Auto Action #1845

Page 1

NEW GEN7 MUSTANG SUPERCAR REVEALED

AUSTRALIA’S INDEPENDENT VOICE OF MOTORSPORT

WILL POWER

KEEPS ON WINNING

INDYCAR CHAMPION TELLS US HOW!

MONZA SPECIAL •MAX ON TOP... AGAIN •INFILTRATING THE TIFOSI

•FERRARI’S TIMELY 1988 WIN

ARG TO RACE ON

“NO” TO SUPERCARS TAKE-OVER

CAN BIG BAD SANDOWN BE SAVED? SVG’S EMOTIONAL

PUKEKOHE SEND OFF ISSUE #1845 September 22 to October 5, 2022 $9.95 INC GST www.autoaction.com.au

HOLDEN WINS

LAST SUPERCAR RACE IN NEW ZEALAND

ISSN 2204-9924

PLENTY OF BIFF AND BARGE BEFORE BATHURST


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LATEST NEWS

FORD’S

ON TRACK MUSTANGS FORD VERSUS LE MANS (VERSUS BATHURST) FORD HAS announced a multi-pronged Mustang motorsport program, with Australia’s Gen3 Supercar standing alongside the new GT3 Mustang as the hero cars of the fleet. The six new racing Mustangs were released the day after the 7th Generation model was unveiled in a global online event out of Detroit, including a road and track model known as Dark Horse which will be sold in Australia. The 2024 Le Mans and Bathurst 12-hour bound GT3 heads the list, with the Gen3 Supercar and the GT4 holding down the second line ahead of the new NASCAR, Dark Horse and the Factory X cars. The GT4 car will contest the first race, at Daytona in January, with Supercars joining soon after with a Newcastle debut in March. The rest of the models will hit the track during 2023, with a full-on global attack planned for 2024. Mustang GT-3 and GT-4 program will be a big focus for Ford Performance with Ford’s Executive Chair, Bill Ford, announcing that Ford will take on the best of the world’s auto giants and compete in motorsports toughest endurance race, the Le Mans 24 Hour in 2024.

Ford Performance Motorsports Global Director, Mark Rushbrook (pictured), said Ford was committed to racing the Mustang in several forms while providing more accessible ways for drivers to get on the track with the new cars. “Across the next two years, those six different race cars will be launched and sold,” he said. “We love racing Mustang. We love it as an iconic road car. We love racing it on all these legendary tracks and being part of very important series. “That video (see Auto Action’s website) includes the Australian Supercar series where the new 7th Generation Mustang will be racing starting in 2023. In North America, NASCAR will transition to the 2024 season. NHRA Factory X is a new class starting next year, and we’ll be racing this car in 2023. “The other truly global cars that will sell worldwide include the Mustang GT4 and GT3 from the third quarter of 2023. And then there is the Dark Horse R and Dark Horse S, which have a great foundation as a road car we can turn into a dedicated track car.” Rushbrook said the new bodywork for Australian Supercars will appear on the Gen 3 Mustang at Bathurst and that they

were well advanced, while no bodywork had yet been made in Australia. VCAT testing for the 7th Generation car was always in the planning schedule and will happen after Bathurst. The GT3 was front and centre of the launch video and is the car creating the most interest. It will race at the Le Mans 24Hour and most likely the Bathurst 12-hour in 2024, although it will make its race debut sometime in 2023. “We enter every race with a plan to win and dominate and have as many Fords up front. The bigger the race, the increased importance of it to us. So certainly for the Bathurst 1000, we would love to see Fords at the front, and similar for the 12 hours of Bathurst. “We’re still looking at what our rate and flow will be for the actual build of the Mustang GT3 and to confirm how fast we’re going to get cars out to different parts of the world. Obviously, with supply chain issues, as we see in our production cars, we have the same concerns even when we’re building at a low volume like GT3. “So as we get a good line of sight on it, we’re building the cars about a year from now, and we want to get them out to the

most important races as quickly as we can. I can’t commit at this point when we will have a Mustang GT3 competing at Bathurst, but it is at the very top of our list.” A minor restructure has taken place inside Ford and Ford Performance for Australia. Former DJR PR man Ben Nightingale takes on a bigger role as Motorsport Manager in addition to his role as Product Communications Manager for Ford Australia. The global head of the Ranger Raptor model, Justin Capicchiano, has been appointed Ford Performance, Motorsport and Special Vehicle Engineering, and former Tickford engineer Brendan McGinniskin has the role of Ford Performance Motorsport Engineering Lead – Australia. Ford Performance have invested in local engineering resource so that the Supercars technical department, and Ford racing teams can have access to technical support in the same time zone which helps with efficiency. Although working with closely Nightingale, Capicchiano and McGinniskin report to head of Ford Performance Mark Rushbrook in the US. Andrew Clarke

MUSTANG GEN3 SUPERCAR PLANS AND testing for the Gen3 Supercar are well under way and will now switch to the new bodywork for the remainder of the year before debuting at Newcastle in March. MUSTANG GT3 THE CAR will be developed and raced by Multimatic. The new racing car will make its competitive debut at the 2024 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and contest the entire season of the North America-based IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and most likely the FIA World Endurance

Championship. The 5.4-litre Coyote V8 will be developed in Britain by Ford’s WRC partner M-Sport MUSTANG GT4 THE NEW GT4 is an evolution of the current model and will be eligible to race in the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge’s Grand Sport and IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge’s GSX classes. It is targeted at racers who won’t be able to afford a GT3 and will run less power and downforce. MUSTANG NASCAR FEW DETAILS exist of the new NASCAR

but expect it only to be a reskin of what exists today with some aerodynamic gains that should make the new car more competitive with the Camaro and Camry. MUSTANG FACTORY X NHRA FACTORY X is a new NHRA series that makes room for stripped-down factory drag racers and bridges the gap between Factory Stock Showdown and Pro Stock classes. The cars run reduced weight over Factory Stock cars and must run manual transmissions. The bodywork is also fixed.

MUSTANG DARK HORSE THE DARK Horse will appear in three models – the standard road-going version and the non-street legal Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R models. They will use the standard Mustang GT engine with a bit more power and plenty of race trickery throughout. A one-make series is rumoured for the States. Multimatic is also involved in the development of these models and some of the gear that defines the different models.

UP COMING RACE EVENT CALENDAR Brought to you by www.speedflow.com.au • DTM RD 7 RED BULL RING SEPTEMBER 24-25 • NASCAR ROUND OF 12 TEXAS SEPTEMBER 25 MOTOGP RD 16 JAPAN SEPTEMBER 25 • WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RD 11 NEW ZEALAND SEPTEMBER 29 – OCTOBER 2 GT WORLD CHALLENGE 3 HOURS OF BARCELONA SEPTEMBER 30 – OCTOBER 2 • IMSA SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP RD 12 PETIT LE MANS OCTOBER 1 • FORMULA 1 RD 17 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX • OCTOBER 2 • NASCAR ROUND OF 12 TALLADEGA OCTOBER 2 • MOTOGP RD 17 THAILAND OCTOBER 2

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BOARD STOUSH KEEPS SANDOWN DOOR OPEN

A historic and popular motorsport venue ... The start of the 1964 Sandown 6 Hour – Lex Davison (Galaxy) leads two Studebakers off the line – driven by no less than Roger Ward (yes, the Indy 500 winner) and Alan Mottrass ... Image: autopix.com.au

FOUR CANDIDATES FOR THE MELBOURNE RACING CLUB ELECTION HOLD THE KEY TO BOTH MOTOR AND HORSE RACING AT SANDOWN THE ELECTION, which closes on 27 September, has eight people running for four vacancies on the board, and a good result could see Sandown saved instead of being sold for a housing estate. Shanyn Puddy (pictured, right) is one of the candidates heading the charge to save the venue. Peter Brown, Alison Saville and Nick Hassett are the other three who have stated a desire to retain Sandown. “I think this is one of the most important elections for the Melbourne Racing Club,” Ms Puddy said. “Eight people are running for four places, and four of us are supporting the retaining of Sandown. “The others haven’t said where they stand in their candidate statements, but we know that four want to keep it, and we hope all four get elected. “We need as many people to vote as possible because once we sell Sandown, we can’t do anything about it. It’s gone.

From our point of view with racing, it is one of the best [horse] racing tracks in Australia. “I was out at Sandown yesterday (for the Shannons Motorsport Australia Champhips round) and I couldn’t believe how many people were there. It would be a shame to lose the venue.” Ms Puddy said the club members hadn’t been adequately consulted on their views, which is one reason she is running for the committee. She also said that of the 12,000 members of the club, generally, only around 3000 member vote in the elections. She is encouraging all members of the club to vote. “We’re not sure what they’re going to invest in; that’s one of the questions we need to ask. That’s a concern to me because we’ve got an asset that our forebears created for us however many years ago. I think it’s our responsibility to ensure that we keep it for the next 60 or so years so we can continue to do

the work that the people did before us. “There are 112 hectares of land, and something like 56 of that is the race track, and there’s 56 that aren’t. So we can certainly do some development and raise some money for MRC that doesn’t mean we need to sell the race track. “We can do both and keep the asset. We can keep racing there for you (motorsport) and us. But it vitally

important that anyone involved in the motor racing industry who knows someone who’s an MRC member, that they encourage them to vote.” Horse racing activity at the venue started in 1888 as Oakleigh Park, and in 1892 it was renamed Sandown Park. In March 1904, Australia’s first ever motor race was held there, and the mingling of horsepower has been a feature of the venue ever since. The venue was abandoned in 1931 during The Great Depression and lay dormant until 1960 when the Victorian Amateur Turf Club merged with the Victorian Turf Racing Association and Williamstown Turf Club and raised enough capital to buy the land and redevelop it. The Light Car Club of Australia built the car racing track and hosted its first race in 1962, three years before the first horse race at the new Sandown Park. The first Sandown endurance race was held in 1964 and hosted its first Australian Touring Car Championship Race in 1965 making it the oldest venue on the calendar.

Image: Motorsport Images

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POWER ON WILL POWER SAYS HE ISN’T FINISHED YET

Penske/Power – an enduring partnership. AUSTRALIAN WILL Power won his second IndyCar Championship after finishing third at Laguna Seca last week. The 41-year-old from Toowoomba put together a season with one win and eight podiums from 17 races – and five pole positions, including four in the final seven races – to take the

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title from Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden. Power’s latest title comes eight years after his first and 14 years after joining the Penske-led outfit. On the day after his Championship win, he said his desire to win has not diminished, although he knows

his body is running out of years at the top. “We’ll see,” he said when asked about his future. “I think the maximum I would do is another three, maybe four years. I couldn’t see myself going further than that. “I’m very fortunate to have been with Penske for as long as I have. I am given a car every week that can qualify on pole and win a race. Every year you know you can potentially win the championship or the 500, although we’ve been a bit weak in the 500 the last couple of years. “In this latter part of my career, I have a lot of gratitude for what I get to do and what I have done over the past 17 years and getting paid to race cars and drive for the best team. “I’m not on a massive high,” he added. “It’s a different championship than the first one. I appreciated the ride along the way this time – the actual process of doing it more than the goal. My engineer, Dave Faustino, has been with me since 2007, and he’s seen a couple of championships get away from us, so it is good to win this one with him.

“I wanted to make sure I did everything right in those last three races to ensure we gave ourselves the best chance. I’ve been around the sport long enough to understand that it is a team sport, and without a good group around you, you’re not going to win races or championships. This is as much a reward for them as it is for me. It was a great year, and I’m enjoying racing now.” Also, a four-time runner-up in the series, Power has not had a winless season since 2008 but went about 2022 as a recovery for 2021, which was his worst season since joining Team Penske – or Penske Racing as it was when he joined in 2009 (just six races for 19th in the championship – he ran second the following year with five wins ...). His mindset for this year was all about consistency, and with long-term engineer Faustino, they set about winning the title right from the opening round. “It was a combination of getting everything right over the season,” Power said from the States. “I’ve been working pretty hard for the last few years to get that second championship.


“Consistency was the plan from the beginning. I was playing the long game all year – not necessarily going for wins, just top fives. And I started that at St. Pete. I was on the soft compound tyre at a restart, and instead of going and taking the lead, I sat back and saved the tyre to make sure I could do the whole stint. “There were a few races where I could have charged hard for a win, but I didn’t. I went for the points, and that was my plan all year. If you do that, you have to stick to it all year. You can’t kind of ebb and flow.” He said he is now experienced enough to know what it takes over the course of a season in what is probably the most competitive top-level open-wheeler series in the world “With experience, you know the game well. You know when to go and when to sit back. You’re making sure you’re getting through the first corner every race. I have a tremendous amount of experience now with this car, the tyre and the tracks, and my toolbox has grown over the years. I’m as fast as I’ve ever been, and now I’ve got the experience to draw from, which makes for a really good combination. “This is a very tough series, probably the toughest in the world because of the disciplines you’ve got to be good at. Short and boring ovals, superspeedways, extremely bumpy street courses and the super fast road courses ... it’s never the same. And the parity is good too. Everything’s the same on the cars except the dampers, and even then, everyone’s pretty much got the same. “When you’re beating a field like that,

WILL POWER TITLES • 1 x Australian Drivers’ Championship (2002) • 5 x IndyCar Series – Road Course Trophy (2010-12, 2014, 2015) • 2 x IndyCar Championships (2014, 2022) • 1 x Indy 500 (2018)

it is pretty satisfying. Look at practice at Portland – seven-tenths covered 20 cars, and if you’re not pinpoint accurate, you will be quite a few positions back.” In 2021 he put down the requisite race win on the series’ second outing on the road course at Indy, but overall, it was a tough and challenging year, finishing (or not finishing at all) outside the top five in 12 out of the 16 races. It gave him a few doubts and questioned his future, but he used that as a spur. “You wonder if it is time to stop when it’s like that. There’s no question you have those thoughts. But you know you have the team and the speed to do it. It’s just a matter of avoiding the mistakes.” Power has been away from Australia for the best part of two decades. He first started in Europe when he went north and peaked as a test driver for Minardi in Formula One before a guest drive for Team Australia at the Champ Car race on the Gold Coast pointed him towards the States. He started Champ Car (which joined with IndyCar in 2008) in 2005, and it took until 2011 to win on an oval – his 12th win – and 11 attempts at the Indy 500 before his success there in 2018, making him the first and only Australia to win the more than 100-year-old race He wants another win there despite rating the championship higher. “The prestige of the 500, the history and everything that goes with it, is a one-off race, and you can get lucky in that one. In a championship, it’s pretty difficult to get lucky; usually, the right guy wins.

WILL POWER 68TH POLE POSITIONS THE GREATEST QUALIFIER IN INDYCAR HISTORY WILL POWER now has an amazing 68 pole positions from 267 IndyCar career starts taking around 25% of the pole positions for these race starts. “It’s such a big day tomorrow that I can’t celebrate much because I’ve got to be so focused on tomorrow,” Power said after taking pole and breaking Mario Andretti’s record (above). “Tremendous milestone. To be out there with an iconic guy like Mario is amazing. “When I think about the era he raced in, how dangerous it was and how much more of a risk it was, it just blows my mind I’m there with Mario.” Said Andretti: “Awesome. I know how much I loved qualifying, and I can see he’s the same. Trying to reach and trying to do the lap you know you cannot repeat. “That’s what puts you on pole. It (losing record) was coming. It’s beautiful. It’s great for the series and the sport. Records are made to be broken, and it’s with a good man.” Andretti said. Penske Team owner Roger Penske told the assembled media: “To see Mario Andretti walk down to shack his hand ... what a class guy he is. “To see Will put it down has been terrific for the team. “It shows what he has in him – it’s been a great year for the team” So I would say the best driver wins the championship, the best guy on the day wins at 500, and sometimes the lucky guy wins the 500. “The 500 is bigger than the championship as far as the coverage it gets and the prestige. It’s an event like no other, with 400,000 people. It is an amazing race to be a part of, and yes, I think we’d all like another win there.”

INDYCAR STATS • 230 IndyCar Race • 41 Wins • 85 Podiums • 68 Poles

WHAT ABOUT A RETURN TO BATHURST? There was talk when Scott McLaughlin appeared at Team Penske about the pair running up there, but that amounted to nothing. He also spoke with Michael Anderson recently about running in his wildcard this season. The challenge, he says, is that he has never wanted just to turn up and race. He wants to do some testing and take it seriously, but the IndyCar schedule has never really allowed that. It remains on his list of things to do when he stops full-time racing. “Maybe I should just do it one year without that much testing, get the experience. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s championship or anything like that, so maybe run a wildcard where it doesn’t matter. Get the experience, and then it’s easier to turn up the next year and be a bit more serious. “I’ve spoken to Scott about it. He’s kind of like, “Why do I need to do that? I’ve already done it.” He’s very focused on the IndyCar. If he goes and wins a championship or something, maybe he would.”

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EREBUS OK TO RUN MURPHY AND STANAWAY AT BATHURST EREBUS BOSS Barry Ryan has confirmed the damaged #9 chassis of Will Brown will be back in the workshop this week and will run at Bathurst after a marathon repair at the workshop of the team’s fabricator, James White, in Mt Gambier. Ryan said the chassis repair alone had taken more than 144 person-hours to repair the damage from the 56G crash at Pukekohe. “We got it back to the workshop last Wednesday, just after lunch and had it in Mt Gambia that night,” he said. “I was over there with one of our other crew from here, and we spent four days straight at 12 hours a day cutting the whole rear end off from the main hoop back and putting it back together.

“It should be ready for paint this afternoon (Monday), and then we can get it back to Melbourne. It’s been a huge job and won’t affect Bathurst, but we’ve lost days from building the Gen3 cars. It’s been repaired 100%; there’s no question over anything on it now, and it’s back to better than before it crashed.” He was reluctant to put dollar figures around the repair but conceded it was “just a lot of money.” As for the data, he said he hadn’t seen the figures Supercars pulled off the car but confirmed he was told it was 56G and that the car left the track at 170km/h and would not have lost much of that velocity before hitting the wall. Ryan heaped praise on the car’s safety

and systems at the track: “We always try to ensure our drivers are in the best seat inserts we can get, and they have everything that can protect them as best we can. It is a credit to Supercars that we’ve designed a good chassis that can stand up to that impact and protect the driver. Will’s probably lucky the wall moved so much too.” As for the push and shove with Mark Winterbottom after the race, he said he was just trying to defuse a heated situation, and there was nothing in it. “I was trying to stand between my driver and another driver that was asked not to come to our garage, and I just wanted to de-escalate it. Will wasn’t happy because he’d heard that Winterbottom had said it

(knocking him off the track) was retaliation for what Will had done at the corner before. “I tried to keep him out of our garage. He chose to come in and then wouldn’t leave. “I didn’t do anything more than I would do to a mate who had been on the piss too hard and was talking to people the wrong way. It’s just what we all do all the time, but this time it was caught on camera.” He said if Motorsport Australia was investigating the incident in the garage, it had yet to contact him. Erebus will run three cars at Bathurst: two for its regular drivers and the Boost Mobile wildcard entry for Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway that will run out of a garage shared with Triple 8 for Craig Lowndes and Declan Fraser. Andrew Clarke

PRESSURE ON SUPERCARS CALENDAR AN ANNOUNCEMENT is expected soon from Supercars on the 2023 calendar as it battles to cut down to 12 Rounds for the first season of Gen3. We know the season will start in Newcastle and then move to the streets of Melbourne to support the Australian Grand Prix, locking away the opening two races. The run home should begin with a revived Sandown 500 in September and conclude with the Bathurst 1000, Gold Coast 600 and Adelaide 500 in late November/early December. In the middle of the year, Darwin and Townsville are also safe thanks to government support, leaving Symmons Plains, Wanneroo Raceway, Winton, The Bend, Sydney Motorsport Park, Queensland Raceway and New Zealand fighting for the remaining four spots on the calendar.

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Tasmania and Western Australia are seen as likely to remain given the national nature of the series, meaning only two of the remaining five circuits will make the cut if the series does shrink to 12 rounds. • Newcastle – March • Melbourne GP – April • Symmons Plains# – April • Wanneroo Raceway, Perth# – May • TBA* – June • Hidden Valley, Darwin – June • Townsville 500 – July • TBA* – August • Sandown 500 – September • Bathurst 1000 – October • Gold Coast 600 – October • Adelaide 500 – November/December # Likely Events; * Two events be chosen from Winton, Sydney Motorsport Park, The Bend and (likely) Hampton Downs in New Zealand Andrew Clarke


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BARRY ROGERS: ARG NOT FOR SALE

THE AUSTRALIAN RACING GROUP HAS CONFIRMED THAT THERE IS NO PURCHASE OF ITS OPERATIONS EITHER PARTIALLY OR ENTIRELY BY RACING AUSTRALIA CONSOLIDATED ENTERPRISES ... QUESTIONS REGARDING the future ownership of Australian Racing Group were raised at one of the ARG category meetings at Sandown last weekend, and ARG CEO Matt Braid responded by saying that there was no deal going ahead for ARG to be purchased by RACE – the entity that operates Supercars. Board Member Barry Rogers, spoke exclusively to AUTO ACTION regarding the ongoing speculation that RACE was moving ahead to take control of ARG. Rogers was emphatic that there was no opportunity progressing and that the door had closed on that scenario. “We’re not selling. We’re just going to row our own boat and do our own thing,” Rogers said at Sandown during the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships. “Currently, with the Bathurst 6-hour, the Bathurst International and five or six other events, we think we are OK. “We have great categories, as is evident by what has been racing here this weekend, and we are full steam ahead working on plans for the future. “We’ve got a minimum of seven rounds, so whether we look to grow that to 10 in the future and run all the categories at our own events we will

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look to see what opportunities might come up. “We have a great partnership with Motorsport Australia and with STAN and the Nine network we have fantastic media and broadcast partners, so we have plenty of scope to do our own thing. It’s all positive from our point of view. Several TCR team owners told AUTO ACTION that the feedback they were being given was that RACE was still pressing on with the purchase and that TCR would not survive under a RACE/ Supercars owned program. Rogers said that, like others, he had also heard the rumours circulating around the Paddock at Sandown that RACE was thinking about buying ARG and would kill off TCR, but he reiterated that it didn’t matter because the sale to RACE was off the table. “We invested in RACE as there was a whole of motorsport program and at the time of our investment in 2021, they were to simultaneously take an equivalent stake in ARG. “The aim of this was to align the commercial interests of both entities so the focus would be on building a two-tier calendar – that uses the right products at the right events to deliver

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the best outcomes for fans, the sport, sponsors and governments. “Ultimately the RACE part of the investment in ARG didn’t happen and, despite that, we have maintained our investment in RACE as we still believe in the whole of motorsport program. “To be clear, we want to work with Supercars collaboratively and whether there is some opportunity with Supercars with our Touring Car Masters, S5000 or GT categories then that’s great. “Those categories have raced on Supercars programs in the past with no worries, So, maybe there are opportunities so that those things can happen in the future. “But with regards to TCR and TransAm, I don’t think they will want either because they are possibly regarded as ‘conflicting’ and so we will just run them ourselves.” Rogers confirmed. Moving forward with ARG now confirming that there is no sale to RACE, it still see’s ARG with a significant ownership of RACE. “They haven’t got a share in ARG. There was an opportunity last year in November to acquire 30%, and they didn’t complete that, so now see it best that we press on and do our own thing.”

Garry Rogers Motorsport will retain its share of just less than 15% in RACE, purchased last year as part of an interdependent transaction agreement. In that agreement, ARG and RACE were meant to buy 30% of the shares in each other’s businesses by 30 November. ARG, through Garry Rogers Motorsport and Brian Boyd (an ARG co-founder), bought into RACE as the largest cornerstone investors as part of the initial funding raise by RACE, but RACE did not progress their option to take up a pro-rata holding in ARG as outlined. Nearly a year down the track, ARG has now taken that option and any further acquisition off the table. In addition, it is understood that the approximately 15% of RACE held by Brian Boyd as part of the original ‘ARG’ cornerstone 30% shareholding in RACE has now been sold as a result of the move away from the whole of sport offer. Barclay Nettlefold, RACE Chairman was approached for comment but had not responded as we closed for press. Barclay Nettlefold, RACE Chariman was approached for comment but had not responded as we closed for press. Bruce Williams

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LATEST NEWS Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine F1, and Esteban Ocon, on the podium after the Hungarian GP win last year ... could Mick Doohan (below) get the nod to join them? Images: Motorsport Images

DOES ALPINE KNOW WHAT IT’S LOOKING FOR? LAURENT ROSSI and Alpine were completely caught out by the Contract Recognition Board’s decision to validate Oscar Piastri’s 2023 contract with McLaren and proof of that is that more than two weeks later the French team is still completely in the dark about the identity of the driver who will partner Esteban Ocon next season. With Rossi trying to pin the blame on a junior member of his legal team, blaming her for the delay in sending Piastri’s management the 2023 contract for them to sign, the Frenchman has been forced to delegate some of his previous competences to the much more experienced Otmar Szafnauer, admitting in Monza that, “it’s Otmar that is leading the contract negotiations with drivers. And it’s going to be even more so in the future. Because Otmar is the boss. I trust him fully, he is doing an excellent job. So, it gives me that peace of mind, I trust he is going to continue growing the team.” As it’s widely known, Szafnauer’s first choice to fill the vacant seat is Pierre Gasly and the Frenchman is

clearly wishing to move out of the Red Bull environment he’s been in since his junior formulas days, knowing Christian Horner will never have him back at Red Bull Racing. But the Austrian company has made Gasly’s release depend on being able to put Colton Herta in his place at AlphaTauri and that, frankly, is a long shot (read separate story) because he’s not currently eligible for a Super License. While AlphaTauri can afford to wait until the last minute to decide who will be Tsunoda’s 2023 team mate, Alpine cannot wait for too long and that’s why Szafnauer has opened negotiations with many other drivers, to see who’s available and then make a decision. Mick Schumacher, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nyck de Vries have been offered to Alpine by their respective managements and while the German doesn’t seem to have many fans within Alpine, the Italian is represented by the very experienced Enrico Zanarini, whom Szafnauer knows well since he ran Fisichella at Force India. As for de Vries, he was considered an outside shot until the Italian Grand Prix, but

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his performance in Monza put him very high on Alpine’s list and it’s fair to say he’s currently the favorite to take the vacant seat. Two other names, though, are also in Szafnauer’s list and their completely different profiles show that the French team hasn’t yet decided if it wants a safe pair if hands to fill the seat in 2023 before handing it to Gasly for the following years or a younger driver that can grow in the next two seasons alongside Ocon and then become the team leader from his third season in Formula One. We’re talking about Nico Hulkenberg and Australia’s Jack Doohan, who is having a very impressive first

season in Formula 2 and is now the senior driver in Alpine’s Driver Academy. The German is the man favored by the engineering department, as he did a good job for Renault when he raced for the team between 2017 and 2019, and did solid jobs in the five occasions he had to replace one of the Racing Point/Aston Martin drivers in the last three years, when Pérez, Stroll and Vettel were out of action after testing positive for Covid-19. But Doohan is seen as a good long-term prospect; his three wins in Formula 2, one in a feature race, the other two on sprint races, putting him currently fourth in the

championship and with a good chance to move up to third in the final round, as he stands only nine points behind Logan Sargent in the standings. But some in Alpine, like Szafnaeur, are weary the young Australian may be unprepared for Formula One – pointing at Tsunoda’s difficulties in the last two years after jumping straight to Grand Prix racing after just one season in Formula 2 as evidence young drivers need time and running to be prepared to make the jump. A lot has been made of the twodays test Alpine will hold in the Hungaroring before the Singapore Grand Prix, but while a bad test may eliminate one of the candidates, it’s the definition of Gasly’s situation that will be the key factor for Alpine’s decision. If the Frenchman is not available but signs for 2024, then all Alpine needs is a stop-gap solution that could be Hulkenberg but also Giovinazzi or de Vries. If there’s no future deal with Gasly, then de Vries and Doohan are the main candidates for the seat, as their long term prospects are better than the two veterans’ ones. Luis Vasconcelos


HARD WORK AND PADDOCK SUPPORT REVIVES BOOST WILDCARD BOOST WILDCARD front men Greg Murphy and Peter Adderton have paid tribute to both the Erebus Motorsport team and Supercars paddock for getting the Bathurst 1000 program back on track. A timely trip to Mount Gambier has ensured that the #9 Boost Mobile car will be fixed prior to ‘The Great Race’ in October, after some initial concerns over the possibility of a rebuild. The news came as a great relief for fourtime Bathurst 1000 winner Murphy, who will line up alongside Richie Stanaway as part of a fan-inspired wildcard. “I was positive about a solution being found, no matter what that was, and it’s great news to hear that the team are going to be able to repair car #9,” Murphy said. “The crews really are the unsung heroes of the game, they’re so passionate and committed to the sport, the jobs they do and when something like this happens, they’re really forced to dig deep. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but the team knows what they’re doing, they’ve done it before and to know that it’s all under control is great. “It’s not new but it still shouldn’t go unrecognised, it’s amazing and deserves a lot of praise and acknowledgement.” While the Erebus Motorsport crew has been on the front line hitting the tools to

save Brown’s car, support has also come from outside the garage. Adderton expressed that generosity has come from all corners of the Supercars paddock, filling him with gratitude. “Out the front of the garages, the teams are obviously very competitive and aggressive, which you would expect. But

at the back of house in the pits and behind the scenes, the amount of people involved directly with Supercar teams that have rang up to offer support, to do whatever they can to make this happen, has blown my mind,” Adderton told Auto Action. “I didn’t think that the Supercars fraternity were like that, and that’s a big miss on my

part, but they have been unbelievable. “Everyone’s trying to help and support to get this wildcard happening, because at the end of the day, it’s for the fans.” The #51 wildcard is due to complete a final test day at Winton on September 28, before heading to Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 on October 6-9. TW Neal and JN

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LATEST NEWS

OUTBACK DESERT DASH

WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S Lake Perkolilli Red Dust Revival is returning on September 19-25, taking place at the legendary claypan flats 45 minutes’ drive out of Kalgoorlie. The Perkolilli Claypan is arguably one of the oldest original race track surfaces still used in the world, sharing a similar historic time period as the UK’s Brooklands (1907) raceway and aerodrome, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (1909)... albeit on a claypan. This year’s event is being put on by the Lake Perkolilli Motor Sports Club (formed

in 1926) and the Variety Goldfields: a WA based children’s charity. This 2022 re-enactment of the great ‘Perko’ race, has the greatest number of entrants in its history, eclipsing even the numbers from the original races. “This really is the pinnacle of what we would call outback motorsport, we’ve got cars coming from every state,” Said Graeme Cocks, president of the Lake Perkolilli Motor Sports Club, speaking to AUTO ACTION from Perth. “Its the romance of being able to compete and drive on a racetrack that’s

exactly the same as it was in 1914.” Amongst the 106 confirmed entrants, car models include a Ford Model T Speedster, Morris Eight Special, Hudson Terraplane, Gwynne Eight, Austin Seven, Chrysler Silverwing, Dodge Special, Willys Overland, Triumph Dolomite … the list goes on. It’s just the sixth time since 1997 that the event has taken place, with its past history steeped in some of the earliest traditions of Australian motorsport folk law. For some back-story, In 1914, Western Australia’s first organised form of

motorsport took place on the dry and dusty red claypan of Lake Perkolilli. Motoring enthusiasts from Perth and Kalgoorlie made the trip out to the popular event, driving up the godforsaken roads that led into Perkolilli, pitch their tents in the rock-hard soil, and began tuning and testing their motorcycles and cars to prepare for race day. At first it was the motorcycles that were the prominent force, reaching up to speeds of 160km by the mid-twenties, before the cars started to match them in performance, where they started to experience the thrill of fast cornering in some of Australia earliest racing machines and roughest conditions. By the late 1920’s, the event had started to become legendary, with its golden years producing famed early winners such Ossie Cranston (Ford), Arthur Colliver (Chrysler), Eric Armstrong (Triumph) and Neil Baird (Terraplane). The earliest V8’s started to dominate the flats, with its last winner, Jack Nelson, piloting a Ballot Special, which had a Ford V8 in a Chevrolet Chassis, blended with parts from a Ballot grand prix car. By 1936, the emergence of racing in Albany started to eclipse the Perkolilli event, and by the advent of the Second World War, the ‘Perko’ claypan was no more, but lived on the mind’s of motoring enthusiasts for its unique place in Australian motorsport history.

