Auto Action #1849

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RUSSELL FIRES WITH A SILVER BULLET

AUSTRALIA’S INDEPENDENT VOICE OF MOTORSPORT

MASSIVE BATHURST

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE

JOHNSON MUSTANG MONSTERS BATHURST

BREAKS RECORD AND DELIVERS FORD 200 TCM WINS BROWN WINS BATHURST D’ALBERTO GRABS TCR TITLE ISSN 2204-9924

ISSUE #1849 I $9.95 INC GST November 17 to November 30, 2022 www.autoaction.com.au

BATHURST JOINS THE TCR WORLD TOUR


THUNDER DOWN UNDER IN SYDNEY FORMULA 5000’S RETURN TO SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2017

After the exciting performances at the Winton Rose City 1000 tribute and Historic Sandown events, the F5000 front runners Tom Tweedie, Paul Zazryn, Josh Bucan and Tim Berryman will be fighting for the win on the fast flowing SMP circuit - as a feature part of the HSRCA Summer Festival event.

A FANTASTIC LIST OF ENTRIES SO FAR INCLUDES ALL THE GREAT MAKES AND MODELS Lola T332, Chevron B24, Lola T330, Matich A53, March 73a, Lola T142, Chevron B28, Lola T140.

Event to be attended by F5000 drivers of the past. Public able to access the pits and get up close to the action.

Images supplied by Peter Ellenbogen

ALSO ON THE PROGRAM: THE EVER-POPULAR HISTORIC SPORT SEDANS UP TO 1985, THE DAWSON DAMER TROPHY RACE FOR M & O OPEN WHEEL RACE CARS PRIOR TO 1969 AND THE GROUP S ENDURO RACE FOR SPORTS CARS OF THE 1970S. FORMULA 5000 IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY HOOSIER TIRES

Sydney Motorsport Park December 3 - 4

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND TICKET SALES VISIT www.hsrca.com/summer-festival OR PURCHASE YOUR TICKET AT THE GATE. CHILDREN UNDER 12 FREE.


LATEST NEWS

VERSTAPPEN SHOWS PEREZ WHO HE REALLY IS A SIMMERING war driven by Max Verstappen is threatening the stability of Red Bull Racing after he ignored team orders and refused to give his spot to Sergio Perez near the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix. It is believed the simmering one-way tension between the two started at Monaco, where Verstappen believes Perez crashed deliberately to thwart a pole run by the Dutchman. The tension is now most likely in both directions despite Perez saying he would “keep working together as a team” after a brief team meeting at the end of the race. Verstappen won’t go into detail about his issues with Perez, but it was the second time in two days he could have handed spots to the Mexican who played a critical role in his 2021 Championship win. Perez has now dropped to be equal second with Charles Leclerc, who finished fourth, when he could have had a three-point buffer if his teammate had swapped spots in both races. Post-race in the media pen, Verstappen refused to outline his reasons for ignoring team orders but said it should not have been a surprise for the team. “I have my reasons for that,” Verstappen said later. “We’ve discussed internally as a team the matter between Checo and myself and have moved on as a team. “If he needs help and there is a chance to help him in Abu Dhabi, then I will be there, and I will, of course, support him.

We’re fighting for first and second in the Drivers’ Championship, so we’ll work hard to achieve that.” Verstappen was involved in an early race tangle with Lewis Hamilton, which dropped him down the order with a damaged front wing and a five-second penalty for causing the collision. He was powering through the field and was on soft tyres behind his team-mate a few laps from home. On Lap 67 of 71, with Verstappen charging and Perez on the wrong tyres, Verstappen was given the all-clear to pass Perez and “go take some points off Alonso, and Le Clerc please”. The order

was given on the understanding that if he could not pass Alonso he would give the spot back to Perez. Hugh Bird, Perez’s engineer, told his driver over the radio that they would swap back if they were together. With both the Drivers and Teams titles secured, Verstappen’s race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, asked his charge a number of times to let his teammate through. “Max, if we don’t pass Fernando on the exit of 12, can you let Checo through please? Let Checo back through.” Verstappen crossed the line 0.4 seconds behind Alonso and four seconds clear of Perez, who was left to finish seventh and desperate for the two extra points that his teammate claimed. After the flag, Lambiase asked Verstappen after the chequered flag: “Max, what happened?” The now two-time world champion replied: “I told you already last time, you guys don’t ask that again to me, OK? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.” Perez was upset about not being supported by his teammate and had an interesting exchange with his team after the flag. Perez: “Thank you for that guys. Thank you.” Christian Horner: “I’m sorry about that Checo.” Bird: “We’ll debrief everything afterwards.” Perez: “It shows who he really is.” Later Perez said to Auto Action,

“Obviously I’m disappointed, especially after all I’ve done, but I’m sure we are all grown-ups and we will move forward for the team. Obviously, I’ve done a lot for him in the past, it’s no secret,” he added, highlighting his drive in Abu Dhabi last year that put Verstappen in the position to win the title. “But we’re good, we keep this discussion internally and move on.” He also said he had no idea what incident his team-mate was referring to, saying at one stage, journalists needed to ask Max. The stoush between the team-mates echoes famously broken team orders of the past, such as Sebastian Vettel ignoring the ‘Multi 21’ call by his team to not race with Mark Webber. The Australian was heard after the race saying angrily to his teammate, “Multi 21 Seb, Multi 21”. Also involving an Australian, Carlo Ruetemann famously ignored team orders and his contractual obligations to keep a win off Alan Jones in the second race of his title defence. Jones never forgave him and evened the score in the final round of the season by making sure the Argentinian did not win the title. But perhaps the most tragic of all was when Didier Pironi disobeyed team orders and overtook Gilles Villeneuve to win in San Marino. Villeneuve was so upset he vowed to never to talk Pironi again. Most people close to Villeneuve say the anger generated contributed to his fatal crash two weeks later at Zolder trying to beat Pironi’s pole-winning time ...

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UP COMING RACE EVENT CALENDAR Brought to you by www.speedflow.com.au FORMULA 1 RD 22 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX NOVEMBER 18-20 WTCR RD 9 RACE OF SAUDI ARABIA NOVEMBER 25-27 HSRCA SUMMER FESTIVAL SMP DECEMBER 3-4 Australian AustralianMade MadeSince Since 1983 1983

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GT4 THE NEW PRODUCTION CAR HERO

IN A WEEKEND FULL OF ANNOUNCEMENTS DECLARED AT THE BATHURST INTERNATIONAL, THE AUSTRALIAN RACING GROUP (ARG) REVEALED IT HAD PURCHASED SOME EQUITY IN PRODUCTION CAR RACING PTY LTD (PCR), AND WILL ENTER INTO A PARTNERSHIP TO LAUNCH GT4 AS A STANDALONE CLASS IN AUSTRALIA. By ANDREW CLARKE ARG WILL now have seven categories for its SpeedSeries in 2023 and will run GT4 inside existing classes during the year before giving GT4 its own championship in 2024. GT4 cars will not be eligible for the 2023 Bathurst 6-Hour, but will be able to run in the 12-hour race in February. “Formalising a relationship with Australian Production Cars makes a lot of sense as we continue to grow the SpeedSeries program in 2023,” ARG’s John McMellan said. “We have a wide manufacturer-based product suite with TCR, GTWCA, and the addition of APC and GT4 enhances this offer. “In the Bathurst 6 Hour, we already have the largest Production Car race in

GT4s hunting as a pack – Donington Raceway (UK).

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the country. Now we can work together with the APC team to build the national championship and add value to their competitors in exposure, attendances at each round, TV coverage and more. “The implementation of these two options for GT4 cars will give it an opportunity to showcase its many strengths, with a wide array of cars from across the globe available to compete. It will position GT4 as the ideal stepping stone to GT3 racing and add significantly to the profile of the class.” PCR regularly fields grids of more than 40 cars for its big events, but Roland Dane, formerly of Triple Eight Race Engineering and a keen observer, says the moves to bring GT4 cars into the country in this manner makes sense. “I think what’s held GT4 back in this

Mercedes GT4’s competed at Bathurst last weekend in the GT Australia series. country so far is that the cars have only been able to run with GT3, and the guys running GT4 don’t like the fact that they have to look in the mirrors all the time,” he said from Bathurst. “In plenty of other markets, they’ve separated

the two so that GT4 can have its own proper space, and in many places, they’ve got very healthy grids of GT4 cars. “GT4 is probably the sort of production based that’s the future of production car


racing, there’s certainly no future in all these hatchbacks and everything else. The aspirational cars are things like the Supra, the Mustang, the M4, the AMG and the Cayman and that will take GT4 forwards. “I think they’re a long-term future for a category like TCR, because those cars are a dying breed. GT4s are very much production-based cars, and the other area we can see GT4 taking over is there too. “These Class X cars will gradually get replaced by GT4 because a Class X car is effectively a GT4 car that’s been built by a local tuning company that has got nowhere near the resources of the manufacturers. You see the Class X BMWs conking out after four laps because it’s hard to get into the

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electronics and master them properly if you’re not the manufacturer, whereas the manufacturers can make these cars work as race cars and deliver them as a finished article to customers.” He said a GT4 car doesn’t need any build program for a team. They are bought off the shelf as race cars and are easy and relatively cheap to maintain. He said a GT4 AMG Mercedes would cost around $350,000 to buy at the moment and would run for 20,000 kilometres before it needs any serious maintenance. A Mustang, he said, would cost less. “Plenty of people have spent over $250,000 building a Class X car and not knowing whether it will work properly. Spending that sort of money on a GT4 car with a worldwide secondhand market makes a lot more sense. “They’re very economical to run, you only need one person to help you on a weekend, and they run and run. The Mercedes, for instance, will get 20,000 kilometres on the running gear before you need major service. So in the context of racing cars, they’re pretty good to run, especially if you don’t hit things. “Triple Eight’s already involved in the supply of parts and service for the Mercedes GT4. There are two running regularly in the GT category here, but there may be half a dozen others in Australia that are used as track day cars and several in New Zealand with demand for more. “But there are quite a few different models and makes to choose from, Mercedes is just one of them. That is what makes this class good.” There are nearly 50 cars homologated for GT4 racing globally, with competitive cars from Alpine, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche and Toyota. Dane thinks it has more future relevance than TCR. He says the small car market on which TCR is based is shrinking, with the performance market

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Mustangs already compete against plenty of other brands, the new Mustang GT4 is on it’s way.

being stable and growing. He thinks racers and crowds in Australia will embrace GT4, especially as TCR moves to a hybrid future. “I don’t see a lot of new TCR cars coming down the road as, for want of a better term, the hot hatches are disappearing. Whereas the aspirational two-door cars are gaining relevance and with more access to sustainable fuels, internal combustion engines have a much longer shelf life than many said a year or two ago. “You can see that from the comments from people like Ford, BMW and Mercedes over the last nine months. Formula One is already moving into sustainable fuels, and the pioneer in this space was Supercars, where we’ve been using 85% sustainable fuel for 12 years or 13 years. “I’m not sure people want the expense and complication of hybrid in your everyday racing car. Look how expensive and complicated LMH and Formula One cars are. As far as motor racing goes, people still like to hear the noise, and we can sustain it by using the right fuels going forward. The enemy’s not the internal combustion engine, the enemy is CO2, and we can effectively use it and absorb it at the

same rate that we’re making it.” The other score in which he feels GT4 is the right class moving forward is the cost of racing, and the ability to sell your car on a worldwide market that is craving previously raced cars. He says it would be cheaper to run a MercedesAMG GT4 car for a season than a year of Porsche Cup. “To run a car for a season, I think it’s sort of thing that you can do with a trailer and a couple of mates if you want. In which case, it costs you your logistics or whatever, or you could be paying other people and doing it at $30 to $40,000 a round, which is still very cheap compared with a lot of the competition. “I think there’s quite a lot of interest already. There’s been plenty of chatter in the last few weeks in the expectation that it would happen. A lot of production car people at Bathurst were talking about GT4 too. It will run as a class car until it has a critical mass, and then it will be on its own. “I think you’ll have a dozen cars very quickly, and then it will grow on that. I’m looking forward to it.” The critical mass, he says, is around 20 cars, and he expects that to be reached easily in 2023.

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LATEST NEWS

GOLDING TO RACE ON WITH PREMIAIR IN 23 JAMES GOLDING has committed to PremiAir Racing for the 2023 season after taking his second chance by the horns at Supercars newsest team. After joining midway through 2022 and steering the #31 Subway car, Golding has put some consistent results on the board, including giving PremiAir its first bite at a Top-10 Shootout at the Gold Coast 500 with a P9. Locking the talented 26 year-old away has cemented the line up for 2023, with he and Tim Slade set to pilot the team’s new Gen3 Chevrolets. Team owner Peter Xiberras says that Golding’s appointment is a no-brainer after giving the fledgling team some consistent results. “Despite being thrown in the deep end part-way through a highly competitive Supercars season, Jimmy has held his own and worked exceptionally well with our team to deliver increasingly improved results,” Xiberras said. “We have greatly enjoyed working with Jimmy over the second half of the 2022 season and to us it was a no-brainer to keep him on for 2023. I know everyone at PremiAir Racing is very pleased that he will be continuing on with us for the new season.” Golding himself is thrilled to be continuing with the team. Since replacing Garry Jacobson at Townsville, and entering an environment where drivers

Image: EDGE PHOTOGRAPHICS were being put on notice with a nononsense approach from Xiberras, he’s done nothing but make the most of his second chance lifeline with PremiAir.

“Since joining the team halfway through the season, it has been a big challenge for sure but one that I have really enjoyed,” Golding said.

“It has been great working with the whole team and improving our performance as the year has progressed. “I want to thank Peter and Matt for the opportunity they have given me to not only prove myself, but also trust me to lead the team in the right direction. “I also want to thank everyone who played an important role in my return to Supercars and have ultimately led me to this opportunity. I thank my family, friends, and sponsors for their tremendous support on what was a difficult time away from full-time Supercars racing. “From the moment I joined PremiAir Racing I have felt welcomed. I am excited by the potential I can see in our young team. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2023.” Team principal Matt Cook echoed the sentiments of Xiberras in describing Golding’s commitment to performance. “There is no arguing the fact that Jimmy is talented behind the wheel and with what he has been able to deliver in a baptism of fire and in our older car no less, we are truly excited to see what we can do together across an entire season, and with new Gen3 equipment to boot,” Cook said. The team concludes its maiden Supercars season at the Valo Adelaide 500 on December 1-4, before they turn their attention to the new Supercars Gen3 era. Tim W Neal

KEY VCAT TESTING COMPLETED

THE GEN3 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro Supercars were put through an intensive round of Vehicle Control Aerodynamic Testing (VCAT) last week, as the pair of machines prepare for a 2023 competitive debut. Held at Wellcamp Airport in Queensland, the five-day program was the first round of aerodynamic testing for the new S650 bodied Mustang, and the most rigorous that the Camaro has seen. Both cars were driven by Porsche Carrera Cup Australia driver Bayley Hall and Supercars’ Safety Car driver Jason Routley, as Supercars recorded

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benchmark data. The data will be used to achieve aerodynamic parity between the new racers. Hall and Routley attended the testing along with Supercars staff and members of homologation teams Triple Eight and Dick Johnson Racing. D2H Advanced Technologies were responsible for structuring the VCAT process, which involved the use of an

active ride-height control system to keep the cars on an even playing field. Supercars Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess was satisfied with how the VCAT testing played out. “It’s been a big week of long days but we’re happy with the direction we’ve found,” Burgess said. “It was a very thorough process, with over 1600 kilometres of running

conducted to reach a parity outcome. Ultimately, it’s about trying to achieve parity and close racing. “Supercars and the two homologation teams are working hard and closely together. “We’ve gone through all the processes and requirements, and we’ll now have a full debrief.” With VCAT testing complete, the next steps on the road to Gen3 will be undertaken at the Supercars’ technical centre. The 2023 Supercars Championship will kick off on the streets of Newcastle from March 10-12, 2023. JN


ADDERTON POINTS AT HYPOCRISY BOOST MOBILE FOUNDER PETER ADDERTON HAS CONCEDED HIS PUSH TO JOIN THE 2023 SUPERCARS GRID IS NOW A BRIDGE TOO FAR.

Image: EDGE PHOTOGRAPHICS EVER SINCE fielding a Boost-backed wildcard at the 2022 Bathurst 1000 driven by Richie Stanaway and Greg Murphy, one of the storylines that has circulated Supercars has been the possibly of Peter Adderton going full -time next year. His quest for a standalone team kicked off at The Mountain where Stanaway drove the #51 Erebus Motorsport Commodore up to P4 on the gird to gain considerable fan support. Adderton’s dream then garnered more momentum during last weekend’s return to the streets of Surfers Paradise. At an event called none other than the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500, the telco boss used the platform to announce he had purchased a Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro Supercar from Triple Eight Race Engineering. Adderton was also seen wearing a Boost Mobile Racing 2023 t-shirt and speaking to the Supercars TV broadcast throughout the weekend to generate further debate.

Despite the Boost Mobile Racing campaign gathering further momentum in the public, the dream always appeared an unlikely one inside the paddock. The biggest hurdle was always going to be how Adderton could get his hands on the necessary Teams Racing Charter. While there is currently 25 cars on the grid, Supercars has a dormant 26th TRC, but is contractually obliged to offer it to an existing team first; and with Blanchard Racing seriously considering expanding to two cars in 2024, it’s an unlikely reality for the last Charter to head Adderton’s way. Though Adderton admits the dream is over for a full time gig in 2023, he used his social media to express his concerns for the sport and its fans. “Looks like the Charter will not be sold to anyone,” said Adderton over his socials. “Such a shame as our chances of competing are now almost zero. I simply do

not understand this. “As of now the wildcards are our best chance, but require the teams’ 75% vote and I understand some teams do not even want that. “Whilst Supercars I’m sure would love to have us, their hands are tied. “Some of the current teams in the sport are not helping themselves by blocking us.” Adderton is concerned fans will be “robbed” in the future if things do not change. “The sport is broken and some of the existing teams like it that way,” he continued, ”…this needs to be highlighted and fixed as the fans are being robbed of talented drivers, strong team’s and better racing. “At some point the teams and the organisers need to wake up.” It appears that Adderton may get his wish to race at the seasoner opener at the Newcastle 500 as a wildcard entry, but also says he will use the chance to make a public point,

indicating that despite his avenues being blocked via the Charter, he’ll not stay quite on the fact. “I intend to turn up with our race team at the first race and will park the transporter at the front of the gates and have those teams who oppose us come and tell me to my face and the fans why we can’t race,” he said. “Regardless of which team you support you are welcome to stand with me, so see you all in Newcastle and if they think I am joking let’s see .... be it one fan or thousands we would appreciate any support.” Adderton has more recently said – in response to an article by Roland Dane entitle “Adderton is wrong” – that the Charter which Dane was involved with drafting, was wholly for the sake of the self interest of the existing teams in protecting their assets, and furthered that it was not made for in the interest of the sports growth, or the entertainment value for the fans.

MCLAUGHLIN SET FOR ADELAIDE COMEBACK AS ‘FANBASSADOR’ REIGNING ADELAIDE 500 champion Scott McLaughlin will be in town for the famous event’s return to the Supercars calendar, but not as a driver defending his crown, but as a ‘Fanbassador’ and TV commentator. The role will connect the three-time Supercars champion turned IndyCar star with the fans via the on and off the track activities, whilst also being a big part of the Supercars TV broadcast ,interviewing the current stars of the paddock and commentating on the live action. The winner of the 2019 and 20 Adelaide 500s cannot wait to do something something different in the sport he still loves so much despite taking on America. “It is awesome to come back, I watch a ton of it,” McLaughlin said. “This year’s VALO Adelaide 500 will be a whole new experience for me, and I could not be more excited to see the event through the eyes of the ‘Fanbassador’ and connect with the Supercars fans again. I am excited to give the fans an insider’s look and see what it is like interviewing various people and whatever.” McLaughlin will be a busy man during the Adelaide 500 interviewing, commentating, signing autographs and taking selfies, but one thing he will not be doing is driving. The legendary Kiwi, who threw Volvo into the

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Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES Supercars spotlight by giving “it some jandal” at the 2014 Adelaide 500, did reveal he had the chance to steer one of the new Gen3 cars, during the 2022 season finale. However, McLaughlin turned it down, saying things did not quite line up with his former home Dick Johnson Racing which still races Ford Mustangs. A clear clash with his IndyCar team Penske fielding Chevrolets, but he is more than happy to enjoy a race weekend from the other side of the fence like he did at the Gold Coast 500. “Not really, I mean I was asked to, but contractually it just did not work,” he said. “And I did not really want to.

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“They have some good drivers with lots of experience driving right now. From all reports Gen3 looks a harder and more fun car to drive and could be more on edge. “I am quite happily just watching it.” One of the uncomfortable parts of McLaughlin’s role on the Supercars TV broadcast could be asking some tough questions to some of his most fiercest competitors from his Dick Johnson Racing days. Although the 2019 Bathurst 1000 winner appeared extremely jovial on the streets of Surfers Paradise, he said some of the rivalries in the Supercars paddock still

remain, which is something he is comfortable with. “I cannot change peoples opinions about me and I am not going to go out of my way to fix that myself,” Mclaughlin said. “I have gone about my business and they have about theirs and that is fine, so I am just pressing on with what I have got to do. “But at the end of the day I felt like it was a competitive tension for the most part.” McLaughlin won on the streets of Adelaide in his final Supercars season and will return as one of the hottest IndyCar properties in America. After finishing 14th in his rookie season the 29-yearold leaped to new heights this year, rolling into victory lane in the season opener to finish fourth in the championship led by Aussie teammate Will Power. Looking ahead, McLaughlin believes he can continue his rapid rise in 2023. “There is no reason why we cannot continue the momentum we finished off the season with,” he said. “I felt like I was in a very good window with the car and the team, obviously Will winning the championship was unreal and sets us up for the year ahead. “Its going to be tough regardless, but I feel really comfortable with the car and hopefully we can be a bit more consistent and be a bit closer to the front towards the end.” Thomas Miles

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LATEST NEWS

INTERNATIONAL SERIES USING TCR REGULATIONS AS THEIR MAIN OR SUBSIDIARY CLASS

TCR WORLD TOUR CONFIRMED FOR BATHURST

FIA World Touring Car Cup TCR Asia Series TCR Trophy Europe/TCR Europe Series 24H Series and Touring Car Endurance Series FIA Motorsport Games

NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SERIES USING TCR REGULATIONS AS THEIR MAIN OR SUBSIDIARY CLASS

TCR Australia Series TCR Baltic Trophy TCR Benelux Touring Car Championship TCR China Touring Car Championship TCR Chinese Taipei Touring Car Championship TCR Denmark Series TCR Eastern Europe Trophy TCR Germany Touring Car Championship TCR Ibérico Touring Car Series TCR Italy Touring Car Championship TCR Japan Series TCR Korea Touring Car Series TCR Malaysia Series TCR Middle East Series TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship TCR South America Series TCR Spa 500 TCR Spanish Series TCR Swiss Trophy TCR UK Touring Car Championship / Touring Car Trophy 24 Hours Nürburgring Britcar Endurance Canadian Touring Car Championship Michelin Pilot Challenge (formerly Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge) NGK UAE Touring Car Championship NLS Pirelli World Challenge / TC America Series Super Taikyu Series Supercar Challenge

LIST OF HOMOLOGATED CARS

Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR Audi RS 3 LMS TCR Audi RS 3 LMS TCR (21) CUPRA León TCR CUPRA León Competición TCR Fiat Tipo TCR Opel/Vauxhall Astra TCR Honda Civic Type R TCR (FK2) Honda Civic Type R TCR (FK8) Hyundai i30 N TCR Hyundai Veloster N TCR Hyundai Elantra N TCR Kia Cee’d TCR Lada Vesta TCR Lada Vesta Sport TCR Lynk & Co 03 TCR MG 6 XPower TCR MG 5 XPower TCR Peugeot 308 Racing Cup Peugeot 308 TCR Renault Mégane R.S. TCR SEAT León Cup Racer SEAT León TCR Subaru WRX STi TCR Toyota GR Corolla Sport TCR Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR[43]

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Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES By ANDREW CLARKE THE BOSS of TCR International, Marcello Lotti, has announced Bathurst as the first venue confirmed for his ambitious TCR World Tour, which kicks off next year. The TCR World Tour is effectively replacing the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR – pictured above), which the FIA is dropping at the end of this year, and will involve a travelling circus of at least 16 cars to add to local fields. European champions Comtoyou Racing has already announced a four-car Audi assault on the tour, and other factory squads – including one from Toyota, which is joining TCR next year after its recent debut in Argentina - are expected to follow. Hyundai, Honda, Cupra, Lynk & Co run cars in the WTCR alongside Audi. “When planning the TCR World Tour, it was a natural decision for us to involve the TCR Australia Series and the Bathurst International as part of it,” said Lotti. “As soon as I arrived at Mount Panorama this weekend, I realised why this circuit is regarded as one of the best in the world and why all international drivers want to race here. I have been for a lap of the track. It is unbelievable, and it was clear that we have made the right decision to confirm that TCR World Tour will race here next year and beyond.” With four venues to announce for Europe, two in South America, one in Asia and another in Australia, Lotti has a bit of work to do in the next few months. He hopes to have the second Australian venue locked down before he leaves our shores for the final round of the WTCR in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia With TCR booming globally and high manufacturer interest, Lotti was keen to get to the big series and the big races. The South American leg will likely include Interlagos and Buenos Aires, while the Asian race may run as support to the Macau Grand Prix.

Europe is a little more complex, with the seven rounds of the TCR Europe Series running on classic Formula One venues such as Spa, Paul Ricard, Monza, Nurburgring, Barcelona and Portimao, with the remaining round at a unique street circuit in Nuremberg. Three of these venues will miss out. Australia is the only national series included on the tour. “Australia has consistently been one of the most exciting and professional TCR series and we are delighted to acknowledge this by bringing the benefit of a global audience and the TCR World Tour to Australia,” Lotti said.“The global calendar for the TCR World Tour will be released shortly, and Australia will form a key part of that calendar. “The TCR World Tour will race in Australia, which will see the manufacturer customer racing TCR World Tour teams race in Australia with the TCR Australia teams and series.” ARG’s Liam Curkpatrick, its Chief Operating Officer, notes the significance of TCR Australia being incorporated as part of this massive global event. “This is a very major achievement for Australia to feature as part of the new TCR World Tour Series, it’s a significant commitment by WSC and the teams to come here and compete at our venues,” Curkpatrick said. “It’s a great opportunity for our own drivers to showcase their talent to a global audience and potentially create new opportunities as a result. “It is also pleasing to see the increased driver pathways that we are now seeing with the resumption of international travel; this has included Aaron Cameron competing in the FIA World games in TCR, Nathan Herne in the USA competing in Trans AM along with international drivers, and now the TCR World Tour Series coming to Australia.


TCR EMBRACING A HYBRID FUTURE IN 2024... AND THAT INCLUDES AUSTRALIA

Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES By ANDREW CLARKE with BRUCE WILLIAMS THE WSC Group, which runs TCR internationally, has unveiled its plans to roll out a ‘mild’ hybrid platform for TCR cars in 2024. In doing so, Lotti has confirmed that Australia will also adopt the hybrid power system for the 2024 season. WSC has been working on what it calls a Mild Hybrid kit for the TCR cars since 2021 and started testing it in January this year. TCR Australia will also adopt the hybrid platform for the start of 2024, made more accessible with TCR hybrid conversion kits now likely being made available for the majority of the existing race cars. The original plan for HTCR was to have it ready for 2023, but WSC’s president, Marcello Lotti, confirmed it will instead be rolled out globally in 2024 as manufacturers and teams start an intensive test program. The goal was to build a plug-in system that captures energy from braking to provide a 20-30kW temporary power boost, or push-to-pass in layman’s terms. TCR Australia was keen to have the hybrid system running next year, but Lotti said that besides removing the system for the TCR World Tour races, they could not get enough units to Australia in time for the start of the 2023 season. Confirming the local series will go hybrid in 2024, like the rest of the world. The proposal for the adoption of a hybrid racing series and the hybrid power package itself was put to TCR Australia teams during the SpeedSeries round at Sandown in September, with the then CEO of ARG Matt Braid outlining what ARG’s plans would be for adoption of the hybrid program in Australia. There was mixed feedback from teams at the time with some in favour, while others were concerned about the cost involved and what the package would look likegiven the short time to the start of the 2023 series. The ARG presentation at Sandown suggested that the hybrid upgrade package would be in the region 15,000 EUR per kit, which would be supplied as a ready to bolt in package developed by WSC in conjunction with TCR race car manufactures. As things turn out 2023 was never going to be a realistic launch time for the program. The development, testing and validation of the hybrid system has taken longer to finalise, hence there would be a delay in being able to manufacture enough units to supply the large number of TCR categories around the world. Another stumbling block for the local category was going to be the retro-upgrading many of TCR Australia’s field of slightly older model cars. Several suppliers of TCR race cars reporting that they would not adapt the hybrid system to suit their older model

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race cars, therefore it was looking like some models would not be able to be easily converted. Audi Sport for example were said to not be planning to make a retro-upgrade package available to suit the older cars, which meant that at least four of the existing Audi RS3 LMS TCR cars in Australia would not be able to be converted to the hybrid program. However since some negotiation, it seems that most of the TCR car builders have been convinced to adapt the packages and will now make available conversion upgrade packages for most of the older cars. Every active manufacturer, including Toyota, which joins next year, has been supplied a kit for testing purposes and has returned positive feedback. According to Lotti, the capture and storage system was so efficient it required a rethink. Rather than give the cars an extended power boost, they are putting systems in place to limit the amount of time it is available in the races. “We spent two years developing the hybrid system,” he said. “At the moment, we have sent one kit to each manufacturer to start the assembly of a car and start testing. They have come back and said it is good. “The driver will have to decide when to use it during the race. Do they want to use it as a push-to-pass only or to use it to make a gap bigger? We want to leave the strategy in the hands of the driver. But when it is finished, it is finished. “When we developed the system, we thought the battery would probably run out in two or three laps, and after that, there would be no more boost. “But the system is so good that you can run for 30 minutes, and it continues to work. So, for this reason, we decided on the time limits. For example, in a 30-minute race, you may be able to use it for three minutes, something like that. “Our position was to start in 2023, but because we couldn’t get it everywhere in time, we decided to postpone to 2024. So in 2024, it will be very easy to make all cars hybrids, but in 2023 we cannot.” The Hybrid system was used in the British Touring Car Championship this year and will have revisions to its rules for 2023. The top ten drivers in the BTCC raced and qualified with less hybrid power than the rest of the field, and in 2023 the top seven cars in the championship – or on the grid based on previous race results – will now have a reduced amount of hybrid available and will also have a higher minimum speed at which they can access the system. Cars from eighth down will be able to use the system at lower speeds but can only use on 50% of the racing laps, each of which has a time limit for its use over the duration of the lap. How it will be used on the TCR World Tour or in TCR Australia has not yet been determined, but that is 12 months away...

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D’ALBERTO RELIEVED TO WIN TCR TITLE BATTLE Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG By THOMAS MILES AFTER BEING pushed to the last lap, Tony D’Alberto jumped on top of his Honda and released years of emotion after clinching the 2022 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia championship in a Bathurst cliffhanger. Despite being in the box seat heading into the season finale, D’Alberto had to endure a nervous wait to secure his maiden TCR title. He had to finish in the top 12 in the last race, but with nearest rival Will Brown making a late push by winning the final race on the final lap, everyone from team owner David Wall to the Honda executives in attendance were on tenterhooks until the chequered flag as the Wall Racing driver battled in the mid pack. Despite crossing the line in P11, D’Alberto was not aware of his maiden TCR title until well after the finish. But soon the sweet satisfaction of being crowned champion arrived and no matter the means, the ecstasy was the same for D’Alberto after a stressful run to the finish. “I am absolutely thrilled to get the win because a lot of effort has gone in over the last three years from Honda and Wall Racing. We would have liked to wrap it up with a little less stress, but that is how these things happen,” he told Auto Action. “It was just a lot of relief because after leading the championship since round 2, you had a lot of time to think about it. There was a lot going on around me (in the final race) and sometimes I was a bit of a sitting duck because I did not have much straight line speed. “I could tell by my engineer’s voice we were in a bit of trouble. At some stage we were not even in position to win the championship and Will getting the lead took me by surprise a bit. “But then I just gave it everything I had left and fortunately a few things fell our way. “I did not actually know I ha down the championship or where I was in the race, so was waiting for the information to come back to me and there was a lot of silence on the radio which gave me a scare.” Consistency has been the key behind

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D’Alberto’s championship winning season, collecting two wins both at Queensland Raceway, but 16 top 10 finishes. The third TCR champion in as many years believes reliability has been the team’s biggest asset. “We had a better package this year which goes back to Wall Racing and the way they have changed the setup of the car,” D’Alberto said. “One of our biggest strengths has been the reliability of the Honda, we have not had a mechanical failure for the last three and a half years. We had our moments, but when the balance was not favourable we still maximised everything we had and did not throw away results.” D’Alberto has been a journeyman of the Australian motorsport scene for two decades, but with only two championships next to his name. The Victorian was only a youngster when he took out the Super2 Series back in 2007 in a Holden VZ Commodore, while the 2018 Australian GT Championship was the only other major trophy sitting in his cabinet. But now he has a TCR trophy and the 36-year-old said the latest success was the

toughest of the three. “The development championship is always special because we did it as a family run team and that was the start of my Supercars journey, which I am still on, but this is probably the hardest championship to win,” D’Alberto said. “TCR has helped me sharpen up because it is such tough racing and a very different style I have had to adapt to get the most out of the car. “There are a lot of good drivers and teams so to come out in front of them is an effort I am really proud of not only for myself, but the team.” With D’Alberto and Wall racing together since the TCR Australia Series commenced in 2019, their understanding and experience across a variety of levels has helped them to the top. The third key player is Honda, which has been providing factory support since the start thanks to D’Alberto’s old-fashioned negotiation skills. “We started the journey in 2018 when I went down and spoke to them (Honda) about TCR and convinced them to take a chance,” he said.

