Rally ho is the driver photographed in Williams gear? (surname) Championship for Toyota in 1992? (surname) w many V8 Supercar Championship rounds did Greg Murphy 4. At what circuit did the A1 Grand Prix Series visit when it raced in t Pukekohe Park? Australia? (name of circuit at time of racing) We1 World take aChampion look back at what making in Auto Action 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago ho is the youngest driver to score a WRC podium finish? 6. Which Formula sadly lost hiswas life at Bathurstnews in ame) 1992? (surname) he current Pukekohe Park layout contains how many corners? 9. Which team won the 2022 Formula E Manufacturers Who took pole position for the 1992 Bathurst 1000? (full name) Championship? Which track in New South Wales closed down for the foreseeable 12. Who famously said “do my eyes deceive me or is Senna's car at the end of last month? sounding a bit rough?” (full name) am Lawson made his Formula 1 practice debut at Spa13. Who drives car #2 in the Supercars Championship? (surname) orchamps with what team? 14. Who won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1992? (surname) Which Australian rider won at Laguna Seca in MotoGP on three 16. For how many years were Bryce Fullwood and Chaz Mostert sions? (surname) teammates? Which Italian took his only F1 win in Monaco in 2004 driving for 17. Who claimed his sole Formula 1 race victory in the Spanish Grand ult? (surname) Prix back in 2012? (surname) what country was 1967 Formula 1 World Champion Denny 18. Damon Hill won his sole Formula 1 title racing for what team? e born? 21. Which French manufacturer took its first of three Le Mans 24 or what team did Jamie Whincup make his V8 Supercars debut? Hours wins in 1992? eviation) 22. Bryce Fullwood made his Bathurst 1000 debut in 2018 alongside Who is the sole New Zealander to win a World Rally who? mpionship event? (surname) 25. Who won the V8 Supercars race at Pukekohe Park in 2001? Who will represent Australia as a Touring Car driver in the FIA (surname) d Motorsport Games this year? (surname) 26. Which car manufacturer sponsored the Laguna Seca circuit from 2001 to 2018?

1972: THE FIRST round of the Manufacturers Championship at the Chesterfield 250 Adelaide International Raceway ended with an all Holden Torana podium romp, with Bond and Brock hailing their one-two finish on the new Dunlop slicks. The Ford Team’s new wide tread Goodyear tyres proved their undoing, with the tyres proving too soft, causing Moffat to smash into the wall when his left rear blew late in the day.

1982: KEKE ROSBERG and Alain Prost were both announced as confirmed starters for the 1982 Australian Grand prix at Calder Raceway, as well as Frenchman Jacques Latiffe, who partnered Prost in the Bob Jane Ralt RT4s. And in the TCC, Lucio Cesario was announced in Moffat’s Mazda RX7 team for Bathurst with newcomer Greg Hansford, whilst Moffat himself would drive with his Le Mans partner, Japanese TC Champion, Yashimi Katayama.

58 I

1992: THE NISSAN Bathurst 1000 saga rolled on in the lead up to 1992’s Great Race, after CAMS rejected their claims that the handicaps (which team owner Fred Gibson claimed were unsafe) should be lifted from the GT-R’s. Gibson was holding steadfast to the fact that Nissan would pull out if CAMS didn’t lift the 140 kg handicap, which for endurance racing, would put an unreasonable load upon the chassis, brakes, suspension, roll cage, wheels and tyres.

2002: VETERAN V8 driver John Bowe was bullish about his chances in 2002’s Bathurst 1000, saying that he and Brad Jones had not only the stuff to win the Great Race in the Falcon AU, but to also win the Bathurst 24-hour production car race. Bowe also brushed off suggestions that he was anywhere near retirement. The two ended up in P16, with Mark Skaife and Jim Richards taking the crown at Mount Panorama.

2012: AUTO ACTION took a deep dive into Holden’s original “Ford killer,” as 50 years of Bathurst was celebrated. The article took a look at Brock’s 1978 winning Bathurst-winning A9X. SMP was also named as the venue where the COFT testing went into full swing, with the first ‘all-in’ test to take place. In the meantime, the battle to broadcast the V8 Supercars with channels Seven and Ten vying for the TV rights, and Nine denying it had even made a bid.

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