“It’s a real piece of history, if the cars are the same, and the track’s the same, then the experience is the same. It’s what makes people cross the Nullabor to come all the way out here,” Cocks continued. “The drivers are getting the dust in their faces and experiencing the exact same slip on the surface with the same old tyre’s… it’s the same experience except you’re not racing and not driving the engine hard enough to blow it up…hopefully.” With 106 competitors entered so far, and a third of them crossing the Nullarbor from other State’s, all entrants will get nine runs each on the track in single release starts that are determined from time trials conducted at the start of the event. With every car being handicapped and with no overtaking allowed, after the two laps it ensures that all competitors cross the finish line at roughly the same time, providing a fantastic scene for the spectators. The current plan is to continue the event every two years, due to the huge amount of effort it takes to get an idea such as this to turn into a reality. “Basically, we create a sort of town on the claypan, so it’s a big amount of work to get it up and running, as well as people travelling 3-4000 km’s to get here, and having to build and restore the vehicles and then get them here…so you wouldn’t want it to do it every year,” Cocks quipped. TN

MASSIVE OCTOBER AUTOFEST SET FOR THE BEND SOUTH AUSTRALIA will host a huge motorsport event on October 21-23 in an extravaganza badged as The Bend AutoFest. The penultimate weekend of the month will see a bumper schedule, with the finale of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, The GT festival, and EROAD Power Stage of the Adelaide Hills round of the Australia Rally Championship (ARC), and The Bend Classic. The AutoFest will be headlined by a massive Shannons round, with the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia, Radical Cup Australia, GC Marine Australian Prototype Series, Australian Production Cars and the Motorsport Australia GT Championship, all confirmed for the season closer. The GT Festival will be held at the circuit’s Welcome Centre, with 20 pristine GT cars on display from past to present, allowing fans to view the racer’s on an up-close and personal perspective. Fans will also get to witness a stage of the ARC’s penultimate round, as The Bend will host the EROAD Power Stage of the Adelaide Hills Rally as it moves

from the Shire roads of the Adelaide Hills for the events 180 km, 28 stage conclusion, serving as the AutoFest’s crescendo. Rally stars such as Lewis and Harry Bates will be competing, as well as some young and up-coming stars, such as Max McRae of the legendary McRae rally family, and victorian Troy Dowel to name a few. And just so the attending motoring enthusiasts and race fans don’t get a chance to breathe over

the course of this breathtaking event, the extremely popular Bend Classic will also be running, with the Super Sprint competition and the Bend Shootout. The categories will feature classic Formula 1 and open wheelers, as well as the vintage racing with Group J & K vehicles accepted as entrants. Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations, Michael Smith, spoke about the enormity of the event for Adelaide.

“It’s quite rare to have multiple major national championships running at the same time and even rarer to have them at the same location,” Smith said. “There is a lot of work going into this event, and it’s a very exciting prospect to have both Shannons and the ARC both sharing the spotlight at a brilliant circuit such as The Bend. “Add in a highly popular event like The Bend Classic, and it certainly whets the appetite of all types of motorsport fans. It will be great to see the circuit racing, historic, and rally communities combine, and even work together, under the one event.” Managing Director of The Bend, Dr Sam Shahin, shared Smith’s sentiments on the event, calling it an important insight into the future of Australian motorsport. “Events such as The Bend AutoFest will form the template for future motorsport events in Australia,” Shahin said. “The Bend is so proud to be in a position to work alongside Motorsport Australia to put on one of the biggest motorsport festivals this year.”

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PORSCHE ACE SCORES FINAL BATHURST 1000 CO-DRIVE KIWI PORSCHE racer Jaxon Evans will race alongside Jack Smith for Brad Jones Racing in the 2022 Bathurst 1000, completing the driver line-up for ‘The Great Race’. Evans completed a successful evaluation day in a BJR Commodore at Winton Raceway on Monday, before the 2018 Carrera Cup Australia Champion was officially confirmed as Jones’ co-driver. After tasting success in Australian Porsche racing, Evans took his talents overseas and built an impressive motorsport CV – with both French and Dutch Carrera Cup titles to his name, a runner-up finish in the Porsche Supercup and a third-place finish in the FIA World Endurance Championship (GTE-AM) The 26-year-old is currently contesting selected races of the NLS Nurburgring Endurance Series in a Porsche GT3R. He is looking forward to being on the grid for the biggest race on the Supercars calendar. “I arrived back in Australia just last week and to be in the SCT Logistics car turning laps at Winton has been amazing,” Evans said. “Endurance racing isn’t new to me, and neither is Bathurst but heading there in a Supercar is definitely going to be a pinch me moment. “The car felt very comfortable from

the outset and the team has been so enthusiastic and welcoming, I’m feeling really confident about heading to Bathurst alongside Jack and the whole BJR and SCT Motorsport team.” While their paths have split in recent years, Smith and Evans have history having raced for the Birel Kart Team together.

SCT’s Head of Motorsport Programmes Andrew Jones is confident that Evans will put his best foot forward on Bathurst 1000 debut. “The evaluation day has been a good opportunity for both Jaxon and the team to work together and get a feel for how each other goes about their business at the circuit,” Jones said.

“From our end, Jaxon has delivered today on what our expectations are from a driver of his calibre, and we now welcome him as part of the team for the upcoming Bathurst 1000 and I think that the combination of Jack and Jaxon is a very exciting one”. The 2022 Bathurst 1000 will take place from October 6-9. JN

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LATEST NEWS

BIG BANGER S5000 UPGRADES TESTED AT THE BEND

S5000’S INAUGURAL Open Test Day at The Bend (taking place as AA went to press), was set to include a range of technical upgrades being trialled on three dedicated development cars. The upgrade packages, developed by series Technical Partners, Garry Rogers Motorsport, include several evolutionary additions to the Rogers AF01/V8 platform that was first introduced in 2019. Then developments follow feedback from a host of S5000 competitors and teams, such as Rubens Barrichello, Alex Davison, James Davison, James Golding, and Joey Mawson; as well as from competitors throughout the 2022 Gold Star Season. The changes being evaluated will be to both the cars, and the control Hoosier Tyre. The inclusion of a push-to-pass function is being assessed for the first time. The system will be programmed into the cars existing ECU and will be operated via the drive-by-wire throttle system. Once the system is activated, there will be additional throttle to be accessed.

Until the driver lifts the throttle, the system will remain active, with the numbers of activations per race to be looked at in the future. If the testing is successful, the changes will be implemented for the beginning of the up-and-coming Trans-Tasman series, which is due to start on October 29-30 at the Surfers Paradise Supercars event. As well as the push-to-pass function, an upgraded damper package will be tested; along with improved rear vision mirrors; a new rear wheel rim specification; minor adjustments to the exhaust and accelerator pedal, and developments to both the front and rear suspensions. New tyre compounds and constructions from control Tyre supplier, Hoosier, will also be tested with an eye to the 2023 season, whilst the Trans Tasman series will be contested with the current Hoosier tyre. After the testing at The Bend, the final sign-off on the 2023 tyre specification will be completed following a two-day test at Phillip Island later in September.

The testing coincided with the category’s inaugural Open test day, in which four teams provided a selected number of pilots the chance to test the ‘Big Bangers’ at speed, as well as receive coaching from current competitors. Versa Motorsport, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Team BRM and Tim Macrow Racing, provided the fleet of S5000 machinery that was set to be sampled across a full day of on-track training at the South Australian circuit. With Versa and GRM having already confirmed its squads of pilots, another five have been added across BRM and Macrow racing. Amongst the new inclusions for BRM, is the Super3 frontrunner in Brad Vaughan, Super2’s Zane Morse, and Toyota 86 series racer Jayden Wanzek. Tim Macrow, a two time winner of the Australian Drivers Championship in national Formula 3, has included Formula 3 and Formula ford race Trent Grubel, and Australian GT competitor Ryan How.

TEST DAY DRIVERS VERSA MOTORSPORT: Matt McLean Alex Ninovic Xavier Kokai Jake Santalucia Gianni Lutzu Sebastian Fiorenza GARRY ROGERS MOTORSPORT: Sebastian Amadio Kody Garland Beau Russell Noah Sands Jude Bargwanna Tom Hayman TEAM BRM: Brad Vaughan Jayden Wanzek Zane Morse TIM MACROW RACING: Trent Grubel Ryan How

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VALIANT FANS HELPED GET TILLEY’S PACER OVER THE LINE

BOWE BREAKS THE 300 TCM BARRIER

AS THE rain dumped down on the Sandown race track on the Saturday of the Shannons National round, AUTO ACTION was on-hand in the Touring car Masters tent behind the pit lane. Surrounded by mechanics and onlookers, Cameron Tilley stood behind his rebuilt Valiant in his blue racing suit with a smile as wide as his Pacer’s bonnet. The normally reserved driver had reason to be satisfied after taking a podium in the Trophy race when he blasted off the line down the outside of the pit straight, putting him in first position by the second turn. He also qualified in P1 in trying

circumstances, but the grid was reverted to the dry practice session times in a controversial decision. The delighted reaction from the crowd reflected their appreciation for it being there at all, with its fans also having played a part in its return. “The fan support was massive, I set up a Go-fund-me page which rounded up a reasonable contribution, which got me about a quarter of the way there,” Tilley told AUTO ACTION. “Whether I raced it again or not, it had to be fixed – I couldn’t handle seeing it like that. People were helping every day

after leaving their own jobs, I couldn’t even begin to count the hours that we all put in over the nine weeks. To experience that level of support was something else – I couldn’t believe it. “I got a big help from Gear-Exchange from Smithfield in Sydney also. It’s people like that that keep us all going really. And Anglomoil has also helped me for years, and they’ve given me great support throughout.” “I couldn’t have done it without them and everyone else. People just kept coming out of nowhere just saying they could help. No matter how big or small the contribution, It helped me to keep on pushing.” TN

VALE – LES SIVIOUR MULTIPLE AUSTRALIAN Off Road Champion Les Siviour passed away on September 8 after a short battle with cancer. He began racing in 1983 at Waikerie in his wife’s shopping car. He subsequently campaigned Nissan Patrols for 19 years and won the Production 4WD Championship 16 times, and the Australian Off Road Championship in 1985. The Griffith-based rice farmer retired from fulltime

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competition in 2003 before he returned to competition briefly in 2005, and again in 2010 with daughter Katie, also at Griffith. He kept involved, with support to son-in-law Shannon Rentsch and his father Ian in their bids to win the Australian Championship. AUTO ACTION extends its deepest condolences to his wife Jan, daughters Bobbie and Katie, and to the extended family and friends. GO

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JOHN BOWE brought up his 300th Touring Car Masters start at Sandown Raceway on Sunday dung the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship. The Bathurst legend is a four-time winner of the fan favourite category, bringing up the milestone at a track where he also cantured tour Sandown bts Bowe’s TCM career started in 2008, driving in Camaro before jumping into a Ford Mustang Trans Am affectionately known as “Sally.” In 2015, Bowe shifted over to the Bendigo Retro Muscle cars Torana, built by Gary O’Brien, in which he nas competed in 147 races. Bowe’s 300th start almost delivered a fairy tale finish, where the left mirror of Adam Bressington’s #95 Camaro loomed large with the #18 Torana into the final straight. The final margin of 0.024s was the closest finish in TCM history, with Bowe losing by a foot and a half’s length – or the Camaro’s bonnet. Bowe had the championship lead leading into the round, but the rival Torana of Ryan Hansford takes a nine point lead heading into Bathurst on November 11-13. Having won the Bathurst 1000 twice, there’s a fair chance Bowe’s victorious knowledge of The Mountain may have him in good stead ... TN

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ANTICIPATION GROWS FOR FORMULA 5000 CELEBRATION BOTH ENTRY numbers and enthusiasm are growing for the Rose City 10,000, a Formula 5000 extravaganza which will headline the upcoming Winton Formula Festival. The revival of the Rose City 10,000, an iconic Formula 5000 event run in the 1970s, has prompted a record number of entrants to express their interest. Event organiser Rod Carroll is excited about the prospect of up to 18 of the fire breathing open wheelers sharing the track at Winton Raceway on October 15 and 16. “The original event only had 12 and we’ve got 14 entries now, as well as four more blokes we’re working on,” Carroll told Auto Action. “The competitors are all enthusiastic, it’s been a long time. “We’re just dying to get back on the track. To drive one of these cars is one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. “COVID greatly depleted our fields for a couple of years, so this is our first big chance to get together and have a proper race meeting.” The Rose City 10,000 will be held alongside the Formula Ford and Formula Vee nationals at the new festival, which has been in the pipeline for years. Carroll is hoping that fans, who will be treated to special access, will flock to country Victoria for the event. “It’s been a couple of years in the making,” he explained. “It’s just captured the imagination of the

The Chevron B24 driven by Tom Tweedie, and Tim Berryman’s ex- Alan Jones/Theodore Racing Lola T332 will be among the range of S5000s at Winton ... Image: Peter Ellenbogen competitors and we’re hoping it’s going to capture the imagination of the fans. “They’re suffering a dreadful problem up there in New South Wales at the moment with the closing of Wakefield, so I feel like this is a great opportunity for the fans to get

out there and show some support for the Benalla Auto Club. “We’re going to invite the crowd to come on to the grid and have a look at the cars, stand right up close to them and be part of the action.”

Prizemoney will be up for grabs in the Formula Ford category, as well as a spot on the Formula Ford Festival trophy, while F5000 steerers will battle it out to be the first Rose City 10,000 winner since Formula 1 champion James Hunt in 1978. JN

BATTLE OF THE YOUNG GUNS IGNITES THE BEND

Astutui heads Smith and McLeod en route to taking the points at The Bend ... AUSTRALIAN FORMULA Ford’s ‘battle of the young guns’ continued at The Bend for its penultimate round. James Piszcyk entered the round ahead of Sonic Motor Racing’s Valentino Astuti, with Cameron McLeod and Winston Smith still in contention. In cold, wet, and windy conditions

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Sonic’s Smith put his Mygale SJ10A onto pole on a final lap flyer, with CHE’s Piszcyk sharing the front row. The number #93 championship leader took the lead on the first turn of race 1, and never looked back, as he looked to stamp his authority on the season. A Safety Car brought the field back

together, but Astuti and Smith settled into the minor podiums with McLeod taking P4. Race 2 got underway with difficult 75km winds, as Sonic Racing whipped up its own storm with a one-two finish, as Smith backed his race one podium with a maiden category win with Astuti in P2, and McLeod capturing P3.

“Finally got the first win on the board, and it was a good race. I made a move into Turn 1 at the start then got Valentino. Val fought back hard, but got the win and it feels good,” said Smith. Race 3 proved another epic battle between the two Sonic teammates, with the two jets throwing team orders out the window to throw it down hard at each other. Astuti got the best of Smith in the the seven lapper, with Quinn notching a deserved podium as the #2 Mygale race winner took the round to sit a race win off Piszcyk a the top of the table. “The team was awesome. They gave me a great car. I need to thank Sonic for a really good car all weekend. The engineers and mechanics were amazing, and thanks to my sponsors for playing a key role behind the scenes,” said Astuti. The round seven season finale is at the SMP on October 29-30 with it all to play for, in a competition that has provided the nation with some of its brightest stars. CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. James Piszcyk 237 2. Valentino Astuti 226 3. Cameron McLeod 198 4. Winston Smith 193 5. Ryder Quinn 169


FRESH CONTENDERS FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTION NATIONALS THE IMPROVED Production Racing Association of Australia (IPRA) nationals are back in 2022 after a three-year hiatus, and a new champion is on the cards. Ray Hislop, who has taken out the event five times in a row in his BF Ford Falcon, is unable to defend his crown this year due to Super3 Series commitments. As such, it’s anyone’s race this time around. Morgan Park Raceway in Queensland will host the 2022 Nationals, and 51 entries have been confirmed across the Under 2-Litre and Over 2-Litre classes. Category representative Justin Wade believes that the September 30-October 2 event marks a return to normality, after the previous two editions were cancelled due to COVID. “It’s a bit of a milestone to get back on the horse,” Wade told Auto Action. “I think there’s 30 2-litre cars, which is which is huge, and 21 overs.” The 51-strong field will be split up into four groups for a round of ‘heat’ races, with the top 10 steerers qualifying for a ‘Top 10 Shootout’. The results of the shootout will set the grid for the Feature Race on Sunday, which will decide the next national champion.

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With Hislop missing from the grid, the list of contenders is long. “It’s a bit of a mixed bag because a couple of guys are missing,” Wade said. “Hislop won’t be there, some others won’t make it between state events

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and other aren’t back on their feet yet financially. “If I had to put my money on someone It’d probably be Zac Hudson in his Mazda RX7.” Wade is anticipating decent spectator attendance at Morgan Park over the

weekend, as grassroots motorsport returns to the national stage. “We always get a couple of hundred up there,” he concluded. “There will also be social media coverage for people who can’t make it to the event.” JN

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LATEST NEWS

BARRY RYAN RECEIVES OFFICIAL REPRIMAND OVER

WINTERBOTTOM PUSH

MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA has today announced the findings of a Stewards inquiry into the allegation that Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan made unnecessary physical contact with Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom following an ontrack clash with Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown. The Stewards have imposed a Reprimand on the Authorised Representative of Erebus Motorsport Pty Ltd (Barry Ryan) – The Stewards Decision is outlined below. The finding was after a Motorsport Australia investigation into an altercation between Mark Winterbottom and Erebus Motorsport’s following Will Browns massive race 28 crash on the first lap. The result of the contact between Winterbottom and Brown caused Will Brown to lose control of the Boost Mobile Commodore and slide across the grass and make massive impact with the wall that protected the Pukekohe pit lane entry. The impact caused major damage to the vehicle which had to be withdrawn from the rest of the event and at the time was considered a right off which caused the team major anguish in the short lead up to Bathurst. Following the race, the Supercars broadcaster interviewed an obviously disappointed Winterbottom over the incident with Winterbottom indicating concern for Will Brown. Winterbottom indicated during the interview that he was concerned and wanted to speak to Will Brown. Understandably Brown who was lucky to escape serious injury in the crash was also emotional about the incident which resulted in his race car receiving massive damage.

Winterbottom visited the Erebus pit garage to speak to Brown. At the time the conversation was seen as confrontational by Erebus Team CEO Barry Ryan who indicated to Winterbottom that he was not wanted in the emotionally charged Erebus team garage. A heated verbal confrontation led to Ryan shoving the #18 Irwin racer out of the garage, with the incident being shown live on television, raising further tension and public discussion into the confrontation. Following the Event, the Stewards conducted an inquiry into an allegation that the Authorised Representative (Barry Ryan) of Erebus Motorsport Pty Ltd made physical contact with the Driver of Car 18, Mark Winterbottom, in the Erebus garage. As a result of the incident the matter was referred to the stewards of the event for further investigation by Motorsport Australia. Motorsport Australia issued a statement on the incident on Tuesday, and stated the following: Stewards’ Decision – Penalty imposed The Stewards, having received a report from the Race Director and having determined to conduct an inquiry, summoned and heard from the Team Representatives of Erebus Motorsport and Team 18 and the Drivers of Car 9, Will Brown, and Car 18, Mark Winterbottom, have considered the matter and determine the following. Rule B6.5.1 – (Rule refers to: Offences Actual Physical Contact) ‘A person must not intentionally make physical contact, which includes any type of assault with another person, except in self-defence.’

Following Race 28. The Stewards have imposed a Reprimand on the Authorised Representative of Erebus Motorsport Pty Ltd (Barry Ryan) – The Stewards Decision is outlined below. Reason - On the first Lap of Race 28 an incident occurred between Cars 18 and 9 at Turn 9 as a result of which Car 9 was pushed off track and collided heavily with a tyre barrier on the exit of Turn 9 causing significant damage to Car 9. The force of the impact of Car 9 with the tyre barrier was reported to have been 56G. The Driver of Car 9 was uninjured. During the Race the Stewards imposed a PLP on the Driver of Car 18 for a reckless driving infringement in relation to that incident. Media had interviewed the Driver of Car 9 who suggested that the Driver of Car 18 ought to visit him after the Race to discuss the incident. The Driver of Car 18 attended the Erebus garage shortly after the Race to enquire of the Driver of Car 9 as to his welfare. He was not intending to speak with the Authorised Representative of Erebus who was in discussions with the Driver of Car 9 when the Driver of Car 18 arrived. The Driver of Car 18 was unaware that the Authorised Representative of Erebus had sent a message to his counterpart at Team 18 requesting that the Driver of Car 18 not attend the Erebus garage because emotions within the Erebus team were high, and the team needed time to focus on assessing whether the Car was repairable. A verbal altercation occurred within the Erebus garage between the Drivers of Cars 18 and 9 and the Authorised Representative of Erebus regarding the first Lap incident and its consequences. A media camera operator was in

attendance in the garage at the time and filmed the altercation. The footage depicts physical contact between the Authorised Representative of Erebus and the Driver of Car 18. The first contact involved the Authorised Representative using the back of his hand to touch the Driver’s left arm to direct the Driver towards the door of the garage at the same time as asking the Driver to leave the garage. There was no force behind the push. The second contact occurred a short time later and involved the Authorised Representative pushing the Driver’s upper arm using the open face of his hand, again at the same time as asking the Driver to leave, the Driver having not left after the first contact. The second contact was evidently more forceful that the first because it pushed the Driver of Car 18 off balance, albeit slightly. A literal construction of that Rule would deem any harmless and not unwanted physical contact a breach. In our minds, a breach of the Rule cannot be established unless the contact was at the very least unwanted and beyond the bounds of social norms. The first contact was little more than a touch and was merely a non-aggressive means of conveying to the Driver of Car 18 that he was not wanted in the garage at that time. The second contact, however, involving more force, was unwarranted and went beyond the bounds of social norms even though it was not threatening and caused no harm to the Driver. The Stewards recognise that the altercation occurred in an emotionally charged context. The Authorised Representative of Erebus and the Driver of Car 9 were upset by what had occurred on track and for which the Stewards had imposed a Penalty on the Driver of Car 18. Car 9 was unable to compete in Race 29 and it was uncertain then if it could be repaired in time for the next round of the Championship, if at all. The Driver of Car 18 acknowledged that had he known of the request that he not attend at the Erebus garage when he did, he would not have done so and would have chosen a later moment to discuss the incident with the Driver of Car 9. The combination of circumstances where unfortunate and arose out of a misunderstanding by the Driver of Car 18 that an open invitation had been extended to him to attend at the Erebus garage to discuss the Race 28 incident. The Driver of Car 18 acknowledged that he did not feel threatened or intimidated during the incident. Notwithstanding, the Stewards are satisfied that a breach of Rule B6.5.1 was occasioned by the second push and the Authorised Representative acknowledged that he made an error of judgment and that physical contact with the Driver was unnecessary. The Stewards find the breach established and impose a Reprimand on the Authorised Representative of Erebus.


2023 FORMULA 1 CALENDAR GETS TICK OF APPROVAL 2023 FORMULA 1 CALENDAR DATE March 5 March 19 April 2 April 16 April 30 May 7 May 21 May 28 June 4 June 18 July 2 July 9 July 23 July 30 August 27 September 3 September 17 September 24 October 8 October 22 October 29 November 5 November 18 November 26

NEXT SEASON’S 24 race Formula 1 calendar has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council on the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix gets locked away until 2025. The record breaking 24 event calendar will kick off March 5 in Bahrain and conclude at the Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi on November 25. With China and Qatar also set to return, the new Las Vegas strip Grand Prix has been flagged as the season’s penultimate round. A few alterations include the Spa Grand Prix move to the end of July as a back-toback feature with the Hungarian GP, with the Netherlands, Zandvoort race coming after the long break, followed by Monza. The retention of Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps Grand Prix - announced

after the collapse of talks with South Africa organisers due to governmental and financial constraints - was a welcome relief for F1 fans, and somewhat of a victory for its traditionalists over the ‘money-talks’ aspect of the sports modern era. The streets of Monte Carlo have also been confirmed with a contract until 2025, with the iconic Monaco running locked away for the eighth round, between Imola and Barcelona. Stefano Domenicali was delighted to announce the news that extended arguably the most famous event on the calendar - having run an official grand prix since the inaugural 1950 season - with some concerning talk earlier in the year that it was perhaps in danger with its contract ending. “I am pleased to confirm that we will be racing in Monaco until 2025 and excited

to be back on the streets of this famous Principality for next year’s Championship on May 28,” said Domenicali, the president and CEO of Formula 1. “I want to thank everyone involved in this renewal and especially H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Michel Boeri, President of the Automobile Club of Monaco and all his team. We look forward to being back next season to continue our partnership together.” Boeri, the President of the Automobile Club of Monaco, said that “In the interest of the Formula One World Championship, and after several months of negotiations, we are proud to announce that we have signed a threeyear agreement with Formula One, and likely to be renewed.” In the fervour of the 2023 calendars release, The FIA President Mohammed Bin Sulayem,

GRAND PRIX Bahrain Saudi Arabia Australia China Azerbaijan Miami Emilia Romagna Monaco Spain Canada Austria United Kingdom Hungary Belgium Netherlands Italy Singapore Japan Qatar USA Mexico Brazil Las Vegas Abu Dhabi

VENUE Sakhir Jeddah Melbourne Shanghai Baku Miami Imola Monaco Barcelona Montreal Spielberg Silverstone Budapest Spa Zandvoort Monza Singapore Suzuka Losail Austin Mexico City Sao Paulo Las Vegas Yas Marina

added that, “The presence of 24 races on the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar is further evidence of the growth and appeal of the sport on a global scale,” “The addition of new venues and the retention of traditional events underlines the FIA’s sound stewardship of the sport. “I am delighted that we will be able to take Formula 1’s new era of exciting racing, created by the FIA’s 2022 Regulations, to a broader fan base in 2023. “In framing the 2023 F1 calendar, WMSC Members have also been mindful of the timing of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.” The next round of this year’s F1 season is the Singapore Grand Prix, held on the 5.6km Marina Bay circuit from September 30 to October 2.

SUPERCHEAP AUTO CREWS UP WITH

COFFS COAST ARC RALLY THIS YEAR’S Coffs Coast finale of the Rally Australia Championship has welcomed Supercheap Auto on board as a naming rights partner for the November 25-27 event, which will now be named ‘The Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally’. The Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally will not only be the final event of the ARC season, but will run alongside the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship finale, with a host of international and national crews ascending into Coffs Harbour. In an enormous boost to the iconic Coffs Coast region, the Supercheap Auto Rally will also be part of the inaugural Coffs Coast Festival of Motorsport, set to run from November 5-27. With the rally’s occurring at the tail end of the event, it’s slated to be the biggest motorsport event in the history of the region’s love affair with motorsport. Among the stars attending the event, will be WRC competitor and Kiwi superstar Hayden Paddon, recent winner of the Rali Ceredigion tarmac event in Wales. Paddon will tear into Coffs Harbour to take

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on our own ARC stars, with series leader Harry Bates and Gippsland rally winner Lewis Bates at the forefront of the local charge. In an even bigger coup for rally goers, spectators will have free access to the rally over the entire weekend, which includes access to the Service Park at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium. Supercheap Auto Managing Director, Benjamin Ward, explains that fans will also get to experience the Supercheap Auto Clubhouse, which has been a feature at Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships events throughout 2022. “The Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally will showcase the best drivers across Australia and the Asia Pacific region. We are thrilled to be partnering with Motorsport Australia on this international event.” Ward said. “As part of our support of this event, rally fans will get the opportunity to experience our Supercheap Auto Clubhouse, which provides plenty of entertainment, food and drink as well as driver appearances

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throughout the weekend. “It’s a really unique experience, right in the heart of the Service Park. We’re looking forward to ‘making it Super’ on the Coffs Coast in November.” Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations Michael Smith thanked Supercheap Auto for their ongoing support of motorsport.

“Supercheap Auto are a great supporter of all levels of motorsport and we’re excited to be working with them at the Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally.” Smith said. “The event promises to be a fitting finale for the ARC, as well as a super spectacle with the APRC component of the event bringing some world-class international rally drivers to Australian shores.”


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SUCCESSFUL OUTING AT THE BEND FOR S5000 DEBUTANTS THE S5000 has completed its successful inaugural open test day at The Bend with 15 drivers sampling the machinery over some 350 laps of the circuit. The diverse range of ‘Big Banger’ first timers came from Super2, Super3, TCR Australia Radical Cup, Toyota 86, Formula 3, Formula Ford and Karting. The session’s allowed drivers to sample the S5000’s at speed with experienced drivers on hand to offer advice and training. Established talent such as Gold Star champion Joey Mawson, James Golding, Ben Bargwanna, Nathan Herne, John Martin and Tim Macrow, were all track-side for the unique event. Established S5000 talent on hand to assist the new drivers included double Gold Star champion Joey Mawson, Supercars racer James Golding, Ben Bargwanna, Nathan Herne, John Martin and Tim Macrow. Several drivers shared their unique experiences, including Matt McLean, a frontrunner in this year’s Super2 series, explaining what it was like running in a race-winning Versa Motorsport car. “It’s not at all what I expected, but in the best of ways,” McLean said. “The first session was building up to it and taking it slow, before having a crack in the second one. “They’re good, once you learn how they handle, and it was my first time in a single seater. “Once you come to grips with it they’re quite easy to drive…but that first experience, it was wild. “The transition from a Supercar has been massive, all I’ve ever done is tintops, so to step in a single seater, it’s something I always wanted to do as a kid. “Thanks to Versa for getting me along, it’s been really cool. Hopefully we can chip away a little bit more and

work towards racing in the category.” Similarly for Super3 race winner, Brad Vaughan, the transition was a unique one, especially getting in a Team BRM open wheeler just two days after competing the SA state championship in a Hyundai Excel. “They’re unreal cars to drive, they have so much power! This was my first time in an open-wheeler and it’s just been awesome,” said Vaughan. “The first laps were about building up to it, but once you got over the sensation it was straight on it. “Being an open wheeler it’s a lot different to the Supercar, you’ve got the wind in your face and you sit quite tight in the cockpit, but once you get over that they’re reasonably similar…I could see myself driving one of them in the future.” Radical Cup rookie, Sebastian Fiorenza, who sits eighth in this year’s standings, was another debutant for the open wheeler machinery. “Today’s been my first time out and it’s not what I expected! These things are high horsepower, slick tyres, big rear wheels and a lot of power compared to the Radical Cup machines,” said the talented teenager. “They’re a lot of fun to drive but they definitely have a lot of horsepower. It doesn’t have as much downforce as a Radical but that experience definitely helped prepare for this. A lot of skill from the Radical to the S5000 transitioned really well. “We’re working away on it. I can’t say too much yet but I definitely would love to have a crack in one of these for a season or two.” Young Karter Beau Russell, had his opportunity with GRM, who were also testing S5000 upgrades on the day. “What an unreal car to drive! Thanks

to Garry, Barry and the whole team at GRM for giving me this opportunity and letting me get my hands on a Formula car for the first time, said Russell. “It was an incredible experience and such an awesome car to drive. It’s the best car I’ve ever driven!” Other young talent included

15 year-old Karting prodigy Alex Ninovic (pictured above), had his first experience performing laps at The Bend, Formula 3 driver Trent Grubel, TCR young gun Kody Garland, and Jude Bargwanna, who was backing up from at outing at The Bend in the penultimate round of the national Formula Ford.

BROWN’S #9 ON TRACK FOR WEDNESDAY WINTON TEST EREBUS MOTORSPORT are getting to the pointy end of the extensive rebuild on Will Brown’s #9 Boost Mobile car in preparation for Bathurst in two weeks time, providing further confirmation of the Murphy/ Stanaway wildcard. The rebuild has gathered such momentum that the car has been slated for testing at Winton next Wednesday for the Brown and Jack Perkins pairing, alongside the Murphy/ Stanaway #51 wildcard; the last hit-out before the team’s head to Bathurst. The original day of testing for the #9 was to be today at The Bend where Brodie Kostecki and David Russell’s #99 Erebus car is going through its paces. The massive 56G impact at Auckland threw doubt on the Boost Mobile wildcard entry, as there was uncertainty over whether Brown’s car could be repaired in time. With the car taken back to Mount Gambier, it spent five days on the jig before it was painted and returned to Melbourne today. Erebus CEO Barry Ryan gave some

further insight into the team’s effort behind the rebuild. “The chassis underwent significant repairs with the whole rear end cut off from the main hoop in order to restore the main chassis rails, the transmission and suspension structure of the vehicle,” Ryan said. “In total, 33 bars were replaced. It’s been a mammoth effort so far. “On average we had three crew members working on it with over 200 hours of labour completed in just six days to repair and paint the chassis. On Monday night the chassis came off the jig, where it was then sent Max Medhurst Crash Repairs where it was painted before arriving in Dandenong South this morning. “We are now in a pretty good position and back on track to have three cars ready in time for Bathurst,” Ryan added. “The plan now is to work through for what would be a normal week, take the weekend off and have the car ready well ahead

of time for testing on Wednesday. “Our crew are outstanding; I can’t thank them and the businesses enough that have chipped in to help get this done.”

The rebuild continues in Melbourne with body work, the engine install, transmission, and suspension; big work left to handle before Wednesday’s Winton run.