“At that stage the category had not even turned a wheel so they put a lot of trust in me and over the last three years it has built up to the point where they are really invested.” To make the championship even more impressive, D’Alberto rose from a P14 championship finish in 2021 to the top and Wall put down the turnaround to some gutsy work by all over the summer break. “Everything comes with the hard work and dedication the team has put in collectively,” he said. “This time last year we did not have a package that was good enough to win and we worked very hard in the offseason. We upgraded the car with bodywork, geometry, suspension and shock changes and we finetuned bits we thought we could do better. “Tony has driven it better and we have engineered it better, so the car was a better package and the new tyre we have been on this year has been a big step in the right direction.” Although Wall himself has over a decade of racing experience, he admitted nerves got the better of him during the closing stages of the dramatic finale and was stocked to tick a box he had been chasing since the beginning. “I did not enjoy the final race at all and was pretty glad when it was over,” he said. “The car was maximised for the weekend and extracted everything from the data. “It felt like a long time coming and 2019 was one that got away. “We have had all different forms of championships, but we had never won a front-wheel drive championship, so that is one big tick in our resume. “A thing we do in the workshop with every championship winning car is that we hang up the bonnet, so we look forward to doing that.” Although the Wall Racing and Honda partnership is not confirmed for 2023, the special scenes of championship success will live long in the memory after an almighty battle.


FISICHELLA HEADLINES VALIANT FANS HELPED GET SOLID S5000 GRIDOVER FOR THE LINE TILLEY’S PACER ADELAIDE

FORMER F1 GP winner Giancarlo Fisichella will return to Australia to contest the S5000 Tasman Series races at the VALO Adelaide 500 as “unfinished business”, with a grid of 14 cars expected. ‘Fisi’ was in Melbourne in March 2020 and completed practice and qualifying for the S5000 events supporting the Grand Prix that never happened, the entire meeting cancelled on the Friday morning – the first victim of the Covid outbreak that was to plague Australia for nearly 18 months. The Italian currently competes in the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship driving a Ferrari for the Iron Lynx team. “I’m thrilled to be coming back to complete what is ‘unfinished business’,” he said. “We had completed a test day at Winton, plus practice and qualifying, when it all came to that crazy halt. So I am looking forward to racing the S5000 car again, and running with Team BRM, the most

Giancarlo Fisichella, is a fomer Australian F1 GP (2005) winner Image : MOTORSPORT IMAGES successful single-seater team in Australia. “My F1 career started just after the last Adelaide F1 race, so I never raced there and am looking forward to driving this car on the track, which is slightly shorter but very

much the original circuit.” Additions to the field which contested the opening round, at the Gold Coast 500, will include S5000 regular Tim Macrow and GRM teamster Aaron Cameron, who

BOWE BREAKS THE 300 TCM BARRIER

missed the Gold Coast event due to its clash with the FIA Motorsport Games. After its trial at the Gold Coast event, S5000 is expected to continue to develop JOHN BOWE brought up his 300th its ‘push-to-pass’ system. JN 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, circumstances, but the grid was reverted bringing up the milestone at a track after leaving their own jobs, I couldn’t even AS THE rain dumped down on the TWICE (F3) Gold Star champion “UCS, with its distinctive orange to the dry practice session times in a where he also cantured tour Sandown begin to count the hours that we all put in Sandown race track on the Saturday of the and eight-time S5000 race Team UCS colours, has been controversial decision. bts Bowe’s TCM career started in 2008, over the nine weeks. To experience that Shannons National round, AUTO ACTION winner Tim Macrow has signalled the major support for our efforts The delighted reaction from the crowd driving in Camaro before jumping into a level of support was something else – I was on-hand in the Touring car Masters tent his intention to step back from for these past two years, along reflected their appreciation for it being there Ford Mustang Trans Am affectionately couldn’t believe it. behind the pit lane. full-time driving after next month’s with Holinger and, more recently at all, with its fans also having played a part known as “Sally.” Surrounded by mechanics and onlookers, “I got a big help from Gear-Exchange from S5000 Tasman Series round at House of Orange – and of course in its return. In 2015, Bowe shifted over to the Cameron Tilley stood behind his rebuilt Smithfield in Sydney also. It’s people like that the VALO Adelaide 500. car owners Frank Harris’ and “The fan support was massive, I set up Bendigo Retro Muscle cars Torana, Valiant in his blue racing suit with a smile as that keep us all going really. And Anglomoil The Melbourne-based team Chris Lambden’s support has a Go-fund-me page which rounded up a built by Gary O’Brien, in which he nas wide as his Pacer’s bonnet. has also helped me for years, and they’ve owner-driver plans to concentrate been instrumental. I’m hoping reasonable contribution, which got me about given me great support throughout.” competed in 147 races. Bowe’s 300th The normally reserved driver had reason on his motorsport preparation/ that they will all play a part as we a quarter of the way there,” Tilley told AUTO start almost delivered a fairy tale to be satisfied after taking a podium in the “I couldn’t have done it without them and team business, including plans morph into a team of competitive ACTION. finish, where the left mirror of Adam Trophy race when he blasted off the line everyone else. People just kept coming out to run a pair of cars in S5000 young racers. Bressington’s #95 Camaro loomed large down the outside of the pit straight, putting of nowhere just saying they could help. No “Whether I raced it again or not, it had – while still keen to undertake “S5000 has served its with the #18 Torana into the final straight. him in first position by the second turn. matter how big or small the contribution, It to be fixed – I couldn’t handle seeing it some one-off endurance races apprenticeship through some The final margin of 0.024s was the He also qualified in P1 in trying helped me to keep on pushing.” TN like that. People were helping every day such as the Bathurst 12 Hour, or challenging times, and I expect closest finish in TCM history, with Bowe even the Bathurst 1000. Macrow that our 2023 team will be part losing by a foot and a half’s length – or specialises in single-seater of making up an expanded grid the Camaro’s bonnet. Bowe had the categories, running cars in for a category that really does championship lead leading into the Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG Formula 3 and Formula Ford as tick all the boxes for drivers – and round, but the rival Torana of Ryan competition in 2003 before he returned to competition MULTIPLE AUSTRALIAN Off Road Champion Les Siviour well as Radical Cup. spectators – who’ve wanted a Hansford takes a nine point lead heading briefly in 2005, and again in 2010 with daughter Katie, also passed away on September 8 after a short battle with Macrow played a significant Racing, and contesting every “The original plan was to delayed …” says Macrow. “I raced serious ‘big-car’ Australian singleinto Bathurst on November 11-13. at Griffith. He kept involved, with support to son-in-law cancer. He began racing in 1983 at Waikerie in his wife’s role in the development and S5000 race to date prior to last step back after this year’s Gold on the original circuit, in F3, and seater category for so long. Having won the Bathurst 1000 twice, Shannon Rentsch and his father Ian in their bids to win the shopping car. He subsequently campaigned Nissan Patrols launch of S5000, conducting all month’s Gold Coast Tasman Star series, but once the VALO the opportunity to drive S5000 “In the meantime, we’re looking there’s a fair chance Bowe’s victorious Australian Championship. AUTO ACTION extends its deepest for 19 years and won the Production 4WD Championship the testing of the initial and final round – finishing third in the 2021 Adelaide 500 S5000 event was on one of the country’s most forward immensely to the streets knowledge of The Mountain may have condolences to his wife Jan, daughters Bobbie and Katie, 16 times, and the Australian Off Road Championship in prototype cars, built at Borland Gold Star chase. announced, those plans were spectacular tracks was too much. of Adelaide …” Thomas Miles him in good stead ... TN and to the extended family and friends. GO 1985. The Griffith-based rice farmer retired from fulltime

ADELAIDE TO BE MACROW’S S5000 FINALE – AS A DRIVER

VALE – LES SIVIOUR

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KIDS GET A GO AT ADELAIDE 500 EAGER YOUNGSTERS will get the chance to follow in the wheel tracks of their heroes at the upcoming VALO Adelaide 500. Kids will play a part in Supercars’ return to the Adelaide Parklands street circuit through the new Little Le Mans Cup. Three races featuring one-make pedal cars will take over the streets on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of the event. Kids aged between 8-12 will be decked out in a full race suit, helmet and gloves with the winner taking home a trophy.

TEAM 18 TO OPEN DOORS THE DOORS of Team 18’s Mount Waverley headquarters will be open to the public for the first time at the end of the month. The Victorian team will host an open day on Sunday, November 27 when fans can see both of its Holdens, including Scott Pye’s, which will unveil a fourth new look for 2022. Fans can also feast their eyes on the both the past with James Courtney’s 2010 Supercars Championship winning Ford FG Falcon on display, plus the future as Team 18 shows off the build of its new Gen3 Chevrolet Camaros.

ROLEX RETURNS TO THE AUSGP ROLEX RETURNS as the title partner of the Australian Grand Prix ahead of next year’s race. It marks a comeback for the Swiss watchmaker, which started its association with Formula 1 at Albert Park in 2013. Rolex remained the face of the race until 2020 when COVID-19 came along, but will be back for next year’s Grand Prix. Rolex is not the first naming rights sponsor to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne multiple times with Qantas backing the race from 1997 to 2001 and 2010-12. Grandstand seats will be available from Tuesday, November 22 through a pre-sale.

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RICCIARDO PENALISED AFTER BRAZILIAN DISASTER By Thomas Miles DANIEL RICCIARDO will start his final race for McLaren at Abu Dhabi on the back foot after being adjudged “wholly” to blame for the race-ending shunt with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix last Sunday. Ricciardo was handed a three-place grid penalty for the season finale of the 2022 Formula One season at the Yas Marina Circuit, which could also be his final ever drive at the pinnacle of motorsport with his future still unclear. Starting from P11 Ricciardo was hungry for points in Brazil and appeared to attempt a late lunge on Magnussen as the pair entered the tight right-hander at turn 8. After being unable to get up far enough, the Australian tried to back out, but could not avoid sending the Dane into a spin after contact between the left-front and the right-rear ends of the respective cars. To make matters worse, Magnussen pirouetted across the track and back into the path of Ricciardo. This time the left-rears of both cars made heavy contact with the McLaren flying into the barriers, forcing both to retire on the spot and bringing out the Safety Car with debris strewn across the circuit. For Ricciardo it was a disappointing way to end his penultimate race for the Woking outfit which is releasing him from a full-time seat next year, while it was an even tougher pill to swallow for Magnussen, who was pumped up for a big result after scoring a sensational pole position on Friday. Reflecting on the incident Ricciardo was gutted after the brutal accident. “Lap one incidents are brutal. I do not think there is anything worse. “The start was solid, I had (Pierre) Gasly and I have not seen a replay yet, but what I remember was that I had a decent run through (turns) 6, 7 and cut back to the inside for 8 and I was kind of having a look, but also trying to brake with a little bit of clean air. “Then I remember Kevin protecting the line, so I was just trying to pull back in line and follow suit and then at the apex I gave him a little touch.

“It did not feel like much, but then the second part was when we made bigger contact. “I do not know if I could have braked harder or if it was the way he squared up the corner, but I am sorry for both of us not being in the race and the teams. That is the part that hurts the most.” Despite such a hopeful and important race in Haas’ fight for P8 with AlphaTauri in the Constructors title being cut short so quickly, Magnussen did not hold any grudges saying Ricciardo “did not do it on purpose”. “That was a race I wanted to be part of because our car had great pace all week, but it is what it is,” he said. “Dan did not do it on purpose, but it is no use for us and we move on. “We are not always up here where we have been this weekend, so it is a shame we could not capitalise fully.” In addition to the three-piece grid drop, two penalty points have been applied to the Australian’s license with the stewards believing blame lied with the McLaren after analysing a number of angles. “The stewards reviewed the video from several angles and reviewed GPS data presented by the McLaren team and telemetry from their own sources,” the stewards’ statement read. “Ricciardo made contact with Magnussen at Turn 8 on Lap 1, which caused Magnussen to spin, and subsequently both cars crashed. McLaren explained that in their view, Magnussen was slower at the exit of Turn 8 than the other cars ahead, which made it difficult to judge the closing rate, as the two cars interacted. “Ricciardo explained that in his view, he had slowed sufficiently that he was not going to collide with Magnussen and that he slightly misjudged it. “The stewards acknowledged that the incident was not reckless. However, they determined that the incident was between two cars and was not influenced by multiple other cars and is therefore not a ‘first lap incident’. “The stewards determined that Magnussen drove in a normal manner for that corner, and that he did not make any erratic moves. Thus the stewards determine that Ricciardo was wholly to blame for the incident and issue a drop of three grid places for the next event.”


F2 AND F3 CALENDAR HEADS TO ALBERT PARK THE 2023 FIA Formula 2 and 3 calendar has been announced with both being confirmed for Albert Park, Melbourne, to extend the feeder series’ into a third continent. Both will run in conjunction with the Formula 1 season, with the F2 sharing 14 rounds and 28 races with the main game, and the F3 for 10 rounds and 20 races. The introduction of Melbourne’s Albert Park will mark a first for both feeder categories, which will replace the Paul Ricard race in France as the only major change venue for both series’. Both will have their season starting in Bahrain on March 3-5 in line with the F1 opener, and the F2 will also share the season closer at Yas Island in the UAE, whilst the F3 will conclude in Monza Italy on September 1-3. The added Australian street circuit and the push into a new continent for the two comps, will be on March 31-April 2; round three for the F2 and round two for the third tier. From that point on, the F3 will stay in Europe for the conclusion of its season, with an eight round stretch from Imola, Italy, on May 19-20, until the Monza Finale. Within that stretch, the F3 will also have its debut at the famed Monaco street circuit. It also marks the first time that the F3 will feature on street circuits. Similarly the F2 will have a major European stretch after its April 28-30 visit

Jack Doohan will be hoping to star when the F2 cars race in Melbourne next April. Pic: Motorsport Images to the transcontinental Baku circuit, which effectively starts in Imola and also goes through to Monza. The FIA’s Formula 2 and 3 CEO, Bruno Michel, is excited to have added Albert Park to the ’23 season, and to expand the audience for both series’. “As announced previously, we have added Melbourne to the calendar, a fantastic venue both for our teams and drivers, but also for everyone watching and enjoying F2 and F3. It will be very interesting to see our cars battling on those streets,” Michel commented. “The 2023 F2 calendar will have 14

rounds, the same amount as the current one. In 2022, we’ve enjoyed more action than ever, with a total of 28 races, and we wanted to keep this for next season. “The F3 will feature two brand-new circuits, Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne and Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, which is really amazing. These two very prestigious tracks are the first street circuits to be added to the F3 calendar. They will offer the teams and the drivers an exciting new challenge.” Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA President, recognises the importance of

having the best young talent continues to grow by competing on the world’s greatest circuits. “As the final two steps on the junior single-seater pathway, I am pleased that in 2023 FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 continue to race alongside the FIA Formula One World Championship,” Sulayem said. “There is no better preparation than to compete on these gold-standard grand prix circuits, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the next generation of drivers take on a new challenge with the addition of a round in Australia next year.” TW Neal

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WHINCUP CAR ROLLS OUT OF CONTENTION TRIPLE EIGHT Race Engineering may had won the GT World Challenge Bathurst race, but it was not a perfect weekend after car #88’s campaign was cut short in spectacular fashion. Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim walked away from a massive qualifying crash at McPhillamy Park, but his Mercedes was withdrawn from the weekend as a result of the damage. Nearing the end of the first part of qualifying, Ibrahim lost control at the fast left-hander, flew through the gravel trap before hitting the tyres hard and landing on the roof. Ibrahim was able to extract himself from the car and was assessed at the medical centre.

GC500 CROWD SMASHES RECORD

AFTER THREE years longing for the sight of Supercars, a record crowd stacked the Surfers Paradise street circuit at the recent Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500. The weekend total of 200,232 was the biggest number at the popular event since Supercars started promoting it in 2012. It became the first in that period to break the 200,000 barrier by surpassing the previous record of 198,763 set in 2019. It proved the switchback to a single-driver race after being an enduro for nine years was no turnoff with the turnout and racing better than ever.

WOOD ELEVATED INTO 2023 CARRERA CUP FOLLOWING ON from Matt Payne’s scholarship success, Ryan Wood and Zac Stichbury have been selected as Team Porsche New Zealand scholarship recipients to race in Australia’s premier one-make Porsche series’ next year. Wood will be elevated into the Carrera Cup and Stichbury into the Sprint Challenge, both to race under the Team NZ and Earl Bamber Motorsport banners. After taking out the Bathurst International with wins in Races 2 and 3, Wood is only 32 points behind Thomas Sargent with one round remaining in this year’s Sprint Challenge Australia, whilst Stichbury has been competing in NZ’s Formula Ford and Toyota 86’ championships.

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NEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS AT THE BENALLA AUTO CLUB THE BENALLA Auto Club held its 64th Annual General Meeting on Saturday and outlined its financial position and plans for next year while electing new members to its committee. The BAC and Winton were hit pretty hard during the Victorian lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, which occurred each year in the weeks leading into the central Victorian’s rounds in the Supercars Championship series. According to its Vice President, Bruce Robertson, BAC is bouncing back both financially and operationally from those times. During the COVID years, the club’s turnover was down $3 million, but things were looking good now, particularly after a successful return to the Supercars calendar. “We haven’t been audited yet, but we think we are back at 2019 levels, which is what we expected and hoped for,” he said after the AGM. “The overall finances of the Benalla Auto Club are in pretty good shape. We are returning to normal. “The AGM was well attended, which is also a sign of strength, and we elected three new board members and returned our club secretary, Gary Gourlay, back onto the

board and into the position of secretary again. “Jeff Grech, who I think we all know, leads the charge for the new board members. He previously worked here as the operations manager, and has great connections at the top end of the sport. A local car dealer who moved into the area because of his interest in motorsport and a love of Winton, Mark Brient and Richard Whyte were the final two elected on the night. Richard is Stephen Whyte, our general manager’s brother, but he has an involvement with the club stretching back to the Mick Ronke days.” Barry Stilo was returned as President, and Robertson likewise as Vice-President. Garry Quigley takes over as Treasurer after Robertson acted in that role during most of 2022. “The Benalla Auto Club has, by any measure, been successful over a 65-year period. No other car club in Australia owns two race circuits; admittedly, one is dormant at the moment. The AASA is thriving too. “We have a lot of plans for 2023 with Winton and the AASA, and we plan to get somewhere with Wakefield Park.” Andrew Clarke

MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA MAKE LICENCE SAFETY CALL MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA has moved to restrict a provisional circuit licence (PCL) holder with respect to a vehicles power-toweight ratio for 2023. The approved changes alter the type of vehicle a PCL holder can pilot, with no PCL holding drivers able to operate vehicles with a power-to-weight ratio of less than 3.5kg per kw. To gain racing access to higher power vehicles, like a Supercar, Trans Am, S5000, GT3 (including a Carrera Cup Porsche) a driver must participate in at-least three races in a lower powered vehicle, and then formally upgrade their licence; a process to be outlined in the 2023 Motorsport Australia manual. The safety orientated move by Motorsport Australia isn’t meant as a deterrent to drivers wanting to step up into these vehicles, but rather to ensure that necessary on track experience has been had before making the step-up into higher powered machines is not made with haste.

Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca said the Board unanimously approved the change. “As of 1 January 2023, provisional circuit licence holders will not be able to drive a vehicle with a powerto-weight less than 3.5kg/kw,” Arocca explained. “After three races in a car of a lesser power, and formally upgrading their licence, drivers would then be permitted to race in a higher power vehicle, so it isn’t an onerous change and provides a level of extra experience on track. “This regulation tweak is based

entirely on safety for all competitors. Some drivers were obtaining a PCL, completing an observed licence test on a Friday and then racing in high powered vehicles at state level with limited experience a day later. This is a risk to not only themselves, but the other more experienced drivers sharing the track. “We’re not trying to stop people from competing at higher levels, it’s about providing some certainty that competitors in high powered vehicles have the relevant experience before stepping up.” TW Neal


INTERNATIONAL STARS GEAR UP FOR AUSSIE SPEEDWAY STOUSH AUSTRALIA’S CROWN jewel of speedway racing will again welcome top international talent in 2023 with James McFadden and Brad Sweet jetting down under for the 50th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic. Australian export McFadden, a star of the American World of Outlaws series, will race under the Tim Hodges Motorsport banner in Warrnambool next January with the backing of NAPA Auto Parts. The Tim Hodges Motorsport team has some big-name shareholders – Supercars champion and IndyCar race winner Scott McLaughlin, Richmond AFL forward Jack Riewoldt and prominent media figure Gerard Whateley are all invested in the speedway venture founded by Warrnambool-born Hodges. McFadden, who lives in the Northern Territory, is a two-time Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic winner who splits his time between Australia and the US. He shot to World of Outlaws stardom last year and has collected five victories in his first two seasons abroad. McFadden will return to America in 2023 after signing on with Roth Motorsports. “The Classic is one of the biggest races in the world. It’s a race I grew up watching on the hill at Premier

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Speedway, so it’s always on my schedule to be back home in Warrnambool for Australia Day week,” McFadden said. “I love the event, I love the speedway, I love the town and I love how big the race has become right around the world. Everyone here in America either wants to come home to compete in it or to come and watch it. “I’d love nothing more than to win a third Classic crown in a year where it means so much.” Joining in the festivities will be legendary American World of Outlaws driver Brad Sweet. Sweet, who is one of the biggest names on the American speedway scene, will be racing under the Landrigan Motorsport banner with support from NAPA. The 36-year-old from California has won four straight World of Outlaws titles and is close to hitting a century of A-feature wins at the top level. Australia’s biggest speedway event will present a unique challenge, however, as Sweet has not raced outside of US shores in over five years. “I’m really looking forward to heading back down under, it’s been a few years and I love Australia and its fans,” Sweet said.

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“James and I are pretty good friends and have a few friendly wagers going, I’m trying to get him to agree to shave that beard he’s got going on, if I beat him. “The 50th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic is definitely a race I’d love to win. It’s a great event with a lot of great fans.” McFadden was happy to engage in banter with his American rival, as the pair prepare to do battle. “The tables have turned – he’s on my side of the world now so hopefully that means I have the upper hand over him, including the fan support – so welcome to my jungle,” McFadden said. “Obviously he is a champion of this

sport – his results show that – and his consistency is staggering really, so I admire and respect what he has achieved enormously.” The 50th running of the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Warrnambool will start on January 27 ahead of three full nights of racing. Josh Nevett

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TEAM PENSKE POWERS TO HISTORIC DOUBLE WITH JOEY Logano winning Team Penske its third NASCAR Cup Series championship on the weekend, it capped off an extraordinary year for Roger Penske’s stable. The only thing missing in the trophy cabinet is the Indy 500 trophy, following Will Power’s triumphant IndyCar title (Penske’s 17th IndyCar title), and Austin Cindric Daytona 500 win. With the IndyCar/NASCAR double, Team Penske became the first racing organisation to achieve the feat, which also gave them their 43rd national title since its 1966 inception at the 24 Hours of Daytona. “I think we’ve tried it for 31 years, so it’s about time,” Penske said after Sunday’s NASCAR triumph. “Joey did a great job. You’ve seen what he’s been able to do as he’s come on the team, and for us to have two championships in the same year, that’s what we’re here for. That’s the goal we have every year.” Penske was asked on the live broadcast if he could compare the trophies in the cabinet for 2022. “Well, I hate to say one is better than the other, but I’d have to say put them all together, they’re all in first place, as far as I’m concerned,” Penske continued.

Joey Logano has delivered Roger Penske the unique ‘double’. Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

“What it does as a team, the momentum it gives not on the race team but the 70,000 people that are in our company because they’re all watching. We don’t win every day, do we? But it teaches us how to win and how to stay in the game, and I think that’s what it’s done.” Penske’s Aussie connection is strong, not in the least with Power behind the #12 Verizon car, but with his links to DJR where they won three Supercars titles as DJR Team Penske with Kiwi Scott McLaughlin – Will Power’s current IndyCar teammate – and now Aussie Porsche factory superstar Matt Campbell has been added to the stable. The IMSA champion and Le Mans Class winner will pilot a Porsche 963 for Penske as they take the plunge into Prototype sports cars endurance racing for 2023. Team Penske will run two cars in each of the WEC and IMSA championships for next year, with Campbell likely to continue his winning partnership with Mathieu Jaminet in IMSA. It’s safe to say that Penske has his eyes firmly set on adding a coveted Le Mans title to the team’s prolific cabinet of 611 race wins and 43 titles. “I would say that’s the mountain we’re going to try to climb in a year … go to Le Mans, win. For sure,” Penske elaborated. Timothy W Neal

AUSSIE GUNS SHOWS SKILLS IN FERRARI LAND AUSTRALIAN YOUNG guns Jack Beeton and Gianmarco Pradel have reached the finish line of the Ferrari Driver Academy Scouting World Finals. The pair were dressed in red at Ferrari’s famous home base in Maranello, Italy last month and completed some intense workshops, while they also cut some laps under the watchful eyes of the ‘Prancing Horse’ at the Fiorano test track. These sessions were spread across five big days of examination where Beeton and Pradel were put through their paces alongside four other emerging talents aged between 14 and 16 handpicked by Ferrari from all over the world. In addition to the Australians, Finland’s Tuukka Taponen, UAE’s Rashid Al Dhaheri, Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi Jr and Mexico’s Jesse Carrasquedo also took part. Of the six who participated, only one will be selected to join the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy, which ranges from the heights of Formula 1 with current Haas star Mick Schumacher to Spaniard Laura Camps, who has just taken her first steps from karts, in Formula 4. Beeton and Pradel emerged from

Gianmarco Pradel and Jack Beeton at the Ferrari Academy, in Maranello. the competitive FDA Asia Pacific and Oceania Selection Program at Malaysia’s SepangInternational Circuit, which saw them negotiate tests in and out of a Formula 4 car. At the final in Maranello, the Ferrari hopefuls were evaluated over the course of five busy days by Academy engineers, who were closely analysing their physical ability, attitude and mental suitability both on and off track, plus their talent behind the wheel.

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The winner will not be decided on pure lap times, with the drivers thrown in different situations that will be experienced at any given time during a race weekend such as tyre management, responding to engineer feedback and consistency across a stint. After the big week the head of the FDA Marco Matassa sent the youngsters on their way. They will return in a few weeks time once the engineers have crunched the

numbers of the on track data and physical and theory tests. No matter what happens next, it was the experience of a lifetime for Beeton and Pradel. “The FDA Scouting World Final was such a fun experience, and I really enjoyed every minute of it,” Beeton said on the Motorsport Australia website. “I learnt a lot from my five day ‘adventure’ as such, both on and off the track – especially that

nowadays, being a race driver isn’t just about how fast you are, it’s about your physical and mental abilities, as well as your personality. “Being the second youngest out of the six and having the least experience out of any, I feel I offer the greatest potential, so hopefully that is enough to get selected. Even still, it was an amazing experience, and I will cherish it forever, regardless of the outcome.” “Walking into the Ferrari gates and being there to compete was a feeling like no other. It was intense and fun but it wasn’t too much of either,” Pradel said. “It was a really enjoyable and fun experience - the passion for Ferrari and being immersed in such a professional environment ... There’s an air throughout the whole company. They love what they do and have a huge sense of passion overall. “My main goal throughout the week was to give my best and leave nothing on the table and I think I did that. I was just honing my technique and it was fun to see how much progress I made as a driver. “The experience was unforgettable, once in a lifetime.” Thomas Miles


F5000 TO CAP OFF 2022 RESURGENCE IN SYDNEY FORMULA 5000 has been the historic category on everyone’s lips over the last few months, and it will again command plenty of attention at the season-closing Summer Festival event at Sydney Motorsport Park. After wowing crowds at the Winton Formula Festival and Historic Sandown, F5000 will trek across the border for a weekend of historic racing from December 3-4, coordinated by the Historic Sports and Racing Car Association of New South Wales. The Summer Festival event will feature Formula 5000, Sports Sedans and Group S Enduro machines, among others, while providing fans with a chance to enjoy quality motorsport under the Australian sun before the Christmas break ensues. F5000 competitor and representative Rod Carol has been blown away by the resurgence of his beloved category in the latter months of the year; he is confident that the final chapter at SMP will be a fitting one. “It’s been a big year for Formula 5000,” Carol told Auto Action. “The category has come a long way under the guidance of Rob Splatt. He has assembled a team and we’re working to bring F5000 forward. “This event is great way to end the year.” A total of 10 entries have been confirmed for the upcoming Summer Festival, including a raft of proven performers.

Frank Harris’ ex-Teddy Pilette Chevron ... Image: PETER ELLENBOGEN

Rose City 10,000 winner Tim Berryman will be among the frontrunners, as will the likes of Paul Zazryn and Tom Tweedie and TCR Australia Series ace Josh Buchan. Dean Camm, Peter Brennan, David Crabtree, Darcy Russell and Chas Talbot are also expected to run. Carol encouraged fans to flock to SMP, explaining that F5000 competitors are always keen to get spectators involved.

Tickets are $25 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday and $30 for a weekend pass. Concession tickets are $5 off, while kids 12 and under attend for free. “The beauty about these historic race meetings is that spectators can mingle in the pits, talk with the drivers, have a look at the cars… a lot of us will just put young kids in the car to get a photo,” Carol said. Looking ahead to 2023, Carol believes

that renewed enthusiasm for the F5000 category will lead to larger grids and greater growth. “A couple of blokes that have cars are now working on them, they’ll be there next year, we will have an increased grid next year,” he confirmed. “We’ve had so many inquiries from promoters all over Australia. Our cars are very popular.” JN

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O’KEEFFE LOOKS AT THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY THE 2022 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series finished in fascinating fashion at the Bathurst International, with Sunday’s highlight reel sent spinning at the second turn when Dylan O’Keeffe crashed out from the lead at Griffin’s Bend. Starting from second place in the final race, the Schaeffler Garry Rogers Motorsport driver enjoyed a lighting jump to surge into the lead around the outside of Hell Corner. This launch set up a thrilling side-by-side battle with Bailey Sweeny for the lead up Mountain Straight. O’Keeffe was determined to hold onto the lead, so he braked late in the approach to the sweeping right-hander, but ran out of grip on cold tyres and swiped the outside tyre barrier.

Despite the heartbreak of hitting the fence whilst in the lead, the GRM driver was lucky not suffer more damage after the car rebounded back towards the racing line. He soldiered on at the tail of the field, however a front splitter failure forced car #8 into retirement. O’Keeffe put down the incident down to an error, pushing too hard on the cold tyres believing it was a race that got away. “I made a good start and I was determined to hold the lead at the first corner, but at the top of the hill, I just went a bit too deep on cold tyres and lost control,” he said. “It was a shame to end the weekend and the season that way, because I really felt the car was fast enough to win.” It was a sour way to end the season and a weekend full of hope for O’Keeffe.

The Bathurst International started well for him, scoring a strong second place behind pacesetter Sweeny after winning a tight battle with Josh Buchan in the opening race after qualifying third. “The car was fast, especially over the top of the Mountain, but I was under pressure for the whole race and I couldn’t afford a single slip-up,” O’Keeffe said. Thick fog and heavy rain meant racing was not possible on Sunday morning which meant O’Keeffe’s push to improve on his championship position all came down to the third and deciding race. But bad luck intervened and not for the first time in 2022 for the GRM driver, who had to settle for a P9 result in the championship. What made the retirement even more

painful was O’Keeffe finishing just 33 points away from the top five, when a strong result in the finale could have vaulted him much higher up the order. Despite podium finishes at Phillip Island and the Bathurst 6 Hour, DNFs at Bathurst, Sandown and Queensland meant 2022 was a tale of what could have been. “It’s been a year of mixed results, highs and lows,” O”Keeffe said. “We had strong pace at most rounds and in the middle of the year, we were right in the thick of the championship fight. “Unfortunately, we had DNFs in the last three rounds, which cost us some valuable points and meant our final position in the standings didn’t reflect our speed throughout most of the season.” Thomas Miles

GEN3 PREP ENTERS TOP GEAR WITH TEST DAYS ANNOUNCED

THE BUILD up to the Gen3 debut in the Supercars Championship next year has shifted into top gear following the announcement of the roadmap to Newcastle, with key test dates revealed.