MCCARTHY MAKES SUPER2

DEBUT IN BATHURST RETURN

THE EREBUS Academy has announced that Reef McCarthy will return to Bathurst, with the 18-year-old making his Super2 debut with Image Racing for next month’s Bathurst 1000 support events. With Jaylyn Robotham now fully focusing on his Bathurst 1000 ‘Wildcard’ drive alongside Matt Chahda, McCarthy will take over the #999 Image Racing VF Commodore. For McCarthy it will be a return to Image Racing following a season of Super3 with the Korumburra based team. Image Racing Team owner Terry Wyhoon was full of praise for McCarthy following his Super3 stint with the team in 2021. “Reef drove for us last year in Super3 last year in our FG Falcon and did a good solid job. “It’s great to see Reef stepping up into the Super2 field. He’s a great kid, he’s really passionate about his racing, so I’m

happy to see him back. “The last time he raced at Bathurst was in our Super3 Falcon and he won the final race, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he will go this time around and I have no doubt he’ll give it all he’s got.” Wyhoon confirmed. After a successful run throughout last year’s Super3 season which resulted in four podium finishes and a win at the Bathurst 1000 event, McCarthy is looking forward to making the step forward and spoke to AUTO ACTION today. “I’m really stoked, although it’s a lastminute deal it’s all come together and I’m excited to be back with Terry, Dana and the team, I like working with them and I know the guys, so it’s great to be back. “We have been trying to put together a deal to run Super2 with Image Racing for a while and when this opportunity came up and we went for it. “I’m going into Bathurst without too

many expectations on myself, but I want to be positive about the move up. “The Super2 field is a strong category and I’m looking forward to testing my skills amongst some of the best up and coming drivers. “To have a great group of people behind me that will do whatever they can to get me out on track and give me the best car that they can is really fantastic of them.” McCarthy said. Although McCarthy has not raced in the Super2 car for nearly 12 months he has kept his eye in with regular appearances in the Victorian Formula Vee Championship. After a solid year, he sits 2nd in the standings, with eight podium finishes and six race wins this season. McCarthy will jump in the driver’s seat for a test day with the team at Winton on September 28and feels he has what it takes to move to Super2 competition.

“I’ll have to see how my test at Winton goes first, not really too sure what to expect as I’ve never raced to many of the other competitors before. “It’s been a while since I’ve raced a Supercar and I still have a lot to work on, but I really hope I can get my consistency up and hopefully put together a full weekend without any dramas.” McCarthy attended a Winton test earlier this year with the Erebus Academy and drove the ex-Erebus Mecedes-Chev Supercar. “The closest thing to a Super2 I’ve driven is the Erebus Mercadore. It was great to get a few laps in and brush out the cobwebs and I think I’m really going to enjoy adapting to the VF Commodore. “Supercars is definitely the ultimate goal for myself and any way that I can get myself amongst the category is great. I’m doing everything I can to continue moving forward.” He concluded.


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Above: The crew! Fred Gibson with the first of the GT-R ‘Godzillas’ (opposite), while Jim Richards poses with his championship-winning HR-31 (below).

CELEBRATING 30 YEARS SINCE NISSAN’S BATHURST DOMINATION

THE 200-PLUS crew and colleagues from Gibson Motorsport’s Nissan era recently assembled in Melbourne for a night of reflection 30 years after the demise of the Nissan GT-R that changed the face of touring car racing in Australia. Or, more specifically, 30 years since back-to-back Bathurst and touring car championship wins for the team. The evening reflected on Fred Gibson’s Nissan involvement, starting with the Group C Bluebird and EXA, through to the Group A era of Skyline RS DR30 and HR31 GTS-R, plus the all-conquering R32 GT-R. Gibson, now 80, was initially reluctant about the evening, initially telling Kingsley Edgar, who was organising the evening with Phil Graham, that he “needed it like a dog needs fleas,” but ultimately agreed the evening was surprisingly enjoyable! “They did a super job on the reunion,” Gibson said. “But I didn’t think we needed something like that. We were just doing our jobs at the time – but it was special to see all those people again.” Gibson Motorsport was a genuine factory team located a few hundred metres from

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Nissan’s then head office in Dandenong South, Victoria, and worked in partnership with NISMO, the company’s Japan-based motorsport subsidiary. Through Gibson Motorsport, Nissan won Australian Touring Car Championship titles in 1990 (Skyline HR31 and R32 GT-R) and 91 (R32 GT-R) with Jim Richards and 92 (R32 GT-R) with Mark Skaife. Those triumphs were backed-up with victories in the Bathurst 1000, with Richards and Skaife sharing the driving duties in the R32 GT-R both years, including the infamous ‘pack of arseholes’ win. In the end, the Gibson Motorsport GT-R was so good it killed Group A in Australia, and Gibson is confident they had built the best version of Godzilla in the world. We even gave the world the Godzilla name, with Aussie journalist Mike Jacobson exclaiming at Mallala on debut that it looked like Godzilla was about to eat the field. “We outdid many of them because our GT-Rs were the best in the world. There are no two ways about that. We got invited to Fuji, we were going to try and run in Japan, and the Japanese said, “Not a good idea.

You look after the Australian market, and we look after the Japanese market. “We built our cars to race hard and fast all day. Our GT-R blew the socks off them. They sometimes used to come out when we were testing, and they couldn’t believe the things we’d done. ‘Gibson-san,’ they’d say, ‘how did you do that? How did you make it do that?’ “It was that we that didn’t rely on the Japanese for their parts. Technology-wise we were just miles ahead of them. We had terrific people, and the things we did as a team were unbelievable. And it wasn’t like I was the boss either – I was one of the team. I just made sure that the money was coming in and that we spent it wisely.” While the GT-Rs were the cars that Gibson is best remembered for, Gibson also left a mark on the sport through two young drivers that he blooded – Glenn Seton and Mark Skaife. “When I took up Howard’s (Marsden, the head of Nissan Motorsport at the time) invite to go to Melbourne, the first thing I did was speak to Bo Seton. We had driven together, and I knew he was a good engine man, and I did a deal with him to do the engines and for Glenn to drive the car, which worked well. “When I told Bo we needed another driver, he pointed me towards Mark. I flew to Sydney and went to Oran Park to watch him unbeknown to anyone. He won both races that day, and I spoke to his old man about coming to Melbourne, which he did. “He came down and lived with us while Glenn was still there, and they became good friends. They’re still good friends today.” Over time, Gibson put together a team that shifted the landscape in Australian motorsport. He says he didn’t line his pockets like others, and he put it all back into the team, which he thinks is one of the things that differentiated his team from the other top teams of the day.

THE GIBSON MOTORSPORT STATS CARS - Nissan Bluebird Turbo, Nissan Pulsar EXA, Nissan Skyline (RS DR30, GTS-R HR31), Nissan Gazelle (S12), Nissan GT-R (R32), Holden Commodore (VP, VR, VS, VT), Ford Falcon (AU, BA) DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIPS - 4 (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994) BATHURST WINS – 2 (1991, 1992) ROUND WINS – 35 RACE WINS – 47 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIPS (Formula Holden) – 3 (1991, 1992, 1993)

The 1992 season was the pinnacle for the team. “The whole thing is we were a team – we travelled as a team, we ate as a team (we had our own cook to do the cooking); it was a big family, and everyone enjoyed being there. When you get people doing that, it’s like they start thinking about how we could do something better. And that was the important part. “We were the first to have radios in the cars. Each driver, mechanic, and pit crew had an earpiece, and I could talk to anyone individually or as a group. No one else had the sort of radios Motorola developed it for us – it was just an example of thinking about how you can do better.”


INDYSTAR AA’S LONG-TIME COLUMNIST REFLECTS ON AN ABSORBING INDYCAR SEASON.

Image: Motorsport Images FIVE-AND-A-HALF months. That’s the excruciatingly long wait until the new IndyCar season begins. St Petersburg 2023 can’t come quickly enough, so absorbing was the 2022 battle across North America. IndyCar withdrawal symptoms have already set-in at my house after a thoroughly entertaining season for the world’s premier open-wheeler competition. Yes, Formula 1 has much bigger audiences, crowds (the Indy 500 aside), budgets, prestige and hysteria. But it still can’t match IndyCar’s on-track racing product of gripping races contested across a diverse range of circuits – small ovals, superspeedways, a roval, classic natural terrain road courses and street circuits. No argument that F1 is flying high right now, supercharged by Netflix’s Drive to Survive phenomenon. Yet, after an incredible 2021 title fight between new World Champion Max Verstappen and kingpin predecessor Lewis Hamilton, F1 is quickly falling back into its old habits: extreme hype but ho-hum races. The many F1 snobs out there won’t agree, but IndyCar is way ahead of F1 for intensity of competition and purity of racing. After an encouraging start to

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with Luke West

REVVED UP the 2022 season with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc building up a big points lead, the F1 balloon quickly deflated, complete with farty noises. In contrast, I can’t overstate how much I enjoyed the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series. Nine different winners, countless passing manoeuvres, compelling race day storylines and high driving standards, bar 3-4 backmarkers. True, it helped that Antipodeans came to the fore, but there always seemed to be something happening on and off the track. The season concluded with an intense finale at Laguna Seca with Toowoomba’s finest export needing a top five race finish to secure his second title. If you consider yourself a motorsport enthusiast and you weren’t up at the crack of dawn last Monday week, erm, willing on Will Power on, I don’t think we can be friends. Qualifying in Monterey was enthralling with four of the title

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aspirants failing to progress to the final round to battle championship leader Power for pole. Josef Newgarden shot himself in the foot by spearing off and wedging his car at the spectacular Corkscrew. Our man then secured P1 to become the greatest qualifier in IndyCar history – an incredible feat in its own right – usurping the legendary Mario Andretti, who just happened to be waiting in pitlane to congratulate him. If you missed this magic moment, I question what it is you want out of motorsport? Power’s pole set up a steady run to his second title the following day, but it was not as easy as all that. Newgarden charged forward, as did others, and at one stage it looked like Power would be swamped by the angry pack. Romain Grosjean ranged up from behind, but the Queenslander kept the loose cannon Frenchman at bay and his nose clean to eventually finish the race third and seal the deal.

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So where does WP sit in the pantheon of Aussie motor racers? With two championships and an Indy 500 win, Power is truly one of our greatest ever racing exports. Tell me another Australian who has competed at the pointy end overseas for as long? Sir Jack, maybe? He’s largely flown under the radar, but at least Scott McLaughlin’s high profile move to North America has opened new eyes to Power’s stateside status. WP is now only one of only 18 drivers (and five born outside the United States) to have won multiple ‘IndyCar’ titles and the Indianapolis 500. At the penultimate round in Portland he was sandwiched by New Zealanders McLaughlin and (Brisbane-born) Scott Dixon on the podium. Ultimately this trio of ‘ANZACs’ finished 1-3-4 on the points table. We expect as much from Dixon, but McLaughlin’s 2022 efforts have also been extraordinary – three wins and fourth overall in just his second full season. He’s taken to IndyCar like a Kiwi to a slab of DB Bitter. Maybe the newly reformed South Australian Motorsport Board should invest in bringing IndyCar to the Adelaide Parklands. I’m sure tens of thousands of Kiwi motorsport fans

would flock to the event. Aussies too. Scotty Mac played the dutiful Penske teammate to Power and Newgarden at Laguna Seca, sacrificing his own race to run the same strategy as Penske’s main rival Dixon, to nullify his fellow’s Kiwi’s points impact. On the topic of supreme teamwork, Penske’s ultracompetitive trio always seemed to do the right thing by their organisation. This led to Penske’s 1-2-4 result, in direct contrast to Chip Ganassi Racing, whose season lost momentum when Alex Palou pulled his reputation destroying move to sign for McLaren. Likewise, the four members of the Andretti Autosport team’s exploits at the Mid-Ohio round, where they acted as lone wolves and continually ran into each, prevented a better result for Michael’s mob. The only downside to the Laguna Seca finale was the poor spectator turn out. Penske Entertainment has done a great job building the series’ competitor base since taking ownership in early 2020. Now it needs to work on its marketing plan to ensure more punters are aware of what is motor racing’s best kept secret.

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INTERNATIONAL AUSSIES

STRONG BAJA 400 FINISH FOR WEEL AND PRICE THE TEAM AUSTRALIA pairing of Paul Weel and Toby Price (below/right) have completed the challenging Baja 400 in Mexico in overall fifth place over the weekend, as well as fifth in their class in a thrilling finish over the P6 getter. The pair qualified in P8 in a massive field in-excess of 200 entrants, in their #46 2WD trophy truck, with Weel completing the qualifying. After a disappointing warm-up in the Vegas to Reno, where the pair was derailed with electrical problems following a leak in the truck after a monsoon hit Vegas, the two had a point to prove competing against the best 2WD trophy trucks in the world. “First race for me here, and for the team, so it’s great that an Australian team can come here and do pretty well,” said an exhausted Weel from his truck after the race. “We’re in a great spot for the Baja 1000 in a few months. So thanks to everyone for

putting the work in. I’m sure glad to have Pricey here with me going into the 1000, cause that guy sure can pedal.” Price, an Australian endurance legend in both motorbikes and four wheelers, took the wheel for the first stretch of the Baja 400, and by the 250mile mark, Weel had taken control of the Quad Lock, to push Team Australia in P4. At that point, the ex-Supercars driver sat

behind Bryce Menzies, Luke McMillan, and Dan McMillan, who had all qualified ahead of Weel. Weel’s eventual P5 was a fantastic effort, as the #10 local driver in Alan Ampudia poached P4 off him by just over three minutes. Menzies would prove the eventual winner after controlling much of the race, with a finishing time of 07:59:26.916, and the only driver to break the eight hour mark, with Luke and Dan McMillan taking P2 and P3 respectively. Weel and Price would finish with a time of 08:14:51.303, with Weel edging out Texan driver Mark Walser by just 0.410s. The top nine overall finishers were all from the Trophy Truck category, with the P5 class finish topping off a great weekend for the pair. “It was hard work, and we had a few crucial mistakes in that second stint,” Weel continued. “It was a bit frustrating on my part, but

Toby and Dale (co-driver) did a fantastic job from where they started, and I feel I let the team down a little, but also, we had a few issues with being able to see properly over the hills with the bonnet. “We had a wrong turn and Ampudia got us, and unfortunately we copped his dust for the entire way in. “But at the end of the day, we did finish, and that’s something we’ve not done in this truck, so it was a great effort by the whole team to get it to the finish line, so that feels really good. This is one of the hardest races in the world, it’s pretty tough out here.” The team has proved a popular pairing over on the Mexican Peninsula, gaining much respect from the world’s best, in what can be considered some of the most challenging racing conditions in the world of motorsport. They now return home before heading back to Ensenada, Mexico for the gruelling Baja 1000 on November 15-20. Tim Neal

SUCCESS FOR ANDRETTI TRANS-TASMAN INDYLIGHTS STABLE AS THE IndyLights season came to a close for 2022, its two Trans Tasman imports, Matthew Brabham and Hunter McElrea, were split by just 11 points at the pointy end of the standings. Young Brabham (right), the grandson of three time F1 champion Jack Brabham and third generation racer, ended the season in third. The #83 Andretti Autosport driver had a career best year in the IndyCar feeder category, with the 28 yearold taking out two race wins, including a thrilling late pass to take victory in Illinois, and five podiums. It was a stellar start to the season for the Florida born Aussie, taking out the first race of the year at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in his birth State. Brabham finished just 12 points off second place behind teammate Sting Ray Robb, but outscored him in both wins and podiums, including getting 14 top 10 finishes. Just 11 points back from Brabham, in fourth place, is the US-born-Aussie resident, McElrea (pictured far right). The 22 year-old is another product of Andretti Autosport’s stable of youthful talent, and was just recently given a 2023 contract extension.

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Images: Motorsport Images “I really gelled with the team this season and it’s a great atmosphere with fast cars, so it was a no-brainer for me to come back,” said McElrea. “I’ve learned a lot in my first year and I really look forward to putting that into action for my second year. Obviously, the championship is the goal but I’m just planning to have as much fun as I can and keep learning, while making the most of the opportunity I have.”

McElrea took the IndyLights by storm this year, with the ex-Australian Formula Ford Champion claiming rookie of the year in a two win, seven podium season. He also claimed three poles, and 11 top 10 finishes. Two of those wins came in back-to-back fashion at Mid-Ohio and Iowa in the middle of the season, in an incredible run of five straight podiums. CEO and Chairman of Andretti Autosport, Michael

Andretti, was excited to have McElrea on board for 2023. “We are happy to have Hunter return to the team for another season,” said Andretti. “He’s had a good season with us and will perform well in the series for this upcoming year. After the growth and learnings he has had this year, we look forward to seeing him excel next season.” Tim Neal


HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT SO, THE SECRET IS OUT ...

THE GEN3 Ford Mustang is NOT the Gen3 Ford Mustang. In fact, it never was the Gen3 Mustang. The car unveiled at Bathurst last year as the new superhero for the blue side of Supercars racing was always a (whisper it) fraud. A lovely fraud, and a bellowing Coyote-engined fraud, and a fraud to rally the Ford faithful, but still just a tease of the real car that was always coming down the road. It was a fantastic – and classic – deception. The Ford plan was always to start the 2023 season with an all-new Mustang. Why else was the introduction of the Gen3 regulations delayed? There are plenty of reasons why it could have been delayed, and some – including the Covid-19 pandemic – definitely played a part. Now we’re deeply into ’supply chain’ delays, and the program is a rumoured $2million over budget, so the decision to move the Gen3 start date back to Newcastle next year is looking pretty smart.

with Paul Gover

THE PG PERSPECTIVE It’s also saving the Ford teams – with the 11 Mustangs that will help tip the blue-versus-balance a little more away from the current domination by the ZB Commodore – a lot of money. Imagine if they had built cars with the current Mustang bodywork for a start date in the middle of this year, which was one of the early plans, and then been forced to swap bodies sometime in 2023. So Ford really wanted to start the Gen3 era on a new page, with a new car that was entirely based on the car that will hit showrooms next year. Officially it’s the 2023 Ford Mustang V8, the seventh-

generation of Mustang since the original in the 1960s – and more correctly it’s called the S650 in ‘Ford-speak’ and the outgoing sixth-generation car is the S550. Timing for the launch and timing for the start of the Gen3 era were a mismatch at first. But there was some clever thinking, and even-more-clever manoeuvring, to get the two dates to match. So now we know – the seventhgeneration Mustang was revealed last week in Detroit and, with it, came confirmation that the new Mustang shape would be raced in Supercars from 2023. The new ’Stang will also be a drag racer in the USA next year, with

NASCAR to follow in 2024, and a range of other programs up to the GT3 attack on the Le Mans 24-Hour in 2024 when Ford will join the next-generation cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Chevrolet and the rest. In Australia, the red side of the fence is different. We now have Chevrolet Racing, and the first right-hand drive Corvette in showrooms and on waiting lists that stretch well over a year into the future. But the story of the racing Camaro and the Mustang could not be more different. The Camaro, as a car, is headed into history. There is currently no plan for a successor to the Camaro, even though Chevrolet is near-certain to find something in the catalogue suitable for NASCAR. After all, it was happy to turn the Holden Commodore into the Chevrolet SS for NASCAR competition. It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Right now, it looks as if the allnew Gen3 racer on the red team will be – like the ZB Commodore that died like the Holden brand – an orphan. But the Camaro looks good, Supercars is committed to the Gen3 competition, and we can expect to see the Mustang doing brilliantly well as a road car in Australia. For now, though, the pieces in the Mustang puzzle are still being assembled behind tight security at Dick Johnson Racing in Queensland. The next big challenge is the parity testing – including the vital aero work. The next indication of how things will look in 2023 and beyond is less than a month away. The real Mustang racer will be unveiled at the Bathurst 1000 and then we can really look forward to the next era in the Australian Touring Car Championship and the start of the Gen3 battles.

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FOX TELECASTS CREATE VIEWER BLUES NOT SURE how many people record their Foxtel motorsport as against watching it live, but as I work away everything I watch must be ‘taped’. My problem with the Fox Sports Supercars coverage is that they consistently only allow enough time for each race to just get it in. A Safety Car or any other even minor delay means you miss the crucial final few laps. Same with many practice and even quali sessions. Yet we have endless track maps, keys to the course and over-long, endless intro promos. For $78 a month this is ridiculous. Surely all involved at the meeting record the event to watch when they get home to see how it went ‘after the event’ and to get the big picture of what took place over the race weekend. Surely the Skaifes and Cromptons and the hierarchy at Supercars have this same experience and can’t think it is giving the highpaying customer what they require. Or maybe nobody cares? Over the past six months I have emailed Supercars, but got no response except to be put on their mailing list. I called Foxtel and got somebody in the Philippines who didn’t know what a Supercar was and what I was complaining about, but politely said he would report it and ‘somebody will get back to you’. Of course, nobody did. I then went to Supercars’ Southport HQ and finally got a young lady to hear my case. She was astounded that this was happening and promised to look into

it ‘as I know somebody on the telecast team’ and yet nothing changes. The Auckland round had two of the three races ruined by nonfinishes due to Safety Cars. And we all know how dramatic those final laps were. Much of practice was missed, yet always a zillion track maps and never-ending intros. So bad is the Fox coverage that I also tape on my DVR the late-night abbreviated Seven TV coverage, yet when in desperation I resorted to that following the non-finishes per Fox I found that, even though it was the early hours of the morning, there were no Auckland V8s but never-ending coverage of the Queen’s passing. I give up! Supercars and Foxtel lament a declining viewer audience and wonder why, when the races are shown on the primary Seven channel, that the Fox ratings drop markedly (according to press data I have read) and I am one of those people who primarily watch the HD TV coverage when available as it is more reliable. Surely I am not the only Fox subscriber who has this problem. Jim Thorn, Southport, Queensland

scheduling Pukekohe three weeks before Bathurst should hang their head, or heads, in shame. Why not a proper endurance warm-up event at Sandown in Melbourne or perhaps at The Bend in SA? Brian Fitzgerald, Beechworth, Victoria

TRUTH SERUM FROM THE MAN WEST

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AA’S LONG-TIME COLUMNIST AA’S SSES DISCU LONGTIME ET MARK COLUM RELEV NISTAND ANCE DISCUTS LAMEN SSES MARK THE ET LACK RELEV OF ANCERO AN ENDU AND

LUKE WEST, you’ve done it again (Auto Action, edition 1843), spoken the truth about Supercars and its short-sightedness about giving to its fan base rather than “pandering to those within its bubble”. Yes, definitely bring back the Sandown 500 while there’s still a circuit there to run it on. Bill Rooney, Currans Hill, NSW

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TWO AT THE EXPENSE OF ONE?

THANKFULLY THAT’S the last we’ll see of Supercars at Pukekohe. A lot of history there over the years, and the Kiwis certainly give the show a great welcome every year, but the damage bills from there this time were outrageous. Whoever was responsible for

IT’S GOING to be great to see another Aussie on the Formula One grid next year, with Oscar Piastri debuting with McLaren. It’s been very messy for Oscar getting out of Alpine/Renault and he has put a few noses out of joint and rubbed a few people up the wrong way, but his results all the way through his career to date point to him having what it takes to make it at the very highest level. He’s already shown he’ll never be a pushover, on or off the track.

Nikk MacRae It’s worked out better ... initially, we may have had a year of the old S550 Mustang racing as a Gen3 car before having to be updated. Now it will start racing as a S650 right from the get-go. Rob Brooks Still blows my mind that Supercars are persisting with the one-make design for the new gen cars when you can buy a GT3 or GT4 spec car from both manufacturers off the production line. It would not be difficult to upspec the GT4 with more power and… Carl Prosser Supercars should have gone to GT3/4. Don’t they look great.

Carl Prosser Run GT3 or 4 as is but Ford and Chev in Australia only. Open Bathurst to any other manufacturers. Supercars are trying to reinvent the wheel and will fail yet again. Rob Brooks Exactly ... Remove Bathurst from the championship and return it to be an endurance title of its own right. Aaron Dix How many of the biggest races in the world are not part of their respective championships? Carl Prosser I don’t understand why they did this in the first place. No logical reason I can see.

SCHEDULING WAY OUT OF WHACK

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with Luke West

with Luke West

REVVED UP REVVED UP

It’s been sad to see Daniel Ricciardo’s decline, especially at McLaren (his form wasn’t too bad at Renault), but if you’re getting paid mountains of money you have to deliver – and Dan just hasn’t done that. He’s lucky Ron Dennis isn’t still running McLaren or he might not have kept his seat there as long as he has. It would be nice to see Daniel stick around in F1 because he’s such good value to the fans, but with guys like Nyck de Vries around it’s evidence that there’s always young talent in the wings just waiting for an opportunity. His debut at Monza was a reminder of Michael Schumacher’s arrival on the F1 scene at Spa 30 years earlier. And there’s Mick Doohan’s boy, Jack, knocking on the door at Alpine too after a good year in F2. Dan might miss out, but Oscar and Jack can carry our hopes for another F1 world champion. Go you Aussie boys. Grant Roberts, Nunawading, Victoria. instagram.com/autoa ctionmag/ instagram.com/autoa ctionmag/

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SOCIAL DISCOURSE This edition we start publishing a selection of posts from our social media. This was some of the feedback around the release of the new Generation 7 MustangGen3 Supercar... Darren Crebert Does anyone else find it wastefully stupid that Supercars never considered the next gen Mustang and its implications for aero, and now Supercars needs to spend money yet again to verify this new package???? Why not have waited till new Mustang release and then conduct aero testing one time??

FORD RELEAS ED COM GEN IMAGES OF THE NEW LOOK MUSTA NG GEN3 AN D MUSTANG GT3 RACE CAR’ S Ford Performan ce Motorspor t have released computer generated imag es of what the new Generatio n 7 Mustang w ill look like as a Gen3 Mustang Supercar, earli er the new Mustang GT-3 car images wer e also revealed and it got our readers talkin g…

WHAT’S IN THE NEXT ISSUE? Massive Bathurst 1000 Preview edition – 16 pages of information about this year’s Great Race. All the news and action from the Singapore Grand Prix; Local boys SVG and Harry Bates take on the World’s best in WRC-Rally New Zealand; more on the ‘NASCAR Chase’... IMSA – Matt Campbell looks set to take the GTD Pro title and AA will cover it all ... And more ... 22 I www.autoaction.com.au

ON SALE OCT 6


Another F1 race that saw the qualifying order mean very little for the starting grid.

Image: Motorsport Images

MAKING A PENALTY SYSTEM THAT WORKS TWICE IN three weeks, TV commentators, pundits and fans struggled to get the starting grid for a Formula One race right as they looked at the qualifying results. In Belgium, eight drivers had been penalised for exceeding the allocated number of Power Unit elements allowed per season; in Italy that number went up to nine. With some drivers being sent to the back of the grid, others getting five-place penalties, tenplace penalties and 15-place penalties, the doubts were so spread that even the FIA needed two hours and 56 minutes after the end of qualifying in Monza to publish the provisional starting grid. As the drivers were coming out of their cars, I was in the TV pen to ask them about their session and their prospects for Sunday and it was clear they couldn’t agree on who was starting where! Verstappen thought he was starting sixth on the grid, Russell was right

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F1 INSIDER that the Dutchman would start seventh; others though he’d start fourth … Daniel Ricciardo was happy he was starting fifth, he told me, and was more delighted when I said “I believe you’ll start fourth” only for a McLaren representative to insist he would start fifth – which was the wrong information. Further down the order Bottas believed he would start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid, and not too happy when I said I believed he would actually start 15th. And on, and on and on… All over the world, broadcasters got it wrong and, obviously, we’re not talking about a group of incompetent and lazy people that don’t

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bother to do their homework. That the teams couldn’t agree on what the grid would look like and the FIA needed nearly three hours to come up with an official grid, shows that the rules are confusing, poorly written and, also, not processed in a logical way, as you get constantly cross-referenced, instead of having a clear definition of how things are supposed to be done. The late Charlie Whiting did a great job a few years back in re-writing the rules from scratch, making them comprehensible, but the changes that have been introduced since, have led to the regulations becoming the same sort of mess they were before. Clearly, someone

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needs to spend next winter with just one job to do: write the Formula One Sporting Regulations from scratch and make them easy for everyone to understand – if the Team Managers and the experts don’t understand them, the fans will be even more confused than most people already were in Monza’s paddock. And, on the subject of penalties, the fact 40 per cent of the drivers in Spa and 45 per cent of them in Monza, carried grid penalties, when there are still six Grands Prix to go, shows the penalty system is not working. Verstappen won both races, carrying penalties, so his ‘crime’ paid off and he got fresh PU elements for rest of the season. In Italy, Sainz started 18th and finished fourth, Hamilton was 19th on the grid and fifth by the flag ... so did they really get a big penalty? I don’t think so and that’s why I think penalties should be changed

to more hurtful ones. Obviously, financial penalties won’t work, because winning the title brings so much money that you can pay any fines imposed by changing PU parts, so the only way forward, for me, is for a driver who exceeds his allocated number of yearly PU elements, to be ineligible for points in the weekend he gets the new parts. There’s still the potential benefit of robbing points from rivals, but knowing you will go into a weekend where, no matter how well you do, you’ll come out empty-handed, may be the only way to go. Increase the number of PU elements available per season, and all manufacturers will simply push their motorisations harder, so we’d be back at square one. Impose big fines – the big teams will be happy to pay. Make them go home with zero points and I’m guessing everyone would be much more conservative with the usage of their Power Units ...

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FORMULA 1 NEWS - LUIS VASCONCELOS

DEJA-VU AT MONZA

LATE SAFETY CAR RAISES THE SPECTRE OF ABU DHABI ... AND ATTRACTS CRITICISM

Images: Motorsport Images THE FIA called for a meeting between Formula One Team Managers and race officials, on Monday after the Italian Grand Prix, “to discuss a range of sporting matters.” The Federation explained that this, “follows a round of separate meetings held in Monza between the FIA President and a number of Formula 1 drivers. It was the first meeting of this type since 2013 and is part of the President’s ongoing mission to improve the standards of the sport, “bringing together drivers, teams, stewards, officials in a collaborative way.” Called on Sunday morning, before the race, the timing of the meeting couldn’t have been better, as the very lengthy Safety Car period that led to the Italian Grand Prix being finished without the racing being resumed, divided opinions in the paddock. While it was clear Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren had to be lifted to be removed, as the MCL36 was stuck in gear, after the sudden failure on the exit of the first Lesmo corner, no one expected the operation would take more than 10 minutes, with the last five and a half laps ran under Safety Car regime.

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Procedures were massively delayed when the Safety Car driver was told to get going, from the entry of Turn 1, when Verstappen and Leclerc had already passed him, so he picked up George Russell and the rest of the field, while the two leaders were out in clear air and closing to the back of the field… It took two laps until the end of lap 52, for everyone else to pass the Safety Car and catch the leaders and the two laps lost made it impossible to restart the race before the end of lap 53. Max Verstappen was sympathetic towards the Race Direction, explaining that, “the broken car was stuck in gear and that’s why it took so long, there is no gap where they could push the car into, and that’s why the crane had to come. And that’s why I guess they just run out of time. So, I guess it was very unfortunate.” He then added that, “I think everyone wants to finish under green flag, but, unfortunately, we were just short of laps.” Sitting alongside him, Leclerc wasn’t too happy, as “I really wanted for this race to start again. I didn’t understand, because the last time we passed through, the track was clean, so I really thought that we will restart

again, but it didn’t happen. So maybe there are things in the background that I didn’t know that didn’t make the restart possible.” Lewis Hamilton, who’s still reeling from losing last year’s title when Race Director Michael Masi didn’t follow the rules in the closing moments of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, smiled and thought about what to say when we asked him if he was OK with finishing a race behind the Safety Car: “Well, the Race Director followed the rules and that’s how it should be. Of course we want to race but once the everything was ready we had run out of laps. It’s not good for the show but it’s important we follow the rules, as they exist for a reason.” Christian Horner admitted, “we don’t want to win a race under a Safety Car. That’s something that we’ve talked about for many, many years – they should finish racing, as there was enough time to get that race going.” But the Englishman realised, “they picked up the wrong car – they picked up George Russell and that delayed everything, so we share the disappointment of all the fans because it took away a grandstand finish.”

While he was quite measured when talking to international media, Ferrari Team Principal Binotto lashed out at the FIA when he had the opportunity to speak with the Italian journalists: “Today the FIA was asleep. Yes, they’ve changed a lot of things, a lot of procedures, but today they were not up to the job. They’re still way too cautious, almost indecisive, in their decision-making process. I am certainly disappointed for how long it took them to decide and I think we are not understanding why it took so long to release the cars between the Safety Car and the leader. We have to do more, because Formula One needs to be better than this and the races should be run on track, not behind a Safety Car…” A man who admits he still thinks “of what happened in Abu Dhabi every day”, Toto Wolff, was much more at ease with the way the Race Direction proceeded last Sunday in Monza: “We know the Race Direction’s corner has been under criticism, but this time they followed the rules – maybe they could’ve done it a lap earlier or let George through – but they followed the rules and accepted the race ends under Safety Car. This is how it should be.”


TESTING FRENZY FOR MCLAREN AND ALPINE

WHILE TESTING current cars was this year limited to two pre-season tests and one day of running on Tuesday after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (with teams also supplying cars for a maximum of three days of running for Pirelli’s development program) testing with last year’s cars seems to be the new craze, with McLaren and Alpine doing so much private testing one is tempted to think we’re back some 15 years, when teams would go from a Grand Prix to a test session to a Grand Pris throughout the European season ... Alpine, for example, had planned to do quite a lot of private testing with last year’s A521 for Oscar Piastri’s benefit. The Australian was being carefully prepared to enter Formula One next year, albeit most likely with another team, before getting his break with the Enstone-based team from 2024 or 2025. The collapse of the relationship put an end to a program that saw Piastri test in Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Barcelona and the Red Bull Ring, but the team than decided to continue running the A521, giving a couple of runs to Jack Doohan and also to Formula 3 champion Victor Martins and front-runner Caio Collet. At the same time, in desperate need to find a new team mate for Ocon, it has transpired the team was due to hold a two-day test session at the Hungaroring, as AA went to press, with Doohan certain to run one, while IndyCar driver Colton Herta and Ferrari-contracted Antonio Giovinazzere were also set to try last year’s A521. Nyck de Vries was also a possible to join this group, but stories that Mick Schumacher would also take part in this test are wide of the mark as the German is contracted to Haas until the end of the year and was considered highly unlikely to get permission from the American team to test for a rival, even if with last year’s car. McLaren, which has given track time to Herta, Red Bull Young driver Jehan Duravala and WEC front runner Will Stevens in Algarve, as well as running the Indian driver at Silverstone and Barcelona, has been back at the Circuit de Catalunya, giving IndyCar front-runner Alex Palou and their own IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward, the chance to sample last year’s car. For the Mexican this is a return to a car he tested for one day in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year, while for Palou this was his first Formula One experience and the seemed to be part of a compensation package McLaren had to agree too, after making a massive blunder with his contract for 2023, announcing it before the Spanish driver eventually accepted to stay with Ganassi for another year. Given testing with last year’s cars is an expense that is not included in the budget cap, it’s clear the two teams fighting for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship have money to spare, so more tests could be scheduled before the end of the season with other names coming to the fore as well.

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HULKENBERG CLOSES ON HAAS DEAL

Hulkenberg (left) with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. GENE HAAS’ dislike for having rookies driving for him is playing right into Nico Hulkenberg’s hands, according to Team Haas insiders. Since the American embarked on his Formula One program only in 2021, when no established driver wanted to join his team, Haas went for two rookies, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, but at the start of this year, when it was impossible to continue to work with the Russian (after his country invaded Ukraine), Haas immediately re-hired Kevin Magnussen and the Dane’s results against Mick Schumacher, especially at the start of the season, reinforced his conviction that he’s much better off working with veterans.

With Mick Schumacher on his way out of the Ferrari Driver Academy and unsure if he wants to remain with Haas, feeling the team is now biased towards Magnussen and resenting Gunther Steiner’s public criticism, Haas told the Austro-Italian he wants a veteran alongside Magnussen and has set his sight on Nico Hulkenberg, even if the German has sat on the sidelines for the last three seasons, albeit getting five Grand Prix outings to replace Pérez (twice), Stroll and Vettell (twice too), at Racing Point/Aston Martin when they all tested positive for Covid-19. Ferrari, though, would like to get Antonio Giovinazzi back to Formula One, after the

Italian had a disastrous year in Formula E, and is hoping the two FP1 outings he gets with Haas – one already done in Monza, with good results, the other one coming in Austin late next month – will be enough to change Haas’ mind. Giovinazzi, it has to be reminded, was third driver for Haas in 2017 but after he crashed heavily during the Hungarian Grand Prix FP1 session was blacklisted by Haas, who then decided not to hand FP1 drives to any other rookie. Now, though, Giovinazzi has three full Formula One seasons behind him, did a good job for Haas in his 25 laps with the VF-22 at Monza, lapping just 0.3s slower than Magnussen, and provided the team with valuable feedback, relaying also on his knowledge of the Ferrari F1-75 he regularly tests in the Scuderia’s simulator. With the drivers’ line-up being the only big decision Gene Haas doesn’t delegate to Gunther Steiner, Schumacher’s chances of remaining with the American team have slimmed, even if he’s now open to negotiations after losing out to Alonso on the race to replace Vettel at Aston Martin and being told by Alpine he’s not on their shortlist to replace the Spaniard next year. Hulkenberg, though, seems to be Haas’ favored choice and could make a highly experienced although awkward pairing next year – given the pair became famous for one live-on-TV incident in the Hungaroring a few years back.

COULD HERTA HEAD TO FORMULA REGIONAL ASIA TO SECURE SUPER LICENCE? COLTON HERTA may be heading to the Formula Regional Asian Championship at the start of 2023 in a bid to secure the necessary points to be eligible for an FIA Super Licence. His chances of getting an exemption from the FIA and being granted a Formula One Super License seem dead in the water, after all teams, with the obvious exception of Red Bull, AlphaTauri and Alpine – who needs the American to get into AlphaTauri for Pierre Gasly to be released and join the Enstonebased team – making it very clear to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem that such a move would make the FIA ladder system redundant and would likely lead to their Young Drivers’ program to be disbanded quickly, with very negative consequences for the junior formulas. Even the American driver seems to have acknowledged he won’t get a Super License if he doesn’t have the necessary 40 points, as at the final round of the IndyCar championship he admitted, “I understand why there’s opposition to the idea and that the FIA has to protect their ladder system. They want the drivers to go through that ladder system, so the IndyCar championship is massively devalued in the Super License system and unless they understand how competitive this championship is, they won’t change their system.” He then added that, “I wouldn’t want to get to Formula One due to an exemption; I want to do it because I’ve earned it, so we’ll see what the next steps that we have to take will be.”

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His father Bryan, himself a former IndyCar race winner, also admitted, in an interview, that, “it would be kind of unfair for Colton to be granted an exemption, because there are other drivers close to the points necessary to get the Super Licence and with no one to defend their corner. The FIA has a system in place that favors the European-based series they organise, and they won’t be changing that for anyone, I guess.” By finishing a disappointing 10th in this year’s IndyCar Series, Herta is eight points short of the magical 40-poins threshold, with Red Bull arguing the points he secured back in 2018, when he was second in the Indy Lights championship, should also count and get him past that barrier. But the FIA has already extended to four years the adding of points per driver, instead of the regulatory last three seasons that were counted prepandemic, so going back five seasons is considered excessive by all. On top of that, Indy Lights wasn’t eligible for Super Licence points in 2028 due to lack of regular entries – there were only seven cars on track for most of the year, nine being the highest number of competitors – so the Austrian company has to find another way to get their potential driver a Super License. With the Formula Regional Asian Championship securing 18 points to its winner and then 14 to the runner-up, 12 to the third placed driver and 10 to the one finishing fourth, a place in the top four would hand Herta the required points and Red Bull could even bolster

his chances by giving him, at AlphaTauri, FP1 runs in Austin, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, to gain extra four points, that would allow the American to finish as low as P6 in that series and still be eligible for a Super Licence. Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu did compete and win in this championship back at the start of 2021, after a disappointing second season in Formula 2, gaining precious points that helped him secure the Super Licence for this year, while Red Bull’s gamble of sending Dan Ticktum to that championship two years before failed miserably, the campaign being abandoned after a poor run of results. The problem with Herta going down this route would be that Alpine and AlphaTauri would have to wait until the second week of February to know if he could run in Formula One next year and while that wouldn’t be a problem for the Italian team, it’s clear Alpine won’t be waiting for that long and is likely to choose Esteban Ocon’s future team mate before the end of this month.

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Mark Horsburgh, Dirk Klynsmith

COOL HEAD LUKE Images: Mark Horsburgh-Edge Photography and Dirk Klynsmith - Motorsport Images

By Paul Gover IT’S BATHURST in 2005, the Carrera Cup preliminary race, and Luke Youlden is on fire. It’s one of the most vivid memories of his motorsport career – and that includes his win in the Bathurst 1000. “I was just in a zone. Fuck I was fast,” Youlden tells Auto Action. “It was in the rain. Sunday morning. I passed Richo (Jim Richards) and Fabian (Coulthard) like they were standing still. “Then I dropped it on the white line into The Cutting and half-spun. I had to come

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through the field again. “But I was light years quicker than anyone. I was like two seconds quicker than Fabian. It was unheard of.” What’s the importance – the significance – of that performance on that day? “I always try to draw on that race,” Youlden says. He knows he has the speed and skill and, from the earliest days, he was looking for ways to tap into it. Born in East Melbourne, 44 years ago, he is the son of two-time Australian production car champion Kent Youlden and the nephew of another well-known racer, Brett.

“My dad is best known for racing in production cars in an XR6 Falcon. He started in rallying and rallycross,” Youlden begins. “But he also tested Dick Johnson’s Sierra – a few cool things like that. “He was a tool design supervisor at Ford at Broadmeadows. He was always in charge of the first build and dealing with the contractors who made the body shells.” “Ray is my dad’s older brother and he did a bit of rallying back in the day. Brett is the younger one – he did Production Cars and Sports Sedans and TCM. Dad calls him The King, because he won everything in Kingswood racing. He was arch enemies with Bruce Williams, racing on the Thunderdome and road circuits and stuff.” The family lived in Wandong, a little town about 50 kilometres north of Melbourne. “It was a 25-minute drive for dad to work. We had about three acres. It was semi-rural and that gave the opportunity to have gokarts and motorbikes and paddock bombs and stuff. “I didn’t go down the go-kart path. I sort of wanted to, but it didn’t work out. “But I had my own car at 11, a little 1969 Corolla with a locked diff. You couldn’t kill it. And car control came early. “When I was 15, I got into sprints. Dad

got me a Mazda RX-2. It was still a pretty standard thing, pretty slow. “My first race was Phillip Island when I was 16, in Road Reg. But I got out of that pretty quick.” Around the same time he was inspired by a visit to Adelaide. “I went to the last F1 GP there. I really wanted to be a touring car driver, but when I saw them pulling gears when the touring cars were on the brakes, I wanted to do that.” So, Formula Ford, then . . . “It would have been state level. I just didn’t have any money. I couldn’t do a full championship – just three rounds or something like that.” But Kent and Luke played smart. “We actually leased a car from Dougal McDougal and he asked me to come in and work for them full-time at the end of ’98. I worked as a mechanic and spannered for Greg Ritter when he won the title in ’99. He was a good steerer. “He had an old 1996 Mygale chassis floating around that I built up. I went out and won the support races at Bathurst in 1999. And was champion at Phillip Island against Will Davison and Will Power.” And the next year was a big one. Despite a surprising drama.


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My dad is best known for racing in production cars in an XR6 Falcon. He started in rallying and rallycross...

“Peter McDougall gave me the new chassis for the next year, as they needed to move up, and I was using Tubby’s (Ritter) engines. “I bluffed my way through and won the championship. But we could have done a lot better if knew what we were doing at the start. “Those chassis were built for the newer Ford engine and we had the Kent engines. At one point the car was sitting on the setup patch, and one boys sat on one of the wheels and it made no difference. “The chassis flexed because it was designed to have the engine as a semistressed member. So it was flexing its head off. But I still managed to get pole at the first round. “We got the car sorted and won the championship. It was a pretty competitive year, up against Rick Kelly, Will Power, Owen Kelly and Stuart Kostera. “I was 22 and I’m pretty proud that we could beat those other kids.” But a step up was coming, and it was a big one. “Dougal McDougal was leasing a car from Larry Perkins, I had just won Formula Ford, and Castrol was looking to put two young kids in a car for Sandown and Bathurst. “I got the drive with Christian Murchison and my Supercar career was away. I got paid for my first race in a Supercar – it was five grand for the two races.

“I have actually been paid for every single Supercars race I’ve done. Not too many people could say that.” Youlden also got a break when he forged a tie with Holden. “We got a Holden Astra they had used for Greg Murphy the year before in a production car race at Bathurst. “I managed to find a few sponsors through dad, and Castrol and Holden helped out. We won the Production Car championship – in the class. “I was professional at that stage. But I was still living with mum and dad. “At the end of that year I did Bathurst again with Perkins. And I was impressive enough to keep going after that. “I got a test with the Ellery team, against Owen Kelly, through Howard Marsden. That involved moving to Queensland, working in the race team, the usual deal, and doing endurance races with them. And I won the one-hour race at Bathurst that year in an AU Falcon.” So now he was into the torrid world of Supercars. “It created a bit of interest on the Stone Brothers front. I had some secret meetings with them about moving forward. But it didn’t work out and I stayed with Ellerys for the next couple of years.” Youlden was racing in what is now known as Super2. “I managed to get some money for full years 2003 and 2004 And finished equal

on points ‘in 04 with Andrew Jones but lost the championship on a count-back.” Now he became a gun for hire, with connections through Ellery, WPS (Craig Gore’s team) and Stone Brothers. “I had two massive disappointments at the end of 2004. Ellerys shut down. And I had signed a contract with WPS but, during the 10-day cooling-off period, they called and said ‘You’re out, we’re putting Craig Baird into the car’. “But I had a fair amount of success, just turning up twice a year to co-drive at Sandown and Bathurst.” And this was in the era when teams could pair their A-drivers from the championship, handing the second car to enduro pairings. “Then I moved to FPR. The reason was that we had spoken to teams who said ‘We know you have reasonable race pace, but we’re wondering about qualifying pace’. I knew I would never get the opportunity at Stone Brothers – that’s why I moved from them. “I wanted the opportunity to actually qualify the car and see if I WAS any good. I was pretty happy with how I went. I remember being very close to Mark Winterbottom in ’08.” He had proved the speed to himself, but was still on the outside. “My plan never really worked, because I didn’t get picked up for a full-time ride. So I’ve been doing GT and Carrera Cup, and the enduros.” But down the track he raced alongside some of the best, and forged some great friendships. “Dean Canto taught me a lot. He got me to be relaxed out of the car. I wouldn’t leave the track once I got there, but it was

Bathurst, 2017, and Reynolds/Youlden took a stunning win (above). Luke stood in for Covid-affected Reynolds at the SMP Supercars round last year (left). Youlden has played many supporting roles (above right) – at Stone Brothers with Russell Ingall, and partnering Dean Canto and Mark Winterbottom at FPR. Luke moved with Reynolds to Grove (right).

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happy to be there. It’s a fun environment. “The best thing is getting very timid people, and getting them to push through their comfort zone and do a high-speed swerve. “Hopefully we’s saving people from having a crash. And learning how to drive better.” THE BATHURST BONUS Winning Bathurst in 2017 was much more than just a motorsport victory for Luke Youlden. “It’s a life changing thing. It’s instant respect. Everywhere you go you’re introduced as a Bathurst winner. “It’s the same as winning an AFL grand final or the Melbourne Cup. The attitude changes towards you. No-one gives a shit about the championship; it’s all about Bathurst for people outside motorsport. You don’t really appreciate it until you win it. It’s a game changer. Everything else you do is nothing.” Looking back on his day of days alongside David Reynolds, Youlden says “Can I be as consistent as them? No. But I’m not in the car enough. “I think one of my skills is adapting. I can get in most cars and adapt straight away. Then it takes a little bit of time to get the last 10 per cent. ”So I’m pretty happy. I didn’t get to Formula One or get a full-time drive in Supercars. But I’ve been paid to race a car. And when I was a kid I just wanted to get paid to drive cars and I did that.”

nothing for him to shoot up to the shops a half-hour before a session,” Youlden says. “And he is proper fast. So any time I could match Deano, or beat him, all the better. Because I respect how fast he was. “When we went into business together it was really great. We learned how to twowheel a car together. We did a lot of work together over four or five years, and really enjoyed the stunt driving part of it. “It’s difficult work, but satisfying as well. But it got too much risk for the reward. He also got very close to David Reynolds, and the pair had their memorable win at Bathurst in 2017. “I loved it with him. Dave is an awesome team-mate. You’re a team with Dave,” Youlden says. “ And if something goes wrong, he just says ‘All good’. Dave is great, and super relaxed and extremely fast. I had a fantastic time with him.” But things turned, firstly when they lost a shot at victory in 2018 when Reynolds suffered crippling cramps late in the race, and then he 2019 when Youlden crashed at the start of the weekend. “That year it wasn’t anything like the car we had the year before. It had so much understeer across the top ...” he begins. “So I’d done lot of homework and had a mental image of what the car would cope with. That was obvious just a mistake. I tried to carry a lot of speed into the grate, but I was a little ahead of the car. I was probably looking for quali grip on the first practice session of the week.” It turned things in the Erebus garage and

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Youlden caught the brunt of the anger and frustration from team boss Barry Ryan. And then came the inside television show of the season, when brought it all back. “Barry called to warn me about what was in the show. He definitely apologised to me. He said ‘I just wanted you to know we are cool’.” But when Reynolds went to Kelly Grove Racing, Youlden went with him. And when Reynolds was sidelined from Sydney Motorsport Park over a Covid drama, Youlden got the call-up for a sprint weekend. “That was really cool. It was at a point where I had never had a sprint opportunity in 20 years. “That was pretty exciting – I was really happy with the wet race, when I finished 11th. My very first timed lap was quicker than Andre Heimgartner and I was pretty happy with how I matched up against him.” Even Barry Ryan was impressed. “He actually sent me a message after I finished 11th in the sprint race last year. He said ‘Mate, awesome effort’. He said ‘I don’t think Dave could have done that.’ We’ll always be mates,” Youlden says. It also brings him to a frank and honest assessment of his career. “I think I could have had a pretty successful one if I’d got the full-time opportunity. But being in the car only once a year you never get to develop. “On my day I can match speed with most people. And I’ve been up against Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard, Dean Canto and Davy Reynolds and Heimgartner.

TRAINING AND RACING Luke Youlden is now passing his skill and experience to a new generation of young racers, but his role in driver training is much, much bigger. He is the deputy chief instructor at the Porsche Track Experience, a job that means taking people from basic instruction in safe driving skills through to potential competition with a Carrera Cup race car. “The main focus is the driving school at Porsche. The succession plan from Tomas Mezera is to take that over when he retires, and devotes all his time to golf,” says Youlden. “I first worked with Porsche in 2005, and I was full-time from 2006. “I’m extremely busy. I’m at every single Porsche day. So it’s probably 100 days with Porsche. “I’m probably a little bit too busy. But you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines, especially after Covid put on the handbrake.” He explains that there are definite highs and lows at the job, but everything helps people to learn. “It doesn’t happen very often, but we do have the odd crash. That’s not nice to be around,” Youlden says. “A lot of it, to be honest, is that it gets too much for people. It’s too much for people to cope and they freeze. It’s like when you get the green screen on a computer. “They are frozen and it’s too much for their brain.” He’s always trying to help and teach and encourage, and says the upside is a good one. “The best part about it is that we’re always working around happy people. Porsche has pretty amazing cars and people paying lot of money to be there and

First big result in Supercars came sharing with Steve Ellery (left) – third at Bathurst in 2003. Youlden has done a significant amount of testing in the new Gen-3 Supercars, and quite likes the Camaro (right), but his target now is Carrera Cup (lower right) and the 2023 championship. Youlden shared an Erebus Mercedes with Reynolds and Yasser Shahin in the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour.


there was plenty of apprehension. “It was a very difficult day. We knew had a fast car in the dry, then on the dummy grid it started to rain. No-one had any idea what was going to happen,” he says. “They were very tough stints. In the rain I was in the car for two-and-a-quarter hours. It’s a long time, concentrating when the car is on the knife edge the whole time. “Once it was drying out, and we knew we were fast, I could relax. For the last 10 laps I knew we were going to win.” He had a similar feeling the following year, but no-one knew that Reynolds was going to have a meltdown while leading. “In 2018 we had the race shot to bits. We were leading for 113 laps. The car was mega. “I was sorta celebrating in my mind after my last stints. It was one of the stints of my life. I pulled away from the Penske cars and it was mega. “To have the race pulled from under us, with what happened with Dave, was just terrible. I couldn’t even get on the phone to speak to my wife Stace.

But there was more bad news. And a repeat of a problem that comes with a mis-match between drivers – Reynolds is short with short legs, Youlden is tall with long legs – for the enduro events. “What a lot of people don’t know is that I had a numb right leg for two weeks. I was shitting myself for two weeks, leading into the Gold Coast event. “I was seeing physios and all sorts of gurus and fortunately it just came good.” “There have been so many stints when I’ve had numb right legs. One time, I was running second or third with (James) Moffat and (Earl) Bamber, and I couldn’t feel my right foot. At all.” ON GEN3 DUTY No-one has done more Gen3 driving, on both sides of the divide, than Luke Youlden. He has turned laps at Albert Park, Townsville, Queensland Raceway and The Bend in both the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. So, what does he think?

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I’ve got the support from home now. So, I want to have one more crack at it. Leave on a high...

“To me, they are not a huge amount different from the current cars,” he says. “What the cars lose in aero they get back in weight and their centre-of-gravity.” “So you are using very similar braking markers, going through the corners at the same sort of speed.” What about the differences between the cars? “They are very very similar, believe it or not. I’d probably choose the Camaro at the moment, because I think it looks better.” What about the details in the driving, with reports from some drivers that they are much tougher and wilder. “I don’t think they are hard to drive,” says Youlden. “But I think they will be more difficult to get the best out of. I think they will move around more. “It will be different. Looking after the rear tyre will be more important with these cars. That’s what I think they were after.” ONE BIG SWING The 2023 Carrera Cup championship will be the last tilt at a final pay-off for Luke Youlden. He intends to give it everything in search of an appropriate sign-off from his full-time racing career.

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“In a full-time respect, like Carrera Cup, I see a year – or two at the most – ahead of me,” Youlden says. “I want a big effort to put a good championship together for next year. I want to leave on a high.” “I’ve got the support from home now. So, I want to have one more crack at it. Leave on a high.” He’s been a Carrera Cup regular for well over a decade and intended to hit the front this year, but it hasn’t unrolled the way he planned – or hoped. “I’m working on next year now after some of the bad decisions I’ve made in Carrera Cup this year,” he admits. Youlden also wants to spend more time at home on the Gold Coast with his wife Stacey – who he met through motorsport – and his young daughters, Tahlia and Angelina He won’t be stopping altogether and hopes to race on into his 50s in GT cars. “I’d love to see myself in a GT drive. I just love those cars. There’s a few less rounds and my driving style suits those cars. “I enjoy GT cars the most. That’s what I’d like to do – proper GT racing around my driver training work with Porsche and my team at Tekworkx.”

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IN THE HEART AND SOUL OF

THE TIFOSI

Images: Andrew McLean, Motorsport Ima

ANDREW MACLEAN BECOMES A MEMBER OF THE ITALIAN FERRARI FORCE THA

I AM not religious, but I do believe there are Gods that walk this earth ... Or at least there is a group of men that have the godgiven talents to drive a Formula One car. And, while these daring apostles of v-max preach their sermon across the globe 23 times each year, there is truly only one place to worship them – Monza, the super-fast circuit known as the Temple of Speed. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, to give it the proper name, has hosted the Italian Grand Prix every year since the inception of the Formula One World Championship in

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1950, with only exception being in 1980, when it was held at Imola while Monza was being re-modelled with a new pit building. This year, the circuit celebrated its 100th anniversary and, over that time, it has created some of the most iconic moments in motorsport history, including the closest ever finish to an F1 Grand Prix (when Peter Gethin crossed the finish line just 0.01sec ahead of Ronnie Peterson in 1971), the fastest-ever lap (when Juan Pablo Montoya clocked an average speed of 262.2km/h in pre-qualifying for the 2004 Grand Prix),

Sebastian Vettel’s breakthrough maiden F1 victory in 2008 to become the youngest Grand Prix winner and Niki Lauda’s heroic return to the cockpit just six weeks after his death-defying accident at the Nurburgring in 1976. However, Monza is also haunted by some of the most horrific tragedies. Forty-two drivers and motorcycle riders have lost their lives during competition, including three titans of Formula One; Germany’s Wolfgang Von Trips (1961), Austrian Jochen Rindt (1970) and Sweden’s Ronnie Peterson (1978). And for all of its on-track highs and lows, there has been one constant; the Tifosi. While the word is a simple Italian translation for ‘fans’, it is much more than just a crowd. The Tifosi are as much a part of the character of Monza as the race track itself. Italy is a country – and culture – that is built on passion; from its food, fashion, art and fast cars. And the Tifosi are passionate about only one thing; Ferrari. Which is why, especially considering the Scuderia has genuine race-winning potential this year for this time in ages, I attended the recent 2022 Italian Grand Prix. I wanted to become part of the Tifosi, and experience all of the madness, the emotion and the euphoria.

As a former (two-time) editor of Auto Action, I have been extremely privileged to be a small cog in the gearbox of a Grand Prix weekend, reporting from inside the paddock. And while it is fascinating to see behind the curtain, it is not where the true Tifosi live. Now, getting to the Italian GP is not a simple exercise. The circuit itself is in the city of Monza, about 30km north of Milan. If you’re not staying close to the track, the easiest way to get there is by train from Milan Centrale station to Monza, followed by a shuttle bus. But I was driving, and that makes things infinitely more difficult. For starters, the traffic in Italy is chaotic at any time. But when you’re one in hundreds of thousands of other motorists swarming from all different directions through narrow streets, it amplifies the madness exponentially. Somehow, it all seems to work without any aggro though, and it took just 15 mins to find a parking garage not far from the entrance to the Parco di Monza. Surprisingly, there was no jacked-up GP rate, and a full-day of secure, underground parking cost just 12 Euros ($20AUS). The general admission ticket was reasonably priced too. I bought just a singleday ticket for qualifying day on Saturday with an uncovered grandstand seat right on the


ages

BEING IN MARANELLO

I WASN’T able to get a ticket for the sold-out raceday, so I headed two hours down the road to Maranello – the home of Ferrari – to watch the Italian Grand Prix. I expected the small Tuscan town to be thrumming with local Ferrari fans and their families. But Maranello was almost like a ghost town; littered with a handful of casual holidaymakers visiting the Ferrari Museum and renting a supercar for a 15-minute once-in-alifetime drive around the streets of Maranello. But I did find a local bar and restaurant, Ventisette (Italian for 27 – the famous racing number worn by drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell) that was showing the race on its big screen. So, I sat down, ordered a pizza named after Fernando Alonso, and watched it with the locals and restaurant staff. It was nowhere near as exciting as being in the veins of the Tifosi, but the passion for Ferrari was even deeper. The Scuderia’s success is the life force for this community. And you could feel the whole town sigh with disappointment as Leclerc was beaten – once again – by a mercurial drive from Max Verstappen.

AT IS THE TIFOSI ... 50m braking marker into the Parabolica for a fraction less than $100. Depending on where you park and which gate you need to enter, it’s a fair hike through the beautiful, wooded parklands to reach the actual circuit. But, once there, the entry process – including a security bag check – was seamless, and as soon as I stepped through the turnstile I was greeted by the sight of the old circuit’s banking. Like most of Italy, its craggy, cracked concrete emits an aura of charm and heritage. Stand there long enough and it also projects the spirit of those daredevils and aristocrats that gave birth to Grand Prix racing at Monza a century ago. Unlike the Australian Grand Prix, which has a jam-packed support card to keep fans entertained with on-track action for most the day, there’s long periods of nothingness on the Italian GP schedule. I finally found my seat – in a surprisingly near-empty grandstand – minutes after the opening F3 sprint race had finished at 11:30am. I checked the schedule and there was nothing happening until the F1 cars rolled out for the third practice session an hour and half later. Which explained why the crowd had

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It hurts when Ferrari doesn’t win, especially when I am here at Monza. We want them all the time to win because it…

retreated away from the baking midday sun to find a shady spot – and a beer – to relax for a while. Looking around, the majority of the crowd were clearly here for Ferrari. Among the sea of red shirts and Cavallino (Pranching Horse) flags, there were clumps of Tifosi with red wigs and a few even mimicked team boss Mattia Binotto with his signature afro bouffant and Harry Potter-style spectacles. It’s a colourful crowd, even if the only shade is red. Over at the ‘Fan Zone’, the Ferrari merchandise stand was consistently tentimes more popular than any other team, a gaggle of giddy-eyed young women giggled as they were photographed with a Leclerc poster and there were plenty of kids dressed head-to-toe in Ferrari clobber. Young and old, male and female; clearly the Tifosi has no boundaries. The passion is also totally infectious. Back in the grandstand, which is now packed to the gills, as the practice session finally gets underway, the crowd erupted, clapped, cheered and waved their flags furiously every single time either Carlos Sainz or Leclerc drove past, no matter at what speed. I sat next to Marco De Luca, a 23-yearold from Milan, who was there with his girlfriend Tatiana and told me he has been to the Italian Grand Prix every year since he was nine.

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“Ferrari is everything about Italy,” he said. “I love Ferrari since I was a little child and always have come with my father before. We watch Formula One for Ferrari, nothing else. “It hurts when Ferrari doesn’t win, especially when I am here at Monza. We want them all the time to win because it…” Marco fails to finish the sentence, as he leaps from his seat to clap for Leclerc as he whizzes past, his Ferrari F1-75 whistling as the blow-off releases a whoosh of turbo pressure. As the clock ticks down and the chequered flag falls, there is tension in the stands as Verstappen is on top of the leaderboard, more than 0.3sec ahead of Leclerc followed by Sergio Perez and Sainz. The reigning world champion was also quick and consistent in the long runs on the medium compound tyre. The Tifosi had arrived on Saturday with a sense of real hope. Both Ferraris looked promising the day before as Leclerc and Sainz had topped the timesheets in FP1 and FP2 respectively. But Red Bull’s pace now appeared ominous, even with the knowledge that Verstappen would carry a five-place grid penalty after changing his internal combustion unit. The two-hour wait for qualifying only increased the level of anxiety, as well as the volume of the few, now very

well lubricated Dutch fans that have infiltrated the Tifosi. In that time, the crowd once again seeks refuge from the baking sun wherever they can. Some take the opportunity for an afternoon siesta, one gentleman we spotted was reading a book while most others flocked to the food vendors and beer stands to refuel. When Qualifying eventually gets underway, it seems as though the grandstand now has twice as many people. And the anticipation is palpable that Ferrari will deliver the Tifosi a pole position in less than one hour. Again, the crowd rises to its feet – almost like a Mexican wave right from the Ascari chicane to the Parabolica – each time a Ferrari drives by. Verstappen, again, pips them for the fastest time at the end of the first 18min Q1 session. But Leclerc gets him back in Q2, and the crowd erupts in euphoria. With 10 mins to make it count in the final shootout, the Tifosi seem to grow 10 feet taller. Perhaps it’s because Marco is now towering over me and standing on his seat. The first runs look promising, Leclerc towing Sainz to the top of the timesheets. Following the brief lull, the cars roll out again with Leclerc at the back of the queue, this time getting the opportunity to slipstream his teammate for a boost of extra top speed down the long straights. And 1:20.161sec later, the Tifosi explodes with a thunderous roar as the Monagesque scores pole position – his eighth for the season. Hands fly into the air, flags get waved with maximum vigour and a smoke bomb billows scarlet red clouds from a grandstand across the track. The Tifosi have been delivered what they came to see today. And will arrive again tomorrow with more hope – and probably more smoke bombs too. Until then, extracting more than 100,000 excited fans from the Monza parklands is total pandemonium and it takes me two hours to walk the 2km back to my car. But it doesn’t matter, the excitement among the Tifosi is intoxicating. Just as it will be tomorrow, and every other year, at Monza – win or lose.

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GRAZIE,

WHEN THE NATION NEEDED IT MOST, FERRARI TOOK A MONZA WIN AGAINST ALL FORM ... TIMOTHY W NEAL REFLECTS

FOLLOWING THE nationally mourned death of Enzo Ferrari on the August 14, 1988, The Prancing Horse’s F1 stable went to Monza for the 12th round of the season on September 9-11. Spa on August 28 was officially the first race following the passing of “il Grande Vecchio,” but the return of the team to Ferrari’s heartland in the Province of Monza and Brianza was awaited by thousands of bereaved fans…the tifosi. In front of the religiously ardent tifosi supporter group, a Ferrari Monza miracle was idling-over on the warm scirocco winds in order to properly send off Signor Maranello. But standing in the way of a hope and a prayer like the impregnable Aurelian Walls, were two drivers that had so far won 11 straight Grand Prix’s in Formula 1’s 1988 fixture. The 38th season of Formula 1 witnessed the almost incomparable McLaren-Honda pairing of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, who that year, would win an incredible 15 of 16 races in the RA168E 1.5L V6T. Going into Monza, Senna had won seven races, including four on the bounce, whilst Prost had wrestled out four victories and was desperate to challenge for his third title in what was at the time a bitter rivalry between the two teammates.

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For historical perspective, Only two other cars have matched the same feat in falling one short of a perfect season, and Enzo Ferrari is very much apart of those stories: The 158 Alfa Romeo (Alfetta) won six of seven races in 1950, and would have almost certainly won seven but for the Indianapolis 500 strangely being counted as a round, despite no European cars bothering to make the journey over the Atlantic. (Enzo in fact helped direct the design of the 158 Alfetta in 1937 before leaving Alfa Romeo in 1939). The other, the Ferrari 500 in 1952, almost certainly won seven out of eight because Alfa Romeo couldn’t afford to run its 1951 winning 159 Alfetta as a contender that season … and once again, no European constructors made the trip to Indianapolis. Returning to 1988, Senna won the first of his three titles that season, with it also being the last year that featured the 1.5L V6 turbo charged engines in the sport, with the banned turbochargers being replaced by the naturally aspirated 3.5L engines in 1989. Heading to the home of Ferrari’s tifosi for the 12th round, something akin to religious miracle was needed to un-seed the championship front runners.