Preparation will step up early next year when key shakedown sessions will take place, offering teams the chance to complete the first run of their own Gen3 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro

Supercar. Following a meeting between Supercars and all teams, the shakedown days have been unanimously agreed to be penciled in for the final week of January. Victorian teams will get the first glimpse of the sport’s new era, with its session to be held at Winton Motor Raceway on January 27. Three days later on January 30, it will be the turn of the Queensland based teams at Queensland Raceway. Following the initial shakedown, teams will then enjoy a full test-day with Winton playing host to the Victorian based teams again on February 7, while the Queensland operations will follow suit two days later on the Thursday in Ipswich. The heavy testing program will be

completed at Sydney Motorsport Park on Wednesday, February 22, where the entire Supercars paddock will converge on the New South Wales venue to complete the final preparations ahead of the 2023 Supercars Championship. The news is another step in the right direction after the Gen3 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro prototypes completed extensive straight line VCAT testing at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport last week. The 2023 Supercars Championship and the first ever race between the Gen3 Camaro and Mustang will commence with the Newcastle 500 from March 10-12, 2023. All the shakedown and test days will be open to the public, whilst dates are still subject to change. Thomas Miles


THE MOFFAT MOUNTAIN STRAIGHT?

THE PUSH to rename Mount Panorama’s Mountain Straight after Australian racing and Bathurst great Allan Moffat is growing support amongst race fans. A social media group called ‘Moffat Mountain Straight Mount Panorama‘ started the push for the renaming, and has started to gather some interest. With the circuit’s Skyline named after Aussie racing great Peter Brock, naming the Mountain Straight after the four time Bathurst 500/1000 winner – and five time class victor – would be a great recognition of the huge contribution Moffat made to Australian racing. When reflecting on the history of the ‘Great Race’, the rivalry between Brock and Moffat helped propel the profile of the race in the eyes and interests of the wider public, helping to contribute to the now enormous status of the Bathurst 1000.

AUTO ACTION contacted Robert Taylor, the Mayor of Bathurst, who does support Moffat being honoured in some form at the iconic mountain circuit. “We certainly recognise Moffat’s contribution to motorsport in this country, and to Mount Panorama, and that he loved the mountain…and we’d certainly like to honour him in some means,” said Mayor Taylor. “We can’t comment specifically at the moment in regards to the renaming of Mountain Straight, as there has been a lot going on with the gas situation and the Bathurst International happening all at the same time… but what that tribute will be, we haven’t decided as of yet. “But we’ll be watching the support that the social media group gets, and it’s obviously important what the fans think. I certainly recognise that he needs to be honoured in some form. We’ll have to wait and see before we

consider anything.” The proposal has even drawn a comment from Motorsport Australia with a spokesperson commenting that: “We believe that the proposal has merit…we would be more than happy to support any request for the recognition.” Sports-radio Network station, “Inside Racing”, also discussed the proposal on its program, which can be heard by clicking on this link. And just days after Steve ‘Junior’ Johnson took a Moffat inspired Brut #33 to outright victory in a Mustang Trans Am in the Touring Car Masters, the push continued to grow interest. Spokesperson for the social media group, Jem Cullen says that “Social media is alive with people behind this”, stating on the page: When we reflect on the history of the Bathurst 500 and 1000, there are two names that tower above all: Moffat and Brock. Peter has the trophy and Skyline named after him, now it’s time we recognised Moffat for the way he revolutionised racing in this country. Allan’s intensity and professionalism changed Australian motor sport forever. His rivalry with Peter Brock and sheer intensity captured the nation and propelled the 500/1000 from a race of interest to petrol heads to a national event rivalling football finals and the Melbourne Cup. If Mt Panorama skyline is now Brocks Skyline, I think we should have Mountain Straight renamed Moffat Straight, in honour of his bellowing Fords muscling up that hill. Moffat ate, slept and breathed Bathurst. He often said there was only one race that mattered, Bathurst. Everything else was preparation. Mt Panorama was everything to him and we made him part of it forever. This would involve very little expenditure and generate great PR, goodwill and news coverage for the track and Bathurst itself. And if there was a ceremony, it would attract tourism to the town. Most importantly we need to convince Bathurst council to Gazette the change. Tim W Neal

WALL RACING TCR TITLE DEFENCE WITH HONDA NOT LOCKED IN WALL RACING is on top of the TCR Australia world after Tony D’Alberto secured the 2022 championship in thrilling circumstances at the recent Supercheap Auto Bathurst International. The sweet victory sealed in a tense seasonending race on Sunday was the crowning moment of a long and successful threeyear partnership between driver, team and manufacturer. D’Alberto, Wall Racing and Honda have been together since the category’s inception in Australia since 2019 after the former full-time Supercars steerer personally approached the Japanese manufacturer for support. The move paid off and it all came together at Mount Panorama where Honda executives were in the garage cheering D’Alberto on during the nail-biting conclusion to the season. Although both driver of the #50 Honda Civic Type R and team owner David Wall

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were ecstatic after the glory, neither could confirm whether or not the famous Japanese brand would return to defend the crown in 2023. D’Alberto said discussions have started and the final call is with Honda, but stated he would love to be the first reigning TCR Australia champion to race with the #1 on the door next year. “We have already discussed next year a little bit, but it will come down to what Honda want to do, whether they want to keep investing in the category,” he told AUTO ACTION. “But as far as I know everyone is pretty happy. We will have to make a decision soon because Wally needs to know whether we are going or not. “But the intention is to go again and use the number one on the car. “No champion has done the following year with number one, so I would like to be the first one.

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“We will see how things pan out.” Wall said he hopes the trio’s successful partnership continues and is aiming for a decision to be made around the new year after the celebrations and a well-earned rest. “Absolutely we want to be back, but we can confirm that at the moment? No,” the team owner and former Supercars star told AUTO ACTION. “Being the day after the last round it is very difficult to do, but we hope to have some sort of finalisation before Christmas, if not very early next year, so we can get ourselves

prepared and see what is around the corner. “But for now we are just enjoying what we have been able to achieve and look forward to having a Christmas break.” Thomas Miles


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RALLY LEGEND SLAMS PIRELLI

SEBASTIEN OGIER has launched a scathing attack on WRC sponsor and Tyre supplier Pirelli after suffering an unexplained puncture at Rally Japan. Ogier went as far as to describe the Pirelli tyre as “shitty” and that drivers are afraid to talk about it due fear of a sponsorship backlash. Pirelli left the WRC in 2011 then returned after winning a four year tenure to take over from Michelin in 2021, but this season has seen a high amount of tyre issues throughout in terms of unexplained punctures.

Ogier – an eight time WRC champion – had his chances of being competitive at Rally Japan ended early on the Friday, losing three minutes to an unexplainable puncture in his Pirelli rally tyre. After winning the Thursday stage, Ogier was incensed at having his hopes of a second straight WRC victory dashed by losing over three minutes as he wasn’t carrying a spare. “When I look at the tyre, I don’t understand, because there is no mark. The rim is intact… but there is a small hole,” Ogier commented on the

final day. Although Ogier was able to fight back to finish in fourth, +2:23.6s back on the Hyundai i20 N winner Thierry Neuville, the puncture may have ultimately have cost the part-time WRC Toyota driver a victory. “Maybe one day we will finally talk about their shitty work. Maybe it will help turn things around, but right now it’s just a joke…It’s a lottery,” Ogier continued. The French rally legend took to twitter following the incident on Friday, even suggesting that with Pirelli as the WRC tyre manufacturer, that he’s thankful for

not being a full-time driver. “It’s really annoying that nobody talks about this problem with Pirelli. Their work is a joke. This is not serious. There are punctures everywhere, all the time,” the Frenchman explained. “In fact, we had more punctures in one year than with Michelin in a decade! No one dares to talk about it because there are stories of contracts and sponsors involved. This is not serious. I am happy not to be in the championship in its entirety under these conditions.” Tim W Neal

FIA NZ GRAND PRIX RETURNS FOR 2023

THE FIA sanctioned New Zealand Grand Prix will return for its 67th running as part of the international Castrol Toyota Racing Series. Hampton Downs Motorsport Park will host the NZ Grand Prix, first held in 1950, for the penultimate round of the five series open wheel showcase. For the past 15 years the Grand Prix has been attached to the TRS as its signature race, and alongside the Macau Grand Prix, is the only other standalone national GP sanctioned by the FIA. The GP will feature an F1 style qualifying where a Q1, Q2 and Q3 format will narrow

it down to a top-ten shootout for the pole position. The race will also carry a $10,000 dollar purse, with $5000 going to the winner, $3000 to P2, and $2000 for the third place getter. Two young Australians are so far enlisted to take on the international and local field, with Porsche Sprint Challenge racer Tom McLennan from the McElrea Racing Team, and Ryder Quinn from the Formula Ford national series, who will race with M2 Competition. One of the local racers will be Callum Hedge, who races in the Porsche Carrera Cup. The Auckland born 18-year-old was

a former racer in the Formula Regional European Championship, otherwise known as FRECA, and is looking forward to being back in an open wheeler. “I’m really looking forward to competing in my very first New Zealand Grand Prix,” Hedge commented. “It’s such an incredible event with such rich history. If I wanted to win any race on my calendar for next year that has to be the one. “Putting my name alongside some of motorsport’s all-time greats would mean so much to me, but it’s far from being an easy race so I’m going to have to be fully on my A-Game for the entire weekend to have a chance. And that’s going to be the case for all the competitors. It’s the biggest open wheeler race we have in New Zealand.” New Zealand Motorsport manager Nicolas Caillol, is excited to have an international field return for the country’s biggest race. “It’s going to be great to be back with a full international field at the Grand Prix and great that the venue for that will be the international Hampton Downs circuit, which is just a perfect challenge for the drivers and teams,” Caillol said. “It’s a massive weekend of motorsport

for everyone and particularly for us as we will have both our TRS Championship and the Toyota 86 Championship racing that weekend. We have no idea who will win but we are expecting plenty of action, lots of drama and a few surprises along the way.” TRS has one of the best records in junior formulae for the proportion of its drivers over the years who have made it to Formula One or achieved other notable successes. Current F1 aces Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Nicolas Latifi, Lance Stroll and Guanyu Zhou have all raced in TRS. Norris and Stroll were both champions. TW Neal

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BLANCHARD SPREADS TO SUPER2 WITH PORSCHE STAR PORSCHE STAR Aaron Love has switched career paths to the Supercars world being the centre piece of Blanchard Racing Team’s new Super2 program. Since finishing third in the 2018 Australian Formula 4 Championship, Love has been rapidly rising his way up the Porsche pyramid. Racing for Sonic, he won 12 of the 17 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia races he contested to finish a close second in the championship behind Harri Jones despite missing the Winton and Darwin rounds. Love was not present at those races because he was taking on the European stars at Porsche Supercup rounds in Silverstone and Paul Ricard which ran as support events for the British and French Grands Prix respectively. The West Australian was expected to continue his progression in the Porsche scene and follow in the footsteps of fellow Australian export success Matt Campbell. However, the lure of racing in the Supercars Championship has pulled Love to take a giant leap in his career, securing a seat in a Gen2 CoolDrive Ford Mustang for the squad’s maiden Super2 campaign in 2023. It could be the perfect timing for the 20-year-old to make the switch, with the opportunity possibly opening up many doors in the Supercars world. Love may co-drive alongside Todd Hazelwood in the Enduros next year and

even receive a promotion to the main game in 2024 if BRT expands to a two-car outfit. Love said he cannot wait to take on a new chapter in his short, but successful career in the current BRT Ford Mustang chassis. “After this year away racing in Europe it sparked a lot of questions within myself and where I want to end up racing, but it didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to race at home and in Supercars,” said Love. “The relationship with Tim and the whole BRT crew was already there with Sonic, so there hasn’t been much questioning from the start and as things have progressed it just made more and more sense, especially with the way they have been growing both on and off track.” Despite never having jumped into a Supercar before, Love believes the lessons learnt in and outside of Australia recently sets him up nicely for the challenge. “I’m really excited for the new journey back in Australia and in an area so different for myself and my family; we’ve never dealt with the Supercar pathway or even a Supercar before,” he said. “It will definitely be a challenge for myself and a new experience for the team racing in Super2, but I’m confident that we have all the tools and more to get us to where we need and want to be. “The past year has been a huge learning

and growing experience for me, and I wouldn’t change a thing knowing that it’s prepared me a lot for what is ahead. “There are a couple of sticks and an extra pedal that I’ve got to figure out what they do, but I’ve got some of the best people behind me to show me the way and I can’t wait to get started.” The announcement is also a major sign of BRT’s development. With Blanchard having teamed up with the likes of Brad Jones Racing and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in the past, he spread his wings in 2021 and started his own single-car operation. Tim Slade was the steerer and recorded a P12 championship finish on debut and this year is on track to improve that marker. Next year BRT will enter Gen3 with young gun Todd Hazelwood behind the wheel and the possibility of the one-time pole sitter pairing with a hit property such as Love could set the CoolDrive backed team up for many years to come. Team owner Tim Blanchard said the announcement is a big step forward for the squad. “We are excited to welcome a young talent like Aaron to BRT to contest the Super2 Series with us, he has dominated the rounds of the Carrera Cup he has competed in this year, and that is why we want him to be

with us for years to come,” said Blanchard. “This is an important step in the growth of BRT as we continue to expand with the hopes of moving to two cars in the main Supercars Championship in the near future. “It is an opportunity to take a manageable step forward for our team without compromising our main series entry with Todd Hazelwood. “We have been really impressed with Aaron to date, he has the right attitude and is really fast, the whole team can’t wait to see what he can do in a Supercar.” Love and Hazelwood will both make their BRT debuts in Super2 and Supercars respectively at Newcastle from March 10-12 next year. Thomas Miles

NEW FORD RAPTOR TO BE DRIVEN BY BIG NAMES SOME BIG names will be behind the wheel of Ford Performance’s new NextGen Ranger Raptor race truck at this year’s Baja 1000. The three driver team will steer the new race truck built by Kelly Racing in the Stock Mid-Size class for production vehicles in the event beginning in Ensenada, Mexico on November 15, which also features Australian stars Toby Price and Paul Weel. But some other big names will taking on the famous rally for the Blue Oval headlined by Brad Lovell. In total Lovell has won nine championships and more than 35 victories with the latest on board a Ford Bronco in the 4600 Stock Class in the 2022 Ultra4 season finale. Despite achieving enough to to be inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, Lovell feels the weight of taking on such a big event for such a

prestigious brand. “I love racing down in Baja. I have a lot of experience racing at Baja, but I still feel like a novice, and I always want more. I’m a student of Baja”, he said. “With the Baja 1000 this year there’s a lot of pressure. This is a big deal. It’s an important program to Ford Motor Company. It’s very important that we execute things safely, professionally and on point with Ford but really, you know, we’re just having fun and if we can have fun within those boundaries and make sure we get to the finish line on time on race day, that’s our mission.” Lovell will be joined by another winning machine in Jason Gutter. Hunter has scored success in the SCORE, BITD, SNORE, CODE, RECORD, NORRA and BORE off-road endurance racing series and when he is not racing he is either doing

driver training for Ford or being a battalion chief for the Snowmass Village fire service in Colorado. “I’m really excited to be here with the Ford Ranger Raptor. It’s neat to see that Australia’s come up with this project and putting it through the Baja 1000,” he said. “The team that we put together for this is pretty incredible. To get push that truck through the 1000 is going to be awesome. “I’d say the main challenge will be finding a pace that gives us the speed we need to win the race, but also the pace we need to keep the truck together. “ “We’ve already found that the durability on this truck is pretty amazing.” The decorated Loren Healy brings one of the most consistent and decorated off-road racing records to the Blue Oval. Healy is a two-time King of Hammers and five-time ULTRA4 racing champion and took

the off-road world by storm by winning the 2010 KOH on progressional debut. Four years later he became the only driver ever to score multiple KOH wins and is excited by the challenge the Baja 1000 presents. “I absolutely love racing Baja and I’m so excited for this Ford Raptor racing program,” he said. “It’s so cool for Ford to be involved with anything down in Baja and to be chosen to be a part of this as a huge honour for me. “I’ve been racing off-road for about 15 years, you know King of the Hammers, Ultra4, that’s what I do. But Baja definitely, like everybody, has a special place in your heart. There’s nowhere else on earth like it.” The star-studded team is completed by team manager Curt LeDuc and team navigator Danny Brown, who will also be along for the ride.


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LATEST NEWS

COFFS COAST RALLY TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

THE RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will come to a thrilling conclusion on the Coffs Coast next week. The Bates brothers have been trading blows at the top of the outright standings and their family rivalry will be settled at the Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally. Lewis Bates surged into the lead in South Australia following back-to-back wins, while Harry has struggled to match the pace. With Lewis 28 points up on Harry, the brotherly fight for the title will be decided at the event which also doubles as the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship finale and

the back end of Coffs Coast Festival of Motor Sport. A bumper field will be taking on the rally with the Bates brothers joined by WRC star Hayden Paddon, 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen, Indian star Kadur Karna, plus ARC frontrunner Richie Dalton and hometown hero Nathan Quinn. With so much on the line, more live stages of the Coffs Coast Rally will be broadcast live on 7plus. The coverage will be hosted by Jess Dane and Dean Herridge with the action headlined by Saturday’s EROAD Power

Stage from 4pm AEDT. The stage will feature side-by-side action as the drivers race against the clock and each other in a thrilling spectacle. Sunday’s coverage commencing at 4:15pm AEDT EROAD Power Stage will also be exciting viewing, having the potential to crown the outright ARC champion for 2022. Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations Michael Smith said the increased coverage would allow even more fans to enjoy live rally action on their screens. “This additional broadcast of the Raleigh

Super Special Stage is a bonus for those eager to see more of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship, as well as the EROAD Power Stage as always on Sunday,” Smith said. “We’re excited about the local interest in this event, with lots of spectators registering for their free tickets to attend, while for those who can’t make it to Coffs, the Saturday and Sunday broadcast will allow people to enjoy even more of Australia’s best drivers from their TV or smart devices live and free on 7plus.” The Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally takes place from 25-27 November.

1982 CHERRY-STARTLET TAKES TARGA BUBURY SPRINT

THE GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint turned out a big field of rally cars and spectators over the weekend in the West Australian town, with the outright winner driving a 1982 Toyota starlet. The starting line saw 110 competitors take to the 4km street circuit, doing 8 passes through some 25 corners in a timed run format. A big crowd showed up to see Matt Cherry and co-driver Cade Bell take the #2 Racing Dynamics Starlet to victory; taking to the WA streets like a rocket, with the hatchback being highly modified for tarmac rallying. The 1.8-litre turbo two-wheel-drive Toyota Starlet has 420 rear-wheel horsepower, and proved far quicker than the

four-wheel-drive rally cars with bigger engines and more horsepower. Cherry took first outright over Cody Harris and co-driver Morgan Ward, driving a 2004 Mitsubishi Evo 8 MR. Although they finished second, the duo took the class win for the Open Rallysprint 4WD. Rounding out the top three outright was Matt James-Wallace and co-driver Ben Tuck in a 1993 Nissan GTR R32. “We are all pretty amazed we managed to win such a great event – I’ve watched a lot of these good drivers for years, so to be the outright winner is something to be proud of,” Cherry said. “My strategy was to keep it clean and have a heap of fun which is easy to do when you’re flying around the streets in the Starlet, it’s a handful. “We had a few issues arise in the afternoon including a leaking oil line and I had a little spin on the second last run, but we managed to make it back up in the last run – thanks once again to Racing Dynamics for the super quick fix – it made it a little more exciting. “The crowd was great and a lot of people came to have a chat about the car and the first thing they asked was ‘what’s is this thing?’ which is quite funny but they all loved the little rocket and we hope they enjoyed watching it as much as I

did driving it. It makes me smile.” Defending champion and winner of the Joondalup Sprint last weekend, Troy Wilson, had to retire early after issues on his first run. The ex-AFL footballer turned street circuit competitor, had a dump pipe break of the turbo of his 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, and after trying to get through the first run, melted the brake fluid bottle and some wiring. Overall, 11 classes took the sprint, with the categories split between engine sizes, 2WD, 4WD, and decade of the manufacturer. In the 4WD 3500 cc and over, Will White and co-driver Matt Thompson from Dardanup were the class winners, as well as managing fifth outright. “There’s a lot of weight in this car compared to my previous Mitsubishi Evo, so I’m learning how to handle that weight, and doing the sprints helps learn about car control,” says White. “It was a good fun event, hats off to all the organisers, Ross and the team, it’s fantastic they came out and helped run a great event.” Clerk of Course Ross Tapper says that he’s happy that the GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint ran smoothly and was an incident-free event. “Besides having to clean up some oil on the course which delayed the rally for about 45 minutes, it all went well and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from competitors, they seem to love the short, sharp rallysprint format,” says Tapper. Tim W Neal


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LATEST NEWS

PORSCHE SERIES HEADS TO ISLAND MAGIC FOR DECIDER

A SHOWDOWN for the 2022 Porsche Sprint Challenge crown will headline the upcoming PIARC Island Magic event, which is to be held at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from November 26-27. Rising Aussie star Tom Sargent and Team New Zealand racer Ryan Wood have been engaged in a trans-Tasman tussle all year, separated by 32 points heading into the second-tier Porsche decider. Tegra Australia’s Sargent has the upper hand, but two wins for Wood at the Bathurst International showed that he has the pace to force an upset at the Island. As PIARC continues to celebrate its 70th anniversary, Island Magic will host

nine categories all up – Sprint Challenge, Formula Vee, Improved Production, Formula Open, Historic Touring Cars, Formula Ford, Porsche 944 Challenge, Sports Sedans and Hyundai Excels. PIARC President Nick Scarcella confirmed that 220 entries have already been received for the event, with huge fields in the 30s and 40s for Improved Production and Historic Touring Cars, respectively. The Hyundai Excel category will run a 40-minute enduro race as part of its program, which is sure to be an enthralling affair. “It’s going to be a cracking weekend,”

Scarcella told Auto Action. “The highlight on Saturday will be the Porsche Sprint Challenge Final and then on Sunday the Improved Production Matthew Flinders Plate and the 50k Plate for Sports Sedans. “Spectators will have access to get close to the field and come into the. Island Magic brings championship motorsport to the masses. It’s that nice, relaxed feel Magic has been for the last 32 years.” As usual, spectators will have access to views of the whole circuit. Tickets are available from $30 for Saturday, while a two-day pass costs $40. Kids under 16 can attend without charge. JN

STEVE JOHNSON TO RACE AU FALCON AT WINTON 300 STEVEN JOHNSON will race a Ford Falcon AU once again at the Mountain Motorsport Winton 300 next weekend. Two decades after racing the AU for Dick Johnson Racing, ‘Junior’ Johnson is joining forces with his podcast partner and two-time Bathurst 12 Hour class winner Matt MacKelden for the 100-lap race. Not only is Johnson returning to the circuit where he scored a Supercars podium in 2011, but he will be racing a special vehicle. He and MacKelden will be driving the last-ever Ford Racing Australiaprepared AU Falcon race car. The Falcon will proudly wear the famous #17 which Johnson carried throughout his 419-race career. Steven and his legendary father Dick Johnson were already attending the Winton 300 to support third-generation racer Jett, who is chasing the TA2 Muscle Car Series title. With his son racing, Steven thought he and MacKelden should jump behind the wheel as well to ensure a busy weekend for the whole family.

18 I www.autoaction.com.au

“When the opportunity came up to race in the 300, we thought ‘why not?’” The 2001 Queensland 500 winner said. “It’s a bit of fun for Matt and I – every time we talk about AU Falcons on The Driver’s Seat (their radio show), we get a big response from our fans, so they’re very excited about us racing one. “We’re not sure exactly where the car will slot into the field in terms of outright speed, but we’ll be looking to stay out of trouble, get our strategy right and

hopefully finish somewhere up the pointy end.” The Falcon XR6 was built under the supervision of Ford’s then-motorsport manager, Howard Marsden, for the 2001 Targa Tasmania. It is now owned by Stuart Lanham, whose support has helped the entry to materialise. The Winton 300 will take place at the Benalla circuit from November 18-20. TM

VALE, CHARLIE SMITH

MOTORSPORTS LEGEND and aviator Charlie Smith, passed away on October 15 at the age of 94. He was born at New Lambton in 1928 and spent his early years on a small farm at Medowie before the family moved to Wentworthville, and he worked as an apprentice electrician at the Eveleigh Railway workshops. He started racing cars in the early 1950s and took part in the first Australian Touring Car race in 1960. He married Betty Knight in 1949 and became an electrical contractor. His initial race was at the first post-war motorcycle race meeting at Bathurst in 1946. He took part in the early RedeX and Mobilgas trials in Peugeots and a Holden. He raced at Mt Druitt and Bathurst in the family car, a Fiat 1100, before he modified a couple of Morris Majors and took in Warwick Farm and Katoomba. Noticed by the BMC, the company ensured he received a new Austin Freeway when it was introduced in 1962. After a Lotus Eleven, he purchased the Elfin Formula Junior which Frank Matich raced successfully. Smith then won the 1963 NSW Formula Junior Championships at Catalina Park. A Lotus 23 from Alec Mildren followed which Smith said was the best car he ever raced. When the first Production Car 500 mile race was held at Phillip Island in 1960, BMC entered three Morris Majors and three Austin Lancers. Smith co-drove with Brian Muir but was unplaced. The following year he was in a Major with Bruce Maher but retired with broken suspension. In 1962 he raced the Freeway before it was modified. From 1963 he was a regular in the 500s at Bathurst where he co-drove with Maher, Barry Ferguson, Ron Jaylen, Barry Seton and Don Holland in Mini Coopers for two class wins and a second. In 1969 teamed with Bill Ford in and XW GT Falcon auto for another class second. Later, in his 70s he bought a Series 4 Lotus Seven, got a regularity licence and participated for about ten years. Then reluctantly he hung up his helmet for the final time. In 1955, he learnt to fly, achieved his licence and became a commercial pilot and instructor. He introduced Jim Clark and Graham Hill to aviation during their visits for the early 1960’s Tasman series. He was also involved in car clubs, property development, and a term as a Coffs Harbour Shire Councillor. An Australian who achieved much in his life – Auto Action extends its sympathies to his family and friends. Garry O’Brien


OFF AND RUNNING AA’S LONG-TIME COLUMNIST CAN’T WAIT FOR THE 2023 ‘INTERNATIONAL’

LIKE CHRISTMAS Day or your birthday when you were a kid, the Bathurst International was a bloody long time coming. Yet, when ARG’s inaugural November ‘spectacular’ finally arrived it was worth the wait. True, the international elements were few and far between, but what it lacked in cosmopolitan flavour – and spectators, sadly – it made up for in compelling motorsport. For me, in couch potato mode taking in the action on Stan Sport, the Bathurst International underpromised and over-delivered. There wasn’t a convincing reason to make the trek over the Blue Mountains to take it in trackside, but my investment of time at home was rewarded with a thoroughly entertaining couple of days. I’d describe the weekend as comprising 100 interesting tidbits, mostly on track, but also in terms of announcements. More on the latter in a moment, but first let’s whip through some of what caught my eye racing-wise. Most significant was the heartwarming 2022 TCR Australia title for all-round good guys Tony D’Alberto and Honda Wall Racing, in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Mount Panorama is not a circuit that suits the

AutoActionMagazine

with Luke West

REVVED UP underpowered but fine handling Honda Civic, with D’Alberto outside of the top 10 much of the weekend. The cancellation of Sunday morning’s race due to inclement weather gave the Civic driver’s rivals less of a chance to peg back his points lead. Heading into the weekend’s (and the championship’s) final 20-lap race, Will Brown (starting sixth) needed to win and D’Alberto finish lower than 12th for Brown to win his second TCR title. Lo and behold, Brown quickly marched forward to take the lead as D’Alberto slipped down to 14th, yoyo-ing in and out of a title-clinching position for a good 20 minutes. It was only when a couple of competitors ahead on the road came-a-cropper late race that Tony D moved into 10th, securing his first title since his 2007 V8 Supercars development series win. Not that he knew he had won when he crossed the

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finishline. The in-car vision of a rather stressed and agitated titleist asking his crew on the cooldown if he had done enough – and thinking the worst – made for captivating viewing. It was an absolute cliffhanger. If you missed it, give yourself an uppercut. It was great theatre. Race 3 victor Brown was unlucky to miss out on the title. The Queenslander gave everyone a driving lesson in that finale, taking the lead in unprecedented fashion – passing leader Aaron Cameron’s Peugeot by putting two wheels on the grass entering The Chase’s right-hander, effectively shortening this fastest of corners. It was an astonishingly brave and creative move, best summed up by his race engineer Tom Moore’s priceless deadpan assertion over the radio of, “that’s one way to do it ...” The beauty of TCR is that competing cars have different

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strengths and weaknesses at different venues, so they can actually pass each other. Supercars were you watching? The Gen 3 machines better be able to pass each other at Bathurst or the category is up s**t creek. Well done to TCR for putting on a great show. As did the big field of Australian Production Cars with their own inherent strengths and weaknesses. Special mention to Jimmy Vernon, who used his EVO X Lancer’s all-wheel drive to good advantage when the rain came tumbling down on Sunday. Vernon qualified 4.5 seconds off the obligatory pole-sitting BMW and finished seventh in the first two dry encounters, before winning Sunday’s wet encounter. Steven Johnson’s charge through the Touring Car Masters field in the Brut Mustang was the highlight of Saturday’s racing and the old banger category also put on a good how overall. Brock Feeney and Tim Slade’s battle for the lead of Sunday’s GT World Challenge Australia race was intense, with Feeney attempting to do a Lowndes ’94-like pass around the outside at Griffin’s Bend the absolute highlight.

Beyond the racing – and the tortoise rescued from the track – the weekend was notable for the announcement that next year will see a true international event with at least 16 cars imported for a round of the TCR World Tour. Exactly what that means re format is not yet clear – well, it’s not to me at least – but whatever it entails is a tantalising prospect. I guess we can look forward to future announcements that will clarify what the first international touring car field to hit these shores in a quarter of a century will consist of. WSC Group head honcho, Marcello Lotti, indicated the local field would likely be bolstered by a quartet of cars from Audi, Hyundai, Lynk & Co and Honda. Finally, there was another, lower key announcement over the weekend that should give the bastard child of the local racing scene a much needed shot in the arm. GT4 has struggled for numbers being in the same races as GT3, but car owners will be encouraged to join the production car ranks, a more natural fit. One way or another, there will be several compelling reasons to be trackside at the 2023 Bathurst International. It’s off and running…

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INTERNATIONAL

AUSSIES

STOP / GO

BARTER ENDS SPANISH F4 IN SECOND

YOUNG VICTORIAN star Hugh Barter has closed out a hectic season by taking second in the standings in the Spanish F4 for Campos Racing. Hughes also took out second in the French F4, driving both in the same year, which cost him the French title due to racing on repeated circuits. In closing out the Spanish season in his F4 T-021, Hughes registered a P5, P3 and P2 behind his teammate Nikola Tsolov who won the championship and swept the round. Hughes has a strong chance to race for Campos in F3 next year after a 6 win, 7 podium season.

HUGHES TAKES US F4 TITLE IN TEXAS LOCHIE HUGHES has powered to the US F4 title at COTA in Austin Texas, taking out the championship and claiming the final two races of the year. Hughes topped Bryson Morris by 55 points to take the title, with a P4 and two back-to-back wins to close out the season on a high. Driving for the Jay Howard Driver Development team in a Ligier JS F4, the 20 year-old Gold Coast born Aussie took six race wins and 4 podium seconds to claim the title. He had the title wrapped up over Morris leading into the last race, where he changed his car number up to a #1 to celebrate. “That was awesome,” said Hughes after the race, “we already wrapped up the championship, so I wasn’t worried about that … I was just focused on getting the win. “All thanks to the team for the great car, and what a great season. I can’t ask for more. Winning the

championship means a lot. I didn’t race the last two years. I was stuck at home during COVID and didn’t have the budget to go racing. To win the championship is unbelievable.” For 2023, Hughes will be jumping into an F2000 car in the US F2000

Championship, also driving for the Jay Howard Driver Development team. The F2000 program is the first step on the Road to Indy program that provides a scholarship funded pathway towards driving in the North American IndyCar series. T W Neal

PISZCYK TAKES FIRST INTERNATIONAL STEPS

HERNE FIGHTS AT THE FRONT IN TEXAS NATHAN HERNE’S stocks continue to rise after fighting up the front in his international Trans Am debut at the circuit of the Americas in Texas, USA. He qualified 12th in a 53 strong field, before fighting his way up to P6 on a hectic first lap, then moved into the top five to challenge for a podium. Herne pushed into P3 but front splitter problems left him to fight it out for an exceptional P4. Fellow Aussie/ American, and Indy lights driver Matthew Brabham, also managed a podium second in just his fourth US Trans Am appearance.

JONES GRABS PODIUM IN THE MIDDLE EAST 2022 CARRERA Cup winner Harri Jones has impressed in his Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East appearance with Lechner Racing, taking his BWT sponsored Porsche 992 GT3 CUP car to P7 in Race 1, and P2 in Race 2. Harri finished 10.210s back on British talent Harry King who won both races, and by six-tenths over Israeli driver Ariel Levi in P3. His P7 in Race 1 was less than three seconds back in the podium times. Jones now heads to Europe to contest the junior shootout for a starting spot in the prestigious Mobil 1 Supercup for next season.

20 I www.autoaction.com.au

YOUNG FORMULA Ford Driver James Piszcyk has started his journey up through the international open wheel ranks, signing with Hitech GP in the British Formula 4. Alongside that, he will contest the trophy race at the Formula 1 closer in Abu Dhabi, as well as contesting in the FIA sanctioned UAE F4 Championship that runs from January through February. “To be be racing with Hitech is just amazing with their previous history, and going to a team that’s just won the British F4 championship also,” Piszcyk told Auto Action. “They’ve got everything – an F2 team, F3 team, they got the GP3 team, Asian F3 programme – it’s a pathway towards my dream of trying to make F1 and it’s a real honour to be racing with them.” Piszcyk took a calculated gamble in missing the final round of the national Formula Ford championship that he was leading, to go the UK and test for Hitech, taking the chance for a shot at getting a seat. Now that he’s in the system, the

South Australian born racer gave Auto Action an insight into his experience of testing with Hitech at Snetterton Circuit (above). “On the official test days with the other teams it was a great experience, and I went pretty good in the end,” explained Piszcyk. “I feel I progressed a lot throughout the two days and gained more knowledge about the car, and in different conditions. Felt the car a bit more towards the end of the two days and managed a P2 in the morning session of the Sunday which I was stoked about. “There were six teams and around 20 drivers being put through their paces, in an open pit lane set-up. Basically we went out and did 10 lap sessions with about eight push laps, then we’d come in and go through data and do it all again with the added knowledge. “The first day I finished P7 in the wet, then progressed to P4 by the afternoon, then did really good times to get that P2. I struggled to put a good lap together for the late session so ended up in P10, but I

was happy with what I had done all-up.” Hitech GP will be defending the championship with Jimmy on board next year, and Piszcyk told AA of the experience of working with such a high class outfit. “They were amazing and they’re so organised. You rock up and everything’s laid out with the plans for the day and then they have plans if anything changes with the weather and stuff, so everything is super prepared. “The feedback throughout the day was really positive, and because I kept getting better and better I ended up with a good understanding of the car with their input in the pits. So they gave me highly positive feedback in the end. “I’d say the thing we worked on most was getting the ideal brake shape, and bleeding the brakes off a bit faster. Initially I’d been holding it too long so I was locking up in and out of corners, so we went through that data and it was something I really got on top of in the end.” With his signing announcement on November 11, Hitech F4 team manager Dominic Stott had this to say about the young Aussie. “It’s great to be able to welcome Jim to the team for Abu Dhabi later this month and the 2023 season,” Stott said. “It’s a big commitment to make the move across the pond and this is the ideal next step for him to progress. He is used to racing at the front now and that’s what we aim to continue. Having Jim onboard is another sign of where we aim to be in the new year.” Timothy W Neal


Holden, and Skaife, dominated the Adelaide 500 in 2002 – will SVG give the brand a similar send-off? Image: MARK HORSBURGHMOTORSPORT IMAGES

THE DAY THE MUSIC DIES I BLEED AS RED AS ANYONE I KNOW IN SUPERCARS. LIKE SO many others, I cheered for ’Stormin’ Norm Beechey when he was driving a Holden Monaro in the early days of the touring car championship in the 70s. Much later, Peter Brock took me for a Commodore passenger ride at Bathurst. I also rode alongside Win Percy and James Courtney and Mark Skaife for hot laps at Sandown, and I once qualified to race a Commodore in The Great Race. On the road-car front, I have driven every Holden from the original VB Commodore through to the unlamented ZB that was morphed into the red lion’s final Supercars racer. And did I mention the GTR-X? I drove it once at the Holden Proving Group at Lang Lang, and then much later in the carpark at Flemington raceway in Melbourne. So, I know a thing or two about Holden and the Holden faithful. They include Mark Reuss,

with Paul Gover

THE PG PERSPECTIVE now the global product boss for General Motors, who took a fullyrestored FC Holden – with whiteover-red bodywork – back to his home in Detroit after occupying the corner office at Holden headquarters in Fishermans Bend. There’s also Mike Simcoe, now GM’s global head of design, and a pantheon of retired Holden greats including engineering legend Tony Hyde, safety star Laurie Spark, and design heroes Tony Stolfo and Peter Hughes and Richard Ferlazzo – who designed the brilliantly retro and futurist Efijy concept car. But how will they and the tens of thousands of Holden faithful react to the end of the red era on the streets of Adelaide in a couple of weeks? Simcoe has already closed his

history book, lamenting – like me – the good times that withered and faded through the final days until the end of local car-making. So, what’s next? Bathurst has already been run and won, again, by Holden. Holden has also locked the other titles for 2022, powering the drivers’ crown for Shane van Gisbergen and the teams’ championship for Ampol Red Bull Racing. But there is still Adelaide. The statisticians can crunch all the numbers and run all the records, and there will be some awesome totals to be finalised after the final Holden-against-Ford tally. But what about the emotions? Does anyone care about Holdens in Supercars?

By care I mean the heartfelt emotions that ran rampant at Bathurst when all sorts of Holden people – led by fans of the Torana XU-1 arrived in droves to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Peter Brock’s first win at Mount Panorama. Lots of people are now making big money from classic collectible Holdens, including anything with a Bathurst race record, but are they the same people who used to celebrate the arrival of an EK or even a VH Commodore in the family driveway? The car world has changed immeasurably over the past decade, as the major carmakers – tracking back to Leyland and including Chrysler, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford, Toyota and Holden – deserted Australia. There is more talk in 2022 about the hottest new electric car than the results of Bathurst. But I’ve never seen heads turn to a Tesla as quickly as they spin when my near-neighbour Wayne fires up his ‘blue meanie’ Commodore for a Sunday fun run.

There is something very, very special about the V8 Commodore. It tapped into a rich vein of motoring emotion that has also fuelled support for touring car racing since Beechey days. Now it’s coming to an end or – as many people hope – a new era of Ford versus Chevrolet in Supercars. There is every chance Shane van Gisbergen will put the final exclamation point on the history of Holden at the Adelaide 500. He has been all-but unbeatable through 2022, giving Holden fans plenty to cheer and celebrate and – soon enough – remember. Will there be tears in Adelaide? Quite likely. Will there also be cheers and cheers and cheers in Adelaide? For sure. But the big question is what happens in 2023, and whether Supercars fans, and the hordes of Holden supporters, will be as passionate about the Chevrolet Camaro as they have been through the days of the Monaro, Torana and Commodore.

SVEN BURCHARTZ LIVES MOTORSPORTS LAWYER AND PARTNER

Know your position.

• Teams • Series owners • Manufacturers

sburchartz@kkilawyers.com.au

T +613 8825 4800 kkilawyers.com.au

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PUBLISHER Bruce Williams bruce@autoaction.com.au 0418 349 555 EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Bruce Williams STAFF JOURNALIST Timothy W. Neal STAFF JOURNALIST Thomas Miles NEWS EDITOR Andrew Clarke FEATURES WRITER Paul Gover PRODUCTION/SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Caroline Garde SENIOR DESIGNER Neville Wilkinson NATIONAL EDITOR Garry O’Brien HISTORICS EDITOR Mark Bisset SPEEDWAY REPORTER Paris Charles ONLINE EDITOR CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AUSTRALIA Josh Nevett, Dan McCarthy, Bruce Newton, Mark Bisset, Garry O’Brien, Geoffrey Harris, Bruce Moxon, Gary Hill, Craig O’Brien, Mick Oliver, Martin Agatyn. FORMULA 1 Luis Vasconelos US CORRESPONDENT Mike Brudenell PHOTOGRAPHERS AUSTRALIA Mark Horsburgh-Edge Photography, Ross Gibb Photography, Daniel Kalisz, Mick Oliver-MTR Images, Rebecca Hind, David Batchelor, Randall Kilner, Richard Hathaway, Bruce Moxon, Ray Ritter, autopics.com.au INTERNATIONAL

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ADVERTISING MANAGER Bruce Williams All Advertising inquiries bruce@autoaction.com.au 0418 349 555 Editorial contributions may be sent to Auto Action. No responsibility will be accepted for their safety. If you require the return of any sent item or items, please attach a separate, stamped and fully addressed envelope.

Auto Action is published by Action Media Partners ABN number 62976094459 Suite 4/156 Drummond Street Oakleigh Victoria 3166 Phone: 03 9563 2107 The trademark Auto Action is the sole property of Action Media Partners The website www.autoaction.com.au and associated social media platforms are wholly owned by Action Media Partners. All rights reserved No part of this magazine’s content may be reproduced, retransmitted or rebroadcast without the express written permission of the Publisher and Action Media Partners. Printed by ive Group Distributed by ARE Direct Retail Distribution Australia

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For more of the latest motorsport news, reviews and features, PLUS additional breaking news. Go to autoaction.com.au or scan below

email: letters@autoaction.com.au Postal: Suite 4/156 Drummond Street. Oakleigh Victoria 3166

VIC LABOR DECLARES ‘HOME OF MOTORSPORT’ PRIORITY

FIRSTLY, I would like to commend you on Auto Action’s commitment and dedication to offering motorsport enthusiasts a premium motorsport magazine and thank you for delivering a copy of issue 1847 (with the report regarding motorsport infrastructure in Victoria) to my office. Victoria has a long and proud motorsport history which has been made possible by the contributions of passionate supporters such as you. The Victorian Government understands access to suitable facilities is critical for the growth of motorsport and is working closely with Victoria’s motorsport community to identify the sector’s current and future needs. To achieve this, the 2019-20 State Budget allocated $7.4 million for the ‘Racing into a New Era for Motorsport’ initiative, which includes funding for the development of a Victorian Motorsport Infrastructure and Participation Plan. Development of this plan is being led by Motorsport Australia in consultation with motorsport peak bodies. The plan will identify key infrastructure and participation priorities and guide investment for the future of motorsport facilities in Victoria. As you have mentioned, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions is also continuing to work with Motorsport Australia on its proposal for a ‘Home of Victorian Motorsport’ facility. The Victorian Government recently committed $1.692 million in the 2022-23 Budget towards finalising the precinct’s location, design and further planning. A new ‘Home of Victorian Motorsport’ would strengthen

the state’s ability to host major events and address some of the key infrastructure and participation challenges faced by the industry with the site selection process to be finalised shortly. Steve Dimopoulos Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events and Minister for Creative Industries Publisher’s note: Victoria has a State election on November 26.

TRIGGER HAPPY ON DAN LIKE SO many people, Alan Higgins jumped the gun in your last magazine (Letters to the Editor, issue 1848), trying to consign Daniel Ricciardo to history. Daniel showed what he’s still capable of in the Mexican Grand Prix. Perhaps we simply have to acknowledge that he has a young teammate (Lando Norris) who is very, very special and that’s why he’s well ahead of Daniel on points. But maybe the real spotlight should be on McLaren as a team. I have the feeling that, since the departure of Ron Dennis as the head man at McLaren, it’s just not the great team it once was. Maybe Zak Brown and those around him in the management team are looking for a scapegoat in cutting short Daniel’s contract when maybe they should be having a good, hard look at themselves – or being brave enough to have someone, or some professional organisation, from outside to assess their respective and collective performances On another matter, I feel Supercars isn’t quite what it used to be. Is it losing its oomph? Twelve months on, what have its new ownership group produced in the way of improvements to ‘the show’? Same old, same old. Tom Drew Burnie, Tasmania

SOCIAL DISCOURSE

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ADDERTON’S GIFT TO SUPERCAR FANS SUPERCARS SHOULD be very careful in how it handles Peter Adderton. Seems to me the guy has lots of enthusiasm and ideas, not to mention money, yet Supercars is always doing its best to keep him ‘on the outside’. Surely a guy like him should be welcomed ‘inside the tent’ rather than constantly be kept at arm’s length. Luke West was on the money with his BOOSTING INTEREST column (Issue 1848). My mother always used to say “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. Supercars would do well to heed my dear old mum’s advice. Darren Morris Caloundra, Queensland

KEEP SUPER2 CARS IN CIRCULATION WHAT’S THE go with the new Super2 rules for 2023? I read your story about Matt Chahda and his frustration with not being able to get two current-spec cars to race as a team in Super2 next year? What’s the go? Where have all the cars that are racing in the series now going? Surely this is a dumb move by Supercars to make the changes to the rules that mean it’s pretty much impossible for the current Super2 teams to stay as a Super2 team if they can’t get cars? Is it because, as I have read elsewhere in the magazine, that ‘collectors’ are buying them up? It should be a rule that cars should be offered to Super2 teams before they disappear into some rich bloke’s shed never to be seen again. Leigh McKenzie Scarsdale Vic Auto_Action

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LONGER SOCIAL CHAT RICCIARDO DOING THE RIGHT THING INITIALLY I thought Daniel Ricciardo should go to Haas, but actually I see his thinking and agree with it. If he goes to Haas he’ll be in a car that, even if he is quick, will look slow. He’d be accepting he’s on the way out by just collecting another paycheck or two before racing in the Le MansPrototype class or similar. But if he manages to bag a reserve seat at Mercedes or Red Bull and tests in a car that is winning or at least on the podium regularly, and puts in times matching the main drivers, it shows he still has it. Skip forward 12 months or so, Perez’s contract is up for renewal, Lewis doesn’t win his 8th title and walks … Leclerc or Sainz move on after falling out with Ferrari …Audi want a lead driver. If he’s putting in good times in a car that’s at the sharp end of the grid, all the above would probably open up for him. Ed Ryan

STANAWAY HAS EARNED ANOTHER CRACK The sad part of all this (Peter Adderton’s fight for a Supercars franchise) is the fact that Richie Stanaway deserves another shot! I think he has matured, maybe moved on from the misfortunes of the past and could be an absolute star of the sport in the right environment. Maybe not too, but deserves the opportunity. You do not put a Supercar on P4 at Bathurst after three years off without talent. A lot of seasoned campaigners behind him! Bruce Robertson AutoActionMag

There was some hot debate on topics across all levels of motorsport on Auto Action’s social channels.

RICCIARDO FOR MERCEDES IN 2023?

Yu Lik Mg (1) DR cannot take a race driving seat for 2023 if he wants to keep his McLaren payout and no team can match it at the moment (2) As a consequence of (1) DR can only accept a Reserve driver role which is why he has been very clear that he will not be on the grid in 2023 (3) DR is aiming to be a Reserve driver in 2023 for a team that will give him a grid position in 2024 with a shot at WDC. As such…either Red Bull or Mercedes Rodrigo Riso It is such a waste to see such a talented driver being thrown away like that. I really do hope he gets a good seat for 23. He is one of the best overtakers. William Mazeo If Mercedes fix their cars, Red Bull will need

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a better second driver if they want to fight for drivers and constructors again. They really should get Ricciardo back.

MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA CHANGE LICENCE RULES Peter Brierley Thousands of drivers have gone through the P plate system, show me any evidence where the current system has failed? Rules for the sake of making more rules Bruce Henley How will driving a Hyundai around the back of the field, making sure not to draw attention to themselves help them be any better in their 800hp sports sedan or Boss powered IP Falcon? Make them get their licence in the car they will race.

Brenden Vinckx And what happens when Joe from Ballarat wins lotto, buys a GT3 car, does a OLT on Friday, races on Saturday and puts it in the fence, severely hurts themselves or others through lack of experience? Everyone will point fingers at Motorsport Australia for not having this rule. Anthony Vella This change won’t affect those with money, they will just pay the cash and do the three races. But it will block those with more talent than cash.

ADDERTON CONCEDES SUPERCARS DREAM IS OVER

Christine McDonald Seriously there needs to be more cars racing. They should give him the chance to have his team on the grid on 2023. All the more the better.


Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

SPRINT RACES ARE NOT THE FUTURE FORMULA ONE’S traditional inability to see the wood from the trees was very much in evidence, again, on Saturday evening after the Sprint Race. The man who was behind the idea of introducing Sprint Races in Formula One to spice things up, Ross Brawn, took the unusual step of attending the post-Sprint media scrum, where normally only the drivers are answering questions from the media, to wax lyrical on the format based on what was, no doubt about it, an exciting half an hour of racing. On his way out of Formula One (he retires at the end of the season), Brawn also admitted he’d be quite keen to remain involved in the sport “to work on some special projects” and explained that, “reviewing the Sprint Race format could be an exciting project for me to be involved in.” Like many people in the sport, including Max Verstappen and

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with Luis Vasconcelos

F1 INSIDER Lewis Hamilton, I’m not a huge fan of the Sprint Race format and I think the Brazilian Grand Prix proved a point that those against the format have been banging on for quite a while. The 24-laps dash was exciting because the grid was completely mixed up after the wet-to-dry-to-wet conditions of qualifying facilitated some shocking results – none more than seeing the popular Kevin Magnussen score the first pole position of his career, the first for a Danish driver and the first for the Haas F1 Team. On top of that, Lewis Hamilton, Sérgio Pérez and

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Charles Leclerc were out of their natural positions, due to bad timing or a terrible tyre choice in Q3, so there was always going to be a lot of overtaking inside the top 10, as those three drivers would get past Magnussen, the two Alpine and Norris, while the Dane was inevitably sliding down the order – as he did. So, for Sunday, we were left with a much more normal grid for the 71-laps race, with the three top teams occupying the three front rows of the grid, Magnussen back in the midfield and only Vettel, the two Alfa Romeo and the two Alpines –

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after their collective hara-kiri in the first lap of the Sprint – out of position. Now, tell me one thing: how much better would Sunday race’s have been if Magnussen would have started from pole, with Hamilton, Pérez and Leclerc at the bottom of the top 10? Of course they would have still moved up the order quickly, but, inevitably, after their first stop for tyres, they would have returned to the track still behind slower cars, so they would have to do it all over again – and that would have been a lot more exciting to watch, as tyre strategies would have also come into play, something that doesn’t normally happen in the Sprint Races. Was the Sprint Race exciting? Of course it was, because it came from a mixed up grid. But those 24 laps allowed the natural order to be basically re-

established, so the excitement from Saturday robbed us of a more exciting Sunday afternoon. And that’s the whole point I want to make: Sprint Races do one of two things – they throw someone out of position for Sunday, if they have an issue on Saturday, or restore the natural competitive order for the main race, if qualifying was somehow disrupted. Making Sunday races better should be Formula One’s only concern, as far as the race format is concerned, so increasing the number of Sprints from the current three to six next year certainly isn’t going to help. Focus on the real issue, I say, don’t get distracted by the occasional “success” of something new, because that “success” comes to the detriment of the main product Formula One has to sell – Sunday’s races.

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FORMULA 1 NEWS – LUIS VASCONCELOS

CHINESE GP TO BE CANCELLED AGAIN FORMULA ONE has already informed the 10 competing teams that next year’s Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled for April 16, won’t go ahead and will not be part of the calendar for the fourth straight season. The news didn’t come as a surprise to anyone after last month’s congress of the ruling Communist Party stood by the Zero Covid policy that has kept China closed to the outside world since the start of 2020. The decision taken by the Shanghai authorities has created a problem that won’t be easy to solve. Stefano Domenicali had already stated that if the Chinese Grand Prix would be cancelled, no other race would replace it, bringing down to 23 races the number of events included in the 2023 Formula One World Championship calendar. However, this solution would leave a four-weeks gap between Australia and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a gap the commercial management of Formula One wasn’t happy about – the recent push for more Grands Prix has led to people expecting to watch a Formula One race almost every weekend. The easier solution – and one the teams would welcome – was to push the Azerbaijan Grand forward by one week, to April 23, leaving just two vacant weekends after the race in Melbourne. That would also leave a one week gap before the Miami Grand Prix, greatly reducing the costs of traveling and eliminating the logistical and health nightmare that is to pack up in a hurry on Sunday night in Baku, head home for 24 hours and then continue to Miami, to race in completely different weather conditions and in a time zone that is eight hours behind Azerbaijan. Already unhappy about hosting a race in April, when the cold weather and heavy winds will deter tourists to travel to Baku, the Azeri promoters said no to the proposal, so now Domenicali is looking for a location suited for the middle of April but doesn’t have many interesting options available to him. The logical step would be to do a one-off deal with Malaysia, as that would fit in nicely, two weeks after Australia, but the Malaysian government is not keen to pay a lot of money for a single event and hasn’t shown any appetite to have Formula One back, after terminating the contract at the end of 2017. With no other Asian countries in a position to host a Grand Prix at such short notice, Formula One is now looking at locations in Europe, but on April 16 only the south of the continent may have weather half decent enough to host a Grand Prix. Jerez de la Frontera and Algarve are the two obvious choices, but the Spaniards don’t seem to have the funding for it and, in fairness, the circuit’s paddock is too narrow for the current structures Formula One brings along to European races. As for Algarve, this would be the third time the Portuguese circuit would step in to help Formula One fill the calendar, after hosting races in the 2020/2021 era, when Covid-19 was playing havoc with Liberty Media’s plans, but the promoters are unlikely to have access to big public funding, as Portugal is headed for an economic crisis, with inflation beating 30-year old records. Domenicali hope to have either a new deal or the confirmation next year’s season will feature 23 races by Brazilian GP weeked, , as the teams need time to prepare their logistics going into the 2023 championship.

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PIASTRI IN SECRET MCLAREN TEST

Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

ALPINE AGREES TO AN EARLY RELEASE FOR THE ABU DHABI POST-SEASON TEST OSCAR PIASTRI has already tested a McLaren F1 car, according to French sources, and an agreement between McLaren and Alpine is set to allow the young Australian to take part in the post-season testing in Abu Dhabi, immediately after the final F1 race of the year there.. McLaren sent a 2021 chassis – tha same car which a number of IndyCar drivers recently tested – down to Paul Ricard for two days of testing. Piastri was spotted arriving at the Paul Ricard on the Wednesday morning and then conducted a brief familiarisation test in a short version of the French circuit. But on Thursday he was out on the full Grand Prix circuit, running consistently. With the circuit closed (for this was a private test), it was only possible to see the orange

car was running without any sponsorship signage but with the pit lane out of sight for those outside the confines of the circuit it was not possible to see what kind of overalls the young Australian was wearing. Piastri famously signed for McLaren in July, after Alpine seriously delayed sending his management the 2023 contract he had been expecting and that would see him team up with Esteban Ocon next year. As a result of his actions Alpine took the matter to the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board but lost the case, with McLaren having full rights to Piastri’s services from the start of next year. As a consequence of this dispute, Alpine immediately cancelled all the private test sessions it had booked for the young driver – he had already tested at Barcelona, Paul Ricard, Red Bull Ring and Silverstone – and

also decided against giving him two outings in Free Practice sessions, opting, instead, to call on the services of fellow Australian Jack Doohan, who had his first taste of Grand Prix running in Mexico and will also be out in Abu Dhabi, during the First Free Practice Session for the final Grand Prix of the season. While it is understood that there was initial resistance to the plan to release Piastri earlier than the contracted December 31, it now seems the two teams have come to sufficient agreement to allow him to run in the end of the season test in Abu Dhabi. Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer admitted it had taken some time to reach an amiable agreement but now insists that, “we’re drawing a line under it. Once this season ends, Oscar is free to go and do whatever he wants to do.”

RED BULL CONFIRMS F1/SPORTS INVESTMENT TO CONTINUE RED BULL’S Formula One projects will go ahead without any significant changes, as company founder Dietrich Mateschitz had made all the necessary provisions for the future in the months preceding his passing. The Austrian billionaire had been aware for almost one year that his condition was terminal and spent his last few months putting together the future structure of the energy drinks company and securing the future of all sporting programs he had started. In a letter sent to all employees of the Red Bull group, Mateschitz’s son, Mark, wrote that, “as proposed and desired by both my father and myself, and supported by our Thai partners, a board of directors will manage the business affairs of Red Bull.” The letter goes on to announce that the three new directors are Franz Watzlawick, who becomes the CEO of the company’s beverage business, new Chief Financial Officer Alexander Kirchmayr, previously Head of Finance and Oliver Mintzlaff, the CEO of corporate projects and investments, the man who will be directly responsible for Formula One and other sporting programs of the group. Mintzlaff was until now the general manager of German football club RB Leipzig, having risen through the ranks of the team since 2014, five years after the team previously known as Lokomotiv Leipzig was acquired by Mateschitz. His appointment came as a bit of a surprise as, after a lifetime in football, Mintzlaff

Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and Adrian Newey, during the Brazilian GP – effective control of Red Bull’s F1 effort. will now oversee all of Red Bull’s sporting activities. In Mexico, after lamenting that Red Bull’s current wind tunnel is “a relic of the Cold War times”, Christian Horner revealed that his team will build a new wind tunnel: “It was one of the commitments that Dietrich made to the business, to invest in a new tunnel”, he said. Given the size of the investment required for such a project it’s clear Matezchitz has made provisions for his company to keep investing heavily in motor racing, with founding for the Powertrain’s division, created two years ago, already secure until 2030, according to team insiders.

Given Mintzlaff’s lack of close contact with motor racing until now, he’s unlikely to make any changes in the Formula One structure put in place by Mateschitz and will empower Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and Adrian Newey. With the Thai shareholders remaining silent partners, with no seats on the Board of Directors and no direct input in the running of the drinks company or the motorsport programs, the three men will have complete freedom to go ahead with their plans, becoming, as they’ve wished for so long, masters of their own destiny.


RICCIARDO HAS THREE OFFERS TO REMAIN IN F1 DANIEL RICCIARDO WILL DEFINITIVELY REMAIN IN FORMULA ONE NEXT YEAR, WITH THREE BIG TEAMS OFFERING THE POSSIBILITY OF BECOMING THEIR TEST AND RESERVE DRIVER. AS SOON as it was clear the popular Australian driver wasn’t going to be able to secure a race seat for 2023, his management got in touch with Mercedes and there was immediate interest from Toto Wolff in doing a deal. Ricciardo’s intentions in signing a deal as reserve and test driver were clear – with Lewis Hamilton’s contract running out at the end of 2023, the Australian was hoping to show enough speed and contribute to the W14’s development that he would be in a good position to replace the seven-times World Champion from the start of 2024 – if Hamilton would opt to retire. That, however, is not going to happen, for Hamilton has been giving clear signs he wants to extend his driving contract with Mercedes for at least another two years, meaning that, for Ricciardo, there would be nothing more than testing and being reserve driver for the German team if he would end up signing a deal with Wolff. With Nyck de Vries moving to Red Bull’s camp and Stoffel Vandoorne lacking pace in recent Formula One running, Mercedes needs a reserve driver who is ready to jump in the car and perform immediately ... so Ricciardo fits the profile Wolff is looking for. Understanding that there would be no future race seat for him at Mercedes, the Australian driver and his management decided to explore other alternatives and Helmut Marko was happy to reopen negotiations with the driver who left Red Bull high and dry in the summer of 2018, when he decided to sign with Renault for the following year. With de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda racing for AlphaTauri, the Austrian veteran feels he doesn’t have a good enough reserve in his very large pool of drivers and has offered Ricciardo a role that would see him testing

Sorry Daniel, Lewis is going nowhere ... so a Mercedes Resrve driver spot isn’t going to lead back to the F1 grid. both for Red Bull and AlphaTauri, as well as being the reserve driver for the two teams. But with Verstappen on a very long deal and Pérez secure at Red Bull until the end of 2024, this is also not a direct route back to Grand Prix racing for Ricciardo. But with Mercedes lacking race-ready reserve drivers, McLaren has now joined the line of teams that is willing to have the Australian driver as test and reserve for next year, having relied on the German team for reserve drivers in the last two years.

TEAMS PLAN WINTER LOCKDOWN FROM 2023 FORMULA ONE teams are taking action to preserve their staff’s mental health, a subject that only recently became the focus of the paddock after Lando Norris and then other drivers mentioned their own personal struggles. For the last couple of months the Formula One Advisory Committee has been discussing the possibility of a winter lockdown being brought into the regulations, to give everyone at least 10 days off around Christmas and New Year. In Mexico the proposal gathered pace as the Sporting Directors of the 10 teams all agreed with the draft that was sent to the Formula One Commission regarding this second yearly lockdown. On Sunday morning, in the traditional Team Principal’s meeting with Stefano

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Domenicali, the proposal was discussed and gathered general support, but Mattia Binotto, for example, was not present at the Mexican event and others, like Aston Martin’s Mike Krack, don’t have the autonomy to make this kind of decision, so it will be necessary to wait for the Next World Council for Motor Sport for the proposal to be approved and then included in the 2023 Sporting Regulations. Speaking after qualifying, Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff explained that, “many of us would like to replicate what we have in the summer, at least starting at Christmas and going into the new year for two weeks. Obviously that’s still up for discussion. But there was a positive indication, for the wellbeing of the people.”

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In Mexico, Team Principal Andreas Seidl admitted that, “we have decided to have our own reserve driver for next year and it will have to be someone who works closely with the team, in the simulator, in tyre testing and so on, so that he’s ready to jump in the car at short notice.” Asked if his current driver is a candidate for the seat, Seidl left no doubts about it: “Of course Daniel would be the ideal driver for the role, because he knows the team well and wouldn’t need any time to adapt.

“I’ve always said I rate Daniel highly, I feel responsible for not being able to help him perform at the level we know he’s capable, so there are no bad feelings between us, none at all. “Whatever team ends up hiring him will get a quick, motivated driver that also contributes to a great atmosphere in the garage and in the factory, so he’ll be a added value for any team – so it’s clear he can be a good solution for us as well.”

Kimi Raikkonen always found time to wind down ...

The idea generated from the Sporting Directors, who have a much more direct contact with the team personnel than the Team Principals but is not without its

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problems. One of them is that the end of December and the beginning of January are times in which the production of new parts is going ahead at full steam, as the

design teams complete different parts of the project and the manufacturing of those parts is done as quickly as possible, as some of them need weeks to be completed. The other major issue is that all contracts will have to be changed, as people will still want to have a couple of weeks of holiday outside the two lockdown periods, to be able to match their own schedules with those of their partners, children and friends. That will reduce the amount of weeks staff will work per year, so the teams will be pushing to make an equivalent cut in the salaries, something that would help everyone stay inside the budget cap but may not be too well received by the regular staff! For now everyone seems to be behind the proposal, as the need to get a bit of a rest is hitting everyone at the end of this gruelling season, so let’s wait and see if this proposal sees the light of day for the end of next season.

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TCR WORLD TOUR COMES TO

THE MOUNTAIN

THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED TCR WORLD TOUR IS COMING TO AUSTRALIA, AND THE BATHURST INTERNATIONAL WILL BE ONE OF THE TWO AUSTRALIAN ROUNDS IN THE NEW NINE-ROUND SERIES. OUR OTHER ROUND IS STILL UP FOR GRABS, BUT THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS THE BRAINS BEHIND TCR, MARCELLO LOTTI, CAME DOWN UNDER INSTEAD OF HEADING TO BAHRAIN FOR THE PENULTIMATE ROUND OF THE FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CUP, AUTO ACTION’S ANDREW CLARKE SPOKE TO LOTTI ABOUT HIS PLANS… LOTTI IS a touring car aficionado, and he has spent most of his time in motorsport with touring cars. He spearheaded BMW’s touring car program for many years before running the World Touring Car Championship. After that series switched to running 1.6L turbo engines in 2011 (tagged TC2), Lotti started thinking about the next evolution. The Seat Leon Eurocup car was used as his guide for the technical principles of the new class. The goal was to find something that appealed to manufacturers. He had long spoken with envy of the significance of the involvement of Ford and Holden in our domestic series, and he knew what power that brought to the game.

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That is what he wanted to match, but with more than two manufacturers. When he first announced the class in the middle of 2014, interest didn’t take long to start mounting. First it was Seat, then Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, Opal, Subaru and Audi, who all had cars in the first season, which kicked off in Malaysia and China as a support category at their F1 races. It then headed to Europe for some standalone events before winding its way back to Asia and the season-closing run at the Macau Grand Prix. From there, it has continued to grow, even if it has lost its World Championship status and has been just a World Cup for the past four seasons. Now, in 2023 it takes its next

TCR Europe into Turn 1 at Barcelona.


The Bathurst International will host one of two Australian TCR World Tour rounds. Below: Toyota is entering the fray.