The Ferrari F1 87 88C was indeed a fast car, and the team had six podiums to its name, but they paled in comparison to the sheer speed of the Honda-engined McLaren that were being piloted by two of the sports legendary competitors. Austrian Gerhard Berger and Italian Milanese driver Michele Alboreto went to Monza with the fanciful hopes of the Tifoli on their backs; with Alboreto in his last season for the Scuderia, and Berger – who would eventually be paired with Senna at McLaren in 1990 – in his second year at Ferrari. (Tragically, Alboreto would die in an accident on April 25 of 2001, testing an Audi R8 at the EuroSpeedway in Lausitz at 300 kph. The crash was caused by a loose screw that had embedded itself in the tyre, causing it to rapidly drop pressure. The final Curve at Monza, the Curve Parabolica, is now named in his honour: Curva Alboreta). The one notable absence for the Monza GP was Williams driver Nigel Mansell, who was kept out with Chicken pox after also missing the Spa GP, and was replaced by French Williams test driver Jean-Louis Schlesser. British driver Martin Brundle was in fact meant to replace Mansell as he did at Spa, but the move was vetoed by Tom Walkinshaw, Brundle’s then World SportsCar Championship

Jaguar team boss (the 1988 SportsCar Championship featured Brundle and Schlesser as fierce rivals). Schlesser was the nephew of Joseph Schlesser, who was killed in the 1968 French Grand Prix when his Honda RA302 went into a bank on the Six Frères corner carrying 58 laps’ worth of fuel, which ignited instantly. As a constructor, Honda left Formula 1 as a result of the crash, returning in 1983 as an engine manufacturer and winning the Drivers Championship every year between 1987 and 1991, with 1988 being the first year with McLaren. On September 9, As a mark of respect for Ferrari’s founder, the Scarlet cars were the first at track at Friday’s practice, and come Qualifying, there were no shocks when Senna (1:25.974) and Prost (+0.303) dominated the session to fill the first row. The two Ferrari’s filled the next two spots, with Berger in P3 (+0.680) and Alboreto (+1.014) next to him. At the start of the race, Prost jumped Senna off the line and led into the Variante del Rettifilio but, immediately after, his engine misfired while changing from second to third gear and would not run properly again for the whole race. Senna thus built a two-second lead on Prost by the end of the first lap, and when Prost realised that the misfire wouldn’t


DALL’ITALIA Nigel Mansell’s chickenpox meant that he was replaced in the Williams by test driver Jean-Louis Schlesser (right) ... who would play his part in the only non-McLaren win of the year, and a stunning Ferrari 1-2 (Berger and Alboreto, below and opposite) at the Temple of Speed following the death of Enzo Ferrari six weeks earlier ... McLaren looked headed for yet another dominant 1-2 as the race started (bottom right), but fate in the form of Schlesser, was to intervene ...

ENZO FERRARI BORN IN 1898 in Modena, Italy, Enzo Started his motorsport life as driver, winning four grand prix’s for Alfa Romeo between 1927-28, before focusing on management and development of the factory Alfa race cars in 1932. He started a race team called Scuderia Ferrari as an Alfa racing division, before the Scuderia dissolved in 1937 due to financial constraints. Enzo left Alfa Romeo shortly after and started officially building cars with the Ferrari badge in 1947 following WWII. After merging with Fiat in 1969, Enzo stepped down as managing director of the road car division in 1971. He passed away on the 14 August, 1988 in Maranello at the age of 90.

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I am surrounded by a bunch of cheering, gesticulating, shouting, overjoyed Italians, and the atmosphere is unbelievable...

cease, he cranked his boost to full to give chase to Senna, reluctant to let his chief title rival go without a fight. Berger had tried to keep with Prost, and stayed within a few seconds, but by lap 10 had dropped back to save fuel, with Prost keeping within two seconds of Senna despite his engine issues. Prost pitted on lap 30. The misfire only got worse and, by lap 35, Berger and Alboreto had passed him into P2 and P3, with Berger 26 seconds in arrears of Senna and 16 laps left. Prost then conceded his day, heading back to the pits for his only mechanical retirement of the season (McLaren’s only mechanical failure of the year). In the meantime, Alboreto dropped back from Berger with gearbox issues, slowing in the hope the gearbox oil would cool down. It was a decisive move for the Italian and proved to work as he would make a charge back at Berger. Late in the race, The two Ferraris started to gain rapidly on Senna, with the Brazilian thought to be pacing himself – something

which he confirmed after the race – but he’d also spent a lot of fuel pulling away from Prost, a move that was considered purposeful by his French counterpart, with no love lost between the pair. The race however was seemingly over, with Senna far enough ahead of two Ferrari’s with two laps remaining. It was then that the great hand of fate would twist the story on its head, with the Williams test driver, on debut, about to send the Tifosi faithful into a mad frenzy of sheer madness. As Senna approached Schlesser to lap him into the Rettifilio, the Frenchman locked his brakes and skirted the gravel trap before he managed to save his FW12 and wrestle it back on track through the chicane. Some say Senna should have given him more space, or just waited, but that was not the nature of the great Brazilian. Senna tried to blow past him on the outside and had his rear right clipped, which broke his right rear suspension and lifted the car off the tarmac, into a spin which would beach him on the kerb.

Images: Motorsport Images

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In mad scenes of yesteryear, the safety Marshalls dashed onto the track with the race still in progress, but the McLaren was beached on the outside kerb and couldn’t be moved .... At the time of the crash Senna’s forced conservation tactics had meant Berger had gotten within five seconds of the race leader. Berger thus inherited the lead with Alboreta – who also got the fastest lap (1:29.070) – just behind in P2 (+0.502), as the great Enzo Ferrari’s spiritual presence ignited the Tifosi crowd into sheer frenzied mayhem. At this point, it’s now best to leave the commentary to the loquaciously gifted Murray Walker: “I am surrounded by a bunch of cheering, gesticulating, shouting, overjoyed Italians, and the atmosphere is unbelievable. We are not only going to see a Ferrari win in Italy, but we’re going to see one finish second… and the first Italian Grand Prix since the death of the great Enzo Ferrari has seen his beloved Scarlett cars from Marenello honour his memory, and it’s a truly happy crowd.” American-Italian driver Eddie Cheever – who also grew up in Rome – came home in third driving the #13 Arrows-Megatron. Thirteen cars would also retire that day, which somehow included both of the invincible McLaren-Honda’s, whilst Schlesser survived the impact with Senna to finish two laps behind the race leader. In the joyous scenes following, motorsport journalist Nigel Roebuck claims that a delighted Tifosi fan approached Schlesser after the race and grabbed his hands saying, “Grazie dall’italia”…Thank you, from Italy ...

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NIEL ALLEN TEN-TENTHS RACER AND BUSINESS TYCOON

ALLEN SHOT LIKE A COMET THROUGH AUSTRALIAN MOTOR RACING FOR A DECADE, THEN HE SUDDENLY RETIRED AT A YOUTHFUL 29, IN EARLY 1971, WHILE AT THE TOP OF F5000. AUTO ACTION’S MARK BISSET LOOKS BACK ON SOME OF HIS ACHIEVEMENTS IN MOTORSPORT ONE OF Australia’s first F5000 aces, and long-time Bathurst lap record holder, Niel Allen died in Sydney on August 6, aged 80. He commenced racing sportscars, taking to the tracks in a Triumph TR3A in 1962 just as the 21-year old’s (born September 4, 1941) NE Allen (Real Estate) Pty Ltd development business started kicking goals. He progressed through an Austin Healey 100-6 and a furiously-quickly driven silver Jaguar E-Type, which doubled as his road car. After some ferocious dices with Fred Gibson’s Lotus Elan 26R – Lotus’ factorybuilt Elan racer – Allen decided to buy one to attack Gibson on equal terms. In fact, the cheque-book-racer bought two 26Rs. When he bent the first ex-Geoghegan car and was impatient about the quoted repair time, he bought Bob Jane’s unraced car. His subsequent battles with ‘Freddo’, very much a young thruster on the up, thrilled Sydney racegoers in the mid-sixties. A Lotus 23B Ford twin-cam heralded a change to more serious equipment. With the economy booming along there was plenty of demand for residential and commercial real estate in Sydney. While Allen, like most developers had good and bad times, the 60s were

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times of plenty. The trappings of success followed, including some great road cars and an imposing home at Beauty Point, Mosman. His garage of racing cars reflected his passion for the sport and the depth of his pockets. Other than modest trade support, Allen paid for his pleasure. He acquired the Ford Mustang (Shelby built Group 2) raced by Canberra Ford Dealer and Scuderia Veloce driver Greg Cusack, and the Elfin 400 Oldsmobile (Traco Olds) raced throughout 1966 by Frank Matich. Of course, the touring car and sporty would be lonely without a single-seater sibling, so Allen added the Brabham BT16 Coventry Climax 2.5-litre Tasman machine raced so successfully by Frank Gardner for Alec Mildren during the 1967 Tasman Cup. Equipe Allen – or more formally, NE Allen Competition Pty Ltd – cut a dash throughout the paddocks of the day, not least for the calibre of the pretty young things who tagged along.

While m’lord was enjoying himself, Allen drove some of the fastest, most demanding cars in the land with great vigour and skill. Niel didn’t always race the cars – when duty called, Gibson stood in for him. Allen hardly ever raced the Brabham, with Gibson contesting a few 1967 Gold Star rounds in it. Allen made hay in the Elfin 400 in the latter half of ’67 while Frank Matich raced his Matich SR3 Repco V8 in the CanAm Cup. Matich was top-of-the-pops in sportscars, Allen was best of the rest despite fitting the Elfin with a potent 5-litre Chev V8. Allen raced the Mustang often, but it was Gibson who joined the one-race Australian Touring Car Championship grid at Warwick Farm in September 1968. Fred was fourth in an incident filled race with Pete Geoghegan up front aboard the second of his Mustangs. Preparation of Allen’s cars improved when the legendary Peter Molloy joined him. He had been looking after a swag of

Minis and the Brabham BT14 Repco V8 raced by another youngster, John Harvey, for Sydney motor dealer Ron Phillips. When Harvey joined Bob Jane Racing in Melbourne at the end of ‘67, the 34-year-old Molloy moved across Sydney to Allen’s. The later Bathurst and Tasman Cup winner was an unusual blend of development engineer, race mechanic and Driver Whisperer; a psychologist, mentor, friend and coach. Drivers to benefit from Molloy’s full range of talents include Warwick Brown, Bruce Allison, and of course, Allen. With most of the key elements for success in place, Niel bought Piers Courage’s F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA at the end of the 1968 Tasman. This very quick car won the final, wet, round at Longford, and was immediately fast in Allen’s hands. At the Easter Bathurst Gold Star opener, he qualified third but failed to finish with gearbox dramas. At Lakeside for the second round in July, Allen had done a very quick 54.9-second time in practice on the Friday, when, going for pole on Saturday he had an enormous accident. Veteran journalist Ray Bell was there: “We Watched him come down the straight and enter the kink, then awaited the sight of him braking for the Karussell, but instead there was a great cloud of dust and Niel and his McLaren appeared upside down and backwards about 10 metres from the ground at 130mph. It came down tumbling and rolling and tearing itself to pieces, ultimately the


Allen attracted new admirers with the ex-Greg Cusack, Shelby-built Mustang, here at the ‘Farm in 1968.

Left: Allen aboard the edgy, wedgy, twitchy SWB Elfin ME5 Chev at Warwick Farm in late 1969 – he was the only man to tame it. Image: Dick Simpson – oldracephotos.com Below: Winners are grinners, 1970 portrait. Bottom left: McLaren M10B Chev during the 1971 Tasman Cup round at Warwick Farm. Images: Autopics.com.au

cockpit section of the tub lying on its side with Niel unconscious in it.” Miraculously, Allen had only slight injuries. What saved his life was the six-point harness – one of the first fitted to a racing car in Australia – installed in the McLaren not long before by Sydney’s Dr Michael Henderson, author of the most influential Motor Racing in Safety book. The racing world looked carefully – forensically – at this accident and the role played by the harness in saving Allen’s life. Such belts were soon fitted to all GP cars and mandated in 1972. While he spoke of retirement, Allen commissioned Bowin Designs’ John Joyce to build a new aluminium monocoque chassis. Gibson debuted the rebuilt M4A in the December Gold Star round at Warwick Farm, finishing third. Allen then took the seat for the Australian 1969 Tasman rounds, his best results were a plucky fourth in the AGP at Lakeside and sixth at Sandown. He was equal fourth in the Gold Star won by Kevin

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Bartlett’s far more powerful Mildren Alfa V8/Waggott TC-4V. Lack of power wasn’t troubling Allen though. He ordered and raced a monocoque sportscar from Garrie Cooper to take on Matich’s dominant Matich SR4 in 1969. But even a 490bhp, injected Al Bartz Chev didn’t have enough mumbo for the Elfin ME5 to trouble the SR4. Late that year, Allen bought a new McLaren M10B Chev – Bruce McLaren’s M10A and M10Bs were the class of F5000 from 1969-1971 – in plenty of time for adequate testing prior to the Tasman Cup. He ran with the front-runners too, qualifying in the Top-5 throughout, starting from the front row three times, then capped the series off by winning the Sandown final round from pole. Other hotshots in the series won by Graham McRae’s M10A Chev including Frank Matich, Graham McRae, Kevin Bartlett and Graeme Lawrence. What should have been a stunning Gold Star showdown between Australia’s two fastest men/ cars, Matich and Allen in their McLarens came to nothing. F5000’s were deemed Gold Star ineligible by CAMS that year in PeacePipe negotiations between the warring 2.5-litre, 2-litre and F5000 factions in a battle to be the future Australian National F1, won by F5000. Rather than mothball the car, Allen took his snorting, fuel-injected 500bhp rollerskate to Mount Panorama’s Easter meeting. Over the bumpy circuit, two-humps-andall – with Bevan Gibson’s Elfin 400 death on his mind the year before, Allen was in that race – Niel set the lap record at 2:09.7 seconds. It was thrilling for those fortunate enough to witness it and stood for 34 years! By the 1971 Tasman, Allen and Molloy had one of the quickest M10Bs on the planet. Second in the opening round at Levin, Niel then won the NZ GP at Pukekohe from pole in front of perennial hard-men, Matich and McRae. His magneto failed in the Lady Wigram Trophy, but then he bounced back to win the Teretonga International, the final Kiwi round. As the circus crossed The Ditch for the home run of three rounds, Allen was in a winning position, and was potentially the first Australian to lift the cup.

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We Watched him come down the straight and enter the kink, then awaited the sight of him braking...

Plummeting oil pressure while in the lead from pole at Sandown was crushing, so too a water hose failure from Q3 in the Surfers Paradise final round. It’s a cruel sport…McRae won the Tasman again. Frank Matich was a fulltime professional racer who tested every week. He could never believe the way Allen switched instantly from business to racer mode, to the extent that Allen returned to Sydney in between the New Zealand races to attend to his business. The business exec retired at the end of the Tasman confident in his own ability as undeniably one of the worlds quickest F5000 drivers. He sold his two M10Bs at bargain-prices, for the good of the sport, to Kevin Bartlett and Alan Hamilton. Comeback thoughts 12 months hence resulted in purchase of a fast, twitchy Lola

T300, a Surfers Paradise practice crash and broken bones. Allen sold the car to Bob Muir from his hospital bed. With that, Niel Allen focused on his family and business interests, riding the ups-and-downs of a very competitive and sometimes unpredictable industry. He never turned his back on motor racing, attending reunions and quietly getting involved. He had three children, Stephen, Samuel and Yvette with his first wife, Annette, and in later years settled in the Hunter Valley with his second wife, Kerry. Ultimately dementia claimed him. Niel Allen. On his day, bit-betweenthe-teeth, with the rear Goodyears of his McLaren M10B scrabbling for grip as he teased the throttle of his 500bhp Molloy Chev through Shell Corner at Sandown, absolutely awesome…

Hooking the ex-Matich Elfin 400 Oldsmobile into Peters Corner, Sandown in 1967.

Equally at home at the ‘Cross or the ‘Farm, Allen’s Jaguar E-Type at Warwick Farm in 1964.

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ACTION MART THE ORIGINAL

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PRODUCTS AND INDUSTRY NEWS

RACER INDUSTRIES EXPANDS WITH TRACKSIDE STORE

COOLDRIVE AUTO PARTS has launched a new Racer Industries trackside store. And, ss part of the development, Gordon Cox of Coxy’s Motorsport Spares has joined the Racer Industries team. Long considered Australia’s leading motorsport parts supplier, Racer Industries’ product range is expansive, covering a significant range of motor racing parts and equipment for all types of motorsport participants. “A trackside store is a fantastic expansion of the Racer Industries business, ensuring that the business will continue to support local motorsport competitors at all levels, from grassroots to national series,” said Mathew Nilsson, Business Development Manager – Performance at CoolDrive Auto Parts. “This new storefront will allow Racer Industries to continue to deliver upon its goal of providing the best possible service to our customers, and what better way to do that than at the track, by their side, while they’re competing. TOP TORQUE PROVIDES FULL ENGINE reconditioning and rebuilding services including complete engine rebuilding specialising in Subaru and LS Series engines. With over 100 years of combined experience in engine machining, assembly and cylinder head reconditioning-from performance, full competition to standard, Top Torque Performance is a trade leader.

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“As part of this development, we are extremely excited that Gordon Cox of Coxy’s Motorsport Spares is joining the Racer Industries team and bringing along his experience and customer support.” The trackside store will stock many of the leading brands available at Racer Industries such as Sparco, Schroth, Racetech, Tilton, Lifeline, Premier Fuel

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Earlier this year, Racer Industries was named the Official Race Accessories Partner of Motorsport Australia, the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships and the RSEA Safety Motorsport Rally Championship, with the new trackside store an extension of this relationship. “The new trackside store strengthens our partnership with Motorsport Australia, with the intentions being for the store to have a presence at future Motorsport Australia events,” continued Mathew. “Most importantly, it will provide opportunity for the team to engage with our customers at a broad variety of motorsport events at all levels, including club and state. We look forward to getting the store out to the track and providing that hands-on support to competitors.” The Racer Industries trackside store will be onsite at Sandown Raceway, September 16-18 for the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships. For further information on Racer Industries, and to view its product offerings visit www.racerindustries. com.au.

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SPEEDWAY

MCHUGH MAKES IT TWO! AFTER AN exciting opening stanza of the Ostojic Chariots of Thunder Series, the week in between the opening and closing rounds saw Darwin come alive as the Speedway community took to the city. The many festive activities and displays included a fan appreciation night staged at The Precinct function center and the Street Stocks switching from dirt to bitumen as they took up an exciting opportunity to cut some laps around the Hidden Valley Raceway. On the Friday night a crowd of over 5000 plus fans packed into the 7Darwin Northine Speedway to watch a stout field of 47 Sprintcars teams from all parts of Australia returning for Round 3 of the series in conjunction with the penultimate round of the track championship. The fans were treated to some top shelf racing and, as always, the cream rose to the top as Jamie McHugh (right) racked up his second win. The Queensland hotshot was in dominating form, placing the NQ7 on the front row alongside Dash winner and gun for hire Steven Lines for the $10,000-to-win 30-lap feature event. At the drop of the green McHugh and Lines ran wheel-to-wheel over the opening lap before McHugh dictated the pace with clear track ahead followed closely by a trio of South Australians in Lines, Matt Egel, Ryan Jones and the field. With just four laps in the books the leaders started making their way through lapped traffic at a great rate of knots and without incident until lap-13 when a caution period was necessary to remove a cone from the track – just as Egel mounted a challenge on Lines. McHugh would again lead the field away but it would be Lines who launched to the front, while McHugh kept pace. Sadly, Egel would retire at the halfway mark with a deflating right rear tyre. On the flip side, the mover and shaker was Jamie Veal who had powered from 15th to third with a dozen laps remaining before

Images: Nakita Pollock and Paris Charles

SPEEDWAY NEWS with Paris Charles Daniel Harding triggered the red light after clipping the wall and flipped on the front straight. At the recommencement, Lines led the way but you could throw a tissue over the top three as they traded blows, each sticking their nose to the front only to be challenged. Lines

Tom Payet (W7) and Daniel Harding battled for the lead.

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They were followed by Jones, Jock Goodyer, Cody Maroske and Ben Atkinson Jr the first of the local’s home, with Ryan Davis, Grant Anderson and Kris Coyle rounding out the top 10. Substitute driver, Luke Dillon was 11th in his maiden run aboard the Perrett family entry over Chase Karpenko. Cameron Waters placing well after missing the first two rounds with his Repco Supercars duties and Matthew Dumensy completed the finishers. Callum Williamson was a late race retiree with another flat right rear, joining Lee, Lines, Harding, Egel and Hayden Brown on the infield. The heat races were shared with Hallett, Lines, Egel and McHugh claiming the points, while Daniel Pestka salvagd the C Main after a below par run, and Goodyer the B Main.

BEARE FOUR FROM FOUR

HARDING HAMMERS HOME DANIEL HARDING continues to run double duties aboard the Sprint and Speedcars with mixed results. But his Speedcar duties continued to run supreme with a clean sweep, taking both the heat race victories and a flag-to-flag victory in the Hidden Valley Ford 20-lap Main Event among a field of 10 fast flyers which included new Zealand star Kaleb Currie, Matt Jackson, Toy Payet and Co. Side-by-side, Harding ran the top while Currie carved a path on the bottom until the yellow lights were ablaze after West Aussies Tom Callaghan and Keenan Fleming came together in Turn 4. With an Indian file restart,

appeared to be hampered by a deflating right rear tyre, trying to keep momentum around the top. This allowed Veal to control the race while McHugh inherited second moments prior to the tyre crying enough as it delaminated down the back chute, sending Lines to the infield. The following lap the lights would go yellow for the slowing Jack Lee entry as it rolled to a stop with yet another flat right rear tyre. Veal led the way but McHugh refused to give in as he continued to work the top side of track and, with just two laps remaining, he was able to get the upper hand and go on to claim he winners purse over Veal and Brock Hallett, who had fought his way back to his starting position after falling back as far as seventh over the journey, rounding off the podium.

Harding made the most of his advantage and pounced, with clear track ahead, while Currie, Jackson, Payet and Co settled in for the chase. With a baker’s dozen laps remaining, Callaghan would again find himself facing the wrong way with a secondary spin, bringing on the yellows and retiring him to the infield after a second push. At the recommencement Harding again skipped away, while Payet relegated Jackson to third followed by Currie, Fleming and Robert Heard to round out those travelling the journey.

TWENTY STREET Stock competitors had one last opportunity to topple the run of Australian Champion Anthony Beare, but it would be to no avail as Beare would head the feature from flag to flag. Lining up for the final, he sat alongside follow Borderline Club member Jason Duell, while Mathan Thorn and expat South Aussie Justin Brumfield made it an all-South Aussie top four filling the 20-car grid. Beare would lead until Thorne touched him, sending the leader into a spin and Thorne to the rear for an Indian File restart which in turn would trigger a series of restarts. Megan Henderson was next to spin, followed by Samantha Radford and Kane Loyd, Loyd would soon again be involved in a wreck with Ben Blatchford. The race would restart

but only for the duration of another five laps before the race was declared due to time constraints. Beare, Duell and Bates shared the podium. J Brumfield and Jake Koivumaki rounding the top five. Beare claimed two of the qualifying heats while Duell and J. Brumfield chimed in with singles.


BENNY JNR BANKS FINALE IT MAY have taken to the fourth and final round of the series, but the locals rejoiced when hometown hero Ben Atkinson Jr (right) banked a maiden round win for the passionate local fans. The second-generation racer putting a stellar run together in his effort to bring home the winner’s purse in what would coincide with the final round of the Northline Speedway track Championship. On a night filled with drama and suspense, series points leader Jock Goodyer would not front up for the final due to a medical injury, surrendering his points lead to South Aussie Ryan Jones – however a DNF would end his tilt at the title. While Jamie Veal won the Pole Shuffle and Pole Position, the former Australian Champion elected to take the option of starting from the rear in 20th position for the chance to claim a massive $35,000 in the Pope Challenge. And so, for the final time, it would be the defending COT Series champion Matt Egel starting on pole while Atkinson would square up on his outside. As they raced into Turn 1, Matthew Dumensy and Jamie McHugh made contact, sending the latter into a pirouette as he kept the wheels in motion, while Dumensny would retire, bringing the field back together for a complete restart with first reserve Todd Moule getting a start.

Egel led for the first 10 laps before Atkinson challenged and succeeded in taking prime position as they negotiated their way through traffic, opening a handy margin until the yellow lights glowed for the slowing Veal who tagged the wall while slicing his way through the field in a bid to claim the extra cash incentive. Atkinson controlled the clear track, while Egel pushed the limit as he banged the wall to be swallowed up by Grant Anderson and Callum Williamson as Brock Hallett’s run came to an end, bouncing off the wall after slight contact with Steven Lines. Again, Atkinson set the pace with three laps remaining.

Cam Waters’ run would come to a premature end with a flat tyre – his exit would reset the field for a final Indian File restart. Atkinson secured his win over Anderson, with Williams also on the podium. Jamie McHugh, Adrian Redpath and Lines the top dozen. Egel, Luke Dillon, Cody Maroske, Mitchell Wormall, Glen Sutherland, James Inglis, Moule and Scott Enderl rounding those to go the distance. Jack Lee, Waters, Hallett, Jones, Veal and Daniel Pestka failed to go the journey. Egel, Williamson, Atkinson Jr, Veal and Maroske took the heats while Moule and Lines claimed the C and B Mains respectively.

BEARE – THREE ON THE TREE! AGAINST 20 other determined competitors, Anthony Beare (right) chalked up his third straight victory in the Street Stock portion of the COT series. However the journey to Victory Lane would present a different path for the Australian Champion, having to make his way through the field, rather than being the leader of the charge as Victorian Lenny Bates and Nathan Thorn opened a handy break after sharing the front row for the EB Graphics 25-lap final. Bates would lead for the first half dozen laps with Thorn and Beare in close tow, making it a Ford, Mitsubishi and Holden top three in the early proceedings, before Beare sliced his way to the front, with Thorn moving to second as they negotiated slower traffic. Bates fell back into the clutches of Justin Brumfield and Jason Duell in a battle for the final podium step.

With a dozen remaining Thorn would run out of bullets to fire and drop off the pace to limp home in a distant 13th place as Brumfield inherited the runner up position from Bates, Duell and Daniel Amaduri,.Rounding off the top 10 would be Jake Koivumaki, Lance Carew, Jim Dennis, Kane Loyd and Jimmy McGorman. The qualifying heats were shared with Duell and Bates taking one apiece and Beare a double shot, while Bates snared the Top 8 Dash.

ANDO’S DANCE IN THE DESERT ALICE SPRINGS’ Arunga Park Speedway fired into life for their first meeting of their 2022/23 season, providing a final destination for some of the travelling Sprintcar teams who ventured to the Northern Territory for the top end racing centred around the annual Chariots of Thunder series. The red centre played host to the Steely Sales Dance in the Desert and a solid field of 10 Sprintcars featuring four Victorians and a trio of Queenslanders called in to compete against the locals for the $4500 winner’s purse. From the opening hot lap session, Supercars star Cameron Waters proved he has come to terms with the 800 plus horsepower winged warrior and was the man to beat, having posted quickest time in hot laps before going on to clean sweep all three of his qualifying heat races and in doing so set a new lap record with a scintillating 12.640 lap. In a separate heat he lowered the 8-lap record which had stood for over 16 years to a 1:46.585 on his way to claiming Pole Position for the 20-lap feature event. The other heat races were shared with Dave Donnegan, Grant Anderson and Dennis Jones claiming one a piece. Anderson (pictured above) would line up alongside the in-form Waters and at the drop of the green it was Anderson who got the holeshot and, from that point on, expressed his way to Victory Lane followed closely by Waters and Jones, making it an all Victorian podium. Fellow statesman Donnegan was fourth while Ricky Boston proved the best of the locals advancing from eighth to fifth while Lenny Cole dropped from third to sixth, Warren Thompson was next while the Queenslander’s Nicholas O’Keefe, James Matthews and the lone female racer Libby Ellis rounded out the 10. SUPPORTS The supporting classes were the Street Stocks and Junior Sedans. In the Street Stock division, it would be the welltravelled South Australian Jason Duell (below) claiming the honours on his homeward journey to Mount Gambier over local Axle Greening. The Junior Sedans feature saw Jacob Foley advance from third to claim the 10-lap feature over polesitter Tom Stone with Natasha Tebeck filling the final step on the podium. Laith McDonald and Leah Driver would round out the finishers while Jessica Foley failed to start the final.

PAYET’S PAY DAY! WEST AUSTRALIAN Tom Payet (left) bookended the Speedcar section of the Chariots of Thunder Series with victory in the first and fourth rounds. With only eight cars fronting up for the final night of competition Payet, would run the top while Daniel Harding chased hard on the bottom, making it an interesting challenge until Payet checked out – until Harding rolled in spectacular fashion after tagging the wall with eight of the 20

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laps in the books. Payet led until the red lights were thrown for Tom Callaghan, who received medical treatment for burns after a Methanol fire. The race was declared at this point. Joining Payet on the podium were Kaleb Currie and Matt Jackson. Robert Heard, Keenan Fleming and Garth Thompson rounded out the finishers. The heats were shared between Payet and Currie.

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SPEEDWAY

Super Sedans – Harry Doyle (31) snatches the lead from Matty Pascoe. Images: Gordon Greaves

A CRACKER NIGHT IN CAIRNS A HEALTHY crowd made the most of the beautiful warm Spring climate of northern Queensland for North Queensland Super Sedans Title which shared the program with Round 4 of the NQ Sprintcar Championship Series and the Super Street Sedans NQ title at the Totally Workwear Cairns International Speedway, thrilling the race fans with a high dosage of methanolpowered V8 monsters.

ahead King would make the most of his advantage and express run to claim his maiden feature race victory, closely hounded all the way home by Dalliston, just 0.361s in arrears, with Desmares the final step on the podium. Jenkins and Walsh would round out the field as Brett Sciban was an early race retiree. Dalliston and Desmares claimed each of the 10-lap heats while King took the Top 6 Pole Shuffle for a front row start in the final.

Cameron King notches up his maiden Sprintcar feature race win.

HAPPY HARRY TAKES SUPER SEDAN NQ CHAMPIONSHIP

A stout field of Super Sedans made the northern venture to fight it out for the Triple S Earthing Moving NQ Championship and the 30-lap journey would provide a thrilling main event. Stephen Jordan took the early lead, hotly contested by the reigning Australian Champion Matty Pascoe as they opened handy real estate over Harry Doyle leading the rest of the field. By one-third race distance, the lead developed into a thrilling three way dance as you could throw a tissue over the trio as the scrapped for track position over several laps before approaching lapped traffic, blows for the lead were exchanged. Pascoe briefly made his way to the front before Jordan fired back, allowing Doyle into second and, in the blink of an eye, Pascoe was relegated back to third. In a thrilling dog fight, Jordan again found himself leading the charge, but a determined Doyle would run the top side and hit the lead with eight laps to run. Five laps further on, Pascoe would relegate Jordan to the final step on the podium and that’s the way it would stay, handing 18-year old Doyle the biggest win of his fledgling career over the reigning and former national champions. A smoking Stacey Lee was next and one lap in arrears was Ross Mackenzie and Graham Elliott while Brenden Chandler failed to fire for the final event. The heat races were evenly shared by Doyle, Pascoe and Jordan with one apiece

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THE HARDY PARTY!

Super Streets – Brett Hardy, NQ Champion.

THE KING PIN IN ROUND 4

Cameron King and Gwesyn Dalliston would share the front row for the all-important 15-lap final for round 4 of the NQ Sprintcar Championship Series. After the first start was aborted, the second attempt proved textbook perfect as the lead duo raced side by side into the first corner but coming out of Turn 2 it would be inside driver King making the most of his track position to

lead the field as he stretched his legs. The race for the minors was a closely fought affair for just over a third of the race distance as Dalliston withstood the challenge from Jared Desmares, Wes Jenkins and Brian Walsh, before they spread in the closing stages. Walsh and Jenkins both spun simultaneously, bringing the field back together for one last sprint to the line. With seven laps remaining and clear track

The Buffalo Motors Super Street Sedans NQ titles was also a hotly contested affair with 17 competitors taking to the track to battle it out over 6 bruising qualifying heats followed by a tough 20 lap final for the number one mantle. Brett Hardy started from the Pole Position and over the course of the journey he would rise to the challenge, slicing his way through lapped traffic as he showed the others the quickest way home while others crashed and bashed behind him. Dean Dalgleish was second, and Brad Brook would also join Hardy on the podium. Andrew McEeath, Owen Rankine, Jamie Naylor and David Shade were next to finish on the lead lap, Melissa Close and Bill Stolzenberg rounding the top 10. In the qualifying heats Hardy and Ashley Goodman claimed doubles while Brandon Wyatte and Dalgleish chimed in for one apiece. In the supporting classes, Ash Ewing would prove too strong in the Formula 500s over John Magro and Chae O’Brien. In the Formula 400s, Justin Lee would claim victory, Queensland champion Terry O’Brien and Dwayne Cotterell sharing the trophies. The Modified Sedan final was claimed by Graham Klienhans, David Manly and Scott Vella rounding the podium, while in the junior divisions it would be the lone Jr 500 of Dylan Hedger and the duo of Kayla Adams and Lachlan Saxby continued to learn their craft in the Junior Sedans. Paris Charles


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NATIONALS WRAP ARDC CELEBRATES 70 YEARS IN 1952 the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club was established and on September 3-4 it was commemorated with the Super 70 race meeting. The Sydney Motorsport Park event featured popular Historic Touring and Sports Cars along with a couple of more modern categories. The weather was not to anyone’s liking on a wet Saturday before a wet to drying surface on Sunday.