“ ” steps with the TCR World Tour and a grand final – TCR World Ranking Final – to be held after the nine rounds of the tour. The tour will have four events in Europe, two in South America, one in Asia and two in Australia before the final. It is the two rounds in Australia that drew Lotti to make his first visit to our most famous race track. “When planning the TCR World Tour, it was a natural decision for us to involve the TCR Australia Series and the Bathurst International as part of it,” Lotti said from Bathurst. “As soon as I arrived at Mount Panorama this weekend, I realised why this circuit is regarded as one of the best in the world and why all international drivers want to race here. “I tell you, it’s impressive whether it is dry or wet,” he added while watching rain cancel the Sunday morning TCR race.

Images: DANIEL KALISZ, MOTORSPORT IMAGES, JACK MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Having TCR World Tour come to Bathurst will make many of the world’s best TCR drivers’ dreams come true...

“I have been for a lap of the track. It is unbelievable, and, for me, it was clear that we have made the right decision to confirm that TCR World Tour will race here next year and beyond. “Having TCR World Tour come to Bathurst will make many of the world’s best TCR drivers’ dreams come true. And the fans will be the winners too, seeing a truly international field of cars racing against the very strong TCR Australia Series teams.” The FIA announced a little while back that the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) would not continue past 2022. So Lotti sats down with his people and devised the tour and the final, which will feature the top 15 drivers from the World Tour along with the next 45 drivers in the complex TCR World Rankings. The tour was devised in conjunction with the manufacturers and teams, and no doubt, Lotti had to explain the entire concept, including the complex ranking system that would rate every driver in a TCR car anywhere in the world. “We discussed it with the manufacturers and with all the teams that were involved or are involved. This is a new concept, and all of them have shown very big interest. They liked the idea of joining the best events in the world from the different championships, so we decided to proceed like that. “We will arrive together, and with the local entries, there will be around 36 to 40 cars on the grid. “For this reason, we have to choose events and circuits that can permit this number of cars to race. So finding somewhere that’s got a big enough garage for 36 to 45 cars is the challenge. “In Bathurst next year, we will run under the sporting regulations of TCR Australia, we don’t want to jeopardise the local championship. So we enter using the same regulations with the same group, same stewards, and same officials. We bring from our side a technical supervisor, but there will be full respect for the local entries.”

Having announced Bathurst, the hunt is on for the second venue in Australia, with some interesting places being suggested. Even the streets of Adelaide have been tossed up as a rumour, but Lotti is more likely to settle on a permanent venue like The Bend, Phillip Island or even Sandown. Lotti did admit four circuits were on his radar, but he wouldn’t elaborate. “If I tell you, somebody close to me will kill me. I cannot tell you. But at the moment, we are discussing it with four tracks, and we will choose the best option. “Clearly, one reason [for his trip] was to finalise these plans. Another reason was that we are very happy with the job being done by this promoter: TCR Australia. So, it was also a pleasure to come to the last event this season for the championship.” TCR globally has been quite a hit, despite some detractors in Australia. Lotti is not surprised. He was aiming high when he developed the rules and regulations, and he was confident early on that they had nailed it. “When I start something, normally I start dreaming of five-star restaurants. Clearly, you have different choices unless you open a pizzeria. But usually, I work to open a five-star restaurant, and I have to say, with this culture, I was expecting success. “I’ve spent my life in touring car racing, I was in managing BMW for a long time, and I have spent all my life touring cars. When I started with this car concept, there was a situation around the world which was very bad for the touring car category. “Each country had different regulations, and no one was taking care of touring car racing. That was really, really bad. “So for this, I decided to develop one affordable concept for a team without losing the sporting performance. From that, we created the regulations for TCR working with the manufacturers. From day one, I contacted different promoters around the world. I was friends with some already, but not all of them. They decided to follow, and now we are here. “I have to say, when Toyota contacted us one year ago, it was exciting for me. There

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The TCR World Tour will bring real meaning to the words Bathurst International ...

are a lot of Toyota fans, and it is one of the biggest car makers in the world. Australia, I think, is a really good market for them too. “When they announced the car, it was exciting for us. I was with TCR South America in September, and Toyota raced there and won. I have to tell you; the car is beautiful.” Lotti says it felt like an endorsement of the concept that has been evolving for eight years, and right before it embarks on its most ambitious evolution yet, the introduction of hybrid power. He did say that hybrid power played no part in Toyota’s involvement since they didn’t know about it when they committed. “We spent two years developing the hybrid system. At the moment, we have sent one kit to each manufacturer to start the assembly of a car and start testing. They have come back and said it is good, and that it is a good feeling for the driver when pushing the button.” He said the hybrid system would operate as a push-to-pass style of system, with time limits for its use in races. “The driver will have to decide when to use it during the race. Do they want to use it as a push to pass only or to use it to make a gap bigger? We want to leave the strategy completely in the hand of the driver. But when it is finished, it is finished. “When we developed the system, we Australia is seen as a growing market for TCR.

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thought the battery would probably run out in two or three laps, and after that, there would be no more boost. “But the system is so good that you can run for 30 minutes, and it continues to work. So, for this reason, we decided on the time limits. For example, in a 30-minute race, you may be able to use it for three minutes, something like that. “Our position was to start in 2023, but because we couldn’t get it everywhere in time, we decided to postpone to 2024. So in 2024, it will be very easy to make all cars hybrids, but in 2023 we cannot.” TCR Australia was keen to have the hybrid system running next year, but Lotti said that besides removing the system for the World Tour races, they could not get enough units to Australia in time for the season. It will switch 100% in 2024, like the rest of the world. Lotti’s presence at Bathurst created quite a buzz. As the father of the TCR, he is justifiably proud of what has been built, and he looks forward to his return next year for the first genuinely international touring car race at the track since 1987.

“ ”

The Cup Concept Global touring car racing has had an interesting journey from its Group A days back in 1987, the first worldwide formula for touring car racing. It was Australia that rocked the boat that year, challenging the legality of the European-built cars in the World Touring Car Championship event at Bathurst, and the WTCC ground to a halt after that with just one season completed. In 2005 it returned under the Super 2000 and Diesel 2000 rules and ran unchanged for six years as the WTCC when it was really just a rebranded European series… but it did have FIA World Championship status. In 2011 those cars were abandoned for a set of rules with 1.6L turbo engines in what was dubbed TC2, and that ran until the end of 2017 when the two-year-old TCR regulations – originally known as TC3 – took over. At the same time, it lost its place as a World Championship, but TCR dominated touring car racing globally. The new series was called the World Touring Car Cup, abbreviated as WTCR. This wasn’t a

When they announced the car, it was exciting for us. I was with TCR South America in September...

The TCR World Tour is evolving to replace the recently ended WTCR – here on the streets of Villa Real ... Above: Marcello Lotti congratulates TCR Australia Champ-Tony D’Alberto and with ARG Chairman John McMellan.


revival of the 1993-95 single race concept for Super Touring cars that was won twice by Paul Radisich, but more the same multi-race championship as before with a different name. This new Cup was a series of largely European races with a few races in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East and Asia. COVID took its toll in 2020 and 2021, and then the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent issues with getting cars into Asia hurt the 2022 series, which was declared the final under this system in October. Now we have plans for a nine-race TCR World Tour with four races in Europe, two in South America, one in Asia and two in Australia. Like the TCR World Rankings, the system is not easy to work out, but a minimum of 16 cars will form the heart of the tour, and they will join the locals at race meetings that are expected to be part of an existing regional title. Fields of 36 to 45 are expected at most rounds. The Bathurst International meeting will

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host one of the Australian events, with four other circuits trying to get the other round. The key is the ability to host 36 race cars, which is the minimum number expected at each round of the tour. At the end of the tour, there will be one final race to decide the winner of the Cup, with 60 cars lining up to fight for the title with an innovative system for finding the winner. Within four months of the conclusion of the TCR World Tour, the top 45 drivers in the TCR World Rankings (as of 30 September) will join the top 15 drivers from the tour to fight for what is called the TCR World Ranking Final, which may get FIA endorsement and a world title. The TCR World Ranking system is an innovative way of measuring performance across the many series and events using TCR cars either exclusively or as a class in a bigger event. The World Tour will carry a points loading of 50 percent, meaning the drivers in that series will most likely be the top drivers in the

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rankings. “The TCR World Ranking takes into account a list of eligible races amongst those of the TCR-sanctioned series/ events. Each series/event is allocated a Coefficient A of a level determined by their status,” the TCR World Ranking website says. “The ranking of each driver is determined by their last 20 results. When a driver fails to take part in a TCR event during the last 30 weeks, every four weeks the oldest result will be deducted from their total.” Coefficient A5 is the group that is awarded the most points, and that is for international events such as the WTCR that is finishing up this year, the FIA Motorsport Games and, next year, the TCR World Tour. The next most important (Coefficient A4.5) is a regional or multinational series such as TCR Europe or TCR South America. Coefficient A4 is a national series such as our TCR Australia championship, and

that is followed by endurance events where TCR is a class. Sprint race series such as that held by TCR New Zealand are tagged Coefficient A3 – going from run from A1 to A5 would have been easier than using A3 to A5 with A3.5 and A4.5 being thrown in, but this system doesn’t want to be easy to understand. Then a multiplier is used depending on the number of cars running in the event. The more entrants, the more points. Oh, and there is also a points boost for those on Kumho tyres. As we closed for print, TCR Australia’s Jordan Cox was sitting 11th in the global rankings, and the new Champion, Tony D’Alberto, was 16th. Argentinian Franco Girolami tops the rankings with five wins and another seven podiums in his most recent 20 races in the European TCR Championship. Girolami is the new Champion in that series, and his team – Comtoyou Team Audi Sport – was the first to register its interest in the TCR World Tour. .

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Enzo Ferrari (left) and Mauro Forghieri … a tempestuous ‘marriage’, but it yielded a lot of success. Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

ENZO FERRARI’S RIGHT-HAND MAN FOR ALMOST THREE DECADES HAS DIED, BUT HIS HUGE LEGACY WILL LIVE ON, WRITES GEOFFREY HARRIS.

‘FURIA’ FORGHI

BARELY A couple of years after graduating from university Mauro Forghieri was thrust into the job of chief engineer at the world’s most famous racing team, Ferrari. All Enzo Ferrari’s top engineers had suddenly departed. They said they resigned after complaining about persistent meddling by Enzo’s wife, Laura, but the reality was they were handed termination slips. Forghieri, still in his mid-20s, gravely doubted he was up to the job, but Il Commendatore pledged his total support – and stuck to his word. It was to be a tumultuous ‘marriage’, with plenty of shouting matches, but equally it was hugely successful, despite some notable troughs. The position evolved into what now in F1 is called Technical Director. Forghieri was to occupy that role effectively for 24 of his 27 years in the permanent employ of the stable of the Prancing Horse. It yielded 54 grand prix victories, seven Formula 1 Constructors’ championships and four Drivers’ world titles. Within a couple of years of the bespectacled Forghieri taking the reins there came the success of 1964 with John Surtees. Then there was a drought as first Australian Jack Brabham’s team and

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then Lotus, Tyrrell and McLaren – the ‘garagistas’ as Enzo disparagingly called them, because they brought in engines rather than build their own – reigned in the early years of the 3-litre formula. But Forghieri’s masterpieces were the T series Ferraris of the mid ’70s with the flat 12-cylinder engine – barely heavier than

drivers’ title with Jody Scheckter, and teammate Gilles Villeneuve was runner-up. Soon after that, Ferrari became the first team to win a Constructors’ championship with a turbocharged car, something Renault had been trying much longer to do, and ‘The Reds’ repeated the dose the next year.

John Surtees won the 1964 world title in Forghieri’s 158 model. Ford’s DFV V8 – and transverse gearbox that produced a hat-trick of Constructors’ crowns and the dual driver titles for Niki Lauda, which certainly would have been three had he not been almost incinerated in that infamous crash in ’76. At the end of that decade came another

Then came a painfully long drought, and Forghieri’s exit, before the arrival of the ‘foreign legion’ of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Nigel Stepney that produced – with Michael Schumacher in the cockpit – Ferrari’s greatest era. But one thing sets apart Forghieri, who

died early this month, aged 87. Unlike the specialists now in chassis design, aerodynamics, engines (power units in the contemporary lingo) and gearboxes, Forghieri was a master of all. He was the complete racing engineer, the first to fit a high rear wing to an F1 car (following American Jim Hall’s lead in the CanAm series), and an imposing presence in the pitlane, especially as Enzo Ferrari was never at the tracks, other than a ritual appearance at Monza on the Friday of an Italian GP. The highpoint of Forghieri’s career coincided with Enzo installing Luca di Montezemolo as team principal at the time the somewhat unlikely Lauda was recruited as Ferrari’s lead driver in 1974. Forghieri’s nickname was ‘Furia’, meaning fury. He was the quintessential Italian – fiery and emotional, yet stylish and cultured. He was one, perhaps the only one, who could disagree with Enzo and win the argument. The Old Man trusted him and his judgment implicitly, although at times there were manoeuverings for internal political reasons that did not look good for Forghieri – like when he was sent offsite to Modena on ‘research’ and ‘special projects’ rather than work hands-on in the factory at Maranello.


The mid-1970s was a glorious era with Niki Lauda in Forghieri’s T-series Ferraris.

Forghieri at close quarters with champions Jody Scheckter and (above) Niki Lauda.

Australian Tim Schenken drove Forghieri’s 312 sports cars of the early 1970s.

ERI Other than F1 there were projects in other forms of racing, most notably sports cars, which also yielded multiple titles. Forghieri rated his best work the P4, the exquisite sports prototype that has come to be known as motor racing’s Mona Lisa. Although defeated at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by Ford and its bottomless budget for the GT40, the P4 turned the tables at the Daytona 24 in America, Ford’s home ground. Australia saw a cut-down version of the P4 in the summer of ’68, raced by Chris Amon, the dreadfully unlucky New Zealander who Forghieri rated as Ferrari’s finest development driver, and the recently-deceased Bill Brown. The couple of P4s that still exist – there were only ever three or four (depending on your interpretation) – could be worth as much as US$75 million each today. In the early ’70s there was the 312PB sports car in which Tim Schenken, the only Australian to have been a Ferrari factory driver, partnered Ronnie Peterson to endurance victories in Argentina and at Germany’s notorious old Nurburgring. Schenken, later the long-time top local official at the Australian GP and the Supercars race director, remembers that he “got on well” with Forghieri. “He was a great character,” Schenken says.

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Ferrari quickly adapted to the turbo era … this is the C126 driven by Didier Pironi.

Forghieri’s most artistic work … the P4, raced in Australia by Chris Amon in 1968. Ultimately, in the mid ’80s, Forghieri had been shuffled sideways at Maranello, on a four-wheel-drive road car project that never advanced to production, but – by his version – he left in 1987, wanting to go before the Old Man died, which he did in ’88. Recalling his Ferrari days in the twilight

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of his life, Forghieri said: “We were truly a family. Our life was our work, total commitment … for little pay. “We were not just colleagues … we were brothers.” Forghieri subsequently worked for Lamborghini, producing an F1 engine

that at one time seemed set to power Ayrton Senna in a McLaren, then for Bugatti and, ultimately, in a business of his own, always highly regarded and in demand. But it is with Ferrari that his name will always be synonymous. Enzo’s son, Piero, says: “We have lost a part of our history. My father appreciated his tireless work ethic.” Mattia Binotto, now the Scuderia’s F1 team principal, says Forghieri was “a truly charismatic individual”. “His revolutionary ideas, together with his vibrant nature, his abilities as a great motivator, meant he played a very important role in some of the most significant moments of Ferrari’s history and he did more than most to fuel the Prancing Horse legend,” Binotto says. Stefano Domenicali, one-time team principal and now F1’s chief executive, says Forghieri was “a huge part of Formula 1 and Ferrari and leaves an incredible legacy”. But it is Antonello Coletta, head of Ferrari’s GT sporting activities, who perhaps sums up ‘Furia’ best. “Enzo Ferrari claimed to be an agitator of men … Forghieri was an agitator of ideas,” Coletta says. “He was a brilliant innovator, capable of coming up with technical solutions that eluded most of the engineers of his day. “He was a designer who went beyond his defined role, who became a benchmark and a source of inspiration for everyone who worked with him. “He was an eclectic designer and his curiosity and desire to push the boundaries sealed his place in the history of Ferrari and motorsport in general.”

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THE DAY A.J. CAUGHT THE RACING BUG

Nationally-renowned storyteller Neil Kearney has written a new book about the glorious motor racing days of the 1950s and ’60s at Longford, the Tasmanian town in which he grew up. Coinciding with the launch of the book this month, Auto Action has the pleasure of publishing an extract from LONGFORD – The Legend of a Little Town with a Big Motor. The extract is from a chapter titled ‘A Couple of Prizefighters’, which is the tale of the epic battle between Stan Jones and Len Lukey in the 1959 Australian Grand Prix. That day in 1959 sparked a burning desire in Stan’s son Alan to conquer the world of Formula 1, which he duly did. And ‘AJ’ remains the only Australian other than triple world champion Jack Brabham to have stood at the summit of F1. That was 42 years ago, in 1980, but the fire in him was lit 21 years earlier at the terrifyingly-fast Longford course on public roads just outside Launceston. It was that day that ‘AJ’ discovered the joy of celebrating success as he piggybacked on his dad’s shoulders above the cockpit of a mighty Maserati 250F. In 1959, Longford was awarded its first Australian Grand Prix, a tribute to the voluntary work put in by the local community and by racing enthusiasts around the island state of Tasmania. The 7.24km (4.5-mile) circuit was made up entirely of public roads. For one glorious long weekend every March the country town in northern Tasmania transformed itself into a motor racing mecca. Cars, motorcycles and sidecars raced along country lanes, across two clattering bridges, between ditches, wire fences, hedges and hay bales, round a pub, past houses, over train tracks and even through a railway viaduct. With memories of Ted Gray’s oil-splattered face still fresh in people’s minds from the previous year’s Longford Trophy, the atmosphere at the 1959 meeting felt more like a coliseum than a racetrack. More than 40,000 fans thronged into the circuit,

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anticipating another gladiatorial encounter. The 24th Australian Grand Prix lived up to expectations – it was a thriller. Soon after the start there was a near disaster when Alec Mildren was hit by debris from another car while his CooperClimax was crossing the railway line. Fragments struck his helmet crown, almost knocking him out. Dazed and vomiting, the courageous Mildren pressed on and finished fourth in the torrid 182km (113-mile) race. Up front, spectators were enthralled by a wheel-to-wheel slugfest between Melbourne motor racing giants Stan Jones and Len Lukey. The two gallant adversaries were well suited to the physical demands of the fast circuit. Jones, in the fabulous 2.5-litre Maserati 250F, and Lukey in a two-litre Cooper-Climax T45, swapped places repeatedly. Australian Motor Sports reported, “The atmosphere was electrifying, helped by Campbell McLaren’s graphic commentary, which had crowds clustering around the public address amplifiers like avid cricket enthusiasts over a crystal set.” Tasmanian racer David Hallam witnessed the blow-by-blow stoush and recalls it vividly. “They were like a couple of prizefighters,

punching and counter-punching,” Hallam says. “Stan the Man wore a sleeveless shirt and a polo helmet in the front-engined 250F ‘Maser’ and Len was in a shirt with a white polo helmet. They diced wheel for wheel. “Stan’s muscles were tense – they always were – showing just how physical he was. Stan always had the guns blazing. Towards the end of hostilities, I thought Len had him buggered but – as the race dragged on and the fuel load went down – Stan started to get a slight advantage. Coming to Mountford (Corner, the last turn in the circuit and leading on to the pit straight) their wheels touched and there were puffs of smoke in the air – it was that close.” Australian Motor Sports said Jones and Lukey had “rubbed wheel nuts” at Mountford and that the two gladiators “gave spectators one of the most thrilling duels seen on any Australian circuit for a long, long time”. Jones inched his way to the front and finished just over a second ahead, collecting the winner’s prize of 500 pounds ($1000). Arnold Glass was third in another Maserati and Mildren fourth.

Jones’ win was the last time a frontengined car saluted in the Australian GP. In the pits, cheering his dad, was Stan’s son Alan, who beamed with pride when ‘Stan the Man’ was presented with the laurel wreath for victory. Launceston newspaper The Examiner reported on its front page the following day, “After posing for photos, Jones took aboard his 12-yearold son Alan and mechanics Otto Stone and John Sawyer, and they


Stan Jones’ muscles ripple as he charges towards Longford’s famous Viaduct in the Maserati 250F. Photo: Peter O’May, courtesy Malcolm O’May. Stan Jones cradles his trophy for winning the 1959 Australian Grand Prix. (right)

A 12-year-old Alan Jones piggybacks on his father’s shoulders after Stan’s triumph in the 1959 Australian Grand Prix at Longford, Tasmania. Photo: Dunstan Collection.

made another lap of the circuit to the cheers of 40,000 people.” Cameras clicked repeatedly, but the photographers could never have guessed that – 21 years later – the excited lad would become Formula One world champion. Alan Jones says the pride he felt on that day was the inspiration for him becoming a racing driver. “After that, all I wanted was to be a driver,” he says. Alan’s parents had divorced in 1958 and he was living with his father in Melbourne suburb Kew. The common ground between father and son was motorsport. Stan often watched Alan take part in soapbox derby races down the Balwyn Road hill, near their home. Even as a child Alan oozed confidence and ambition. He was never going to be a lad who pressed his nose against the window of life and just looked in. “Racing was my chosen goal; I grew up in that atmosphere. It was all I knew,” he says. The influences of those formative years set ‘AJ’ on the long and often difficult, but ultimately rewarding, path towards winning the 1980 Formula One crown, a title he won for the British team Williams. Alan Jones MBE and Sir Jack Brabham (1959, ’60 and ’66) are the only Australian drivers to have claimed the F1 World Championship. Stan Jones was a hard-as-nails campaigner who thrived on the fire and brimstone of a rattling hard race. He usually competed in either a short-sleeve shirt or sleeveless football jumper, his muscular arms grappling with the wheel.

Stan Jones (Maserati 250F) and Len Lukey (Cooper-Climax) airborne over the rail crossing in the Longford road circuit during their epic 1959 Australian Grand Prix battle. Photo: Charles Rice (from Paul Cross Collection).

Alan says, “Dad drove like a madman in races like that day at Longford when he diced with Len Lukey. He was thickly-built and pugnacious – and he’d rather have a fight than a f.... Back then they raced for a Gloweave shirt and a pair of socks.” Alan has returned to Longford many times and is captivated by a photograph on a wall of the Country Club Hotel (on the corner where the circuit met the Longford township), which shows his dad’s Maserati and Lukey’s Cooper-Climax airborne over the railway crossing. “That course was dangerously fast,” Alan says. “I’ve never seen a track where there were so many chances to get airborne. And the pictures show how spectators got way too close. They used to stand on the inside of Pub Corner with their backs to the brick wall, leaving them with nowhere to move if something went wrong. All the spectators had for protection was two metres of chicken wire and a sign that said DANGEROUS. The silly part was that the sign was pointing away from the spectators!” Stan Jones toyed with trying his luck as a racing driver in Europe but had pressing reasons not to take the plunge. His motoring businesses in Melbourne were doing well and Alan was at prestigious Xavier College in Kew. Unfortunately, Australia’s 1961 credit squeeze had a disastrous effect on Stan’s liquidity and – by the mid-1960s – his outlets were sold. His savage financial losses virtually put an end to his racing career and his health deteriorated rapidly after two debilitating strokes.

Alan moved to Britain in the late 1960s, determined to fulfil his F1 ambitions. “Dad told me to give it a go. He said I’d always regret it if I didn’t give F1 a crack,” Alan says. “Dad regretted not doing it himself. He could have been an international driver. “After he won the (1954) New Zealand Grand Prix he was offered test drives with BRM (British Racing Motors) and Ferrari, but he stayed home because he had the Holden dealership in Essendon. “Dad was a bloody good driver – he beat Brabham more often than Jack beat him. They used to have grudge matches, Victoria (Jones) against New South Wales (Brabham), and there was a crazy meeting at Fishermans Bend when dad drove Jack into the weeds.” Stan was just days short of his 50th birthday when he died of natural causes in England in 1973. He didn’t live to see Alan enjoy the ultimate motor racing success – winning the F1 World Championship – and being honoured with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) award. But the father and son did achieve a rare distinction. When Alan won the Australian Grand Prix – not yet an F1 World Championship race – at Melbourne’s Calder Park in 1980, he and Stan joined Italians Antonio and Alberto Ascari as the only father-son combination to win their home grand prix.

To buy ‘LONGFORD -The Legend of A Little Town with a Big Motor’ go to Longfordmotorracingbook.com Price $65, plus postage.

And bottom left Alan Jones, 1980 World Champion. Image MOTORSPORT IMAGES.

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Said Russell Holden, “our tyre business has grown rapidly over the past few years, and we wanted to find someone who could nurture and grow what we had created. We believe that Stuckey Tyres has the resources and knowhow to understand our customers’ needs and further grow the business”.

Russell Holden said “I am very pleased that the same level of service and interest in the vehicles of customers will remain and wish Stuckey Tyres all the best in growing the business further.”

Stuckey Tyre Service was established in 1966 and has been servicing the collector car and race market for many decades. Stuckey Tyres already services customers Australia wide as Old World Tyre has done. Owned and managed by Russell Stuckey, Stuckey Tyre Service employs a small dedicated

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Russell Stuckey commented, “taking on the Vintage and Veteran business is a good fit for us, as it sits nicely alongside our expanding Classic Tyre business. We are grateful that Russell and Chris have similar ideals to us, which is to source the best and most appropriate tyres for a very discerning market” he added.

The current 1300 854 324 phone number will remain the same but will be answered in Brunswick and the new email address is classic@stuckey.com.au. Customers will be pleased that Stuckey Tyres will offer the same level of service and attentiveness to their vehicles needs as Old World Tyres has provided to date, with the added benefit of an expert fitting and balancing service.


SPEEDWAY LIVING ON THE EDGE! UNDER THE direction of a new team led by the husband and wife promotors Mick and Kim Sauer, the Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway began another chapter in its long history, launching its 2022/23 season with a large attendance on hand where the V8 Dirt Modified Lord Mayor’s Cup featured prominently on the show. With a stout field of 21 entries in the house, teams were keen to kick their point score off in the best way possible and, as always, the cream would rise to the top as Australian V8 Dirt Modified Champion Mark Robinson made the most of his Pole Position to find the fastest way to the chequered flag after 30 hard-fought laps. Robinson set the pace early, although Seiton Young would momentarily take command only for Robinson to regain control – and from that point the national champ would not look back despite contending with lapped traffic and a couple of amber light incidents to regroup the field. Robinson consistently hit his marks as he powered to Victory Lane. Joining him in the podium celebrations were Scott Cannon and Young. Rounding the top dozen were Joshua Rose followed by defending Mayor’s Cup winner Mitch Randall, Brent Hall, Brayd Stevenson, Blake Everleigh, Scott Quirk, Luke Dunn, Tayla Firth and Darryl Armfield. Brock Armstrong and Ryley Smith rounded out the finishers while Phill McNamara, David McGregor, Andrew Firth, Brendan Cherrie, Hayden Crossley and Shane Laurie failed to travel the journey. The 10-lap qualifying races were shared, with Robinson, Young, Laurie, A. Firth, Rose and Randall each claiming one apiece.

Potts Hot Shots AMCA Field Amongst a field of 20 AMCA Nationals Queensland’s Steve Potts proved too strong in the 20-lap final taking a flag to flag victory. The placings were tightly bunched as Matt Hardy, reigning Queensland Champion Tony Blanch and Lee McKinnell crossed the stripe in close succession. Lewis Gamble was the first New South Welshmen home after holding down second position for the majority of the journey before falling to fifth in the closing stages. Brett Robotham, Russ Hardy, Graham Holland, Paul Reeves, Mark Taylor and Jim Knight also finished on the lead lap, followed by Nik Stacey, Lee Kendall, Roy Embry and Nash Granger. Blanch and Hardy claimed one qualifier each while Potts’ run was undefeated taking both of his qualifiers in addition to the final. Supports Jakob Lesha claimed victory in the Street Stocks over Brendan Hayes and Adam Grill, while the Junior Sedans were divided into two categories. In the Top Stars Jaiden Santin stood the tallest over Indiana Butcher and Sophie Santin while Riley Killick, Brock Stubbs and Lukas McNabb were the best in the New Stars. The Wingless Sprints divided their racing into three 22 lap features. Robbie Mazzer, David Eggins and Ray Eggins claimed a win, however D. Eggins would claim the overall points.

Australian V8 Dirt Modified Champion Mark Robinson adds another Lord Mayor’s Cup to his collection. Image: TONY POWELL

Dayne Kingshott aboard the W2 Mobil 1 Krikke Motorsport Maxwell powered Cool.

KINGSHOTT’S WESTERNAPOLIS THE PERTH Motorplex delivered a stellar night of action with the running of the City of Kwinana Westernapolis, coinciding with Round 2 of the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series, with 20 competitors taking to the track. Jason Kendrick started the final from pole; however his attack quickly turned south, dropping to sixth in the opening stanza. Callum Williamson held sway followed by Kingshott until the yellow lights blazed for George Eaton. Williamson led the opening 13 laps before his strong run would come to a premature end after connecting with the Turn 2 fence. James Inglis also came to a stop but would restart. Kingshott inherited the lead, pursued by Farr, Kendrick and Co. Kingshott knuckled down, making the most of the top side of the track before Troy Lawson lost a wheel, to bring the field back together for one last blast. With clear air, Kingshott found the quickest way to the finish line followed by Farr and David Priolo for the placings. Kendrick was next, pursued by Bradley Maiolo, Andrew Priolo, Kris Coyle, Inglis, Mitchell Wormall, Ryan Lancaster and Taylor Milling on the lead lap. Jason Pryde and Eaton were the last to touch homebase. AJ Nash, Lawson, Williamson, Trent Pigdon, Kye Scroop and Jaydee Dack were non-finishers and Nathan Swan was unable to start the final. Dack claimed a heat win while Williamson and Kendrick maximised their efforts, taking a heat and dash apiece while Coyle salvaged the B Main and Milling posted quick time in qualifying.

OLDFIELD’S OUTLAST!

In a classic tale ‘to finish first, first you must finish’ Jamie Oldfield hung tough in round two of the Pro Dirt Series feature, proudly presented by ABN Trade Mates. After a series of aborted starts, Oldfield was quickly

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W51 Jamie Oldfield and W31 Paul Stubber battle in the Late Models. Images: RICHARD HATHAWAY

SPEEDWAY NEWS with Paris Charles relegated to second, following the ultra-quick Kye Blight who wound it up on the outside from the third row to hit the lead. From that point, Blight blitzed, lapping up to fourth in the 18 car field until the yellows were sprung for the spun car of Damian Hudson. With the field re-bunched, a succession of caution periods would occur for the run home. Sadly, Blight would retire under the cautions. Oldfield inherited the prized position at the recommencement – however Joe Chalmers would briefly lead before dropping back behind both Jamie and Warren Oldfield making it an Oldfield 1-2 and Chalmers third. One lap in arrears were David Nylander, Kodee Brown, Brent Vosbergen, Paul Stubber,

Matt Nylander, Luke Halliday, Matt Goodlad, Veronica McCann, Rod Musarra, and last to finish was Jay Cardy. Joining Blight on the DNF list was Freddy Kinsella, Willy Powell, Michael Holmes, David Boyes, Brad Blake, Greg Horan and Hudson. Heats went to Holmes, J. Oldfield, Brown and Vosbergen.

SUPPORTS

The large field of 22 Speedcars paid tribute to Speedcar icon Neville Lance with the running of the Pool Shop Group Neville Lance Twin 14s. The opening stanza was claimed by Kaiden Manders over Tom Payet and Travis White. Payet would turn the tables in the second leg over Manders and Keenan Fleming. The Opal Finance Formula 500s podium consisted of Steven Ellement, Chris Dymock and Thomas Davies. Reigning West Australian Champion Matt Iwanow claimed the Wingless Sprints feature race over Brendon Wedge and Brandon Sharpe while the Junior Sedan podiums consisted of Locky Comley, Reuben Walsh and Mackenzie Silver in the New Stars, while Zach Munro, Beau Oldfield and Jesse James Samuels the Top Stars.