Carey Mahon dominated Group C&A Touring Cras, with five from five. (Images: Riccardo Benvenuti)

NATIONALS WRAP with Garry O’Brien

GROUP N HISTORIC TOURING CARS

WITH 38 ENTRIES, they were combined on Saturday and split into under and over 2.0 litre for a pair of races each on Sunday. Aldo De Paoli (Chev Camaro) won the first by a good margin. Chris Thomas (Holden Torana XU-1) chased him until he encountered a lapped car and crashed out. Brad Tilley (Ford Mustang) finished second with Andrew Colton (Lotus Cortina) next ahead of Luke Harrison (Torana) and Greg Toepfer (Mustang) after he started 34th. Hugh Zochling (Torana) was stranded on Race 2 grid which necessitated a quick Safety Car. Both De Paoli (gearbox) and Tilley (ignition) pitted which left Toepfer to go on and win ahead of Colton, Dale Parry and Michael Rose (Mustangs), Chris Collett (Morris Cooper S) and David Noakes (Ford Escort RS1600). In the first U2L, Noakes led all the way ahead of Colton. Collett was third until fellow Mini driver Tom Tweedie displaced him two laps from the end. Peter Ferguson (Lotus Cortina) picked up several spots to place fifth. Sixth placed Mark Lenstra (Escort) won the second race ahead of Collett, and the Minis piloted by Paul Battersby and Darren Burnes as many of the several front runners dropped out. De Paoli was back for the first O2L race and was quickly up to second but a long way behind race leader Thomas until the Torana stopped with a broken steering rack. Harrison finished second behind De Paoli with David Stone (Mustang), next in front of Parry, Wakefield, Toepfer and Rose. There was a small turnout for the second larger capacity race including De Paoli with a broken diff. Stone won from Parry, and Wakefield was third across the line before a 5s penalty relegated him to fourth behind Harrison.

GROUP S PRODUCTION SPORTS

AS WAYNE Seabrook went about the business of winning the four encounters in his Porsche 911 Carrera, the race was on for the minors. Mikki Piirlaid (Carrera) led Race 1 briefly after a great start from sixth and ultimately finished third. Damien Meyer (MG Midget) spun away second, yet got it back by the end. Geoff Morgan was fourth ahead of Doug Barbour in their Porsches. Meyer followed up with another second ahead of Morgan, Barbour, James CalvertJones (Carrera) and Piirlaid. Barbour was just behind Seabrook in sight for second in Race 3 where Meyer was third in front of Piirlaid, Wayne Potts (Datsun 280Z) and Terry Lawlor (Shelby GT350). On the dry track of Race 4, the latter came through to take second ahead of Barbour, Piirlaid, Meyer and Potts.

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PRODUCTION TOURING CARS

TURBO ALL wheel drive vehicles thrived in the conditions of three of the races, in particular Dimitri Agathos (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) who won them. Jack Winter (Mitsubishi EVO 9) overtook the EVO Xs driven by Chris Sutton and Matt Boylan. Anthony Soole (BMW M4) was next in front of Robert Coulthard (HSV Clubsport). Bevan Tanner (Holden Commodore) spun and hit the wall at pit entry as a result of contact with Stuart Follows (Ford Fiesta ST). Winton, Sutton and Boylan continued their scrap in Race 2 for the same result as Soole was next from Coulthard. Winton and Agathos turned on a rousing dice in the third which the latter won narrowly. Boylan took third over Sutton and Soole as Follows headed Coulthard. In the dry of the last, Soole won from Winter and Agathos and Sutton. Boylan retired early with an engine problem. Daniel D’Aquino (Commodore) was fifth from Coulthard and Brent Howard (BMW).

Wayne Seabrook was top of the class in Group S Production Sports Cars. Below: David Noakes, and Andrew Colton head the Historic Touring Cars off the line.

GROUP C & A HERITAGE TOURING CARS

WHATEVER THE weather, it made no difference to Carey McMahon (ex-Longhurst B&H Group A Ford Sierra RS500) as he won each of the five races. Rick Allen and David Towe (second and third in race one) chased him in their BMW M3s with the latter second in Race 2. Allen went out of race two with a puncture, and Norm Mogg (ex-HRT Walkinshaw) progressed from fourth in race one to a second race third. The wet caught Towe out in the third with a spin. Runners up to the Sierra were the former works Group C Nissan Bluebirds driven by Adam Workman and Brian Henderson, followed by Allen and Mogg. Adrian Allisey (Walkinshaw) finished second in the last two outings, ahead of Mogg, Towe and Steve Axisa (Group C Holden Commodore in both.

HQ HOLDENS

TWO WINS each went to Glen Deering and Dave Proglio – in their respective victories, they stayed out of the frantic activities behind. Deering comfortably won the opener and Darren Parker was equally so in second, although a 5s penalty made it look closer.

Shaun Boland was second until passed by Proglio and Luke Harrison. Deering also took out the second race where Jarrod Harber was second while Parker held off Proglio for third. Proglio led all the way in the next two races. Harber was second in Race 3 before he spun off at Turn 1. Harrison and Deering had contact where the latter came off second best. Harrison finished second ahead of Jack Harrison, Parker and Wayne Healey. The Harrisons took the minors in the last with Parker fourth from Harber, Healey and a battle-scarred Deering.

SUPERKARTS

RECENTLY CROWNED 125cc Gearbox Australian Champion Nick Schembri took his DEA-powered Anderson to a quartet of race wins. Likewise Blakey Rosese (BRM GPM-66) and Johnny Twigden (Scorpion)

clean swept the Stock Honda and Rotax classes. In the wet of Saturday, Schembri was a resounding winner in the first race, ahead of Paul Campbell (Avoig) while Lee Vella (Avoig) and Laurie Fooks (Raider) were close together for third and fourth. Campbell looked to have the second race won until he hit main straight for the last time when he had a broken crank. He coasted to line second behind Schembri and ahead of Vella, Fooks and Robert Trimmer (Anderson), After Schembri in Race 3, was Fooks, ahead of Dylan Stephens (250cc National Maverick), Trimmer and Vella. Mark Robin was fourth until half distance when his Avoig spun out due to contact with a lapped kart. It fired him up to finish third behind Vella in the last. Fooks, Aaron Cogger (Avoig), Campbell and Trimmer were next. Garry O’Brien


WILSON AND GUILDEA DOMINATE SPRINT AFTER FOUR runs through the 2.33 kilometre street course on September 10, Troy Wilson and Frank Guildea in their Mitsubishi EVO X (left) won the Midland Toyota Targa Ellenbrook Sprint. The result was determined by the lowest total time on the North Perth suburban course. They finished 10.9s faster than the combined times of their nearest rivals, Cody Harris and Morgan Wards (EVO 8 MR). They also finished first and second in the Open Rallysprint 4WD class. Third quickest of the 82 competitors were Peter Rullo and James Marquet (Lotus Exige GT) and they won the Targa Cup 2WD over 2.0 litre class. They were in front of the Electric class victors husband and wife Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann (Tesla

Image: Tim Allott

Model 3P+), and Brett Morse and Rod Ng (BMW M2 Competition) who were class runner up to Rullo. Sixth overall were Will White and Matt Thompson (Nissan GTR Nismo) who won Targa Cup 4WD O3.5L. After them it was Matt O’Neill and Eden Hughes (Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C), David Heaton/ Damon Nicoli (Porsche 911 GT2 RS), Dan Gonzales/Caleb Ash (Porsche GT3) and Paul and Katie Oxley (WRX). A four-time winner of the Bunbury Sprint and in his first time at Ellenbrook, Wilson was fastest on each run while Harris headed Rullo on three attempts with the situation reversed on the other. The event attracted about 6000 spectators who lined the streets to watch the action, see the classic cars at the Show n Shine, and enjoy the fun at the mini fair. Garry O’Brien

TIGHE ACCUMULATES AT GUNNEDAH

Image: Colson Photography

CLOSE WINTON MER THE WINTON RUMBLE, the ninth Motor Events Racing event of the year, produced another close result on September 3-4. After 15 hours on track over the two days, two teams completed 493 laps and were 1min 1.7s apart at the end. The team of Knucklehead Racing (above) in their ME-2 class Nissan Pulsar were in front of their 90-139kW power range class rivals Black Pearl Pirates (Subaru Impreza). Thirteen laps adrift, due to broken CV, broken exhaust and sway bar mounts, was Chop Shop Racing (BMW 318i) who headed ME-1 for cars of 140-199KWs. Opelrola (ME-1 Holden Astra Sri) finished with 474 laps. The team was up 13 laps on Tumble Bee Racing (ME-2 Toyota Corolla) and 39 on Kermit Racing’ ME-1 Ford Falcon EA. The latter won the Legends Award for their Fund Raising of $2179 for Rare Cancers Australia which is a significant feature of these events. Behind Jaga Racing (ME-2 Mitsubishi Lancer), BCC Racing (ME-1 Falcon AU) were there at the finish, despite an overnight change of car after the first one dropped a valve. They swapped various components including the doors which immediately put the new car in limp mode until they bypassed the ECU! Octane Carnies (ME-2 Holden Commodore VT) completed 377 laps, 13 more than Captain Banana (Hyundai Excel) who were best of ME-3 (up to 89kW). Then came Bukakke (Lexus Soarer) and Apollo 13 (Mazda 3) after a clutch change. Offtap Racing (Falcon BF) ran out of brake pads, mechanical issues put out Try Hard (Mitsubishi Lancer CE), while Altorque (BMW 130), Garage 88 and The Imposters (Mitsubishi Magna) ceased engines. Garry O’Brien

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THE FASTEST run on Mt Porcupine at Gunnedah for round six on September 3-4 has set Dean Tighe (right) on track to win the NSW Hillclimb Championship. The Queenslander had planned to wipe the dust off his Judd V8-powered Dallara but opted to use this year’s tried and true supercharged Hayabusa Empire Wrath Formula Libre to score outright victory by 4.08s. On his second run, he was under Doug Barry’s track record and later went faster to set a new benchmark of 24.55s for the 850m course. Staged by the Gunnedah Motoring Enthusiasts, it was the 50th anniversary of state round hillclimbs held at Gunnedah. The weekend looked ominous with practice in 50 kmh winds and heavy rain. However the sun was out throughout Sunday. Second outright of the 44

entries went to Dave Morrow in his 1.3 litre Krygger Suzuki F/L. In his supercharged V8powered Time Attack 2WD Datsun Stanza, Warren Bell was third fastest on a best of 30.09s. Fourth was Luca Cox in the under 750cc Hyper Hugger X4 F/L he would share with his father Brian. The latter had first crack and the clutch

went. That required an engine change after which they each only had two competitive attempts. Next was David Isaacs (Improved Production Mitsubishi EVO 9) ahead of Alastair Bell (EVO 3), Andrew Fraser (Road Registered Chev Corvette) and Brian Cox. Then followed Greg Jones (Clubman Locost) and

FOURTH FOUR HOUR WIN TIVO RACING Developments (right) enhanced their lead in the Pheasant Wood Circuit 4 Hour series on September 4 when they scored a back-to-back success with victory at the seventh round. The drivers, Prater, Fraser, Gorton, Skoumbourdis and Bramble, piloted their Toyota Corolla around the 1.6km nine-turn circuit 195 times for their fourth win on the season. Second on the same lap were Kacperski, Kacperski and Brown in their Mitsubishi Lancer before a four-lap penalty relegated them to third spot.

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Image: Lin Cotter Four laps behind the leading two and third across the line were Riches, Riches, Cooper and Grace (Peugeot 206), but they too were the recipients

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of a four-lap forfeit. That elevated Bink, Carlson and Brown (Hyundai Coupe) to second place after they completed 191 laps.

Alan Barnes (V8-powered Toyota Celica over 3.0lt Sports Sedan). Barnes was in the biggest class where Geoff Brisley was second with only one competitive run as his HSV Clubsport fried the clutch on the next. Nathan Monkhouse (Holden Commodore) was third in the class. Garry O’Brien

With the penalty the Lancer was third on the same lap while the Peugeot team was classified fifth, two laps behind and 5s ahead of the Doorey, Watson, Bray and Place driven Nissan Pulsar. Watkins, Rummler, Garrard and Hemeter (Pulsar) were seventh as McCallum, Howarth and Zealey (Eunox 30X) finished on the same lap. A-two lap penalty added later did not affect their placing. On the day before, the Excel X3 Series (for older spec cars) had one 12-lap race and three 15-lappers. Dean Alessi won each of them over Calvin Gardiner, Cassie Hoare and Adam Felton. Garry O’Brien

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NATIONALS WRAP GARTNER AND JENNINGS DOMINANT AT TRAGIC HINDMARSH DUE TO the tragic fiery accident on day two of the Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro, only Saturday’s results counted, and half points allocated for the fifth round of the Australia Off Road Championship. In their Extreme 2WD Ford SVO V8powered F150, Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings were comfortably ahead with a 57s advantage over Shane Elphinstone and Luke Candy (Jimco Aussie Special/Nissan V6 Twin Turbo). Just over 10s away in third was Pro Buggy class rival Aaron James (Alumi Craft/Ford Ecoboost TT). Sixty-three crews set off to tackle the two 80km laps of the first section after Gartner won the Prologue and the Top 10 shootout on an 8km course. But wasn’t all plain sailing as mud was a problem with the back panels. Fourth placed were Jake and Kate Swinglehurst (Jimco/Nissan TT) in front of Ryan Taylor/Kye Floyd (Tatum AK47/Cadilac V6 TT), and Craig Martin/Ben Dawson/ Brent Martin (Alpha/Chev LS2). In seventh spot, Mel and Liam Brandle (Alumi Craft/ Nissan V6) led ProLite from nearest class rivals Matt Burrows/Jay Mitchell/Mark Burrows (Jimco/Holden V6) by 0.6s. Making up the rest of the top 10 was Brent Smoothy and Reese Burgess in ninth and fellow Trophy Truck pilot Damien Nicol and Cameron Percy. Performance 2WD Trophy Truck crews completed the top 10 with Brent Smoothy/Beau Robinson/Reece Burgess (Geisler Bros/Chev V8) ahead of Damien

Shane Elphinstone and Luke Candy flew, but had to give best to Gartner and Jennings. Image: Tony Donoghue Nicol/Cameron Percy (Nicol Offroad/LS2). Best of the Sportslites were 11th placed Steven, Ella and Daryl Graham (Alumi Craft/ Honda K24). At the top of the Kincrome SXS Championship were Lachlan Bailey and Nathen Sracek (Can-Am Maverick) in 13th. Other class leaders were Chris and Geoff

Pickert (Performance 2WD Mitsubishi Triton/LS1), Geoff Pickering and Dylan Watson (Production 4WD Mitsubishi Pajero) and Eden Evans and Ryan Preston (SXS Sport Polaris RZR). Held in conjunction with the national title was the Victorian Off Road Championship.

At the end of the first day Martin had the front running ahead of Bramble with Burrows third. On day two the whole event was abandoned following the deaths of Gerry Hoekstra and Ede Taric in their Can-Am RS. Garry O’Brien

COUPLE CROWNED ON THE RIVER

Image: Roy Meuronen Photography

QUINN THROUGH TO CLASSIC WIN WITH VICTORIES in half the stages on September 3, Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith (above) were the overall winners of the Precision Auto Centre of Wagga Wagga Rosewood Rally in their Classic 2WD Mazda RX2. It was originally meant to be the third round, but became round two of the 2022 Pipe King AMSAG Southern Cross Rally Series with the cancellation of the Taree Rally due to wet weather. Quinn won the Riverina event by a minute and a half, over points leaders Jody Mill and Snow McMahon in their Mitsubishi EVO 8, with a further 41s back to third placed Brad Goldbrough and Scott Boyle (Datsun 1600). The first stage over 23.6kms was won by Andrew Maurer and Brett Kerr (EVO 6) ahead of Mill, Lachlan Reed/Matthew Whitten (EVO 3), Goldbrough, Jake Bramble/Michael Bannon (Nissan Pulsar GTiR) and Quinn. Mill took out the second 19.6km stage from Mauer, Goldbrough, Reed and Quinn. Maurer hit back with victory on the 16km third stage where Quinn was second ahead of Mill, Reed and

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Bramble. Then on stage four Mauer had the turbo fail and came in sixth and then packed up. Quinn won the 26.3km stage ahead of Goldbrough, Reed, Andrew White/David Hahn (Nissan Silvia S13) and Bramble. Stage 5 was tied by Quinn and Reed ahead of Mill, Goldbrough, White and Bramble. Quinn edged out Reed on the next as Bramble, Goldbrough and Mill followed. The penultimate stage went to Mill from Bramble, Goldbrough, and Braeden and Emma Kendrick (Holden Commodore). Placed fifth was Quinn who went into the final stage with a 18s lead. He confirmed the rally victory with the stage win over Goldbrough, Bramble, Michael and Erin Valantine (Datsun Stanza). Bramble finished fourth overall ahead of White, Valantine who picked up two places on the final stage, Kevin Ashby and Logan Waterhouse (Silvia S12), Spencer and Alex Leach (Subaru Impreza WRX), Evan Bollard and Joanne Matusiak (RX2), and Campbell Waller and Mark Weatherstone (Toyota KE35). Garry O’Brien

HUSBAND AND WIFE, Aaron and Liz Haby were declared the King Of The River after they took out the Comiskey Mining Services Don River Dash on September 10-11. In their Unlimited class Element Off Road Prodigy/ Toyota V6 Turbo, they covered the 300km river course (below) in two hours 34min 8.3s, 23.6s faster than Billy Geddes and Alan Cornick (Class 4 Geiser Bros Trophy Truck/Chev SB V8). A further 48s back were Kent Battle and Adam Franklin (Unlimited Element Prodigy/Chev LS2) were third. Now in its fourth year, the event is a multi-terrain two-day race for buggies and bikes run separately, along the bed of the Don River near Bowen in North Queensland. It consists of three 50km loops on both days. Along with the Finke Desert Race, it is quickly becoming a must-do event among off road racers. Day 1 went to Geddes – he finished 16.9s ahead of Haby and Battle. Fourth was Michael Marson/ Michael Collins (Racer Engineering Carbon/Ford V8) ahead of Clayton Chapman/Adam McGuire (Razorback/Toyota Turbo), Justin and James

Montesalvo (GET Performance TT), and Brett Comiskey/Corey Cooper/Brendan Camilleri (Bennett Truck Rodeo/Chev LS1). Fifty-five of the 89 finished the three laps and Chris Western/Cooper Western/Ben Boland (Rush/ LS1), 448 Dave and Courtney Muir (Geiser TT/Chev V8) and Hannah Bentley/Cooper Johns (Racer TT/ Toyota V8) rounded out the top ten. Among the DNFs were Brad Gallard and Dean Keyes (Geiser TT/Chev V8) with a broken diff centre. They bounded back to head home day two by 1min 23.7s over Montesalvo. Haby was next in front of Haby, Battle, Geddes and Clayton Chapman. Marson was seventh from Hayden Bentley/Viv Coe (Class 8 Racer TT/Nissan Turbo), Roydn Bailey/Tyson Warner (Element Prodigy/Toyota V8) and Craig Krog/Rhys Hutchenson (Razorback/LS2). Montesalvo’s second day was good enough to be fourth overall. Fifth went to Clayton Chapman over Marson, Hayden Bentley, Bailey, Hannah Bentley and Krog. Garry O’Brien

Image: Show ‘n’ Go Photography


GARRY’S NATIONAL

EVENT

CALENDAR STATE CIRCUIT RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS RD05, Phillip Island VIC – Sep 23-25 GRASS ROOTS RACING SERIES RD04, Lakeside Park QLD – Sep 23-25 STATE RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RD05 , Valley Stages, Yarra Glen VIC – Sep 24 STATE CLUB RALLY SERIES RD06, Valley Stages, Yarra Glen VIC – Sep 24 WESTLAKES AUTO CLUB RALLYSPRINT RD07, Awaba NSW – Sep 24 500 CAR CLUB BACKWRDS BASKY #4, Baskerville TAS – Sep 24 STATE OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP RD04, Three Springs WA – Sep 24-25 MA QLD OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP RD02 , Milchester QLD – Sep 24-25

Image: Zara Waller - Zed Photography

NEARLY A DRAW AT IMBIL IN A closely contested Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally on September 10, Ronnie Bustard and Larisa Biggar (pictured) beat Clay Badenoch and James Wilson by just 2.8 seconds. Irishman Bustard along with Biggar (Mitsubishi EVO 9) won two of the eight stages while Badenoch/Wilson (Toyota Celica RA40) placed within the top five on all stages. Third place went to Marius Swart and Ryan Preston in their VW Polo S2000. The third round of the Acworth Recruitment Queensland Rally Championship attracted 50 entries for 103kms of competition and 137 kms in liaison. The opening stage was won by Ryan Smart and Brad Jones (Datsun Stanza) ahead of

Tristan Carrigan and Jennifer Prince (Alfa Romeo 147), Bustard, Badenoch and Shaun Gill/Kelvin O’Shea (Mitsubishi Lancer). Bustard won the second stage while Smart’s third meant he retained the lead. Carrigan was second and Badenoch and Andrew Carrigan/Liam Hinschen (Mitsubishi Magna) completed the top five. Smart was able to extend the margin with victory on stage three where he finished ahead of Andrew Carrigan, Badenoch, Swart and Bustard. Tristian Carrigan was out with mechanical issues. With second on Stage 4, Bustard was the winner of Heat 1 at the halfway point of the rally, ahead of Badenoch, Andrew Carrigan, Swart and Gill. Smart finished the stage

42nd after an off-road excursion. The latter came back to win two stages in the four-stage second heat, but an alternator was problematic, and they were ultimately classified 28th overall. Shane and Sylvie Garner (WRX) and Bustard won the other two. Todd Webster and Melinda Bergmann (WRX) finished fourth overall and in front of Cameron Henry/Kester Ward (WRX), Adam O’Brien/Matt Sosimenko (Mazda 323 GTR) and Tim and Andrew Dillon (Honda Civic). Ralph French and Cameron Thompson (Subaru Impreza RA) headed Justin Northage/Scott Muhling (Lotus Exige) Michael Gill/Rhys Simmons (Hyundai Excel) to complete the top 10. Garry O’Brien

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TOWNSVILLE CITY AUTOSPORTS CLUB HILLCLIMB RD04, Mt Stuart QLD – Sep 25 MARQUE SPORTS CAR ASSOCIATION STATE SUPERSPRINT RD04, The Bend East Circuit SA – Sep 25 SCOUT MOTORSPORT CLUB COME & TRY HILLCLIMB, Collingrove SA – Sep 25 Honda Nationals, Winton Raceway VIC – Sep 25 AMRS RD05, AMRS RD05, Super GT Australia Rd05 , Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Sep 30-Oct 02 AMRS RD05, KUMHO V8 CLASSIC SERIES RD04 , Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Sep 30-Oct 02 AMRS RD05, TA2 MUSCLE CARS RD05 NORTH/SOUTH , Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Sep 30-Oct 02 AMRS RD05, AUSTRALIAN FORMULA 3 RD05 , Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Sep 30-Oct 02 AMRS RD05, SALOON CAR NATIONALS , Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Sep 30-Oct 02 IMPROVED PRODUCTION NATIONALS, Morgan Park QLD – Sep 30-Oct 02 WEEKEND SPRINTS & SUPERSPRINTS #10, Qld Raceway QLD – Oct 01 MG CAR CLUB TRI CHALLENGE, Ringwood Park NSW – Oct 01-02

WINNERS TAKE NOTHING AWAY NATHAN QUINN and Ray Winwood-Smith were consummate winners of the Horizon Apartments Narooma Forest Rally on September 10 at the helm of their Hyundai i20. They completed the six stages which made for a total of 103.26kms in 50mins 42.6s and were 3mins 9.2s ahead of Darren Sweeney and Paul Sexton. Just 5.8s behind the second placed Subaru Impreza WRX were Claude Murray and Lizzy Ferme in their Datsun P510. Also in a P510 were fourth placed Carl Stewart and Matt James who finished third in Techworkz Automotive NSW Clubman Rally Series sixth round as Quinn declined the points and awards. He had advised that he was using the Brindabella Motor Sport Clubpromoted event as a shakedown and did not want to detract from the Clubman Series. Quinn was the best on five stages and second on stage three which was won by Jamie Neale and Russell Hannah (WRX) after a ninth and a fifth beforehand. Despite the

NTH QLD SUPER SERIES RD04, Milchester QLD – Sep 24-25

STATE RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RD05, Safari Rally, Chidlow/ Sawyers Valley WA – Oct 01 ALFA ROMEO OWNERS CLUB OF AUSTRALIA, 12 Hour, Winton Raceway VIC – Oct 01-02 HISTORIC RALLY ASSOCIATION RALLYSPRINT, Bagshot Motorsport Complex, Bendigo – Oct 01 SOUTHERN DISTRICTS CAR CLUB AUTOCROSS SERIES RD03, Mid Murray Motorplex SA – Sep 01=02 IPSWICH WEST MORETON AUTO CLUB NOVICE DRIVER TRAINING, Willowbank QLD – Oct 01 ADELAIDE BUGGY CLUB OFF ROAD ENDURO, Haby’s Place Mannum SA – Oct 01-02 AUSTRALIAN MOTORKHANA CHAMPIONSHIP, Willowbank Dragstrip QLD – Oct 01-02 STATE (NSW) HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP RD09, Canberra ACT – Oct 01-02 COLLIE COALFIELDS 500 HISTORICS, Collie Motorplex WA – Oct 01-02 STATE OFF ROAD CLUB SHIELD RD09, Mildura VIC – Oct 02 Claude Murray and Liz Ferme finished third in their Datsun P510. Image: Raine O’Keeffe stage win, Neale remained sixth until out with an issue on the tour to the final stage. Sweeney was sixth on the first stage before his second on stage two propelled him to second outright where he would stay for the rest of the rally, and ultimately take the Clubman victory. Fifth to finish and fourth for the event were Conor Ferguson and Donal McCarthy (Subaru Impreza) ahead of Stuart Collison/Lance Arundel (WRX Spec C), Michael Barry/Patrick

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Skelton (Ford Escort), and Campbell Waller/ Mark Weatherstone (Toyota Corolla KE35). Next to finish were Russell Winks and Leigh Brimson-Pierce (Mitsubishi EVO 5) and Mikki Piirlaid/Tommi Flegl (WRX) 10th of the 39 finishers. Fourteen were retirees. Richard Shimmon and Pete Hellwig won the Hyundai Rally Series round while the ACT Clubman major points went to Blake Stevens and Steven Kent (Honda Civic). Garry O’Brien

CENTRAL AUSTRALIAN RALLY SPORTS CLUB RALLYSPRINT, Finke Desert Race Complex, Alice Sprints NT – Oct 02 STATE SUPERSPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP RD03, Symmons Plains TAS – Oct 02 HISTORIC RALLY ASSOCIATION WELLSFORD WANDER, VIC – Oct 02 ROLL RACING BRISBANE #9, Qld Raceway QLD – Oct 02 GEELONG MOTOR SPORT CLUB MOTORKHANA RD07, GMSC Beach Road, Avalon VIC – Oct 02 WA SPORTING CAR CLUB POINT 2 POINT, Wanneroo Raceway WA – Oct 02 TEST AND TUNE & OPEN SPRINTS #5, Lakeside Park QLD – Oct 02 VINTAGE HILLCLIMB, Collingrove SA – Oct 02

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WRC GREECE

GREEK HEAVEN FOR HYUNDAI REPORT: Josh Nevett IMAGES: Motorsport Images THIERRY NEUVILLE took his first World Rally Championship victory of the season (above) as Hyundai Motorsport completed a weekend to remember in Greece, scoring a 1-2-3 finish. Nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb made the early running on Friday, however once he was forced to retire with an alternator failure there was nobody to stop Neuville and his co-driver, fellow Belgian Martijn Wydaeghe from triumphing. By the end of the penultimate day the Hyundai trio was three minutes clear

of the rest, after several championship frontrunners ran into issues. Toyota GR Yaris driver Elfyn Evans was best placed to challenge, however turbo problems cruelled his run. Neuville sat 30s clear the front, ahead of teammates Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo. The three-stage finale on Sunday saw Tanak push for an unlikely win, however his charge was halted by team orders. All three Hyundai i20 N drivers were instructed to drive with caution, cementing the finishing order. In the end, Neuville finished 15s clear. “It has been a tough season so far and to get the victory after a very difficult weekend

in Belgium is a relief,” Neuville said. “The most important thing is that we have a 1-2-3 for the team. After all these years we finally got it and it’s a historical moment for the brand and the team. Everybody has worked hard for this and it’s a nice reward.” Pierre-Louis Loubet ended up fourth in his M-Sport Ford Puma after a rollercoaster weekend – he led on Friday before sustaining a tyre puncture on Saturday, eventually finishing 1m 52.5s down on Sordo. Craig Breen was sixth overall, 26.8s behind Loubet, with Toyota youngster Takamoto Katsuta 2m 12.1s further back. Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera had a rally to forget – he finished more than

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing dominated their first home event in three years with a 1-2 finish at the 6 Hours of Fuji, setting up a thrilling World Endurance Championship decider. The #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid crew of Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa (right) were victorious for the second time this season, scoring enough points to draw level with the Alpine ELF Team trio of Andre Negrao, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Nicolas Lapierre. A strong start was crucial for the Toyota title contenders, Buemi overtaking the #7 sister car after the first pit stops. From there it was relatively smooth sailing for Buemi and co., who were never challenged. Local hero Hirakawa crossed the finish line 1m 08s clear, as the #7 settled for second. The win was yet another display of

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Toyota’s dominance on home soil – the marque has won eight of the nine WEC races held at Fuji Speedway since 2012. Completing the podium was the Alpine ELF Team after a tight struggle against the #94 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 Hypercar driven by Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes and James Rossiter. As a result, the #8 Toyota and Alpine ELF teams will head to the Bahrain season finale on level pegging. In LMP2, the #31 crew of Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Dries Vanthoor got the chocolates after several different teams spent time in the lead. The #38 JOTA entry of Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens and Roberto Gonzalez threatened to oust the WRT Oreca-Gibson, however a fuel forced pitstop with four minutes remaining ensured that Frijns crossed the line first despite lacking access to team radio. Ed Jones, Jonathan Aberdein and Oliver Rasmussen completed the podium.

STANDINGS AFTER 10 ROUNDS 1 Rovanpera 207 2 Tanak 154 3 Neuville 131 4 Evans 116 5 Katsuta 100

WEC FUJI, JAPAN

HOMECOMING KINGS REPORT: Josh Nevett

17 minutes off the pace after hitting a tree on the second day. Tanak is now just 53 points adrift in the standings, however Rovanpera is well placed to seal the crown at the next round, which will be held in New Zealand. The gravel fixture returns to the calendar for the first time since 2012 and takes place from September 29 – October 2.

It was a productive day for Ferrari in LMGTE Pro, as two prancing horse machines topped the results. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi were first to the flag in the #51 AF Corse run Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, ahead of the sister #52 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco.

The #92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR19 driven by Kevin Estre and teammate Michael Christensen was right in contention early but slipped to third by the finish. Finally, TF Sport came out on top in the LMGTE Am class, Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen dominating in the #33 Aston Martin.


THUNDER DOWN UNDER

FORMULA 5000’S RETURN TO BATTLE IT OUT FOR THE AUTO ACTION ROSE CITY 10,000 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 10,000 Revival Trophy

A fantastic list of entries so far includes all the great makes and models Paul Zazryn-Lola T332, Rob Splatt-March 73a, Max Floreani-Elfin MR5, Dean Camm-Chevron B24, Frank Harris-Chevron B24, Bruce Simpson-Matich A53, Tim Berryman-Lola T332, Tom Tweedie-Chevron B24/28, Peter Brennan-McRae GM1, Bill Hemming-Elfin MR8, David Crabtree-March 73a, Chas Talbot-Lola T332, Rod Carroll-Lola T140, Geoff Walters-Lola T330.