EGEL FLIES, MCHUGH TRIES! SOUTH AUSSIE racer Matt Egel made the most of his Pole Position to take the Sprintcar feature race win at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway. Visiting Queensland hot shot Lachlan McHugh would start the journey from the fourth row. For McHugh to find his way into contention he would have to fight his way past some of the best competitors on offer including David Murcott, Chad Ely, Luke Dillon, Hayden Pitt, Ryan Jones and Steven Caruso before being able to mount a challenge to Egel – however the real estate of the 30 lap journey expired before the two could trade blows. At the drop of the green Egel set sail around the top side of the track, Pitt moved to second and the pairing would slice and dice their way through lapped traffic. Around two-thirds race distance Pitt challenged for the lead, however Egel had him covered off. Deeper into the race, Jones challenged Pitt for second and, again, with three laps remaining Jones rallied again and the pair touched, sending Jones into a flip and Pitt spinning to bring on the red lights as McHugh rounded the duo up. For the restart, Egel had a clear track while McHugh disposed of the wounded Pitt entry – however it would prove a bridge too

Matt Egel flies to victory. Image: RAY RITTER.

far as Egel claimed victory, McHugh taking the runner position while Dillon pushed his way to the final podium step. Pitt was next, followed home by Caruso, Murcott, Ely, Daniel Pestka, Todd Hobson, Terry Kelly, Daniel Scott and Robert Heard rounding the dozen to travel the distance. Joining Jones on the infield was Tim Hutchins and Ashton Mineeff while Jordan Rae and Scott Enderl failed to fire for the final. Ryan Jones secured quick time while the heat wins were shared by Caruso and Egel.

STEWART’S STREAK CONTINUES CANBERRA’S ACT Speedway launched into action with a wild and wingless affair. Topping the bill was the Australian Capital Territory Speedcar Championship with a stellar field of 16 competitors attending from as far as New Zealand for the auspicious event. It was Kiwi driver Kaleb Currie who claimed the opening heat, the remaining qualifiers divided evenly between Kaidon Brown, Matt Geering and local second-generation racer Michael Stewart who backed that up with the Top 6 Dash to claim Pole Position alongside Brown for the final. Stewart, who has been undefeated this season in finals contested, set the pace early and led from flag-to-flag without threat to win a title previously won by his Dad Chris Stewart in 1997. Joining Michael on the podium was Currie and Matt Jackson third. Also finishing on the lead lap was Jay Waugh, Ayden Elliot, Jordan Mackay, Joe Lostitch and Daniel Paterson. One lap in arrears were Alan Day, Matt Brown and Ethan Brown, while Gary Rooke, came unstuck and rolled over on the final lap – joining him on the

list of non-finishers were Brown, Dave Lambert and Geering. Topping the supporting bill with a huge field of 25 competitors was Round 4 of the NSW Wingless Sprints Club Championship in conjunction with Round 2 of the Country Series. Unfortunately, the final would be deemed a non-event after a spectacular crash involving Mark Blyton curtailed the event. Thankfully Mick was released from hospital after scans came back clear. Bailey Goodwin claimed two heat wins while singles went to Tyson Williams, Brayden Shute, Jaidyn Boulding, Matthew Nikiforoff and Ben Matchett the B Main. Rhys Birkett sliced his way from 10th to claim the Diamond Window Tints Compact Speedcars feature. Joining him on the podium was Victorian Joe Lostitch who performed double duties with his run in the Speedcar, while rounding the podium was Cheyene Williams. Sadly, the Mick & Joes Tyrepower Production Sedan final was also culled due to time curfew.

Newly crowned ACT Speedcar Champion Michael Stewart. Image: ANTHONY SNEDDEN

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In the supporting classes of the Ausloans Finance Strathalbyn Track Championship, Jarod Waters dominated the opening round of the SA Modified Sedan Series, setting a new track record in the process with a time of 4.05.367 for the 15-lap final. Angelo Halacas, Will Shore and Peter McCarthy made up the top four an allMildura whitewash. The Victorians also dominated the AMCA National ranks, filling the podium with Kent

OLDFIELD’S OPENER! BRISBANE’S ARCHERFIELD Speedway launched its 2022/23 season with an open-wheel extravaganza, featuring the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship roaring into life with a field of 24 other hopefuls looking to kickstart their series campaigns off in the best way possible. However it would be reigning series champion Luke Oldfield who picked up from where he left off to claim the opening round win. Having qualified on pole position, Oldfield led from flag to flag in the 30-lap final and never looked under threat at any stage. Kevin Titman remained a comfortable runnerup when the chequer fell, with Jy Corbet snatching third in the final corner following contact with an unfortunate Michael Saller that sent the Sydneysider into the wall. Mark Pholi, Randy Morgan, Karl Hoffmans and Trent Vardy were the final competitors on the lead lap, while one lap in arrears were Adam Butler, Mitch Gowland and Brad Ayres, and rounding out the top 10 Cody O’Connell, Andrew Baumber, Jack Bell and Peter Campbell. Aaron Kelly, Ryan Newton and Harry Stewart would join Saller on the retirees list. The 10-lap qualifiers were shared with Titman claiming a double, Oldfield a heat and the Dash while singles fell the way of Gowland, Pholi and Kelly as Ayres scrambled to take the last chance B Main.

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Davey, Frank Thierry and Darren McCarthy while David Moore was the first local car home. The biggest field was the Wingless Sprints with close to 30 on the nomination list. It would be the reigning state champion Tyson Martin showing Harry Ross, Blake Walsh and Hayden Vickers the quickest way home. The V8 powered Super Sedans was won by Darren Giacometti over Chris Ferguson, Kym Hammerstein and Danny Smith the last of the finishers. Drew Flatman took his first Street Stock feature win of the season over Craig Buchanan and Carey Weston making it a Mitsubishi, Holden and Ford podium. Ryan Buchanan rounded out the top four. The Junior Sedans were divided into two sections being the Top and New Stars. Cameron Smith and Diesel Fallon led the way followed by the two Lachlans in Brown and Smith while in the New Stars Summer Gessell, Evan McAllister, Ryan Burns and Lindal Gilding would cap the top four. To round off the evening the fans were treated to the sights and sounds of yesteryear as the Classic Stock Rods turned back the hands of time with a series of spirited demonstration runs.

Defending series champion Q17 Luke Oldfield picks up victory in the series opener. Image: CHRIS METCALFE

FORT FOUGHT FOR VICTORY!

SUPPORTS

Expat Victorian Josh Fort raced undefeated against the 16 other entrants in the Petzyo Sprintcar Development Series opening round. Fort led flag-to-flag in 15-lap final. Joining him on the podium was Nathan Pronger and Jeremy Gaudry and secondgeneration rookie Kye Jensen chimed in with a well-run fourth over James Kennedy, Ron Hendrickson, Luke Manttan, Libby Ellis, Harry Dixon, Cameron King, Noah Ball and Adrian Josefski, the top dozen all finishing on the lead lap. One lap back was Brad Keiler, Daniel Bridge and Thomas Clarendon-Blair while Steve Bateman would retire on the second lap. The 10-lap qualifying heats were evenly shared with Fort and Keiler claiming two apiece.

Michael Kendall made every post a winner in the 20-lap Speedcar feature race, clearing away to finish almost four seconds clear of Brad Dawson, with Darren Vine besting a battle with Cal Whatmore to snare third. Boyd Chaffey and Tom Clauss squared off those to travel the distance. Round 4 of the Wildink Wingless Sprint Club Championship was a family affair that saw Brody Thomsen home first ahead of his brother Scott in the final, over Tim Harris and Jamie Usher, while Andrew Robinson and Nicholas Whell rounded the top half dozen. The Lightning Sprint podium would see Andy Kimm from James Elliott while the Graham’s in Luke and Harley would round off the top four.

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NATIONALS WRAP BIG SMP FINALE AT TITLE DECIDERS ACROSS 11 CATEGORIES there was just over 200 cars contesting the final round of the NSW Motor Racing Championships at Sydney Motorsport Park on October 29-30. It included the national Formula Ford Series, an enduro, some crashes and even a fire.

Supersports

CELEBRATING WERE Mark Brame (Radical SR3) who took the overall and Class 1 2022 titles, and Peter White (Radical SR8) who won Class 2. It was a short round for the latter with engine failure in Race 1. Alex Kenny (Juno LMP3) comprehensively won the race, ahead of Nick Kelly (SR8), Aaron Lee (West WR1000), Paul Palmer (Stohr WR1) and Brame. Kenny was dominant in an incident-marred second outing. Warwick Morris (SR3) and Steve Roberts (SR8) tangled which caught out Stephen Champion (SR3), and then Kelly spun and was collected by Palmer. Lee was second from Jonathon Canavan, Paul Braico and Peter Clare in SR3s. Kenny led the last until the engine stopped. From the back Kelly won from Lee, Brame, Canavan, Clare and Braico.

Formula Race Cars

FROM A successful karting career, 15-yearold Jesse Lacey made his FRC debut for three wins aboard a Mygale F4. His similar aged and accomplished AGI Sport teammate Christian Estasy finished a close second twice. Estasy held second in Race 1 before the Mygale went into limp mode. Doug Barry (Reynard 92D Formula Holden) had third until passed by Rob Rowe (Dallara). Barry led the second until passed by Lacey, and Rowe who then spun. Estasy relegated Barry for third, ahead of Glenn Lynch (Dallara). The AGI pair ran one-two in the third with Barry third ahead of Rowe.

Improved Production O2L

LUCKY THAT Trevan Spiteri had enough points before the final race and secured backto-back titles – his Mitsubishi EVO 6 was crashed by his dad in another event. Spiteri was chased by Jason Clements (BMW) throughout Race 1 which concluded when Rob Brewer (Holden Commodore) stopped at Turn 2 and Ahmed Baghdadi (Commodore) crashed after Turn 11. Spiteri finished first in Race 2 but was relegated to second behind Clements with a 5s penalty. Lachlan McBrien and Andrew Butcher (BMWs) were next ahead of the Ben Sheedy and Nigel Williams Commodores.

Kurt Macready retained the Improved Production U2L title.

Shiels, Lacey and Cetin head the Sports Sedans-Prod Sports field. Images: RICCARDO BENVENUTI

Brad Harris (above) took all RX8 Cup races, while Tom Shaw sealed the title. In the last it was Clements from McBrien, Butcher, Sheedy and Williams.

Production Touring

BMW M4s ran one-two in the one-hour enduro with Anthony Soole/Adam Burgess the winners over Simon Hodges. Dimitri Agathos (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) was sixth early and was third ahead of Matt Holt (HSV Clubsport), Alex Holzl (BMW 1M), and Josh and Jarrod Muggleton (Audi TT S FV3 Quattro). Chris Sutton (Mitsubishi EVO X) was fourth before a late stop to change a puncture. In the earlier Driver A race, Hodges won from Harrison Cooper (EVO X), Soole, Sutton, Holt and Agathos. The Driver B event was under Safety Car for four laps after Brian Callaghan’s Clubsport had a fuel fire. Burgess won the subsequent two-lap sprint from Hodges, Sutton, Holzl, Muggleton and Chris Delfsma (Ford Mustang).

Sports Sedans/Production Sports

THE ROUND belonged to Brad Shiels (Fiat/ Rotary turbo) who clean swept the races. Second and third were Steven Lacey and Birol Cetin (Chev Camaros) who finished the championship first and second. Willem Fercher (Toyota 86/Chev) was fourth in Race 1 ahead of Mark Duggan (Aston Martin/ Chev), Geoff Morgan (Porsche 991 Cup Car) and debutant Brock Schafer (Calibra/Chev). The second race was cut short after Duggan slowed with a puncture and was hit by John Spiteri (Mitsubishi EVO 6). Morgan placed

fourth ahead of Schafer and Ben Mannix (Mazda RX7/Chev). Morgan followed up with another fourth in Race 3 where Nick Mantikos (MARC II V8) was next, back after early front suspension damage.

HQ Holdens

SIXTH IN the last race gave Chris Molle the championship. The round was won by Brett Osborn from team mate John Baxter and David Proglio. Points leader beforehand was Luke Harrison who stopped early in Race 1 with a failed fuel pump. Molle had an electrical issue and placed 10th while Osborn headed Baxter and Proglio with a gap to Shaun Boland, David Allan and Glenn Deering. Baxter passed Osborn late to win Race 2 while Proglio shadowed them to the flag ahead of Molle, Deering, Boland, Allan and Harrison. Baxter led Race 3 before Proglio headed Molle briefly. Then Osborn took over and won from Proglio, Baxter, Harrison, Molle and Deering.

Improved Production U2L

TWO SECONDS and a win ensured Kurt Macready (Nissan Silvia) retained the number one plate. Honda drivers Bob Jowett (Civic) and Charlie Viola (Integra) were second and third for the weekend. After he trailed Mathew Harris (Civic) in race one, Macready grabbed the lead before a gearbox issue allowed Harris to pip him on the line. Jowett and Viola and were next ahead of Graham Bohm (Civic). Ryan Gorton (Nissan 200SX) missed the

race with gearbox issues, and charged to second in Race 2, behind Macready and ahead of Harris, Jowett and Viola. Gorton led the third with Harris ahead of Macready for second. Gorton again had gearbox problems, Harris also fell by the wayside with a loose engine mount. Jowett passed Macready for the win while third went to Viola.

RX8 Cup

WHILE TOM Shaw wrapped up the state title, Brad Harris led throughout the three races ahead of Justin Barnes. Shannon McLaine was overall third in front of Shaw and Terry Lewis. Luke Webber was qualifying’s fastest, but a fuel flow issue put him out of Race 1. Third was Lewis in front of McLaine, Shaw and Jack Pennacchia. Lewis had a poor second race and caused some, which included McLaine, to check up. Shaw benefited and took third while McLaine picked up four spots for fourth in front of Ben Shaw and Pennacchia. McLaine improved to third in the last, from Tom Shaw, Lewis and Tom Duncan.

Superkarts

UNBEATEN OVER four races was Lee Vella (125cc Gearbox Avoig Elise). He won three ahead of the similarly mounted Mark Robin while Dylan Stephens (250 National Maverick) was second ahead of Robin in the shortened Race 3, due to the stopped Lauren Shand (Avoig). Paul Campbell (Avoig) was third in two outings and fourth in the others. Garry O’Brien

ASTUTI’S ROUND AND TITLE OUT OF a hard-fought and tense seventh and final round of the Australian Formula Ford Series at Sydney Motorsport Park on October 29-30, Valentino Astuti (right) came away as the category’s newest champion. The Sonic Motor Racing driver won the title ahead of fellow Mygale driver, Colin Hill Engineering’s James Piszcyk, who opted to miss the meeting in favour of a British Formula 4 test, and third placed Cameron McLeod in a Spectrum. The top three at SMP finished equal on points after the three races. With the last race positions the deciding factor, Astuti was declared the round winner ahead of CHE’s

Zak Lobko and Brett Francis Racing’s Ryder Quinn (Mygale) who won the first two races. The Kent championship was won by Mitch Gatenby (Spirit) who also topped the round, over Jason Liddell (Swift) and Mark Zellner (Mygale). Sonic’s Winston Smith topped qualifying ahead of his team mate Astuti, Lobko, Quinn, Xavier Kokai (Spectrum), Daniel Frougas and Adrian Sarkis in Mygales. McLeod was disqualified, the result of a main straight incident with Edison Beswick (Spectrum) on what appeared to be a pole setting lap. The opening race was a short one for Smith. His car shut down at Turn 2 as Astuti

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Image: RICCARDO BENVENUTI was already ahead until Quinn took the lead on lap three. Lobko had to pass Astuti twice to secure second while Kokai was next

from McLeod who stormed to fifth ahead of Beswick, Sarkis, Frougas, Lachlan Mineeff (Mygale) and Oliver Loiacono (Mygale).

Most of the second race was behind the Safety Car after Dylan Fahey (Van Diemen) and Dan Holihan (Spectrum) had a meeting at Turn 2 which resulted in front suspension damage for the latter. Quinn won ahead of Lobko and McLeod who was penalised 30s for an overlap on the restart. That elevated Astuti to third ahead of Beswick, Kokai and Smith. Quinn led for half the last race before he conceded places on lap six and lost out further with contact with Smith at Turn 6 and a spin later at Turn 2. Lobko led two laps before Astuti passed him and won. Beswick finished third ahead of Kokai, McLeod, Smith, Sarkis, Thomas Davies (Mygale) and Quinn. Garry O’Brien


SHERRIFF’S NEW OUTRIGHT RECORD title with a round to go. Helping his cause, Lance “Spike” Jones (Holden Torana Hatchback) who was second in the championship, broke a wheel in heat five and ended his meeting Campbell, Logan, and Jeremy show the way in Excels. prematurely. Danny Images: DMAC Slater (Holden HJ Torana THERE WERE plenty of highlights at the – pictured below) had mixed weekend, Pepsi Max Baskerville Raceway for the but came good towards the middle of the penultimate round of the Tasmanian Circuit Sunday, scoring a third, and second, before Racing Championships on October 22-23. winning the double-points final. Apart from several titles being wrapped up and the prestigious Boss of Baskerville HQ HOLDENS Trophy sedan race on the programme, a CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER Andrew Toth was stunning lap record by Sports Sedan pilot the back marker in the Laurie Kelly Memorial Brad Sherriff (pictured above) was the icing handicap, starting 29s behind Anthony Hill. on the cake. He smashed the lap record for The handicapper certainly got it right with a resident Tasmanian sedan driver earlier the top six cars nose to tail with a lap and a in the year, the only mountain left to climb half to go. Andrew Bird started 9s ahead of in his rapid Nissan Skyline was the outright Toth and used his handicap well to score a sedan record – and he didn’t disappoint. narrow win from Otis Cordwell and Toth. If ever there was a chance for the record Toth dominated the weekend and won to go, it certainly wasn’t on the Saturday, four of the six races and included the double which one of the wettest for some time. points final. He won the round from Cordwell Sunday dawned with more promise though, and Victorian visitor Ryan Woods, who and it only took the opening race on the adapted well to an unfamiliar track with five Sunday for Sherriff to break the lap record consistent third places among his results. set by former world F1 champion Allan Jones in a Porsche 935 Turbo – 40 years HISTORIC TOURING CARS and four days later. Sherriff lowered Jones’ IN A two-horse affair all weekend, John mark of 51.60s to 51.40s. Talbot (Ford Mustang) and Scott Cordwell Danny Slater came from behind to win in (Holden Torana XU-1) head and shoulders the Boss of Baskerville in his Holden Torana. above the rest. Cordwell top qualified, He gave 40s head-start to Sports GTC but Talbot defied the conditions and driver Mick Williams (Datsun 240Z) and hit was brilliant in the wet on Saturday, and the lead with half a lap to go for a wellcontinued in better conditions on the deserved victory. Sunday, to win every heat and the final. Cordwell finished second every time, but HYUNDAI EXCELS still scored enough points to maintain the THE CATEGORY didn’t disappoint again championship lead. with large fields and captivating racing. Jeremy Bennett had his best meeting to FORMULA VEES date. He qualified on pole and won every FROM THE second back mark and race – apart from the fifth heat – to win conceded 30s to the front marker, Richard the round. Series leader Josh Webster Gray (Bee Cee Jabiru) won the Dick made sure Bennett earned every win, with Crawford Memorial handicap. In front with reigning champion Charlie Parker also keeping the pressure on. Only 40 points cover the trio heading into what will be an exciting final round.

SPORTS SEDANS

BRAD SHERRIFF dominated the weekend and won the five heats but failed to take to the track in the final due to a broken front hub which also robbed him of a chance to run in the Boss of Baskerville. However, he secured enough points to wrap up the state

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three laps to go, Gray eased away for a solid win from Michael Vaughan (Spectre) and Jeremy Dyer (Elfin Crusader). Dyer was superb in the wet on Saturday with three heat wins. Gray excelled on the Sunday and three race victories to win the round. Excel regular Will Twining (Spectre) pulled double duty all weekend and adapted well to the open-wheel category with some promising results which included four podiums. However, Dyer scored enough points to claim his first Tasmanian championship with a round to go.

SPORTS GT

IN HIS trusty Datsun 240Z, veteran Mick Williams was unbeatable in GTC. He won every race to claim another state title with a round to go. At the pointy end of the field, Beau Johnson (Porsche GT3), his brother Troy Johnson (GT3) and David Paine (Holden Commodore) all scored GTA wins. Beau Johnson won the round from his brother and Paine, ensuring the title will go down to a three-way battle at the final round. In the mid-pack, GTB championship leader David Walker (Datsun 1200 Ute) was masterful in the wet on Saturday. Winning three heats and the first on Sunday. He ran second in the double-points final to win the round and also secure the championship.

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A NEW star emerged with Jason House (BMW E93 M3) who stepped up in the absence of his cousin and series leader Jared House. He top qualified but couldn’t match the pace of Adam Williams (Holden Torana A9X) in the heats, although getting closer each time he hit the track as he got used to his new car. House finally broke through to win the double-points final. Williams still won the round, but it was a consistent run by David Waldon (Rover SD1) with a string of fourth and fifth places, who scored enough points to elevate him from second in the series. He became the new series leader, albeit by just a handful of points. Martin Agatyn

NATIONALS CALENDAR GOLDEN ERA AUTO RACING #5, Lakeside Park QLD – Nov 17 AMRS RD06, TA2 MUSCLE CARS RD06, Winton Motor Raceway VIC – Nov 18-20 AMRS RD06, THUNDER SPORTS SERIES, Winton Motor Raceway VIC – Nov 18-20 AMRS RD06, LEGEND CARS AUSTRALIA, Winton Motor Raceway VIC – Nov 18-20 AMRS RD06, STOCK CARS NATIONAL SERIES, Winton Motor Raceway VIC – Nov 18-20 AMRS RD06, WINTON 300, Winton Motor Raceway VIC – Nov 18-20 NSW STATE OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP RD05, Nabiac NSW – Nov 18-20 STATE CIRCUIT RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS RD04, Morgan Park QLD – Nov 18-20 STATE MOTORSPORT SERIES, The Bend Motorsport Park SA – Nov 19 STATE CIRCUIT RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS RD06, Symmons Plains TAS – Nov 19-20 QR DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIPS RD08, Queensland Raceway QLD – Nov 19-20 MOTOR EVENTS RACING, 7 HOUR, Lakeside Park QLD – Nov 20 STATE KHANACROSS SERIES RD07, Awaba NSW – Nov 20 IPSWICH WEST MORETON AUTO CLUB AUTOCROSS RD05, Willowbank QLD – Nov 20 70TH ANNIVERSARY HILLCLIMB, Collingrove SA – Nov 20 SMSP TRACK NIGHT, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Nov 22 SHANNONS ADELAIDE RALLY, Adelaide SA – Nov 24-27 CHALLENGE BATHURST, Mt Panorama NSW – Nov 24-27 ROLL RACING, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW – Nov 25 AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RD07, Rally NSW, Coffs Harbour NSW – Nov 25-27 NSW RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RD05, Rally NSW, Coffs Harbour NSW – Nov 25-27 EAST COAST CLASSIC RALLY SERIES RD08, Rally NSW, Coffs Harbour NSW – Nov 25-27 GEELONG REVIVAL MOTORING FESTIVAL, Geelong Waterfront VIC – Nov 25-27 ISLAND MAGIC, Phillip Island VIC – Nov 25-27 SOUTH EASTERN AUTOMOBILE CLUB AUTOCROSS, SEAC Motorsport Park SA – Nov 26 WEEKEND SPRINTS & SUPERSPRINTS #12, Queensland Raceway QLD – Nov 26 STATE SPEED EVENT SERIES RD12, Collie Motorplex WA – Nov 26 ROLL RACING BRISBANE #11, Queensland Raceway QLD – Nov 26 GRASS ROOTS RACING SERIES RD06, Lakeside Park QLD – Nov 26-27 MG CAR CLUB MOTORKHANA, Manoeuvring Area at TISC Sutton Rd Canberra ACT – Nov 27 LIMESTONE COAST OFF ROAD CLUB KHANACROSS RD05, Mt Gambier Showgrounds SA – Nov 27 CLUB MOTORI ITALIA QUEENS DOMAIN HILLCLIMB, Hobart TAS – Nov 27 STATE SPEED EVENT SERIES RD13, Collie Motorplex WA – Nov 27

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NATIONALS WRAP MORROW CLIMBS KEMPSEY FASTEST THE COFFS Coast Festival of Motor Sport is under way with the first events having been successfully run under glorious sun on Sunday 6 November. The first round of the RedLine Hill Climb Tri-series was run at the Mount Cooperabung Hillclimb in Kempsey and attracted 39 competitors and was well supported by a good crowd. Following a Drivers Briefing the competition on the 743m tar-sealed hill climb commenced around 8:45am with the open-wheel racing cars taking to the course first. Dave Morrow driving his Krygger Suzuki was the overall winner of the day – with a time of 25.721 secs, ahead of Les Maloney in his Ford Focus, with Micheal Boaden in an EVO Mitsubishi overall third fastest. It was great to see a couple of legends competing, Dick Willis, now in his 80s raced his wonderful Ausper T2 FJ (see image below), and overall fastest racer Dave Morrow in his 70s competing and still quick! It was also excellent to see three ladies competing with Elizabeth Simpson in her Golf GTi the class winner in one of her first events. Several teenagers racedincluding the class winner Thomas Oram, with some sharing their cars with their family. There were road registered cars plus cars which needed to be trailered. The hill is quite steep up the range with some tricky corners and a good long fast straight giving spectators a great view. It is hard to believe that in 1978 this track was the old Pacific Highway! The afternoon finished with a presentation of trophies for each class entered and an overall winner. Round two of the series was run midweek at Raleigh with the final round run at Grafton as Auto Action went to print. Steve Little

Image: JOHN LEMM

FIFTH FOR MAHON BAROSSA VALLEY local Dave Mahon (Dallara F394/Hayabusa – pictured) took his fifth South Australian Hillclimb Championship at Collingrove on October 29-30, his fourth in a row. His winning time of 27.98s came on his second run, and he beat Queensland’s Dean Tighe (Empire Wraith/supercharged Hayabusa) by 0.81s, with David Whiteside (Cheap BOSS/Mazda V6 twin turbo) 1.93s in arrears. Having won the Australian Supersprint Championship and Australian Hillclimb Championship over the two previous weekends, Tighe started the event as favourite, but only bettered Mahon on three of the 12 runs. Fourth in his Speads SR9 Sports Car was Gus Mitchell who held off a group of rapid 4WD tin-tops – Paul Healey (Mitsubishi EVO

NATIONALS WRAP with Garry O’Brien 8), Nathan Green (Nissan Skyline GTR), and the EVO 7s driven by David Coombe and Gavin Farley. Weather conditions were fine but cloudy on Saturday, but Sunday’s weather prediction was for strong winds, heavy rain and a possible electrical storm. Fortunately this was way off, with light rain not arriving until the

day’s fifth run. The prediction, however, meant that around 15 competitors from Saturday didn’t run Sunday, including Mitchell. Quite a few managed to set their fastest times on the second day. Mahon tried wet rubber on Sunday’s opening run, finding that it made the car turn more sharply, which resulted in clipping two markers on the first rise. In wet conditions, the Top 10 Shootout at the end of the day went to Paul Healey from David Coombe and Nathan Green, the 4WDs less effected by the weather. Mahon had a slight off whilst Tighe (fourth) spun after the finish line. The decision to miss the Australian Championship in Queensland the previous weekend when hearing about road conditions in the eastern states, was the right one, Mahon felt, after he won at home. John Lemm

25 HOURS AROUND THE BEND Dick Willis takles the Kempsey Hillclimb while (below) the three outright winners pose for a pic!

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THE BEND Motorsport Park hosted the latest Motor Events Racing event, the mammoth 25 Hour Melonaid which also attracted the organisers’ biggest entry ever on November 4-6. Prolific front runners Chop Shop Racing (right) were the winners with 508 laps totalled in their BMW 318i. They copped a post-race three lap penalty but still finished 13 laps ahead of The Imposters (Mitsubishi Magna) with another three to Cogans Bogans (BMW M3). The Imposters were second in ME-1 with Double Decker (BMW 325) third and fifth outright. The event started with 7hrs 30mins on the Friday run on the GT8 circuit – a modified version of the GT track for 8kms with 40 corners. Saturday’s 10 hours was on the International layout before another seven and a half on the West track on Sunday. The early pacesetters were CSR who were also the winners of the ME-1 (140-199kw) and Barn Find Racing with regular interjections by the ME-2 (90139kw) class Knucklehead Garage Nissan Pulsar crew. However Barn Find would have not one, but two engine

Image: MER failures, and left CSR with no class competition. They eventually overhauled the Outlaw (ME-0, over 200kw) classes’ Cogans Bogans and Old Mate Motorsport who ultimately finished eighth. From Saturday, Knucklehead and REVspeed Racing (Toyota IS200) traded blows through to near the end with the ME-2 win eventually to fall to the latter. They finished fourth and sixth outright respectively with AJ Don’t Care (Honda EG Civic) the class third in seventh overall.

In ME-3 (up to 89kw) the Hyundai Excels of the Victorian Hyundies Racing and local Scotcher’s Hyundies Racing were close. They had a significant gap to Lube Mobile (Mitsubishi Lancer). An eventual mechanical drama for the SA team allowed the Vics a more comfortable grasp of the class. The competitors raised a further $22,000 towards Rare Cancers Australia over the gruelling enduro, one of the longest ever held in Australia. Ultimately 34 finished from the field of 50 teams. Garry O’Brien


REPLICAS HEAD ACTION AT LAKESIDE PARK THERE WERE four categories at Lakeside Park on October 29-30 which meant plenty of track time at the fifth round of the Grass Roots Race Series.

Replica Tourers

AFTER SECOND in the opener, Greg Wilson took the following race wins to be best placed overall in his Nissan Sketchy. Danny Turner (Honda Integra) and Graham Woodward (Ford Mustang) tied for second in a capacity field. Murray Kent had qualified fourth but crashed his Holden Torana at the Karrasel. Len Meiers (Holden Commodore) won the first race ahead of Wilson, Woodward, Gary Anger (Commodore), Tom Arndt (BMW 330ci), Turner, Adam King (Ford Falcon BA), Dylan Pereira (BMW E36) and Dave Hinton (Toyota Corolla). With Meiers a non-starter in race two because of overheating, Wilson was a comprehensive victor over Woodward and Anger. Turner was next in front of Hinton and Rex Scoles (Commodore). In the third, Scoles made it to second, clear of a close result between Anger and Woodward. The race was restarted after four laps due to an accident which involved Steve Hay (Commodore) and Ettore Vosolo (BMW E36) near the kink. Hay had an electrical issue in Race 2 after he was unavailable on Saturday. Turner who briefly pitted at the beginning and lost half a lap or more, managed to get to 13th. Shane Tuxworth (Commodore) edged out Turner for second in the last, both beneficiaries of an incident at Hungry that took out Scoles and Anger. Pereira was next, just ahead of Todd Black (318i) and Brian Smallwood (Toyota 86).

Baguley, Dummett and Edwards head Group N. Images: MTR Images

Group N

EVEN WITH one non-finish, Peter Baguley was the overall winner in his Holden Torana XU-1 as he won the other four races. It was a one-two for Toranas in race one with Gary Edwards second ahead of Grahame Wrobel (Ford Mustang), Bruce Dummett (Torana), James Anderson (Alfa Romeo) and Mark Switzer (Mustang). With Edwards a retiree and Wrobel a nonstarter, Dummett was second in race two, just in front of Anderson and Switzer. The latter was runner-up in Race 3, ahead of Dummett, Shane McJannett (Ford Anglia Super) and Anderson. It was Anderson who won Race 4 from Switzer, Dummett and McJannett as Baguley hit the lead midway through, but was out on the final lap. Baguley came back to win the last ahead of Dummett, Anderson and McJannett.

SuperKarts

Murray, Burg, and Nicolas lead the Superkart pack.

THE WEEKEND was dominated by Ewen Burg (250cc PVP) with four outright race victories. He finished ahead of Russell Jamieson (125 Anderson Maverick) with Brock Nicolas (250 PVP) third. The three took the top spots in Race 1 with Doug Amis (125 Anderson) next ahead of TAG Light leaders Paul Buckley (Scorpion) and Peter Nuske (Woodgate Racing). Steve Murray (PVP) was second when he had a puncture. Burg headed home Jamieson in the next outing. Nicholas was third in race two while Amiss went off at the Eastern Loop and nudged the wall. He came back for third in Race 3 ahead of Nicholas as Murray won ahead of Jamieson. Burg was fifth, down on power with an engine drama. The latter rebounded to win the final two races. Jamieson had another second but then

lost pace in the last and finished eighth. Murray led Race 4 until the water pump failed and Nicolas had an off that lost him places. Amis finished with a third and a second, ahead of Buckley, and then Nicholas and Nuske, while Buckley was parked at the Karrasel.

Lakeside Outlaws & BMW Challenge

THE BMWs filled the top four places with Daley Martin (E36) first ahead of Scott Kelly (318is), David Brincat (325i) and Jeremy Kroes (E36). Grant Draney (Chev Monte Carlo) won the first race ahead of Martin and Kelly but didn’t appear after that. It was Martin and Kelly first and second in the next four races. Rod Robertson debuted his ex-Allen Boughen Mercury Comet for a fourth and two thirds before a diff whine brought a precautionary end to proceedings. Kroes and Brincat scored the subsequent thirds. Garry O’Brien

JOONDALUP HOLDS INAUGURAL CITY SPRINT

Image: IAN COLLEY

QUELCH WINS FINAL FLING FORMULA LIBRE up to 1.3 litre cars snared the top two outright spots in the sixth and final round of the Queensland Hillclimb Series at Mt Cotton on November 5-6. Without the usual heavy hitters, David Quelch (above) in his Honda-powered Homebuilt DPQ03 set Fastest Time of Day at 41.74s straight after a DNF on his first attempt. He was comfortably 2.88s ahead of class rival Greg Tebble steering the Spreads RM11 instead of his regular FF2000, and was also second overall. Third for the weekend, which remained dry and sunny despite the weather predictions, went to Mick Harders in his Esprei KZ 300cc Superkart. Fourth and the fastest Tin Top was Gavin Taylor in his Volkswagen Golf U2.9L Sports Sedan.