Images supplied by Peter Ellenbogen

ALSO STARRING ON THE FORMULA FESTIVAL PROGRAM – WILL BE THE

FORMULA VEE NATIONALS AND THE FORMULA FORD FESTIVAL FORMULA 5000 IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY HOOSIER TYRES

WINTON MOTOR RACEWAY OCTOBER 15 – 16 ENTRIES ARE NOW OPEN – FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT www.formulafestival.com.au


BEUSCHER TAKES BRISTOL WITH FOUR PLAYOFF STARS ELIMINATED THE NASCAR round of 12 was set in Bristol, Tennessee, with Chris Buescher (right and below) continuing the trend of nonplayoff victors, taking out his first win of the season for RFK Racing. It was the first victory for the #17 Ford driver since Pocono in 2016, with his win throwing a spanner in the works of the contenders vying for the next round. Buescher led for a race-high 169 laps, including leading for the last 61 laps, where Chase Elliot hounded him for 50 of them. There were some big names eliminated from the championships, With the Richard Childress Racing pair of Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillion missing the cut, finishing in 25th and 31st respectively. Most notably, two other NASCAR superstars in Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were also eliminated for the resetting of the standings board, with Busch coming in at P34, whilst Harvick managed P10 – he could only just manage to finish in 16th place in the playoff equation. For Buescher, it was a mighty effort from his P20 grid start, and with Elliot in pursuit of him for the last 50 laps of the race, he managed to keep his nerve in a tense situation. “It‘s so special here,” said Buescher, “I love this race track and I love the fans. I love every time we come here. It‘s so special. It‘s pretty awesome.” Buescher started the last lap with two fresh tyres, whilst his chasers had full fresh sets. “I wasn‘t a bit worried about the tyres. It was up to me at that point. I made it work, and we had a really fast car. We knew we had a really fast race car in practice and didn‘t quite get the job done in qualifying 20th, but what a race car. “I don‘t know what all to say right now. I‘m out of breath. This

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Image: Motorsport Images place will wear you flat-out, and I love that about it. It‘s just a special night.” At the finish line, the Chevrolet #9 driver, Chase Elliot, was just 0.458s behind the Buescher, with William Byron taking P3, as both drivers went through to the next playoff round. Christoper Bell came in at P4, which completes a third straight top-five finish for the round of 16 for the #20 Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who also makes the round of 12. Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain came in at P5 and P6, with all the five drivers behind Buescher all going through. For Elliot it was bittersweet, but he was happy to have done enough to get through. “I felt like we were gaining, but I wasn’t close enough to do anything with him,” Elliott said, who was pleased to qualify for the next round. “But I appreciate the effort. We had a long day yesterday. Was able to battle back from a bad qualifying effort (23rd) to get a top two, so proud of that. “Glad to be moving into the playoffs and looking forward to some more opportunities here these coming weeks.” Bell came in at P4, which completes a third straight top-five finish for the round of 16 for the #20 Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing

driver, who also makes the round of 12. With Harvick needing a victory to progress, he managed to run in the top five after the first stage, but his chances soon went down the drain on lap 438 when his crew disastrously failed to attach his left rear on the #4 Ford, which left him in P10 for the final, and 444th lap. “It was pretty tough. We pitted in front of the #17 (Buescher), so just kind of the way the year has gone. Just went from having a chance to lead the parade to being a part of the parade. Just difficult to pass.” The other eliminated superstar in #18, Busch – also from the Joe Gibbs Racing team – had accumulated 14 points over the first two stages, which had him above the elimination line, when his engine blew on lap 270. It was his second such failure in three playoff races, which summed up the year for the fancied driver. “It just goes with our year. I don‘t even know what to say. I‘m flabbergasted,” Busch said. “I just feel so bad for my guys. They don‘t deserve to be in this spot. They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low — down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through. Two engine failures in three weeks – that will do it to you.” The Round of 12 heads to the Texas Motor Speedway on September 25. TW Neal


INDYCARS

Power (#12) took a huge step toward the title by grabbing a record pole position and leading into Turn 1. While Palou (below, #10,) took out the race, Newgarden (#2) did enough to secure second in the series. Images: Motorsport Images

POWERHOUSE PODIUM SECURES TITLE FOR AUSSIE DESPITE LAST year’s champion Alex Palou taking out the win at Laguna Seca, Australian Penske driver, Will Power, has taken home his second IndyCar title with a podium third enough to clinch the Astor Cup over Josef Newgarden. Power claimed the title by 16 points over Newgarden, who came from P25 to finish second on the day, ending the season on 560 points, with Chip Ganassi’s six-time champion, Scott Dixon, 39 points behind for third. Chip Ganassi’s Palou dominated the race to win by over 30 seconds, but the day belonged to the Toowoomba born #12 Penske ace as he claimed his second title after 2014’s victory. “Oh man…it sounds surreal honestly,” Power said over the radio as he crossed the line in P3, 3.4716s behind his teammate. “I can’t thank you guys enough, absolutely a team effort, you guys were flawless all year. I owe it to you to have driven my heart out today, thank you and congratulations. “Man, I had to drive that thing today, it was on the edge, very loose. What a relief to get that done,” said an overjoyed Power with his son in his arms. It was the 17th title for Team Penske in a dominant year for the North Carolina team, seeing them lead for 59% of total laps over the entire season. Power started on pole for the Monterey finale after also claiming the all-time pole record over Indy legend Mario Andretti. The #12 Penske Verizon ace pumped out a lap of 1:11.612 to claim his 68th career pole, with Callum Ilott (+0.0193) grabbing P2 over Alexander Rossi. In a true showing of sportsmanship, Andretti approached Power on track after the feat to congratulate him on breaking his record. Power reacted by humbly telling Andretti that: “You did it in the days when it was way riskier, so yours count for more.” “I know how much I loved qualifying, and I

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can see that he’s the same,” Andretti said in a later interview. “It’s just trying to do the lap that you know you cannot repeat, and that’s what puts you on pole. After retiring in 1994 as one of the most decorated race car drivers of all time, asked if he thought his record would ever be eclipsed, he replied, “Absolutely, I mean…it was coming, and that’s beautiful. It’s great for the series, and it’s great for the sport. “Records are made to be broken, and it’s with a good man.” Palou led for 67 of the 95-lap race around Laguna Seca to finish the championship in fifth place over Kiwi Scott McLaughlin on even points. Power led into the first corner in front of Rossi and Ilott, with Newgarden back in P20 after the first lap. By the time Palou had moved up on McLaughlin for P5, Power had a 3.5s advantage at the head of the field before pitting on lap 15 having run his Red alternative tyres into the ground. The switch for the harder Blacks took Power back into fifth, re-entering ahead of teammate Newgarden who was playing the team game early, and by lap 25 the entire field had pitted, which put power 3.494s up on Palou who had switched for the softer Reds. Palou eventually hauled in Power by lap 27, which managed to turn into a whopping seven second advantage by lap 31. After Iliot suffered a mechanical failure on lap 38, the field was brought back together from a caution, which blew Palou’s 10 second lead, playing into Newgarden’s hands. At the re-start, Palou got away well in front of Power and Rosenqvist, as Newgarden started to climb up the field into P4, blowing past Pato O’Ward and McLaughlin. On lap 46 Newgarden took P2 from Power in the corkscrew, with Palou seven seconds up in the lead, with the move bringing

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pressure on Power with O’Ward pressing up behind him, before Grosjean took fourth, slowing O’Ward down. With Newgarden pitting on lap 60, Power was back up into P2 and looked like having a podium place in the bag should he avoid any incident. Newgarden meanwhile came out in P6, 10 seconds off Power, but chopped his way back through the field, again passing Grosjean into P3 on lap 67. Power took his final pit on lap 68, coming out in P4 ahead of McLaughlin, with Palou pitting on lap 69, re-entering the field between Newgarden and Power, with the former looking like taking a remarkable podium after starting in P25. Newgarden took his final stop on lap 73 with a 25s buffer to Power in third, coming out 1.3s

ahead of his Penske teammate. Power was only slightly threatened on the run home, with Grosjean getting within a second before the Aussie put his head down and pushed it back out to two seconds by lap 87. With last year’s champion taking out his first win of the season to finish fifth in the standings, the day would belong to one of Australia’s great racing exports. Timothy W Neal 2022 INDYCAR CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS Power 560 (1) -Victories* Newgarden 544 (5) Dixon 521 (2) McLaughlin 510 (3) Palou 510 (1) Ericsson 506 (1) -Indy500* O’Ward 480 (2)

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BROWN TOPS TCR AT SLIPPERY SANDOWN

Cameron leads away for his Race 1 win amidst ‘variable’ conditions ... Images: Daniel Kalisz-ARG Report: Josh Nevett THREE SEPARATE drivers celebrated race wins in a wet and wild round of the TCR Australia Series at Sandown Raceway, while Tony D’Alberto maintained his standings ascendency ahead of the decider. On Saturday, Aaron Cameron took out the first race shortly after being selected as the Australian TCR representative for the FIA Motorsport Games, mastering the wet conditions which delayed proceedings. Sunday saw a couple of underdogs stand atop the podium – Ben Bargwanna scored his maiden victory in the series and Will Brown clinched a first win since 2019 to close out the weekend. It was young gun Jay Hanson who set the early pace though, thriving in both Practice and Qualifying. Hanson drove his Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS3 TCR to pole with a 1m 22.229s in slippery conditions, outpacing Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Aaron Cameron who was 0.298s off in his Peugeot 308 TCR. Those two were in the thick of the action in the opening encounter, with Cameron coming out on top after a tense battle punctuated by Safety Car periods. Unfazed by the heavy rain that had delayed Saturday’s schedule, the frontrunners went into Turn 1 four wide. Cameron emerged as the leader and stayed there, fiercely defending from the Audi’s of Hanson and Brown before the first caution of the race. The Safety Car made its presence known after Dylan O’Keeffe suffered a technical failure, forcing him to come to a halt on the back straight. Despite losing his slender advantage under yellow flag conditions, Cameron made the best getaway from the restart to restore his lead. Green flag racing didn’t last long though, as series rookie Kody Garland and privateer Michael Clemente both went wide at Turn 1, causing the latter to become bogged in the deep mud. As a result, the Safety Car led the field again, creating a one-lap dash to the finish. Hanson got a tow behind Cameron from

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It ended a bit spectacularly, but Bargwanna won the reverse-grid race .. the final restart, pulling alongside his rival before losing control. Cameron maintained his composure to win, while Brown and Zac Soutar completed the podium as Hanson failed to recover from his spin. D’Alberto extended his series lead in the Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R and Josh Buchan was fifth, the best of the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai entries. By rounding out the top 10, Bargwanna scored pole for Race 2 in his Garry Rogers Motorsport Peugeot. However, the youngster failed to capitalise on his starting position early, losing several

positions from the start as wet conditions greeted the grid again on Sunday morning. James Moffat was the main beneficiary, storming into the lead in his GRM Renault Megane TCR. The thrills and spills did not last long – the Safety Car was required after Michael Caruso was turned around by HMO driver Bailey Sweeny. When racing resumed Cox pounced, romping into the lead at Turn 9 while Bargwanna gradually clawed his way back into contention. It became a two-horse race between those two when multiple contenders were

involved in an incident mid-race. A hard charging Hanson attempted to dive down the inside of third placed Moffat, sending the latter into a spin. Cameron was unable to react to the contact, running up the rear of Hanson causing a jam. Both Cameron and Moffat were forced back into the pits and the news wasn’t much better for Hanson, who limped to the finish. After a Safety Car cleaned up the mess, Cox and Bargwanna duked it out on the final lap, the latter coming out on top for his first TCR win – despite a final corner ‘off’. Brown completed the podium, followed by D’Alberto and Soutar. Determined to go one better in Race 3, Cox took front spot when Race 3 commenced. However, former champion Brown got his elbows out and eventually surged ahead. Behind them, Jordan Caruso showed himself to be the quickest in the field, charging into second. It was to no avail though, as Brown held sway to cross the line 1.8s clear of the Autoglym Alfa Romeo, Caruso finishing second despite copping a 5s penalty for a Safety Car breach. Cox was third ahead of Buchan and D’Alberto. Time penalties were also handed to big players Moffat and Hanson. The former received his 5s whack for a collision with Soutar at Turn 5, while Hanson copped a 30s punishment for causing a collision with Moffat at Turn 4. Despite not winning a race at Sandown, D’Alberto still holds a 56-point lead over Cox in the standings heading into the season finale at Mount Panorama.

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS AFTER 6 ROUNDS

Will Brown took his first 2022 win.

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1

D’Alberto

658

2

Cox

602

3

Brown

585

4

Buchan

565

5

Soutar

565

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Cody Burcher stunned the contenders with a super pole in Qualifying ... Image: Jack Martin Photography

Tasmanian Lochie Dalton earned a strong fourth in Sunday’s finale race. Image: Daniel Kalisz.

HERNE CLINCHES DOMINANT TRANS AM TITLE Report: Timothy W Neal

AFTER SURVIVING a wet and wild Sandown, 20 year-old Nathan Herne remains the only Trans Am national champion in Australia after he completed a sensational 10 win season to wrap up the title over Owen Kelly at the Shannons Motorsport Australia Champion at Sandown. Herne won last year’s inaugural Trans Am championship at Dream Racing Australia with eight victories, before making the switch to GRM for this year’s running. Heading into the series decider with a narrow 19-point lead over his GRM teammate in Kelly, seven drivers were in with a mathematical chance of snatching the title, with fourth place sitter Tim Brook unfortunately ruled out of the series due to financial constraints. Wet and wild conditions marred the two racing outings, with Saturday’s race cancelled due to Melbourne’s inclement Spring weather. Qualifying threw a spanner in the works of the title chase, with young Cody Burcher in the #36 Mustang edging out Herne to take pole. Burcher put in a flying lap of 1:11.659 to top Herne by 1.1759s, as the rain greeted the start of the qualifying; with Brett Holdsworth not taking the track with tyre issues, forcing the third-place title contender to the back of the field in a disastrous start to his championship push. Nash Morris took P3 for his best grid start of the season with Kelly in P4, ahead of Jon McCorkindale, also in contention. The first incident-packed race on the Sunday saw Herne further stamp his authority on the championship with a resounding 5.2023s win over Kelly, as the #1 red and white Mustang cut a familiar sight out front into the chequered flag. A chaotic start saw much of the grid flipped on its head as cars pitted for the formation lap for a wet weather tyre change as the rain came down in droves. Burcher, who would suffer as a result, and start from the pits along with Herne, put in a fantastic outing in his #36 Mustang to grab P5. Edan Thornburrow inherited the first corner lead as a result of the grid shambles,

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Owen Kelly took out the final race, but it was only going to make a championship difference if Herne had a major fail ... Image: Daniel Kalisz-ARG avoiding the expected trouble, whilst Morris clashed with Nic Carroll in the #48 Dodge. The Safety Car was called on lap four with further trouble from Carroll spinning off, with Jason Hassett doing the same. With the lap nine restart, Thornburrow couldn’t hold off the rampant Herne, taking a lead he wouldn’t relinquish, with Kelly desperately working through the field to keep in touch. Herne’s 18th career victory came over Kelly in P2, with Tasmanian driver Lochie Dalton in third, over Tom Hayman and Burcher. Championship contenders Holdsworth and Gurton were effectively ruled out of distant title contention, finishing in P8 and P11 respectively. The series decider saw Kelly still in contention but needing a win, whilst requiring Herne to get a DNF or no points. Kelly would get his victory, but his teammate drove assuredly in hectic conditions, managing to stay out of any trouble. Herne did lead for much of the race until lap eight where he ran into a lapped car going into turn four, which allowed the #73 Mustang to catch Herne into turn six, where he built a comfortable lead.

With Herne starting on pole from his race two win, he led Kelly and Dalton into the first turn, whilst at the back of the pack, Mark Crutcher’s #4 Mustang got turned on the treacherous Sandown first. At the front, Kelly could only hope for a rare error from Herne, instead getting the opportunity from the back-marker. With Dalton spinning off at Turn 3, it allowed Hayman to push into third, whilst at the back of the field, young Jett Johnson had his weekend ended at Turn 12, which was proving a harrowing corner, with mud strewn across the track. Victorian Ben Grice was driving around with half the front missing from his #03 Ford, as it settled into a race of attrition, where Herne had to keep his nose clean and hold his P2. It was an impressive run from Elliot Barbour in the #27 Camaro, as he put himself into P5 ahead of Holdsworth, but some 13 seconds back on Dalton in P4. Holdsworth’s P6 was enough to secure third in the championship standings in front of Gurton and McCorkindale, whilst Dalton Thornburrow and Hugh McAlister leapfrogged Brook. Whilst Kelly would take the race with a 5.4045s split over Herne with Hayman in P3,

the title was Herne’s by 19 points. “For the last half of that race when no one passed me, I had the visor fogging up, the radio was beeping at me non-stop, the car was going off, and I was just praying for the race to end, but we got through and the car stuck together,” said a relieved Herne in pitlane. “It been a big year, and lots changed with moving down to Melbourne, so I’m just glad it’s done with…now we can go to Bathurst and just go at it.” Kelly also praised his faultless teammate following his second place, up from tenth in 2021. “As I said before the race, the racing gods were gonna decide it, and congrats to Nathan. He’s done an awesome job all year, and all we could do was hope he made a mistake…but it seems he’s actually pretty good.”

STANDINGS AFTER 5 ROUNDS 1 Herne 1048 2 Kelly 1029 3 Holdsworth 943 4 Gurton 903 5 McCorkindale 890


BRESSINGTON CATCHES WHITELINE FEVER A DRENCHED SANDOWN HOSTED THE SHANNONS MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA CHAMPIONS, WHERE THE TOURING CAR MASTERS HAD THEIR FIRST HIT-OUT SINCE TOWNSVILLE IN JULY Report:Timothy W Neal IN THE FIRST TCM Sandown outing since 2019, John Bowe came into round four with a slender two-point lead over Ryan Hansford, with Cam Tilley perched in third ahead of George Miedecke. It was a big weekend for the series as it celebrated Bowe’s 300th TCM race (144 in the Torana), with Hansford taking his 100th start. A host of reunion’s were on the cards for the weekend, with Adam Bressington back in the whiteline #95 Camaro (replacing an injured Michael Almond), Steve Johnson’s series return in the Hancock #33 Brut Mustang, and Steve Kassulke returning in his #52 silver Falcon XB … as well as featuring Cam Tilley in his much publicised, fan favourite, Valiant Pacer rebuild. The Friday practice session would be a fortuitous outing in the dry, with the session eventually counting as the Qualifying for Race 1, with not enough cars posting a fair number of laps in the eventual rain soaked Qualifying session. George Miedecke topped the times in the #85 Camaro with 1:14.8009 ahead of Hansford and Johnson, with series leader Bowe in P4. Tilley in-fact posted the best qualifying time over his five laps in actual Qualifying, with a 1:38.3768 in trying conditions, but the fan favourite Pacer was to be stripped of what would have been a remarkable comeback pole. The flipped grid Trophy race would be the only TCM outing of the day of Saturday’s schedule, with heavy downpours putting the nail through Race 1. Danny Buzadzic claimed his second Trophy race in succession after taking out the Townsville running in his #3 Torana A9X. The treacherous conditions would deem it a six-lap race after Bressington spun off into Turn 7, but it would provide a thrilling start as Tilley pumped his valiant into P1 into the second turn with a roaring run on the outside – much to the crowd’s pleasure. The lighter Torana would catch him on lap two, with Tilley cautious on pushing his rebuild too hard, eventually settling into P3 by a comfortable margin, with Tony Karanfilovski working his #88 Trans Am into P2 to finish a tick under three seconds back on Buzadzic. Race 2 would provide one of the most thrilling finishes in the series’ history, with Bressington edging out Bowe in his 300th start by just 0.024s. With the heavy metal classics enduring treacherous conditions on the Sunday, the two traded the lead several times with the gap never breaking a second split. The rolling start saw Hansford take the first corner in his 100th start, but he rapidly dropped off with the dry weather Hoosiers, with Johnson also missing the dummy grid to switch for wets. Bressington took the lead on lap four

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Adam Bressington took a popular race win over John Bowe – by a record small margin ... Image: Daniel Kalisz-ARG Danny Buzadzic had a mixed weekend. Image: Jack Martin-ARG

Winners are grinners, Hansford, Bressington and Miedecke Image: Jack Martin-ARG from Bowe. The two traded the lead before Kassulke spun off on lap 10; and with Buzadzic coming off and McConville coming in having broken the handle of his shifter, the yellow flags arrived, adding to the stop-start nature of the entire weekend. The restart saw one final lap, and when Bressington thought he had it into the final straight, Bowe loomed in the left mirror, but the Camaro had him in a near photo finish, with Miedecke grabbing P3. The TCM gods almost smiled on Bowe for his milestone, but none would begrudge the well liked Bressington in his comeback. “I thought I had about three car lengths on JB, and I was really struggling with the brake bias after the restart, and I missed the Apex into the final corner with a bit of understeer and I looked into the mirror and a thought, ‘Oh my god,’ he’s right next to me,” Bressington explained. “I had a gut feeling that I had him … but only because the ’69 Camaro is about a foot and a half longer than the 5000, and that was probably the reality of it in the end.” As it turned out, that 0.024s margin was

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the closest finish in TCM history, the other being between Bressington and Hansford in 2018. The third and final race saw Hansford reinstate his championship credentials after dominating in Townsville’s July meeting. In what seemed a reversal of fate for the series leading Torana’s, Bowe would slip through the field on the wrong tyres as did Hansford in Race 2. Hansford pushed up early from P6 on the first straight, taking P4 and sharing some slight contact with Miedecke into turn two. Kassulke went off again in tough conditions which called yet another Safety Car, with the #52 Falcon somehow getting out of the gravel trap to rejoin the back of the field. In another extremely shortened race, the action came fast in a six-lap decider, with Hansford pulling a spectacular outside pass through the esses on Bowe on the Dandenong Rd side, before doing the exact same move on Bressington, the race leader, a lap later. Bressington was sticking with Hansford

into the final lap, just 0.553s behind, but couldn’t match the pace of the Torana. Fisher managed to take Miedecke at the final turn to drag himself onto a deserved podium, with the great Steve Johnson grabbing P5 ahead of Karanfilovski. Bressington won the weekend outright with the P2, topping a fantastic comeback for him and the rebuilt Whiteline #95 Camaro. TCM heads to ‘The Mountain’ for the Bathurst International on November 11-13, with Hansford overtaking Bowe for the TCM championship lead.

TCM STANDINGS 1. Hansford 2. Bowe 3. Miedecke 4. C. Tilley 5. Fisher

567 562 480 442 399

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STEAL OF THE CENTURY

Side-by-side into Turn 2 ... Tander pushes The Bend’s Audi inside the similar Talbot/Ross car. Below: SVG led in the Triple Eight AMG, but a last lap stop, and the treacherous conditions dropped them to third.

REPORT: Josh Nevett YASSER SHAHIN extended his GT World Challenge Australia series lead with a miraculous victory in the second rain-interrupted encounter at Sandown Raceway. Shahin and Audi Sport Australia Team Valvoline teammate Garth Tander were forced to settle for second in Race 1, however the pair struck back on Sunday to record a race win and take out round honours. Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Shane van Gisbergen and Prince Jefri Ibrahim also had the chance to stand on the top step, taking out the first race in dramatic circumstances.

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The Mercedes duo were off the pace early as Shahin rocketed into the lead – however he came unstuck on the opening lap, spinning out into the mud. His incident paved the way for Ibrahim to claim the ascendency, while Liam Talbot also kept his car straight to run in second before the pit stops. Things went from bad to worse for Shahin who lost more time in the pits, leaving Tander work to do in the second stint. Nevertheless, Tander was able to launch an attack on Fraser Ross for second position, both making mistakes in the tricky conditions. Any further tussling was prevented by an early conclusion to the race, forced by

an off for the KFC Audi of Matt Stoupas as well as worsening rain. As such, van Gisbergen took the win under Safety Car ahead of Tander and Ross, while Ross Poulakis won the Am class in fourth outright. Race 2 was bookended by thrilling moments, its climax one for the ages. Kiwi van Gisbergen started from pole and fishtailed his way down to Turn 1, struggling to achieve traction on the soaked Sandown tarmac. His rivals also struggled early – David Reynolds and Am Paul Stokell spun early after a Safety Car was required for a collision between the two Am Class Mercedes entries of RAM Motorsport and Harrolds Volante Rosso Racing.

The carnage triggered a temporary halt in proceedings, racing restarted with 12 minutes left on the clock and Pro drivers still at the wheel. An altered pit window gave the codrivers a chance to sprint to the finish, Ibrahim leading heading into the final lap. Then, all hell broke loose. C-Tech Laser Audi R8 driver Tony Bates made a pass on Ibrahim at Turn 6, taking the lead with no signs of slowing down. However, standing water brought about Bates’ downfall at Turn 11, his Audi spinning out at the last hurdle. Ibrahim was unable to take advantage of his rival’s misfortune, as Shahin came from the clouds to win over Talbot. Matt Stoupas atoned for his Race 1 spin to win in the Am class.

STANDINGS AFTER 3 ROUNDS 1 Shahin 129 2 Talbot 109 3 Ibrahim/van Gisbergen 105 4 Tander 86 5 Bates/Reynolds 75


WOOD BEST IN THE WET Images: Porsche and Ross Gibb Photography

Sargent, Wood, and McLennan in close company. REPORT: Josh Nevett THE BATTLE for the Porsche Sprint Challenge Australia Series title is heating up after Ryan Wood won a tight third round at Sandown Raceway. Wood (pictured, top) and his rival Tom Sargent went toe to toe all weekend,

scoring a race victory each as the former came out on top by a single point. Just one race was held on Saturday, with the second postponed and eventually cancelled due to persistent heavy rain in suburban Melbourne. Starting the opener from P2, Wood had to bide his time early as Aron Shields made the best start. It meant little, as the Safety Car was called upon after Nathan Sticklen and Marc Cini collided on the opening lap. From the restart, Shields held Wood and Sargent at bay before Wood was finally able to slide past at Turn 1 with two laps remaining, saluting for this third victory of the season. Sargent also pounced on the mistake from

Shields, claiming second from the latter. Courtney Prince finished fourth while Tom McLennan was fifth on Pro class debut. Daniel Stuttered took out Pro-Am in his series return and Jacob Li won Class B. Sunday’s endurance race started in similar fashion to the first encounter, with Shields taking an early race lead before he spun at Turn 3. His spin came as the field split on tyre strategy, some fitting wet rubber when the rain started to come down pre-race. Eric Constantinidis, who elected to risk racing without the extra grip, inherited the lead briefly thereafter. Wet tyre runners were rapidly approaching in his rear-view mirror though, and series leader Sargent made the most of

his advantage to head the field by lap five. Wood was right in tow, and the pair traded the lead twice in an enthralling battle which resulted in Sargent taking victory. However, second place was enough for Wood to win the round for Team Porsche NZ and Earl Bamber Motorsport. Lachlan Bloxsom completed the podium, climbing all the way from 16th. Brett Boulton claimed the Pro-Am round win and Lachlan Harburg topped Class B. STANDINGS AFTER 3 ROUNDS 1 Sargent 462 2 Wood 453 3 Prince 342 4 Shields 309 5 Bloxsom 290

RUSSELL WINS DRAMATIC APC ROUND THE AUSTRALIAN Production Car Series had rain, a cancellation, and a shortened race at Sandown Raceway’s third round where the outright victory went to Drew Russell (right) over Shane Smollen and Chris Lillis. It was very wet through the first 30min race and the exceptional conditions continued to the extent that the second race was cancelled. Sunday morning’s one-hour was dry, but it came to an early conclusion when Matt Holt’s Class A2 HSV Clubsport had heavy contact with the Penrite bridge. Equipped with 4WD, Cameron Crick and Jimmy Vernon in their Class A1 Mitsubishi EVOs made the most of the conditions to be one-two at the start of Race 1. Russell (Class X BMW M3 F80) was third, and once he passed Vernon, closed on Crick who managed to stave him off over the concluding laps. Meanwhile Vernon held third until the last couple of laps where he was overtaken by Holt, yet was able to hold off Lillis (Clubsport). Sixth place went to Jake

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Image: Peter Ellenbogen. Camilleri (Class C Mazda 3 MPS) ahead of Ben Gersekowski (A2 BMW M3 E92), Duane West (Class X HSV GTS), Brian Callaghan (A2 Clubsport) and Smollen (BMW M4 F82). James Keene (Mini JCW R56) survived contact with the armco at the start, but Grant Sherrin (M4) was an early casualty with electrical issues. So too Darren Forrest (Clubsport) before Travis Lindorff (Clubsport) had the engine blow. Class B went to Daniel D’Aquino (Holden Commodore SSV), Class D to Daniel Natoli (Ford Fiesta) and Allan Jarvis (Suzuki Swift Sport) snared Class E. Russell dominated the second race after he grabbed the lead on the first lap

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A big field of 28 cars head for a damp Sandown Turn 1 ... Image: APC-Speed Shots Photography and only lost the front running during the mandatory pitstop schedule. Second place went to Smollen with Beric Lynton (M3) third after he started 13th. The race ran seven and a half minutes short due to Holt’s crash. Dean Campbell started off pole in the EVO X that Crick won Saturday’s race in, but lack of turbo boost saw it fall down the order and eventually retire. West was

fourth ahead of Lillis and the Sherrin brothers, Grant and Iain. Seventh and the A1 winner was Vernon ahead of Razum, Gersekowski, George and Andrew Miedecke (A2 Ford Mustang) who were the last to pit. Class C went to 12th placed Camilleri, and D’Aquino (Class B), Amar Sharma teamed with Natoli (Class D), and Jarvis (Class E) took the others. Garry O’Brien

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Supercars RACE REPORT Round 10 – PUKEKOHE

Images: Mark Horsburgh-Edge Photography / LAT Images

HOMETOWN HERO IGNITES PUKEKOHE FAREWELL

AN ECSTATIC CROWD WATCHED ON AS THEIR HOME-GROWN CHAMPION TOOK BACK-TO-BACK SUNDAY WINS IN SUPERCARS’ FAREWELL TO ONE OF THE GREAT RACEWAYS, WITH SHANE VAN GISBERGEN STORMING BACK FROM P8 TO CLAIM THE JASON RICHARDS TROPHY By Timothy W Neal PUKEKOHE PARK Raceway hosted the 10th round of the 2022 Supercars season for the Auckland SuperSprint, taking place on New Zealand’s most harrowing circuit. The teams crossed the ditch to NZ’s North Island for races 27-29 with three 41 lap outings to shape the last event before the ‘Great Race’ in October. Limited freight weight restricted the team garages to what they could bring, with the

hard compound tyres allocated on a track where degradation would play less of a part, and where the Pukekohe mayhem factor on limited supplies was perhaps of bigger concern. The circuit had been supporting a Supercars event in most years since 2001, and fittingly, the chaotic fan-favourite track was cheered out in style with two locals featuring in the podiums, and another win – with one going begging – for the evergreen veteran in Will Davison, as the expected Pukekohe chaos unfolded.

Andre Heimgartner added to the kiwi flavour – second on Saturday and a strong podium third in the final Pukekohe Supercar race.

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THE OPENING day saw teams scrambling for data with the two DJR drivers, Anton De Pasquale and Davison, topping the first session ahead of Andre Heimgartner, with the later showing the pace that would serve him well across the weekend. Davison again proved his flying lap form in the lead up to the first Qualifying session on Saturday, with the used Hard’s proving the key over the fresh sets – as they would in Q1 – by topping the final practice session of the weekend.

QUALIFYING RACE 27

Very little was separating the top runners on the quick track, as the in-form #17 Shell V-power driver had Race 1’s pole snatched out his hands late from Cam Waters. The Tickford ace put in a scintillating last-ditch lap of 1:01.998 to take pole by 0.096s ahead Davison, with Chaz Mostert, De Pasquale and Heimgartner to follow, over Scott Pye and van Gisbergen. With Broc Feeney, James Golding, and James Courtney filling out the rest of the first

Chaz Mostert was back in the sharp end action, highlighted by second on Sunday morning.


Four into two just doesn’t go. Somehow, Slade avoided what could have been a huge crash ... Image: Mark Horsburgh / LAT Images five rows, the top-10 Q1 shoot-out was split by just over a half second.

SATURDAY: RACE 27 – DAVISON DELIVERS

Saturday’s opener saw Davison charge home after controlling much of the race, as the other Auckland-born charger in the #8 BJR Commodore threatened a shock win after a late Safety Car. Davison and De Pasquale swept past Waters off the the line, with Courtney and Tim Slade making contact into Turn 1, forcing them both into the garage. The split was largely under a second across the field in the early stages, with Davison inching away from his teammate and Waters in P3. Some mayhem in the pits saw Jake Kostecki lose a wheel, whilst Jack Le Brocq had a power steering issue keeping him in the pits. By lap 13 Davison had eked out a two second lead, while Heimgartner hounded Waters for P3, pulling away from Mostert and van Gisbergen. Pye went for the early undercut in what would be an incredibly consistent weekend, before the #11 DJR Mustang took a lap 18 pit to come out 3.222s in front of the Team 18 Commodore. Waters and Mostert then re-entered in front of the pair, with van Gisbergen forced into trying an over-cut, while Davison came out in P6 for the provisional lead.

Jake Kostecki had an up-and-down weekend – his best a Sunday top 10. Above: Cam Waters’ weekend started with a super pole position, and ended in a highlight reel contest with SVG ...

Davison then re-took the lead with 11 laps remaining, heading up Heimgartner and Waters, with Mostert cutting in front of DePasquale and van Gisbergen to hold P4.

A Safety Car was called with 10 laps remaining when Macauley Jones hit steering problems trying to re-enter the track after wall contact, leaving six laps to run on the restart.

Heimgartner would get within 0.503s of the #17 Mustang, but Davison had too much pace and took out his 22nd chequered flag over the #8 BJR and the Tickford Mustang pole getter.

Will Davison was on top form on Saturday, and won from an impressive Heimgartner and Waters. Above: after receiving the Saturday silverware, Sunday brought pit drama for Davison. Image: Mark Horsburgh / LAT Images)

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Supercars RACE REPORT Round 10 – PUKEKOHE Right: Sunday’s Supercar finale lines up in front of a huge Kiwi crowd ... Below: SVG in triumphant ‘Freddie Mercury’ pose. For the locals, it was a perfect ending. Below right: Can Waters took it to SVG big-time, but after a very physical contest, took out second place in the finale.

QUALIFYING, RACES 28-29 -–SVG AND DAVO SHARE THE POLES

SUNDAY WOULD be the final day of Supercars racing at the much-loved Auckland circuit, and with two 10-minute qualifiers and Races 28 and 29 of the season, there was no better way to send it off than with a Kiwi dominated day. With times tight between the top 10 runners, qualifying at Pukekohe is almost a flip of the coin, with van Gisbergen grabbing pole for Race 2 by just 0.062s over Triple Eight teammate Feeney, in front of the two DJR Mustangs on the second row. “We were really battling with the car, but the guy’s worked overnight and did a great job and tuned it up … can’t thank the team enough – we’ve got to back it up now,” said van Gisbergen. The second qualifier went to Davison (1:01.921) who again used the worn Hards to get the edge, with Waters slotting in between the two Shell V-Power cars for P2, whilst van Gisbergen would start Pukekohe’s last Supercars race in P8. Pye rounded out a great weekend of qualifying by whipping up the devil’s number

with three straight P6’ for Team 18.

SUNDAY: RACE 28 – LOCAL HERO RISES

Van Gisbergen survived the mayhem of the early race stanza to win Race 2 ahead of Chaz Mostert, with the hometown hero delighting fans for the historical tracks penultimate Supercars race. In a manic first lap Van Gisbergen grabbed the first corner, whilst Davison pushed up into P2 over Feeney at the jump. Two major incidents marred the first lap, with Brown spearing off after contact with Winterbottom at the hairpin, hitting the concrete pit lane so hard that it moved two metres and impeded the pit entry. “Biggest hit I’ve ever had. I knew I was screwed heading towards the wall ... I’m feeling ok though, just pretty sore down my left side. The car is pretty rooted though,” Brown said in the pits afterward.

De Pasquale then got tangled into the fence at turn six with accidental contact from both Heimgartner and Kostecki, causing major damage to all four corners of the #11 DJR Mustang. The red flag restart came on lap six with Davison in P2 followed by Chaz Mostert, Feeney and Cam Waters, but a bold attempted move on van Gisbergen dropped Davison into P4. Waters pitted from P3 at lap 17 with a quick change bringing him out in P17, 30.526s in front of Pye who’d pitted earlier, with Mostert also pitting coming out 32.201s in arrears of the #97 Ampol car. Van Gisbergen took a lap 19 pit putting Jack Le Brocq out front, with series leader reentering in P10 holding a 1.3s advantage over Mostert with clean air to burn. By lap 28 van Gisbergen had shot into the lead, holding a 1.191s split over Mostert with Waters 1.965s behind him in P3, holding a two second advantage over Davison. In a time-shortened race, Mostert and Waters held the minor podium spots comfortably going into the last few laps, with Race 1’s winner coming home in P4 ahead of Scott Pye and Heimgartner, with Reynolds edging Feeney into P7.

RACE 29 – LAST DANCE FOR PUKEKOHE – SVG SENDS HER OFF WITH A WIN

A drive for the ages saw van Gisbergen snatch victory from P8 after an intense tussle with Waters over the last few laps, with a disastrous series of events costing Davison the chance to top the weekend with another win. Davison barely hung on into the first and second turn over Waters, as Courtney went hard and fast into the Turn 1 fence after contact with Hazelwood, pushing his cold tyres, with another early Safety Car called. Hazelwood blew his front left in the same incident, making it a tough weekend for the Matt Stone Racing garage. The lap 12 restart saw the top 11 positionally unmoved from the starting grid, with Davison not hanging around at the flag. Pye pitted on lap 17, moving van Gisbergen up to P6 with Davison 0.878s up on Waters over De Pasquale. With Heimgartner and De Pasquale pitting, it put van Gisbergen into P3 with Heimgartner’s pit crew brilliantly jumping him ahead of the #11 DJR in the pits with a 2.8s stop and a quick release, giving the Kiwi another good shot at a podium. Waters then re-entered in front of Heimgartner on lap 23 giving him the provisional P2 with a 33.963s split on Davison Davison then endured a nightmare stop with his wheel not fitted properly due to a


Coming from two seasons in S5000, James Golding took PremiAir Racing to new heights – including top 10 qualifying and race results.

Above: James Courtney pits – it was a torrid weekend for the veteran ... Left: Final race podium – Cam Waters, Shane van Gisbergen and Andre Heimgartner. Below: The fans were there for the last Supercars visit to one of NZ’s iconic race tracks ...

QUALIFYING RACE 27 Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Driver Time Cameron Waters 1:01.9984* Will Davison .0696 Chaz Mostert .1234 Anton De Pasquale .2054 Andre Heimgartner .2215 Scott Pye .3314 Shane van Gisbergen .3371 Broc Feeney .4327 James Golding .4390 James Courtney .5301 Nick Percat .3882 Tim Slade .4143 Jake Kostecki .4238 David Reynolds .4780 Macauley Jones .4817 Thomas Randle .5420 Jack Smith .5523 Mark Winterbottom .6197 Jack Le Brocq .6754 Brodie Kostecki .6815 Bryce Fullwood .9582 William Brown 1.0007 Lee Holdsworth 1.0039 Todd Hazelwood 1.0440 Chris Pither 1.0462

QUALIFYING RACE 28 Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Driver Shane van Gisbergen Broc Feeney Will Davison Anton De Pasquale Chaz Mostert Scott Pye Cameron Waters David Reynolds Brodie Kostecki Andre Heimgartner Jake Kostecki James Golding Jack Le Brocq Nick Percat Bryce Fullwood Mark Winterbottom Macauley Jones Lee Holdsworth Tim Slade Todd Hazelwood William Brown Thomas Randle Jack Smith James Courtney Chris Pither

Time 1:02.1092*H 0:00.0622 0:00.0685 0:00.1679 0:00.3496 0:00.3920 0:00.4197 0:00.4504 0:00.4553 0:00.4615 0:00.4867 0:00.6001 0:00.6014 0:00.6885 0:00.6921 0:00.7085 0:00.7495 0:00.8092 0:00.8125 0:00.9010 0:00.9529 0:00.9976 0:01.1614 0:01.1724 0:01.2414

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RESULTS RACE 27 41LAPS ( 119.3 KMS) Pos Drivers 1 Will Davison 2 Andre Heimgartner 3 Cameron Waters 4 Mostert 5 9 Shane van Gisbergen 6 Anton De Pasquale 7 Broc Feeney 8 Nick Percat 9 David Reynolds 10 Scott Pye 11 Mark Winterbottom 12 Lee Holdsworth 13 Chris Pither 14 Jack Le Brocq 15 Todd Hazelwood 16 Thomas Randle 17 James Golding 18 James Courtney 19 William Brown 20 Brodie Kostecki 21 Jake Kostecki 22 Bryce Fullwood 23 Jack Le Brocq NC Macauley Jones NC Tim Slade

Laps 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 38 34 33 28 –

Race time 48:16.5957 48:17.4607 48:18.3586 48:19.1729 48:19.4814 48:21.3103 48:21.8437 48:22.4688 48:23.4810 48:24.5923 48:24.9955 48:25.4365 48:27.4354 48:27.9607 48:28.3769 48:28.9609 48:29.3866 48:30.3924 48:31.0756 48:41.8243 48:31.2177 48:31.8241 48:33.4187 30:52.7575 –

s1 s3 t-2 s1 s2 t-2 s1 s3 s5 t-4 s7 s11 s12 s5 s9 s0 t -8 t-8 s3 s0 t-8 t -1 t-4 t -11 t-13

RESULTS RACE 28 41LAPS (119.3 KMS) Pos Drivers 11 Shane van Gisbergen 2 Chaz Mostert 3 Cameron Waters 4 Will Davison 5 Scott Pye 6 Andre Heimgartner 7 David Reynolds 8 Broc Feeney 9 Jake Kostecki 10 James Golding 11 Bryce Fullwood 12 Lee Holdsworth 13 Macauley Jones 14 Nick Percat 15 Tim Slade 16 James Courtney 17 Jack Smith 18 Brodie Kostecki 19 Chris Pither 20 Todd Hazelwood 21 Thomas Randle 22 Mark Winterbottom 23 Jack Le Brocq NC Anton De Pasquale NC William Brown

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Laps Race time 36 01:01:06.3736 36 01:01:08.7721 36 01:01:10.8484 36 01:01:13.3211 36 01:01:18.1833 36 01:01:18.5826 36 01:01:26.1314 36 01:01:28.4716 36 01:01:30.1334 36 01:01:30.5277 36 01:01:33.2252 36 01:01:33.9723 36 01:01:39.0822 36 01:01:39.4839 36 01:01:42.5817 36 01:01:44.9487 36 01:01:48.4779 36 01:01:48.8467 36 01:01:49.2533 36 01:01:50.1520 36 01:01:59.5446 35 01:01:14.4642 30 55:05.2199 NC NC

cross-threaded nut on the wheel stud, copping a penalty with the gun still attached on the exit. He was forced to re-pit with his wheel almost falling off, destroying his chances of another result. Mostert was in the lead by lap 29 with Waters 40 seconds behind the leader who was yet to pit, with Waters, Heimgartner and van Gisbergen holding the provisional podium spots. Van Gisbergen then took P2 on lap 33, and emerged to sit just 0.789s behind the Tickford front runner with 10 laps remaining. The championship leader hounded Waters, looking for QUALIFYING RACE 29

– s3 s4 t-1 s1 s4 s1 s6 s2 s2 s4 s6 s4 t– s4 s8 s6 t-9 s6 – s1 t-6 t-10 t-20 t-4

Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Driver Time Will Davison 1:01.9211*H Cameron Waters 0:00.2296 Anton De Pasquale 0:00.2430 Broc Feeney 0:00.2946 Andre Heimgartner 0:00.3214 Scott Pye 0:00.3394 David Reynolds 0:00.3839 Shane van Gisbergen 0:00.3980 Chaz Mostert 0:00.4270 Nick Percat 0:00.4848 Thomas Randle 0:00.5518 Jack Le Brocq 0:00.5668 Brodie Kostecki 0:00.5711 Tim Slade 0:00.5884 Mark Winterbottom 0:00.5975 Bryce Fullwood 0:00.6164 Lee Holdsworth 0:00.6625 James Golding 0:00.6730 Macauley Jones 0:00.8136 Todd Hazelwood 0:00.9029 William Brown 0:00.9244 Chris Pither 0:01.0342 James Courtney 0:01.0613 Jack Smith 0:01.0851 Jake Kostecki 0:01.1760

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small mistakes, just as he did at The Bend, but despite some errors Waters still led with three laps to run in some exhilarating close stuff. The Kiwi fans were in raptures, trying to beg their hometown hero to the chequered flag. Van Gisbergen finally got his man on the inside with two laps to run, beating him home by 1.116s with Heimgartner in P3. It was a fitting farewell for Pukekohe, with the two Auckland natives sharing the podium, and the Jason Richards trophy being claimed by van Gisbergen for the third time, for his 18th win of the season. Now for ‘The Great Race,’ October 6-9.

RESULTS RACE 29 41LAPS (119.3 KMS) Pos Drivers 1 Shane van Gisbergen 2 Cameron Waters 3 Andre Heimgartner 4 Broc Feeney 5 Anton De Pasquale 6 Chaz Mostert 7 Scott Pye 8 David Reynolds 9 Nick Percat 10 Tim Slade 11 James Golding 12 Mark Winterbottom 13 Bryce Fullwood 14 Lee Holdsworth 15 Jake Kostecki 16 Chris Pither 17 Macauley Jones 18 Thomas Randle 19 Brodie Kostecki 20 Jack Smith 21 Jack Le Brocq 22 Will Davison 23 Todd Hazelwood 24 James Courtney 25 Will Brown

Laps 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 40 34 0 0

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AFTER ROUND 10 Race time 54:40.0655 54:41.1815 54:41.6920 54:43.2791 54:45.6921 54:46.2930 54:47.4824 54:48.5835 54:52.6972 54:53.0290 54:58.0870 54:59.0081 55:04.7275 55:05.3836 55:05.6846 55:06.8265 55:07.2909 55:11.8927 55:12.5520 55:14.7248 55:17.3582 55:35.2071 55:17.4994 NC DNS

s7 – s2 – t-2 s3 t-1 t-1 s1 s4 s7 s3 s3 s3 s10 s6 s2 t-7 t-6 s4 t-9 t-21 t-3 t-1 –

Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Driver Shane van Gisbergen Cameron Waters Will Davison Anton De Pasquale Chaz Mostert Broc Feeney David Reynolds Andre Heimgartner Brodie Kostecki Tim Slade Mark Winterbottom James Courtney William Brown Lee Holdsworth Nick Percat Scott Pye Todd Hazelwood Bryce Fullwood Macauley Jones Thomas Randle Jack Le Brocq Jake Kostecki Chris Pither Jack Smith Garry Jacobson James Golding Jordan Boys Zak Best Jayden Ojeda

Points 2782 2257 2180 2113 2004 1852 1742 1592 1485 1435 1429 1421 1312 1308 1280 1212 1162 1056 997 973 937 931 927 862 513 444 168 162 150

– – – – – – – s2 t-1 s1 s1 t-3 – – – s1 t-1 – – s1 t-1 s1 t-1 – – – – – –

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Formula 1 Round 15 Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza

Leclerc got the jump on Russell at the start, but in the end the Ferrari used its tyres up faster than Verstappen’s Red Bull ...

EVERYTHING GOES VERSTAPPEN’S WAY By LUIS VASCONCELOS Images Motorsport Images MAX VERSTAPPEN’S path to his second World Championship is much smoother and stress-free than what he experienced one year ago, when the Red Bull driver was locked in a fierce and vicious battle with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. While last year there were plenty of swings in the title race, this season everything seems to go the Dutchman’s way, at least since the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where he started to build his healthy championship lead. In Monza, Verstappen carried a grid penalty that saw him start the race from seventh place, after being beaten by Leclerc in qualifying, but with Norris nearly stalling on the grid and Alonso a bit slower than usual too, he was already up to fifth after Turn 1 before easily passing Gasly into the Variante Ascari. At the start of lap two, the World Champion eased ahead of Ricciardo before the first chicane but Russell resisted for three full laps, so it was only at the start of lap five that Verstappen moved into P2, 2.2s behind Leclerc. The gap came down by just one second over the next five laps and then started to grow again. Vettel’s retirement on track triggered a VSC period and Ferrari took the opportunity to pit the Monegasque, even knowing this would likely force him into a two-stops strategy. Using the Hard tyre was not a competitive option and with the Mediums he was unlikely to get 40 laps out of them. For Red Bull the option was clear, as Verstappen admitted, explaining the team told him to do the opposite of his rival, and without too much pressure on track, the Dutchman managed his tyres and pitted only on lap 25, to go the distance with a set of Mediums. For him, that was the key for

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his 31st Grand Prix win: “Today was very hot and we could really look after our tyres. Of course, it helped a lot that I had a great first lap, and I could clear most of the cars before they got into a DRS train. From there onwards, basically, both tyre sets felt great, and I could extend the first one a bit. And even on the Mediums, everything worked out really well.” Knowing Leclerc was always going to have to pit again, Verstappen only pushed really hard on one lap – lap 27 – before being cautioned by race engineer Giampiero Lambiase to manage his tyres. Still, by lap 32, the gap between Leclerc and the Dutchman had come down from 10.1s at the end of lap 26, to just 5.4s and Ferrari bit the bullet, calling Leclerc for a second stop, with Soft tyres fitted on his F1-75. With a margin of 19.6s with just 18 laps to go, Verstappen could manage his pace until the SC was called out for Ricciardo’s stranded car to be retrieved from between the two Lesmo corners. For Verstappen: “I was just controlling the gap at the end, but of course then the Safety Car came out. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a restart. But overall, we had again a really good day.”

The only downside for Verstappen, who can wrap up the title in Singapore if he wins the Marina Bay race and Leclerc doesn’t finish higher than ninth, the only downside was being booed by the Italian fans on the podium: “The atmosphere for me, it was not amazing. But it is what it is.” He then added, “when it happens, everyone speaks to me about it, with the booing and stuff. But I’m here to try and win the race, which was done. Some people, of course, they can’t appreciate that, but that’s because they’re very passionate fan of a different team. And this is what it is. It’s not going to spoil my day.” In fact, nothing seems to be spoiling his year, as the championship has been going plain sailing for the Dutchman and his team after that shaky start that shocked them with two retirements in the first three races.

STRATEGY NOT TO BLAME FOR ANOTHER FERRARI DEFEAT

Starting from pole position, anything less than winning the Italian Grand Prix was always going to be a disappointment for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari. Having kept Verstappen out of DRS range once the Dutchman quickly got up to

Two of the three top qualifiers were faced with grid penalties ... while a strong race for Ricciardo (right) came to nothing.

second, Leclerc pitted from the lead during a quick VSC period at the end of lap 12 in what turned out to be the key moment of the race. Given Verstappen stayed out, extending his run on Soft tyres until lap 25, swapping to Mediums, the Ferrari driver was forced into a second stop, eight laps later, for a set of Soft tyres, the gap of 19.6s between the two too big to be erased. So it’s clear Leclerc lost the race with that early stop. Was this another mistake from Ferrari? Leclerc didn’t think so: “The first choice was to stop under the Virtual Safety Car. I think if I wouldn’t have done it, Max would have done it but it was a bit unfortunate that when I was in the in the middle of the pit lane, we had the Virtual Safety Car ending, so we didn’t get all the benefits of stopping at that moment. And from that moment onward, we were a little bit on the back foot.” Verstappen confirmed that, “the team told me to do the opposite of what Charles would do, so as he went into the pits I just stayed out.” And that, as it turned out, won him the race. Leclerc, for his part, was also not sure the final result would have been different had the VSC period lasted a few seconds more: “We probably would have had a bit


Hamilton stormed from the back for fifth.

, Verstappen did whatever Leclerc didn’t do at the first stop and it paid off.

QUALIFYING RACE 15 Pos Driver Started Time 1 Charles Leclerc (1) 1’20.161 2 Max Verstappen (7) 1’20.306 3 Carlos Sainz (18) 1’20.429 4 Sergio Perez (13) 1’21.206 5 Lewis Hamilton (19) 1’21.524 6 George Russell (2) 1’21.542 7 Lando Norris (3) 1’21.584 8 Daniel Ricciardo (4) 1’21.925 9 Pierre Gasly (5) 1’22.648 10 Fernando Alonso (6) No time 11 Esteban Ocon (14) 1’22.130 12 Valtteri Bottas (15) 1’22.235 13 Nyck de Vries (8) 1’22.471 14 Zhou Guanyu (9) 1’22.577 15 Yuki Tsunoda (20) No time 16 Nicholas Latifi (10) 1’22.587 17 Sebastian Vettel (11) 1’22.636 18 Lance Stroll (12) 1’22.748 19 Kevin Magnussen (16) 1’22.908 20 Mick Schumacher (17) 1’23.005

secure P4, rueing, “the race ending behind the Safety Car because we were on target to get Russell in the final lap.” Pérez, for his side, was disappointing in qualifying, dropped to 13th due to an ICE change, was passed by Sainz early in the race before pitting as the right front disk was on fire, and needing to manage the brakes for the rest of the race was only sixth by the flag.

MERCEDES - CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

With Sainz and Pérez on the back foot, George Russell had another golden opportunity to finish on the podium, as team mate Lewis Hamilton was also starting from the back of the grid. Promoted to second after penalties were applied, Russell made a move on Leclerc into Turn 1, “but Charles squeezed me off the track. He was on the inside, so he had the right to do so.” After that, the Mercedes driver managed to hold off Verstappen until lap five and spent a very lonely rest of the race, as “the priority was to make sure my tyres would be in good

RESULTS RACE 15 53 LAPS RACE 15 CIRCUIT AUTODROMO NAZIONALECHAMPIONSHIP MONZA

Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Drivers Max Verstappen Charles Leclerc George Russell Carlos Sainz Lewis Hamilton Sergio Perez Lando Norris Pierre Gasly Nyck De Vries Zhou Guanyu Esteban Ocon

12 13 14 15 16 NC NC NC NC

Mick Schumacher Valtteri Bottas Yuki Tsunoda Nicholas Latifi Kevin Magnussen Daniel Ricciardo Lance Stroll Fernando Alonso Sebastian Vettel

Make RED BULL RACING RBPT FERRARI MERCEDES FERRARI MERCEDES RED BULL RACING RBPT MCLAREN MERCEDES ALPHATAURI RBPT WILLIAMS MERCEDES ALFA ROMEO FERRARI ALPINE RENAULT

Laps 53 53 53 53 53 53 53 53 53 53 53

Margin 1:20:27.511 +2.446s +3.405s +5.061s +5.380s +6.091s +6.207s +6.396s +7.122s +7.910s +8.323s

s6 t-1 t-1 s14 s14 s7 t-4 t-3 t-1 t-1 s3 HAAS FERRARI 53 +8.549s s5 ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 52 +1 lap s2 ALPHATAURI RBPT 52 +1 lap s6 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 52 +1 lap t-5 HAAS FERRARI 52 +1 lap t-13 MCLAREN MERCEDES 45 DNF t-6 ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 39 DNF t-13 ALPINE RENAULT 31 DNF t-9 ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 10 DNF t-3

CHAMPIONSHIP RACE 15 Pos Driver Points 1 Max Verstappen 335 2 Charles Leclerc 219 3 Sergio Perez 210 4 George Russell 203 5 Carlos Sainz 187 6 Lewis Hamilton 168 7 Lando Norris 88 8 Esteban Ocon 66 9 Fernando Alonso 59 10 Valtteri Bottas 46 11 Kevin Magnussen 22 12 Pierre Gasly 22 13 Sebastian Vettel 20 14 Daniel Ricciardo 19 15 Mick Schumacher 12 16 Yuki Tsunoda 11 17 Zhou Guanyu 6 18 Lance Stroll 5 19 Alex Albon 4 20 Nyck de Vries 2

– s1 t-1 s1 t-1 – – – – – – s2 t-1 t-1 – – – s1 t-1 t

more margin to Max behind and maybe we will have just give a shot to finish the race on a Medium, which was not a great possibility because Max was too close with these fresh tyres, so we knew we just had to stop before he caught us...” Given Verstappen had only gained 0.7s on Leclerc from lap 5 to lap 11, Leclerc’s tyres seemed to be holding on pretty well and had he been able to go the planned distance – until lap 20 – on them, maybe the outcome of the Italian Grand Prix would have been different. We’ll never know, of course, but at least it’s clear Ferrari took a bold decision that didn’t pay off, also due to a bit of bad luck – the VSC quick ending cut Leclerc’s gain by seven seconds -–so there’s no real reason to point, again, the finger at the Scuderia’s strategy. The team’s second drivers had very different weekends. Sainz was on fire from the start of FP1 and carrying a big grid penalty worked only on race set-up. Still, he nearly piped Verstappen for second in Q3 and then drove a storming race, scything through the field to

shape should Carlos catch me before the end of the race, so third place was pretty much secured before the Safety Car period.” Hamilton had joked, “I’m going to get a tablet and watch Game of Thrones when I’ll be stuck on a DRS train” after dropping to 19th on the grid and made little progress in the early laps. But when his tyres came alive, he stormed through the field, including a double pass on Gasly and Norris, to finish the race in fifth place, to help Mercedes contain the losses for Ferrari in the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

CRUEL FATE DENIES RICCIARDO STRONG POINTS

Even with grid penalties the drivers from the three top teams covered the first six places of the race, so there were only four slots available in the points for the other competitors. McLaren looked set to take half of them, with Norris on course for P5 ahead of Pérez when the team pitted him under Safety Car, believing the race would be resumed, costing the English driver one position. Daniel Ricciardo had his best showing in ages, matching Norris in qualifying and having a solid race inside the point. Pitting earlier than his team-mate, to defend from Gasly, the Australian played the team game by allowing Norris through after he pitted a lot later and was set to finish in eighth place when his Power Unit failed. Pretty much a summary of what his season has been, really… With Alonso out early and Ocon scoring no points, McLaren gained six points on the French team, when a gain of 10 points was clearly on the cards. Gasly inherited P8 in a strong weekend for the Frenchman, who nearly didn’t compete after being ill until Friday morning, with rookie sensation Nyck de Vries scoring two points on his Grand Prix debut and Zhou Guanyu giving Alfa Romeo its first point since Canada, after spending 53 laps glued to the back of the Williams driver.

DE VRIES SHINES IN UNEXPECTED DEBUT A ROOKIE stole the show in Monza, as Nyck de Vries (above and below) had an unexpected and dream debut at the Italian Grand Prix, replacing Alex Albon at Williams at the 11th hour. The Thai had been 11th quickest in FP1 and improved to P10 in the evening session, but was rushed to hospital early on Saturday to get his appendicitis removed. With little time to react, Williams called on the services of de Vries and couldn’t have made a more inspired choice, Fortunately, the diminutive Dutchman had the fact he had briefly run for Williams back in May, in the Spanish Grand Prix FP1 and had also driven on Friday, in FP1 in Monza, for Aston Martin. The rest was all against him – no recent knowledge of the car, no previous running on the C4 Pirelli compound and no previous race run done. Add to that he had only 36 minutes of practice in FP3 – he’s 18 kilos lighter and way smaller than Albon, so there was a lot of work to do for the car to fit him and be above minimum weight – and it’s clear the odds were against him. Still, he outqualified Latifi and made it to Q2, before putting a very solid performance in the race. He had Zhou glued to the back of his car for the 53 laps of the race and didn’t put a wheel wrong, while pressuring Gasly all the way as well. It’s impossible to find any fault on his performance – the brief off in Lesmo, in practice, was acceptable due to his inexperience with the car – and the Dutchman put himself firmly on the market for next year, with Alpine and Williams now vying for his services. Exhausted at the end of the race -–he had to be lifted by his mechanics to get out of the cockpit – he was naturally delighted with the experience: “The whole of the last 24 hours have just been a dream. I didn’t really have much time to think because everything was so rushed. When I received the call, I was actually up in Paddock Club for an appearance drinking some cappuccino, chilling and waiting and then I received the call for Mercedes, which asked me to come down asap. I was then forwarded to Williams and then it was a rush to get me some track time in FP3.” On his chances to get a full-time drive for next year, the Dutch was cautious: “This world is very volatile and it’s not only merit who counts. It’s out of my control, but this no one can take away from me, so, regardless of the future whether I’m here or not, I can look back on a proud debut and first moment in Formula One.” And proud he should be, for he couldn’t have done better in such unexpected circumstances.

Note - Perez scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

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TEST YOUR MOTORSPORT KNOWLEDGE Across

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3. Former Supercars driver Simona de Silvestro returned to IndyCar this year – how many races did she compete in? 4. Where did six-time champion Scott Dixon finish up in the 2022 standings? 7. With what team did Power win the title this year? 12. Which driver dominated the final round of the season? (surname) 13. Which manufacturer took the title this year? 14. 2021 IndyCar Series winner Alex Palou finished the series in what position? 16. What is the name of the track where the final race of the season was held? 17. What was Scott McLaughlin’s end of season championship position? 18. Who won the Rookie of the Year honour in 2022? (surname) 19. Who was the highest placed driver in the standings not to take a race win in 2022? (surname) 22. Who was the highest placed American driver in the Championship? (surname) 25. How many race victories did Will Power collect on the way to his IndyCar crown? 26. Arrow McLaren will expand to three cars next year – who will be joining the team? (surname) 27. Will Power won the 2022 IndyCar title – how many times had he won the series previously? 28. Palou will return with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023; however he was also announced as a driver for which other team?

1. Which team won the Indy 500? (abbreviation) 2. How many race wins did Scott McLaughlin score in 2022? 3. How many drivers could mathematically win the title at the final round? 5. In a one-off appearance, which legendary Brazilian driver finished third in this year’s Indy 500? (surname) 6. Who was the highest placed driver in the standings not competing for Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske? (surname) 8. Will Power broke the record of IndyCar poles; who previously held the record? (full name) 9. Romain Grosjean scored his best race finish at Long Beach – what position did he finish? 10. What number car did Will Power 18 race this year? 11. Who scored the most IndyCar Series race wins in 2022? (surname) 22 15. In what American state did McLaughlin take his first IndyCar Series race win? 20. Who won the Indy 500 in 2022? (surname) 21. McLaughlin has nicknamed his crew as the ‘Thirsty’ what? 23. Who scored pole position in the Indy 500 for a second straight year? (surname) 24. How many different drivers scored race wins in 2022? 25. How many race wins did Alex Palou take Across in 2022?

Name: Complete the crossword puzzle below 1 2

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5

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10 11

12

13 14

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Created using the Crossword Maker on TheTeacher

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3. Former Supercars driver Simona de Silvestro returned to 1. Which team won the Indy 500? (abbreviation) IndyCar this year, how many races did she compete in? 2. How many race wins did Scott McLaughlin score in #1843 Crossword Answers: 1 down – Nissan, 2 down – Senna, 24. across – Suzuki 3 down – HRT, 4 across Scott – Renault, 5 down – Everingham, down –drivers Watkinscould Glen, 8mathematically across – Vandoorne,win the titl Where did six-time champion Dixon finish up in the6 down – Rovanpera, 3. How 7many 9 down – one, 10 down – Barrichello, 11 down – zero, 12 across – Canto, 13 across – Sydney, 13 down – SBR, 14 across – Symmons Plains, 15 down – four, 16 across – Mercedes, 2022 standings? final round? 17 across – Brazilian, 17 down – Brabham, 18 down – Brad Jones, 19 down – Mears, 19 across – McLaren, 20 across – Coulthard, 21 down across 23 across – Rossi, 26 across – Scheckter 7. With what team did– Gibbs, Power22win the– Tander, title this year?– Mazda, 24 down – three, 5. 25 In across a one-off appearance, which legendary Brazilian 12. Which driver dominated the final round of the season? finished third in this year’s Indy 500? (surname) (surname) 6. Who was the highest placed driver in the standings 13. Which manufacturer took the title this year? competing for Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske We take a look back at what making news in Auto(surname) Action 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago the series 14. 2021 IndyCar Series winner Alex Palouwas finished in what position? 8. Will Power broke the record of IndyCar poles, who 16. What is the name of the track where the final race of the held the record? (full name) season was held? 9. Romain Grosjean scored his best race finish at Lon 17. What was Scott McLaughlin’s end of season championship what position did he finish? position? 10. What number car did Will Power race this year? 18. Who won the Rookie of the Year honour in 2022? 11. Who scored the most IndyCar Series race wins in (surname) (surname) 19. Who was the highest placed driver in the standings not to 15. In what American state did McLaughlin take his fi take a race win in 2022? (surname) Series race win? 22. Who was the highest placed American driver in the 20. Who won the Indy 500 in 2022? (surname) 21. McLaughlin has nicknamed his crew as the ‘Thirs Championship? (surname) 25. How many race victories did Will Power collect on the way 23. Who scored pole position in the Indy 500 for a se to his IndyCar crown? straight year? (surname) 26. Arrow McLaren will expand to three cars next year, who will 24. How many different drivers scored race wins in 20 be joining the team? (surname) 25. How many race wins did Alex Palou take in 2022 27. Will Power won the 2022 IndyCar title, how many times had he won the series previously? 28. Palou will return with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023, 1982: CONFUSION REIGNED inhowever front of 1992: THEannounced DISPUTE over handicaps imposed 1972: ROUND 2 of the 1972 Manufacturers FORD ENDED its longest ever losing 2012: A HEATED END to the Sandown 500 he was also a driver for what2002: team? Championship went to Ford, as John Goss took Max McLeod’s well known Falcon GTHO to the chequered flag ahead of Fred Gibson at the Classic Sandown 250. It wasn’t to be Team Holden’s day, as Peter Brock’s Torana blew a piston on lap 102, with Colin Bond’s XU-1 succumbing to the same fate. In a drama filled day, AUTO ACTION’s own Roger Bon Homme rolled his Production TC Chrysler Galant three times through the esses.

60,00 spectators at the Australian Endurance Championships for the Sandown Castrol 400. Alan Moffat was penalised for two pit lane infringements whilst Allan Grice saw the chequered flag in his Commodore SS despite only completing 109 of the 110 laps. Moffat completed the 110 laps but his two 1 minute penalties placed him second on corrected time. Moffat protested unsuccessfully, irritating the huge crowd.

62 I www.autoaction.com.au

by CAMS and Fred Gibson’s Nissan team raged on in the lead up to ‘The Great Race.’ In a protest that dragged on for weeks, no resolution was in sight as Gibson claimed the imposed weight handicaps were dangerous for the Bathurst endurance race. In other news, a young Micheal Schumacher scored his first victory for his new team, Camel Benetton Ford, at Spa in his second year of Formula 1.

streak of 12 months at the Queensland 500. The Stone Brothers Racing pair of David Besnard and Simon Wills claimed a dramatic victory over Perkins’ Holden team of Steven Richards and Russell Ingall. In further news, it was reported at the time that Mark Webber was closing in on a Formula 1 deal with Jaguar after AUTO ACTION was informed by team insiders that the deal was “as good as done.”

saw a verbal stoush erupt between Supercars frontrunners Triple Eight and Ford Performance Racing. Championship leaders Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup made contact fighting for P2 on the penultimate lap, forcing Whincup off the track. It got personal between the two with Whincup telling Winterbottom he was ‘B-grade driver,’ and the Ford driver retorting that Triple Eight was a “pathetic team ...”


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