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He edged out Ken Graham (Improved Production Datsun 1600 SSS) by 0.15s while Adrian Purcell (AWD Forced Induction class Subaru Impreza WRX) was a bare 0.01s away in sixth outright. Pauline Graham took the same SSS to seventh ahead of Brendan Merrick (Modified Production Datsun 120Y), Doug Anable (BMW E30 325i) who took out O2L Sports Sedans, and Phillip Rowen (Road Registered Renault RS 250). With his continued success in the Hyundai Excel class, Brad Smith cemented his place as the outright series winner. The end-of-day Top Six which had on baring on the overall result was won by Quelch over Tebble, Harders, Merrick, Anable and Purcell. Garry O’Brien

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THE STREETS of Joondalup were revved into action in late October with the CBD streets transformed into a 2.4km motorsport track. The weekend of the 28th-30th was a motor enthusiast paradise in the WA town, with unique, modified, restored and adored vehicles lining the streets in the lead up to the inaugural City Sprint - held on the final day of the Joondalup Festival of Paul Hewitt competed in his Gulf inspired GT40 Replica. Image: KOI COLLECTIVE Motoring. When Mayor Albert Jacob dropped the flag, 150 competitors tore down the street in an “There were booby traps out there with the kerbing, but that’s attempt to set the fastest time and take local bragging rights, all part of it. I loved that it was technical, and lucky for me I got delighting the thousands of spectators that lined the streets to through unscathed. witness the thrills and spills. “Near the end where the big hay bales and the crowd was The ultimate winner was Troy Wilson, who pushed his standing was a highlight. The car was definitely loose and Mitsubishi Evo X to a cumulative time of 4:59.15, with a fastest hanging out a bit through there…that was fun! run of 1:39.06 to win by 9.7s over Matthew James-Wallace in his “The atmosphere in Joondalup was awesome for the first Nissan R32 GTR. event, and I’m looking forward to next year.” Drivers had four runs with the lowest time scratched, with Cody Harris grabbed the final podium spot on the day driving Wilson revealing the initial lust for horsepower wouldn’t tell the a Mitsubishi Evo 8MR, finishing +3.40s behind James-Wallace. whole story. In the end were 10 different category winners, with Mark “I originally thought the course was going to be high speed, Hallam taking the Classic under 2000cc in a 79 Ford Sedan, and but once we started running, I discovered it was more technical Brock Makin (P6 outright) taking the Classic over 2000cc in 68 than I thought,” said Wilson. Chevy Coupe. Timothy W Neal

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NATIONALS WRAP BOMBALA BOYS TAKE MONARO RAIN THAT flooded the Bombala region beforehand, did not affect the running of the Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally on October 29. The NSW non-championship event was won by locals Malcolm and Reagan Hurley in their Subaru Impreza WRX (right).. The margin to second placed Sean McAloon and Muireann Hayes (Ford Escort Mk2) was 1min 8s with another 12s to Mick Harding and James Thornburn (WRX) in third. Held in the Bondi State Forest, the rally was contested over six stages and 131kms. McAloon and Hayes, who took out the 2021 event, won the first stage by just 2s where Chris Stilling and Nathan Quartermaine (Mitsubishi EVO 7) and Hurley were equal second. Harding finished fourth a further 1s adrift, and ahead of Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith (Mazda RX2). Steve Caruana and Rob O’Toole were airlifted by helicopter to Canberra Hospital with minor injuries after their Holden Commodore left the road at high speed and rolled several times. Fellow competitors Neil Roediger and Alison Lawarick were the first on the scene to render assistance before Bombala paramedics arrived. Hurley won Stage 2 over Stilling by 2s with 1s to Harding. Then follow Quinn, Claude Murray and Lizzy Ferme (Datsun P510) and McAloon who dropped to fourth overall. Hurley continued at the front with the stage three win, this time ahead of Stilling, McAloon, Harding, Murray and Quinn. Into the second half of the rally, Hurley continued to lead and won the final three stages. McAloon was second on the fourth stage ahead of Quinn, Harding and Murray on equal times,

Image: ROY MEURONEN and Stilling. The latter was second on the next stage where McAloon was next in front of Quinn and Harding. At the start of the final stage McAloon was third before his second place elevated him to second. Harding and Quinn

were equal third ahead of Stilling who dropped to fourth overall. Quinn ended the event fifth ahead of Murray Russel Winks and Leigh Brimson-Pierce (EVO 5), and Kevin Millard and Patrick Hughes (Datsun 1600). Garry O’Brien

ARDUOUS ANNIVERSARY TAKES TOLL

Image: B TEAM MEDIA

VICTORIA CROSS TO KING IN A shortened Victoria Cross Rally, Round 7 of the state Club Rally Series on Nov 5, Daryl King and Darcy McClure-Wallace (pictured) won by just under a minute from Russell and Cary Seabrook. Third place went to Wayne Stewart and Lucas Zinsstag. Meanwhile the series was went to Steve Porter and Tony Robinson who finished fourth. The event was originally set down to take in five special stages, a service break and then same five stages repeated. Forest Fire Management Victoria advised that a permit will be issued for the Victoria Cross Rally, albeit with substantial reductions due to damage from recent rain events. So rather than cancel completely, the rally based out of the State Motorcycle Complex at Broadford, was reorganised to take in three stages, each run twice, for a total competitive distance of 52.7kms. Adrian Stratford and Kain Manning (Toyota Corolla) won the first two stages despite overheating dramas and brake knock-off early. However on stage three they only

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made it halfway through, stopped by a seized throttle body. King who was second in both stages, won the remainder at the helm of his Corolla. Joel Wald and Chris Ellis (Datsun Stanza) were third on the first, seventh on the second and well down the order on the third before brake issues cut short their rally. Seabrook (Subaru Impreza RS) was sixth on the first and second stages before a third on stage three. He followed up with three seconds to be runner-up. From eighth early, Stewart (Impreza RS) improved to fourth on stage two and remained there until he displaced Porter (Mazda RX7) on the last. Fifth place went to Brad Till/Brett Robinson (Impreza WRX STi) in front of Keith and Judd Lewis (Datsun 1600), and Ashley Smyth/Taylah Murphy (Honda Civic). Then followed Brian Semmens/Dan Parry (Nissan 200SX RV S12), and Matt and Amy Jones (Holden Commodore VS). Garry O’Brien

THIS YEAR’S Northwest Offroad & ARB Accessories 50th Tas Sand Enduro took place at Peron Dunes, St Helens on November 5-6. The gruelling 500km event was won by Branch Knight in his Sportslite Hornet/Nissan V6 (pictured) ahead of the SXS Turbo classes’ Paul and Jason Colgan (Can-Am) with Clint Broomhall (Polaris Turbo). The fifth round of the Tasmanian OffRoad Series consisted of five 20-lap heats over the 5km sand course with two heats on day one and three on Sunday. Chris Branch (Hornet/Nissan V6) was the best of ProLites and was in a close contest with Michael Stalker (Chenworth/Nissan SR20 Sportslite) and Josh Marshall and Karli Humphries (Super 1650 Southern Cross/Toyota 4AGE) for line honours. The Anniversary event took its toll.

The winner of the last two, Hayden and Justin Tatnell (BAT/Chev V8) had the engine let go. Chris Boon (Hornet/ Hayabusa) won the event in 2019 and was off to a great start before the steering rack began to lock up and put him out. Trevor and Tyler Chandler (Triton Engineering Honey Badge/Jaguar AJ126 Pro Buggy) also had power steering issues, with a fire on Saturday. It was fixed overnight, and they came out on day two, lapped everyone before the CVs were cooked. Matt Lawless and Clayton Kellend (Jimco/Chev) had alternator problems throughout the weekend but repaired the Pro Buggy and finished. Gearbox dramas put out both Cara Tatnell and Jason Bresnehan (Rivmaster/Nissan V6 ProLite) and Chris, Sophie and Layla Shepheard (Southern Cross/Nissan SR20 Sportslite). Garry O’Brien

Image: Show ‘n’ Go


Images: MARK MEDLOCK-UNLABELLED PHOTOGRAPHY

Ben Searcy and Damon Nicoli had their challenges throughout the WA series, but early event success helped deliver them a well deserved title.

RANDO’S ROUND, SEARCY’S TITLE THE EXPERTS CUP, the final round of the Dunlop Tyres WA Rally Championship, was won by Craig Rando and Scott Beckwith (right) while the title after the six rounds went to Ben Searcy and Daymon Nicoli. Rando and Beckwith (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) won four of the six stages and finished 18.7s in front of Gary Whittle and Ryan Doe (WRX) who were well ahead of the new champions in third position. The event which attracted 38 entries, consisted of six stages for a total of 59kms at Collie and in the surrounding areas. While they didn’t win the final two stages when the rain came, Rando and Beckwith led the rally throughout and the result meant that they were elevated to second outright in the championship. Whittle was second in five stages before a stage victory at the end. Searcy and Nicoli had their challenges. Their Mitsubishi EVO 9 stopped on Stage 2 when a branch knocked the kill switch off and then they had a puncture on the last stage where they finished fourth. Behind the Experts Cup podium places came Dave Thomas/Mandy Lister (WRX), Abe Tuckett/Murish O’Connell (EVO 5), and Doug Tostevin/Dan Adams (Subaru Legacy RS). Among the 17 non-finishers were Alex Rullo and Steve

Glenney (EVO 9) who were third by the end of Stage 4 but were out with a holed radiator after they slipped off the road on the next stage. Seventh were Gary Mills and Mitch Gray (Ford Fiesta) the best placed 2WD as they topped their class on five stages.

They were beaten on Stage 3 by Glenn Alcorn and Jonathan Charlesson before their Ford Escort RS developed an oil leak and was withdrawn. Second in 2WD were the new class champions Julian and Jeff Huggins (Datsun 12 Coupe). Garry O’Brien

WILKINS DUO’S TAKE OBERON RALLY WIN THE DIMENSION Rallysport Oberon Rally went ahead on November 5 despite dreadful weather in the leadup. Most of the roads held up well, with a few rough areas. Fifty-six entries fronted for the final round of this year’s AMSAG Southern Cross Rally Series, outside Oberon. Tim Wilkins coaxed his wife, Chloe into reading the route instructions, and guided him to a win in their Mitsubishi EVO 9 (right). Nathan Quinn and Ray WinwoodSmith (Hyundai i20 AP4) started fastest and led from Glenn Brinkman and Dale Moscatt (EVO 9) and the Wilkins. Wilkins had a spin and stalled the car on a nasty left-hander late in the stage and dropped several seconds. Stages 2 and 3 went to Brinkman and Quinn respectively, which left Quinn ahead by 15s to Brinkman and Wilkins a further 17s back. Wilkins won the next

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Image: Bruce Moxon two stages and went into the half-way service with a 15s lead over Brinkman, then Quinn 2s back.

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Quinn took stage six by a massive 27s from Brinkman, with Andrew Maurer and Brett Kerr (EVO 6) 2s further back.

Wilkins had a poor stage and lost over a minute with a puncture. It also ripped the front bumper off, and he was 50s in arrears of the leader. Wilkins then won the last four stages. He took Stage 7 by 11s from Quinn, stage eight similarly, this time with Brinkman second, and stage nine by 9s from Brinkman, and Ron and Jo Moore (EVO 6). Quinn retired in this stage and claimed to have ‘fallen off the horse’. But he rejoined for the last stage, in his Mazda RX2 and was fourth fastest. The final stage went to Wilkins by 11s from Brinkman and Maurer. Wilkins won overall by 22s from Brinkman and Moore. Tony Sullens and Andrew Crowley (Toyota Sprinter) were best of the2WD, from Michael and Erin Valantine (Datsun Stanza). Bruce Moxon

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HISTORIC SANDOWN

HISTORIC SANDOWN ROARS BACK TO TOP GEAR

YOU COULD FEEL IT IN THE AIR, HISTORIC SANDOWN WAS BACK TO ITS BEST WITH STRONG CROWDS AND CLASSIC CARS PUTTING ON A BLAST TO THE PAST TO REMEMBER, AA’S THOMAS MILES WAS ON HAND TO ENJOY THE MEETING. Images: Rebecca Hind – revvedphotography.com.au

THERE WAS a tremendous energy circulating around the circuit with passion at every turn. Stunning machines of all shapes and sizes revved away on the track, while fans soaked up the action in the grandstand or caught a glimpse of their favourite cars in the paddock brimming with life. After the 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19 and returned the following year albeit with heavy restrictions and no spectators, these sights, smells and sounds left little doubt the popular race meeting was back in full swing with the Melbourne weather even turning it on for the ’30 Years of Thunder’ anniversary to create a motoring paradise. Victorian Historic Racing Register president Ian Tate said the 2022 Historic Sandown exceeded expectations with crowds beating the numbers set in pre-COVID times. “Everyone enjoyed themselves and the racing was excellent,” he said. “We had over 300 entires and the crowds were better than 2019. There was a lot of people in the grandstand all weekend. “The weekend could not have gone better.” Despite the absence of the popular Red Hill display, fans were still able to feast their eyes upon a countless amount of classic cars including the sensationally sleek Jaguar E Type and familiar Ford Capri, which both celebrated their 60th anniversary, while there were also many Mini’s and MG’s. Stars such as Jim Richards, Kevin Bartlett and Murray Carter were also seen in the paddock, while another legend in the form of John Bowe was on track. Bowe was hard to miss in his yellow 1969 Ford Mustang, dominating two of the three Historic Touring Cars Group 2 races.

John Rundell (Ausca)

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David Nolan at speed in the unique Nola Chev. Only mechanical issues prevented him from the sweep as Andrew Lane took the chequered flag, while Group 1 was controlled by the dominant Datsun of David Brown. The National Sports Sedans set some fast times and the big star was Jordan Caruso, who was an untouchable figure and cruised to a crushing clean sweep and championship win. This category included the most notable of the many family entries on show with the return of former Supercars star Todd Kelly to Sandown, in the pits supporting his son Mason. On the same track his father took his maiden Supercars round win in 2001, the 17-year-old jumped behind the wheel of the 2005 Bathurst winner’s last ever Supercar.

Jason Humble (Mazda RX2 Coupe) took out Group Nc 2001-3000cc

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John Bowe in the APEX Mustang, heads a huge Historic Touring Car field.

Ray Narkiewicz set the pace in Group S with his Chev Corvette. The Nissan Altima was restored to the recognisable Carsales colours Kelly drove in 2016 and the teen displayed some good progress, finishing the final Sports Sedans race in fifth after starting the weekend at the rear of the field by choice. A mighty field of HQ Holdens was a sight to behold with 38 cars racing hard, but fair. Brett Osborn took the first and third races, while John Baxter was also victorious, but they had to earn their triumphs with all three races decided by less than a second. Robin Bailey and his 1975 MGB GT V8 was never seen away from the front of the MGs and Invited British Sports Cars field, but Michael Roddy did give him some competition in the 1985 Bathurst 1000 winning Jaguar TWR XJS. The nimble Formula Fords drove hard, but none could stop Jonathan Miles from winning

it all despite the best efforts of Andrew Reid in the Van Diemen his dad raced 32 years ago. Although it may not have been a big field, Sandown still shook from the thunderous roar of the Formula 5000s with Paul Zazryn leading the charge all weekend in his Lola. Open wheelers from way back took centre stage in the Groups J, K, L Formula Vee and Invited class. All the winner’s trophies were collected by Nicholas McDonald’s Repco Holden, but impressively Graeme Raper pushed hard in a Ford more than seven decades old. In Group S the Chevrolet Corvette’s set the pace with Joseph Di Bartolo setting the standard before Ray Narkiewicz strung two Sunday wins together. The Brabham BT30 of Andrew Robson was in a league of his own in the M and O


Frank Harris (#33 – Chevron B24) rounds up Bill Hemmings’ iconic Elfin MR8 en route to an F5000 podium finish for the weekend. Above: David Brennan (Lola T460 Atlantic).

2022 HISTORIC SANDOWN RESULTS K and S Environmental MG/Invited British

Race 1: Robin Bailey (MG BGT V8), Simon Elliott (MG B), Andrew Howell (MG ZR Judd) Race 2: Bailey, Michael Roddy (Jaguar TWR XJS), Howell Race 3: Bailey, Roddy, Howell

Holden HQs

Race 1: Brett Osborn, John Baxter, Rod Raatjes Race 2: Baxter, Raatjes, Osborn Race 3: Osborn, Raatjes, Baxter

Formula 5000

Race 1: Paul Zazryn (Lola T332), Frank Harris (Chevron B24), Darcy Russell (Lola T330) Race 2: Zazryn, Russell, Harris Race 3: Zazryn, Russell, Harris

Historic Touring Cars Group 1

Robin Bailey (MG BGT) made short work of the MG/Invited category. Sports, Racing and Invited, controlling each sprint with two of the three won by at least 30 seconds. Groups P, Q and R had a wide range of vehicles on display, but there was little splitting Grant Doulman and David Hartman. Only 0.4s separated first and second in the first two races with Doulman the winner, who took the overall honours after his rival could only complete two laps in the third and final race which was claimed by Daniel Nolan. Stewart Webster and Peter Lubrano split the honours in the first two Regularity sessions as Steve Wingett cruised home in the final race, while his daughter Abby climbed into the top five driving an Elfin. With big crowds, great racing and sunshine, everything clicked for the 30th Historic Sandown event, generating plenty of momentum for the road ahead. The next big Historic meeting for the VHRR is the Philip Island Classic 2023 – March 9-12

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Race 1: David Brown (Datsun 1600), Robert van Stockroom (BMW 2002), Claude Ciccotelli (Holden EH) Race 2: Brown, van Stockroom, Ciccotelli Race 3: Brown, van Stockroom, Richard Hill (Morris Cooper S)

Group S

Race 1: Joseph Di Bartolo (Chevrolet Corvette), Ray Narkiewicz (Chevrolet Corvette), David Baker (Chevrolet Corvette) Race 2: Narkiewicz, Di Bartolo, Baker Race 3: Narkiewicz, Di Bartolo, Joe Calleja (Chevrolet Corvette)

Groups P,Q,R Racing and Q,R Sports

Race 1: Grant Doulman (Shrike NB89H), David Hardman (Hardman JH-1), Daniel Nolan (Nola Chev) Race 2: Doulman, Hardman, Nolan Race 3: Nolan, James Crozier (Ralt RT21), Doulman Nicholas McDonald took three-from-three with his Repco Holden Monoposto.

Groups M,O Sports and Racing and Invited

Race 1: Andrew Robson (Brabham BT30), Sean Whelan (Brabham BT30), Laurie Bennett (McLaren M1B) Race 2: Robson, Paul Faulkner (Brabham BT-29), Wayne Groeger (Brabham BT23B) Race 3: Robson, Faulkner, Groeger

Groups J,K,Lb,Formula Vee and Invited

Race 1: Nicholas McDonald (Repco Holden Monoposto), David Reid (Faux Pas), Graeme Raper (George Reed Ford Special) Race 2: McDonald, Reid, Raper Race 3: McDonald, Raper, Flavio Puccinelli (Cooper T53)

Regularity

John Baxter was part of a tight three-way HQ contest.

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Race 1: Stewart Webster (Porsche 356), Peter Lubrano (AlfaRomeo AlfaSud Ti), Philip Spender (Ford Mustang GT350) Race 2: Lubrano, Derek McLaughlan (Edelbrock Ford Special), Colin Walker (MG B GT) Race 3: Steve Wingett (March 729), Alan Tidbury (Cooper MK5), Lubrano

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TOP QUALIFIERS DELIVER FOR FINALS – AS ALICE SPRINGS WINNERS CROWNED IN PERTH DAY ONE of the 48th annual Goldenstates, at Perth Motorplex, featured the latest rounds of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the Australian Drag Racing Championships for Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle and concluded with the top qualifiers in each class celebrated. Also celebrated were the winners of the postponed Alice Springs finals for Top Fuel and Top Doorslammer. In the Top Fuel Championship, Damien Harris took the Alice Springs A-Final win over Phil Read with a 3.77 second pass – a new track ET record. Wayne Newby won the B-Final against Peter Xiberras, shutting off early after Xiberras encountered wheel shake and shut down off the launch, while Phil Lamattina – who blew a diff in the previous pass – absolutely pushed his Top Fuel Dragster down the track to ensure he took the C-Final win over team-mate Shane Olive when both cars encountered issues off the hit. For the Rapisarda Autosport International team, the result for Harris and crew chief Santo Rapisarda Jnr was a prefect start to their weekend. For Jnr and Damien, it was a great result, they ran a 3.77 with a 4 in that final round and it was the quickest run of the day as well as the session. “It was a great way for them to win the Alice Springs finals, and also claim the record,” Rapisarda Autosport International’s Santino Rapisarda said on behalf of the team. “For the team as a whole, there is room for improvement with the car that I am on for Wayne Newby, and hopefully Damien and Jnr’s success can continue into tomorrow and we can try and get ourselves into a good position for some more high-performance runs.” In ADRC Top Fuel Motorcycle, Benny Stevens rode through for the top qualifying spot ahead of tomorrow’s racing. “When we came to the track everything seemed all right with the bike, but we went out for the first lap and we melted the clutch on the startline,” Stevens explains. “We made a few more adjustments as the night went on, and we finished up with a 6.54, so we were pretty happy with that! “We are feeling good ahead of tomorrow, we will go out with the same attitude again, make a few changes, and hopefully we can creep up on it.” In ADRC Top Doorslammer, John Zappia (pictured, top) claimed the Alice Springs A-Final victory, taking the win over round one winner Kelvin Lyle while also claiming the top spot on the time sheets ahead of tomorrow’s three round of racing for the Goldenstates. He also claimed a new ANDRA record thanks to his 5.668 second pass.

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HARRIS DELIVERS IN TOP FUEL AUSTRALIA AT THE GOLDENSTATES BY AMANDA COBB FRIDAY AND Saturday delivered two huge days of racing at the Goldenstates for the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the Australian Drag Racing Championships for Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle. The event finished in spectacular fashion at the Perth Motorplex last weekend, and despite the bitterly cold conditions, there were smiles all round as the event winners were celebrated in front of a packed house. TOP FUEL AUSTRALIA TAKING OUT the Top Fuel honours was

Damien Harris in the Rapisarda Autosport International Top Fuel Dragster, who took out the A-Final victory over Phil Lamattina to lift the big trophy at the end of the night. In the B and C Final, Peter Xiberras and Phil Read took the wins over Wayne Newby and Kyle Putland respectively. For Harris and Rapisarda Autosport International, it was the second event win of the weekend with the entry also claiming the postponed Alice Springs A-Final victory on Friday. “We are definitely happy with that result – it is good to double up this weekend with the Alice Springs A-Final win also and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend,”

Rapisarda Autosport International’s Santo Jnr Rapisarda said. “We struggled a little today with some broken blower belts in the first round and the final, so the car was actually running quicker than it ever had before earlier in those runs, so there is a lot of potential there and everyone likes to see those nice short numbers! “We were racing in memory of Grant Foster this weekend, and so we are especially happy we could get this result. Thanks to Atlantic Oils for their support, and also to the team who did an outstanding job all weekend long.” “Overall, this is a great way to start the


It was a successful weekend for the Rapisarda team. Harris (left) blasts off for the win ...

Images: TOP FUEL AUSTRALIA

Daniel Gregorini literally had no competition in the Top Doorslammer final. Top Fuel Championship with two round wins and we take a nice points lead now. It was nice to finalise the Alice Springs event and take a win for that event and then back it up again with the Perth win, it is a great result for the team, for the Rapisarda family, and for Atlantic Oil.” Harris added.

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ADRC TOP DOORSLAMMER IN ADRC Top Doorslammer, the Goldenstates bragging rights were claimed by Daniel Gregorini, who took a solo pass in the A-Final when Alice Springs winner John Zappia was unfortunately unable to front after suffering too much damage when he

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popped the blower in his round two win over Kelvin Lyle. Clinching the B-Final was Stuart Moresby over Mark Chapman, while Ryan Moresby completed a solo pass in the C-Final. “We started off yesterday by smoking the tyre on the first run like most did on the first hit, and then backed that up with a 5.75 in Q2. It got kind of lean and burnt a piston up, so we didn’t go out for Q3. “Then tonight we went 5.75 and then 5.76 in the second round which gave us enough points to go to the finals,” Gregorini explained.“Unfortunately, John didn’t make the finals as he had to do an engine swap after blowing it up on the round before, so we had a solo. The track was getting quite cold, and we went after it a bit knowing Zappia wasn’t coming out – we wound it up a bit but went a bit too far, but that is what happens sometimes; we are always chasing the data. “Obviously it is not the way you want to finish the meeting but, at the end of the day, it still takes all the same effort from myself and Lisa and the team to get here and do all the work, so we will still accept it as a win. “Thank you to all of my crew, the Perth Motorplex, ANDRA, Top Fuel Australia and the ADRC for putting this event together, and also to our sponsors: Scratch and Match Autocolour, Kerb Doctor, Westcoast Siteworks, Kendall Oils, S&S Industries, Dalisa Estate Winery, Signbiz WA, Go Print, Dirty Detailing, Final Drive Engineering, Gforce Race Cars, Resolution Racing Services, DMPE, Applied Automotive and Kinetic Engineering.”

ADRC TOP FUEL MOTORCYCLES ON TWO wheels, the ADRC Top Fuel Motorcycles were again crowd

pleasers, with Benny Stevens impressing to take out the A-Final win while Jay Upton took the B-Final win over Rob Cassar – who accepted the tree following a weekend-long struggle with his bike. With two rounds of both the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and three rounds of the Australian Drag Racing Championships for Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle now in the books, all eyes will turn to Willowbank Raceway in the New Year for New Year Nitro, the next round of the respective title chases. The New Year Nitro event at Willowbank Raceway will be run first across January 6 and 7, followed soon after by a newly announced Australia Day event at Sydney Dragway across January 27 and 28. Both events will see the fastest drag racing vehicles in the country on track over two massive days and nights with vital championship points on the line as drivers continue their battle for the biggest prize in drag racing – the Stan Sainty Cup. Top Fuel headlines both events, with the massive New Year Nitro line up to also include Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Mod, Pro Stock and Sportsman categories. Joining the on-track action is a huge firework spectacular, show and shine, food trucks, and more. For event information, visit www. willowbankraceway.com.au To learn more about the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the Australian Drag Racing Championships, visit www. topfuelchampionship.com.au

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WEC/WORLD RALLY

Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

TOYOTA STANDS TALL IN WEC DECIDER

REPORT: Josh Nevett

JUST ONE point separated the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry from their Alpine ELF Team rivals heading into the Bahrain season finale, but there was no doubt that the title was Toyota’s after eight hours on track. The #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid shared by Mike Conway, Kamui Koboyashi and Jose Maria Lopez may have won the day, but Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa confirmed themselves as WEC champions by coming home second aboard the #8 Toyota (above) in the final race of the season. It was a third title for Hartley and Buemi,

whilst Hirakawa got his first taste of WEC success in his rookie season. By triumphing in 2022, the Toyota trio made it four titles in a row for the Japanese marque in WEC, while the Alpine ELF Team were left to rue what could have been. The #36 crew Alpine A480 Gibson of Andre Negrao, Nico Lapierre, and Matthieu Vaxiviere held a one-point lead as the lights went green in Bahrain, however they simply did not have the pace to keep up with their Japanese rivals. The #7 Toyota led its counterpart by 45s at the chequered flag, with the French machine two laps adrift in third. It will be

a long wait for Alpine ELF Team to chase redemption, as the squad will not run in the Hypercar class again until 2024. In LMGTE Pro, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado secured the title for Ferrari in dramatic fashion, limping their damaged machine to the line as Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina scored their first win of 2022 in the final ever GTE Pro race. A gearbox problem afflicted Guidi and Calado in the penultimate hour of the race, forcing them to channel skills of preservation. Fortunately for the pair, their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo made it to the line. Ben Keating and Marco Sorensen also crowned themselves in anti-climactic fashion, wrapping up the LMGTE Am

Championship with a fourth-place finish. In LMP2, the #38 JOTA trio of Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Will Stevens earned their silverware by completing the class podium at Bahrain International Circuit.

NO DEAD RUBBER REPORT: Josh Nevett THIERRY NEUVILLE and Hyundai Motorsport closed out the 2022 World Rally Championship on a high, clinching victory in Japan after a weekend-long scrap with Toyota Gazoo Racing rival Elfyn Evans. While superstar Finn Kalle Rovanpera wrapped up the title two rounds back there was still plenty to play for in Japan, demonstrated by the intensity that all drivers brought to the table. Several cars were left battered and bruised after the first day of running – Dani Sordo was forced into an early retirement after his Hyundai i20 N caught fire in the opening stages, while Craig Breen’s machine sustained heavy damage after contact with a barrier. Meanwhile, Neuville and Evans duked it out at the top of the leader board, with the latter taking top honours on the opening day. Recently crowned champion Rovanpera led briefly, but he slotted back into third soon after. The tables turned on Saturday, however, as Neuville completed a 10s turnaround to end the penultimate day 4s clear of his Welsh opposition. Evans mastered the early asphalt speed tests to build

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a 5.9s advantage, but from then on it was all about Neuville who clawed back nearly 3s through Nakuta Forest and then bested the Lake Mikawako stage by nearly 6s. An untimely puncture for Rovanpera meant that Estonian Ott Tanak was able to move into the top three, ahead of local hero Takamoto Katsuta. Sunday’s five-stage finale was as dramatic as expected, as the momentum of the contenders shifted on a dime. Evans surged back into contention with a scorching Asahi Kougen stage win, but miscommunication with his co-driver Scott Martin resulted in a puncture which ended their charge. Neuville was able to cruise home in the final two stages as a result, finishing 1m 11s clear of Tanak, who ended his time at Hyundai in the best possible fashion. The pair completed a 1-2 finish for Hyundai on Toyota territory, Neuville rapt with the outcome. “It feels great,” Neuville exclaimed. “It wasn’t an easy weekend or an easy year, but to end with a victory after showing good speed all weekend is a great way to end the season.”

Thierry Neuville consolidated third in the championship with a tight win. Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES Katsuta equalled his best season finish in third place, while Sebastien Ogier came home fourth, 12s further back. FINAL STANDINGS 1 Rovanpera 2 Tanak 3 Neuville 4 Evans 5 Katsuta

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NASCAR

LOGANO DOUBLES UP

IN A dominant display, Joey ‘Sliced Bread’ Logano stormed home over the other three contenders in the NASCAR finale to claim a second Cup Series championship. NASCAR’s last hurrah for 2022 started under a dark cloud however with the mourning of Coy Gibbs – vice chairman and son of Joe, of Joe Gibbs Racing – sadly passing away just hours after his son Ty had won the NASCAR Xfinity series. Logano rounded out an emotional day for the series, with the #22 Team Penske driver taking out the title at the Phoenix Raceway, finishing 0.301s ahead of teammate Ryan Blaney and fellow contender Ross Chastain in P3. Logano became the only Ford NASCAR driver to hold two titles since David Pearson in 1968-1969. “We did it, We’re champions again—yes! Oh, my God, I’m so excited. Thank you to everybody, my team … you guys are amazing,” Logano said after the race. My team gave me a good race car, with a good pit stop there at the end, and got us up in front. Boy, that was just intense there at the end. “It’s all about championships. That’s what

it’s all about, and we worked so hard the last couple weeks trying to put ourselves in position.” The other two contenders in Christopher Bell and Chase Elliot finished in P10 and P28 respectively. Elliot was in the mix with 113 laps to go, but contact with fellow contender Chastian saw him spin out and drop back a lap, with the #9 Chevy driver not able to claw back as any threat. Logano led for 187 of the 312 laps, and apart from one single green flag lap, led the other four contenders for the entirety of the race. That makes it three titles for the team owner Roger Penske, with Team Penske capturing an historical NASCAR/IndyCar double. “I think we’ve tried for 31 years, so it’s about time,” Penske said after the race. “Joey did a great job. You’ve seen what he’s been able to do as he’s come on the team, and for us to have two championships in the same year, that’s what we’re here for. That’s the goal we have every year.” Logano’s second Bill France Cup makes him one of only two drivers in the field to

hold multiple championships, with former team-mate Kyle Busch being the other. The native of Connecticut last won the title in 2018, also with Team Penske, and this season saw him take four victories (31st career win), and was the first to qualify for the final four with two races remaining in the top eight shootout. Bell couldn’t produce his heroics of last week, with a disastrous 19.8s pit stop under a caution derailing his race, putting him back out in P16 with 33 laps left to run. But the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver also had to contend with the death of team vice chairman Coy Gibbs on the morning of the race. “All of a sudden, you wake up this morning, and you are racing for a championship, and you are happy, you are elated, and then your world comes crashing down,” Bell said. “Whenever you get news like that, it puts it in perspective that there is more to this than racing. The whole Gibbs family is in all of our prayers. I’m thinking of them.” It was a tense run into the closing stages, with a sixth caution period caused when returning driver Alex Bowman took out Michael McDowell on lap 268.

Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

Chase Briscoe had the lead on the restart, with Logano running in P3 behind Blaney with Chastain in P7. A fire then started on Brad Keselowski’s Ford, and with the next green flag on lap 280, Logano hunted Briscoe down with 29 laps remaining, and only just held Blaney off in the last stanza as his teammate stuck right on his bumper. Without another caution, Chastain couldn’t haul them in for the title, but was the fastest car on track in the closing stages to finish in P3. Timothy W Neal

JOHNSON ANNOUNCES NASCAR COMEBACK WITH THE KING

Seven-time champions Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson have joined forces as co-owners of Petty GMS Racing. JIMMIE JOHNSON will return to the NASCAR Cup Series, having joined Petty GMS in a part-owner role, which also

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allows him to make a racing comeback in 2023. In addition to buying into the Petty GMS Racing outfit, Johnson will race at a select number of races in the 2023 season, including the Daytona 500. It will be his 687th NASCAR Cup Series race, but the first outside Hendrick Motorsports, having raced the famous #48 Chevrolet to all his

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83 wins, seven championships and two Daytona 500 victories. Since his retirement in 2020, Johnson has focused on IndyCar and IMSA racing, but will be back doing what he does best in a NASCAR after entering an ownership agreement with co-owners Maury Gallagher and Richard Petty. “It is great to be back in NASCAR,” said Johnson. “When the IndyCar season ended I started on this journey of what was next. “I wanted to create a good eight-to-10race schedule with just really fun races.

“Team ownership makes so much sense at this stage of my career. “I want to make a difference and have something tangible to show for it when it’s all said and done. “It’s just a life-changing opportunity for me and one that I had to take. So I’m very excited about this.” Johnson and Petty are the only living seven-time Cup Series champions and the pair working together to chase Daytona 500 success in the famous #43 will certainly be a fan-favourite. Thomas Miles

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SPORTS SEDANS SANDOWN RACEWAY

CARUSO BLITZES SANDOWN FOR MAIDEN TITLE Blast-off– a strong field contested the final round at Sandown. Image: JOHN MORRIS THE PRECISION National Sports Sedan title was decided at the Sandown Historics as Jordan Caruso dominated the field to take his maiden national title. Caruso did at Sandown what he’d been doing all year in the Sports Sedan Championship, taking a clean sweep to cement his credentials. “It feels pretty good – it’s just such a big relief to finish as strong as we did,” Caruso told Auto Action. “I know it’s a big relief for John (Gourlay) who’s worked hard to win this championship, and that the car stayed reliable throughout the whole year, which was one of our big goals. Couldn’t be happier.” The one unfortunate letdown to what would have been a thrilling showdown, was his close championship rival and former 2018 national champion, Steve Tamasi, bowing out after experiencing mechanical issues during Friday’s practice. “We finished the practice session on Friday then found we had some faulty engine bolts that did a bit too much damage for us to continue with,” Tamasi told AA. “It wasn’t anything too dramatic, but we couldn’t take the risk of dropping oil on the track at 300km/h – it’s just not safe.” With Tamasi out of the picture, Caruso was too good in qualifying, outpacing Liam Hopper by 01.729s, with Micheal Robertson a tenth back in P3 next to fellow Victorian Tony Groves in the MARC V8. The first race on the Saturday had Caruso jump out the blocks with the #10 driver in Hopper also getting away from Robinson early. Ashely Jarvis would move up into P3 with Robertson beaching himself and encountering gearbox issues. With the #4 Audi continuing to run away with the lead and championship, 5.8s up by the halfway mark, Caruso would take the chequered flag by 16.2s, as well as registering a category lap record with a 1:07.506 to smash the old one by around four-tenths; Hopper and Jarvis filled out the podium spots. “I think my dad was more happy with the lap record to be honest, rather than the championship, not sure why,” Caruso laughed, “He just loves it … I was obviously pretty happy with it, but dad absolutely loved it.” With the championship done and dusted, the second race would be a bit more closely contested, with Caruso a bit back on the

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Jordan Caruso (above and right) dominated the championship Images: THOMAS MILES. searing Race 1 pace. He jumped to a lead again, but Jarvis got as close as anyone would in his #44 Monaro, as well as outpacing Hopper in a tight battle for P2. Caruso did what he needed to in the second outing, finish-ing 7.1s up on Jarvis who managed to squeeze into P2 by fourtenths over Hopper. Bradford also put in an impressive outing to finish just four-tenths back in P4 over Woodman and Groves, with Robertson fighting back into P8 after starting at the rear. The final race of the season provided some tight mid-pack racing, but fittingly it was Caruso again, who put a stamp on a truly dominant season with a big victory. Jarvis again put in a storming effort to outdo Bradford by 2.3s for P2 and the outright second, with Robertson fighting his way into a deserved P4, whilst young Mason Kelly gave him some hell in his fathers ex-Supercars Nissan Altima. In Kelly’s best finish for the year, the young teenager finished just a tenth behind Robertson for a P5, beating Victorian Tony Groves in the quick MARC Mazda, and Woodman #16 BMW GTR. In the end, Caruso got through 10 laps to finish some 23.6s ahead of the other podium finishers, lapping the P8 finisher Charles Talbot, to bring him and Gourlay a well deserved national title. After such a dominant year, Caruso had this to say on his plans for next season: “I’m very happy in this category and in this car. It really doesn’t bother me too much where I’m racing, I just want to be in a competitive machine – if there’s a potential for it to lead somewhere then that’s where I want to be driving, and at the moment that’s here.

Ash Jarvis (44), Monaro, and Shane Bradford (68) Chev Camaro, head the pack. Image: JOHN MORRIS It’s a great category.” Category Administrator and #32 Monaro racer, Micheal Robertson, had this to say on the season, and the runaway talent of Caruso: “I think he’s an unbelievable talent – to be that much quicker than the other cars at the same level, is a testament to his skill,” Robertson said “He doesn’t crash, he doesn’t come off, and he wins the races! He is a quiet young kid, but he’s certainly got some skill, and the car is prepared so well by John (Gourlay), but you can’t win it without both the components. “But the whole year worked out fantastically, it was above our expectation in a number of ways. “Jordan was obviously a standout all year, but there were plenty of good battles through-out the season, with Woodman pushing Tamasi for second on the table, and

Ash Jarvis came in during Round 3 and really impressed. “The year was really competitive and there was a fantastic mix of people that made it really good behind the scenes and in the pits all year. We all really look forward to getting stuck back in by 2023.” Timothy W Neal CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Caruso 667 2. Tamasi 505 3. Woodman 474 4. Robinson 403 5. Bradford 306 6. Jarvis 296


A FAMILY AFFAIR REPORT: Josh Nevett

WHEN WAYNE, Drew and Aaren Russell confirmed their family entry for this year’s Australian Production Cars campaign, they were in the business of creating memories. It turns out that the trio got more than they bargained for, as they sealed the Outright and Class X titles last weekend at the Bathurst International. The Russell’s, aboard an F80 BMW M3, displayed their trademark consistency to grace the podium in each of the four races at Mount Panorama, completing a dominant season. “The main thing for us is that we were able to win the championship as a family which is pretty bloody cool, and I am really stoked to be able to share it with Dad and Aaren,” Drew Russell said, reflecting on the year. Grant Sherrin settled for second outright in his BMW M4, coming away from Bathurst with a race win in the second encounter. Simon Hodges scored two race wins in his car of the same make and model. It was a significant weekend for the Production Cars category, as champions were crowned in seven separate categories. Jimmy Vernon celebrated his A1 class triumph in style by claiming a maiden outright win in the final race of the season. Piloting a Mitsubishi Evo X, Vernon took advantage of wet conditions to cruise home by 4s and earn himself

The Russell/Russell BMW F80 M3 heads the packed grid into Turn 1 and (below) confirmed the duo’s championship win. Images: SPEED SHOTS PHOTOGRAPHY a spot on the outright season podium. Class A2 was wrapped up by Chris Lillis, who also finished fourth outright in his HSV Clubsport. Jake Camilleri came out top in Class C, the home of the hot hatches, driving his Mazda 3 MPS to glory on return to the category after a six-year absence. Ford Fiesta pilots Amar Sharma and Daniel Natoli overcame hurdles of their own to win Class D, accumulating enough points despite missing the first round of

the season. Allan Jarvis was crowned Class E champion by default, sitting in a category of his own. Looking ahead, 2023 is set to be a big year for Production Car Racing after it was announced that the Australian Racing Group (ARG) has acquired a stake in the company. ARG will bring a whole new level of publicity to the APC category, providing it with national television coverage through inclusion in selected SpeedSeries rounds.

Jimmy Vernon celebrated his A1 class triumph in style by claiming a maiden outright win in the final race of the season

ALLEN AND CAPO CRUSH PROTOTYPE FIELD TWO DRIVERS stole the headlines in the Australian Prototype Series non-championship round at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International. Praga celebrated its first ever Prototype victory down under thanks to the gritty efforts of Ricky Capo (right), while teenage sensation Kai Allen displayed some peerless pace to take home more silverware at Mount Panorama. Having smashed the Super2 field at the Bathurst 1000 in a Holden VE Commodore, Allen had no dramas coming to grips with the Radical SR10, dominating both Practice and Qualifying. After being almost two seconds faster than the rest in Practice, the Mount Gambier teen cruised to pole position with a 2:23.4532. Allen’s lap was 1.2s faster than runner-up Neale Muston, who managed to steal the lead at Hell Corner after nailing the jump. But the South Australian immediately responded to retake control and never let it go to the chequered flag. Allen won with a five-second advantage over Muston with Ryan Godfrey joining the pair on the podium. The second race and final event on Saturday’s schedule was the stage for Capo to make history. The PRAGA R1T driver was on fire in the rolling start rising from fourth to first by the time the field entered

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Image: Rhys Vandersyde | INSYDE MEDIA Mountain Straight. Capo’s rise to the top was assisted by Godfrey, who made an eager move up the inside at Hell Corner. However, the #8 Wolf Tornado S could not make the lunge stick and pushed both Kai Allen and Neale Muston wide, presenting the perfect path for Capo to pounce and charge into the lead. John-Paul Drake was another big mover in the dramatic opening lap, rising up four positions to surge into second.

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This set up a thrilling race-long battle between Capo and Drake with the gap never extending greater than one second. The closest the 2022 Australian Prototype Series Champion got to the lead was on lap 3 when he went side by side with the leader up Mountain Straight. Drake did make a late charge, setting the fastest lap of the race on the sixth and final lap, but he fell six tenths of a second short and had to settle for second. The fighting performance was enough for Capo

to deliver Praga its breakthrough win at the famous Mount Panorama circuit. Despite being the dominant force across the weekend, Allen struggled in the dramatic race and dropped to fifth. But he rebounded in the latter stages to salvage a podium place behind Capo and Paul, which have him enough confidence to regain his superiority for the Sunday morning finale. Capo led the opening lap, but had to concede to the charging teen, who rose from third to first on the second tour. Once in clear air, no one could get close to Allen, who drove into the distance and took a 36s victory over Drake and Capo. The crushing victory capped off a memorable weekend for Allen, who could not have envisaged his first drive in a Prototype to go much better. Thomas Miles AUSTRALIAN PROTOTYPE SERIES ROUND RESULTS Pos Driver Points 1 Kai Allen 109 2 Ricky Capo 103 3 John-Paul Drake 100 4 Neale Muston 98 5 Mark Laucke 89

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FEENEY CHARGE GIVES TRIPLE EIGHT ANOTHER BATHURST SUCCESS BROC FEENEY and Prince Jefri Abrahim gave Triple Eight Race Engineering another Bathurst win in 2022 continues after a late dash secured the GT World Challenge Australia three-hour race on Sunday. The triumph by Feeney and Prince Jefri Abrahim at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International is the team’s latest success at Mount Panorama alongside the Bathurst 1000 and 12 Hour races earlier this year. The victory was sealed by the young Red Bull Ampol Racing Supercars star, who overhauled Tim Slade in a thrilling duel for the lead inside the final half hour. The pair had a race-long battle for the win, and it was not decided until the half an hour mark when Feeney and Slade went toe-totoe for three quarters of a lap until the Triple Eight Engineering Mercedes made it stick at the exit of Murrays Corner. Feeney got the job done to win by 11 seconds with the Slade and Brad Schumacher Audi and the Jordan Love and Ross Poulakis Mercedes completing the podium, while Jack Smith and rose up two places to score an impressive P4. Car #888 was the team’s only car left after the Jamie Whincup and Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim entry was withdrawn following a massive qualifying crash at McPhillamy Park where car #88 landed on its roof. Nearing the end of the first part of qualifying, Ibrahim lost control at the left hander, skated through the gravel before hitting the tyres hard and rolling upside down. Schumacher managed to execute a stunning lap in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II to score pole position. Despite finishing in the dry, the race started in the wet with Schumacher leading the pack through Hell Corner with cars #888 and #101 settling in behind as all drivers stayed out of trouble in the tricky opening hour. The RAM Motorsport entry of Mike Sheargold and Garth Walden was the first

Fight for the lead – Feeney (inside versus Slade ... Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG

STANDINGS AFTER ??? ROUNDS Pos 1 2 3 4 5 Winners are grinners: Prince Abrahim and Feeney. Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG to react to the drying track and change to slicks, and soon the rest of the field followed. In the first Pro drivers stint for, Feeney quickly reeled in Slade, but the latter’s longer stint paid dividends with Schumacher enjoying an eight second lead after the stops. Ibrahim only needed six minutes to close the gap to the Audi to set up a fluctuating battle, while ahead of them was the Love and Poulakis entry on an alternative strategy. After pushing his Mercedes back into the

mix, Love pitted after a mighty middle stint and Poulakis rejoined in front of the leaders before soon slipping back to third to set up a tense final hour. Triple Eight Race Engineering searched for an undercut, but traffic issues allowed Schumacher to hand over to Slade with a 19s advantage after the team nailed its final stop of the race. But Feeney had the superior speed in the run home and caught Slade, forcing the

Drivers J.Ibrahim/B.Feeney B.Schumacher/T.Slade R.Poulakis/J.Love T.MIles/J.Smith M.Cini/M.Caruso

Laps 78 78 78 77 76

Time 03:00:59.9210 03:01:10.9967 03:01:26.8782 03:02:27.2126 03:01:07.1279

latter to defend vigorously at Griffins Bend, Forrests Elbow and The Chase. Eventually Slade could not stop Feeney from taking the lead with a switch back move by Feeney at Murrays Corner on lap 61 which sealed the win. Despite the tricky changing conditions the David Crampton and Trent Harrison entry was the only causality from the race after experiencing “mapping issues” with their KTM. The final round of the GT World Challenge Australia Sprint season will be at the upcoming VALO Adelaide 500. Thomas Miles

SARGENT STEPS CLOSER TO PORSCHE TITLE REPORT: Josh Nevett THE ENTHRALLING battle for the Porsche Sprint Challenge title raged on at the Bathurst International, with king of the kids Tom Sargent (right) retaining his ascendency ahead of the season finale at Phillip Island. Sargent steered his #47 Tegra Australia Porsche to a crucial win in the first race of the weekend, before he was able to stick close to the heels of rival Ryan Wood who stole the round with consecutive victories. Despite having the momentum heading into the decider at the end of November, Wood admitted on Saturday that Sargent, who is 32 points clear in the standings, will be tough to catch. “I’m still annoyed with myself after Race 1 … we punch on to Phillip Island and hopefully carry this form,” he said. “It’s been a huge season between me and Tom (Sargent), it’s been great for the fans, so we’ll see what we can do at Phillip Island. “I think the championship is a little bit far away for

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STANDINGS AFTER 5 ROUNDS 1 Thomas Sargent 744 2 Ryan Wood 712 3 Aron Shields 537 4 Lachlan Bloxsom 505 5 Courtney Prince 501 us now, but we’ll just try to keep winning races and see what happens.” Sargent demonstrated his title credentials in Race 1, leading from lights-to-flag in a commanding triumph. Among a record field of 26 entries the 20-year-old, who will contest the Carrera Cup North America series in 2023, was the clear standout as he led Wood and Lachlan Bloxsom to the line. Pro-Am winner Sam Shahin finished sixth, while Nathan Sticklen claimed Class B honours.

Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG Sargent and Wood traded places in Race 2, setting up a showdown in the third encounter, with Bloxsom once again rounding out the podium places. For the second consecutive race it was Shahin topping the Pro-Am class, with Jacob Li leading Class B. Those three men repeated their feats in Race 3, all coming out victorious in a case of déjà vu. There was

one change to the Pro class podium, with Aron Shields pipping Bloxsom for third place. As a result, Shields remains third in the series standings. The champions of each class will be crowned at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, where the final round will take place from November 25-26.


TONY’S TITLE Images: DANIEL KALIS-ARG REPORT: Josh Nevett FORMER CHAMPION Will Brown pulled no punches in his pursuit of another TCR Australia Series title, but ultimately his efforts were in vain as Tony D’Alberto (above) secured the crown with a measured drive in the all-or-nothing season finale at Mount Panorama. The pair entered the final round as members of a pool of contenders which narrowed to just two by Sunday afternoon. With D’Alberto running in the midfield and Brown fighting at the front, onlookers in the garages had their calculators in hand, crunching the numbers to determine which driver had the upper hand in the title race. Brown held up his end of the bargain, taking the chequered flag after race leaders Aaron Cameron and Nathan Morcom clashed at The Chase. The incident opened the door for Brown to attempt an audacious dive for the lead down the inside at The Chase, which he completed successfully. HMO Customer Racing teammates Bailey Sweeny and Josh Buchan followed Brown through, completing the podium in their Hyundai machines. With maximum points secured, it was all on Honda Civic Type R driver D’Alberto. Crossing the line in 11th, D’Alberto and his Wall Racing crew were unsure if they had done enough to hold on. However, it soon became clear that the motorsport veteran had sealed season honours. “I am speechless, we worked so hard and this weekend was ultra-tough,” D’Alberto said. “We had our hands tied with the car here this weekend and the boys just kept trying to pump him up right until the end. “I did not know we had won until we stopped in Parc Ferme because I saw Will grabbing the lead and I thought ‘oh my god, how have we got to this’. “It has been a big journey for myself, Honda and Wall Racing, I had to convince Honda to get involved back in 2019 and I am just so proud and thankful we have delivered a championship for them.” After a post-race penalty was applied to Hyundai driver Luke King, D’Alberto was promoted to 10th in Race 2, leaving Brown

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Will Brown leads into the first corner. nine points short in the final standings. It was a heartbreaking result for the Melbourne Performance Centre Audi steerer. “Bitter sweet day, but first of all I want to say congrats to Tony, he did an awesome job all year and really deserved it,” Brown said in victory lane. “I did not know if I was happy or not when I crossed the line because that was all I had to do, but that is racing. “It was win or bin that race.” Winding back 24 hours, young gun Sweeny crashed the party with a win in Race 1, echoing his maiden victory back in April.

Sweeny led from the get-go, as teammate Buchan struggled to launch his brand-new Hyundai Elantra N TCR. Meanwhile, MPC Racing’s Jay Hanson and GRM Peugeot driver Dylan O’Keeffe made strong starts, settling into second and third respectively. Lachlan Mineeff was proving to be a surprise packet, sitting sixth after a careerbest qualifying result. Title fancy Jordan Cox also gained early ground, moving into the top 10, engaging in a tussle with rival Brown. D’Alberto was stuck behind that pair in 13th, after losing a position to Frenchman Teddy Clairet in his

Garry Rogers Motorsport Peugeot. The field was bunched up on lap 12 when the Safety Car was called upon, as Kangaroos took up positions close to the track. After the restart Hanson sensed an opportunity to attack Sweeny, trying to find a way past the composed junior to no avail. None of the title hopefuls were having much success – both Cox and D’Alberto dropped further down the order. The biggest moment of the race came shortly after, when Hanson slammed into the wall at Reid Park. Thankfully the driver was unharmed, although his Audi was the worse for wear. Sweeny gathered himself to take the win from O’Keeffe and Morcom. GRM talents Cameron and Ben Bargwanna were fourth and fifth, while Brown narrowed the advantage held by D’Alberto, who finished 11th. Cox was penalised for contact with Luke King and Privateer Zac Soutar was unable to finish, denting their hopes. The pair were unable to chase redemption in Race 2, as the weather gods had their say on the TCR title race. Wet weather and poor visibility saw the second encounter cancelled, after an attempt to start proceedings behind the safety car. It was a crushing blow for several drivers who were desperate to make up ground on D’Alberto. As such, he had an easier task in the final race. Josh Buchan claimed the final spot on the season podium, ahead of Cox who dropped to fourth overall after a disappointing Round 7.

FINAL STANDINGS

Aaron Cameron – up front until Chase clash ...

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1

D’Alberto

711

2

Brown

702

3

Buchan

667

4

Cox

647

5

Sweeny

610

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Tasmanian Lochie Dalton heads Ben Grice both were fast. Image: JACK MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY-ARG

The action was pretty intense, Morris, Kelly and Holdsworth battled across the races. Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG

HERNE HITS NEW HEIGHTS REPORT: Josh Nevett

NATHAN HERNE CAPPED OFF A DOMINANT 2022 IN THE TRANS AM SERIES WITH A CLEAN SWEEP OF THE BATHURST INTERNATIONAL RACING AT MOUNT PANORAMA. After strutting his stuff in America just one week earlier, the #1 Garry Rogers Motorsport Ford Mustang driver set the pace from the beginning of the non-championship Bathurst round, his efforts culminating in a comfortable victory in the headline Trans Am 100 feature race. As they have been throughout this season, Owen Kelly and Brett Holdsworth were Herne’s closest contenders, although both were involved in a last gasp incident that soured the final encounter. Mixed conditions greeted the competitors at Bathurst, as periods of rain came and went over the course of the weekend. Changing conditions did not faze Herne, who topped both practice sessions before scoring pole with the only time sub-2m 11s. Herne continued on his way by winning Heats 1 and 2, which served as qualifying bouts for the main Trans Am 100. Kelly and Holdsworth, in Mustang and Camaro machinery respectively, completed the podium in the first competitive hit-out of the weekend. The latter held off talented youngster Lochie Dalton, who came home fourth just less than 0.2s in arrears. Nash Morris was fifth after starting from the front row in his Supercheap Auto backed Mustang, despite starting from the front row. Experienced campaigners Kelly and Holdsworth were able to move past the rookie at Hell Corner on lap 2, pushing him out of the podium positions. The story was similar in Heat 2, with Herne leading from start to finish. His teammate Kelly challenged early but a mistake at Hell Corner dragged him back to the chasing pack made up of Holdsworth, Morris and Ben Grice. Meanwhile, American Robert Noaker cemented himself in the top 10 by climbing several spots on his series debut. Kelly and Holdsworth exchanged positions on lap 5, and Morris added insult to injury by passing Kelly at Forrest’s Elbow. A dramatic battle for the final podium position ensued, with Morris defending grimly from Kelly.

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It may have beena non-champiobship event, but Nathan Herne was still unbeatable ... Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG

Holdsworth was right in the contest until hit from behind ... Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG Ultimately, neither of them would end up on the steps. Contact between the pair at The Chase handed Dalton third place, while Kelly was relegated to ninth after copping a 15s penalty for the incident. Grice claimed fourth, ahead of Morris.

TRANS AM 100 Nobody could stop a rampant Herne in the Trans Am 100 finale, as he completed the weekend with a third race win. “It’s cool. The Trans Am 100 was hard race,” Herne said post-race. “The cars are not made for these endurance races – you get the gearbox oils and everything real watery ... you had to look after the car.

“We were able to push through to the end of the race.” While there was little action to entertain the spectators up front, plenty of action was unfolding behind. Holdsworth, Kelly, Grice and Morris all renewed their hostilities, tussling for the remaining podium places as the weekend reached its climax. The former looked almost certain to finish runner-up as he approached Forrest’s Elbow for the final time. However, Kelly lost patience, shunting Holdsworth’s machine from behind. The bruising blow sent Holdsworth into a spin, ending his hopes of a positive finish. It was equally bad news for Kelly, who

received his second penalty for the weekend, a 15s punishment which dropped him to fourth in the final finishing order. Grice and Morris were the beneficiaries of the carnage, claiming second and third. Aaron Tebb was the biggest mover, jumping 13 spots to finish P7, despite the race being shortened by two laps due to an early safety car period. The safety was required when Dalton speared off the track at The Chase, becoming beached in the sand trap. Noaker was set to be another good news story until his Dodge Challenger slowed with a mechanical failure on the penultimate lap. National Trans Am is now concluded for 2022 and it’s no secret that Herne will head into the summer break with a full trophy cabinet and plenty to smile about.

STANDINGS AFTER 5 ROUNDS Turtle Wax Trans Am Bathurst 100 results Pos Driver Time 1 Nathan Herne 35:41.0354 2 Owen Kelly 35:45.8308 3 Ben Grice 35:46.6085 4 Nash Morris 35:47.3279 5 James Simpson 36:10.3354


A MUSTANG RUNS WILD ON THE MOUNTAIN IN A TOTALLY DOMINANT PERFORMANCE, FORMER TOURING CAR MASTERS CHAMPION STEVEN JOHNSON RETURNED TO THE WINNER’S PODIUM AND DELIVERED A CLEAN SWEEP OF THE TCM RACES AT THE BATHURST INTERNATIONAL EVENT... ACROSS ALL CONDITIONS.

IN UNLEASHING the true potential of the Russell Hancock-owned #33 Allan Moffat tribute Mustang, Johnson delivered Ford 200 race wins in the TCM category. And for the first time in TCM history, Johnson won all four races across the weekend. He also racked up his 50th TCM race win, despite delivering an average qualifying performance. Qualifying delivered a big result for long time TCM racer Andrew Fisher, who judged the conditions best and took a strong pole position, ahead of John Bowe; next was the Whiteline Racing Camaro pair of Meidecke and Bressington, with TCM series challenger Ryan Hansford qualifying in 10th place who was troubled with power steering issues, while Johnson was 12th.

Johnson – four from four. Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG Andrew Fisher starred in qualifying. Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG

JOHNSON MAKES IT TWO FROM TWO The weekend’s Touring Car Masters racing kicked off with the inverted ‘Trophy Race’ grid, which saw Holden Torana driver Ryan Hansford starting from pole alongside Ford Mustang driver Tony Karanfilovski, with Johnson on the second row alongside Hansford led off the rolling start into Turn 1, but it wasn’t long before Johnson, starting out of third position in the #33 Mustang, grabbed second as the field ran up ‘Mountain Straight’. The pair were in close contact over the first lap and as they entered The Chase Johnson dived down the inside of the Torana into the tight right hander and despite locking the left front wheel he took the pass with a clean move. Johnson ultimately took the win from Hansford, when the Safety Car came out following Bressington’s visit to the sand trap. The race ended behind the Safety Car and behind the leading pair, George Miedecke in the Whiteline Chevrolet Camaro took third place.

JOHNSON MAKES IT TWO FROM TWO For the first full points race, Johnson in the Mustang stole the show, Fisher in the Torana impressed, Bressington was solid as Hansford and Bowe battled for the series lead. But it was not an easy win as Johnson had to come from behind to take the race victory. At the start it was an all-Torana front row with Fisher on pole position for the first time in his TCM career, with the Bowe alongside. It was a solid start from Fisher into Turn 1. Bowe lost exit speed and was swamped by the Whiteline Racing Camaro pair of Meidecke and Bressington and, as the field charged the climb up Mountain Straight and into Turn 2, Jamie Tilley in his 302Ci Mustang also got around Bowe in the run to the Cutting. At the end of lap one it was Fisher leading the field, with Johnson moving forward to be seventh. Bowe was in the championship battle, was holding Jim Policina a bay, with

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Turn 1 – Fisher shows the way. Image: JACK MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY-ARG Hansford moving forward from 10th place. Johnson showed the true speed of the Mustang as he moved past Bowe down Conrod to claim fifth position as Hansford also moved up a position to keep Bowe in view as the pair fought for the championship win. Fisher pulled away, but Johnson continued his charge forward and moved into second after a pass on Bressington. Fisher had a nearly three second lead and looked smooth and fast, Johnson was flying and started to gap the fighting group behind, with Bowe and Hansford now together after the pair passed Jamie Tilley at the end of lap five, as Meidecke went to pit lane. Hansford made an outside move into Griffiths Bend but had to fall back, however later in the lap on the run-down Conrod Straight, Hansford would move past his title rival with sheer horsepower, making a move well before ‘The Chase’. Meanwhile Johnson was closing onto the tail of the Jesus Torana as they climbed the hill for the start of the fifth lap. The true power and speed of the big Mustang was revealed as Johnson set the fastest lap of the race and passed Fisher down Conrod as the pair approached the entry to The Chase.,Johnson completing a clean move and taking the lead. Bowe now found himself losing points to Hansford, and was now behind Jamie Tilley in the early model 302 ci Mustang. At the flag it was Johnson, with Fisher in second. Bressington would claim third ahead of Hansford, with young Mustang driver Jamie Tilley finishing ahead of Bowe in sixth place.

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JOHNSON MAKES IT THREE WINS Johnson started from pole position, with Fisher alongside who struggled with wheelspin at the start and had to defend against Jamie Tilley and Bressington into Turn 1. Johnson took control as the field headed up Mountain Straight. Fisher was under attack by Tilley who made the pass down Conrod and into the chase. Behind Johnson, Jamie Tilley and Fisher, it was Jim Pollicina, Hansford and Bowe who was struggling in the conditions. Fisher was lucky to escape major damage as he ran straight ahead at Hell Corne, but managed to return to the track – he would later tangle with the GTHO Falcon of John Adams who would go on to claim fourth place. Tilley was spectacular as he chased Johnson, but he lost control as he entered the high-speed Chase section of the track and spun out of contention. Plenty of the drivers had off track excursions and wild spins in the wet conditions. Ryan Hansford extended his lead in the series with a solid second place, Tony Karanfilovski was third, as series contender Bowe was stuck in pit lane with electrical issues and recorded a DNF.

around for a while,” he said. “It is a pleasure to drive and I’m not rusty after all.” Behind the dominant Johnson, Ryan Hansford came home second to collect more valuable points in his championship assault. Completing the podium was Andrew Fisher while his main rival John Bowe came home fifth. While it may had been calm at the front with Johnson leading every lap of the race, there was plenty of drama behind. The biggest occurred at The Cutting where Cameron Tilley spun Danny Buzadzic around in scenes almost reminiscing 2005, Buzadzic able to recover before retiring his Allan Grice inspired Holden Torana. Karanfilovski also had a high-speed off at The Chase, while Ben Dunn’s left-rear tyre suddenly departed his Chevrolet Monza. Despite the chaos, Johnson cruised to a commanding flag to flag win to complete a perfect weekend which will go down into the history books.

Bruce Williams

JOHNSON WINS ALL FOUR TCM RACES After recording the historical achievement at Mount Panorama, Johnson was just thrilled to deliver some success to his hard-working crew. “I am just stocked for Russell, Julie and the whole team to have the opportunity to drive this beautiful car because it has been sitting

TCM STANDINGS Pos Driver 1 Ryan Hansford 2 John Bowe 3 George Miedecke 4 Andrew Fisher 5 Cameron Tilley

Points 747 669 589 566 535

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Formula 1 Round 21 Brazilian Grand Prix, SÃO PAULO

George Russell – F1 Grand Prix winner ... and Mercedes’ only 2022 win to date.

LIKE THE PHOENIX

MERCEDES RISES FROM ITS ASHES

By LUIS VASCONCELOS Images Motorsport Images

WHO WOULD have put one cent, back in March or April, on Mercedes getting a one-two finish during the 2022 Formula One World Championship entirely on merit? I’ll dare to say not even Toto Wolff would have bet on that, but George Russell’s dominant win in Interlagos, together with Hamilton’s amazing recovery from yet another clash with Verstappen to finish right behind his team-mate, proved Mercedes is really a tremendous force and that, in the end, there are some good characteristics on the much maligned W13. It was clear from the start of the weekend that Mercedes was in with a shout to finally win a Grand Prix this year, but Verstappen was still the hot favorite, in spite of being beaten for pole by Kevin Magnussen’s amazing pole lap, the Haas driver making the most out of the conditions and his track position – plus, of course, pulling off a great lap while the Dutchman admitted to making a mistake going into Turn 8. The start of the Sprint Race quickly reestablished the natural order of things, as by lap 3 Verstappen took the lead, while Russell followed him through later in the lap. Behind, Sainz, but especially Hamilton, Perez and Leclerc were recovering from poor grid positions, but they all ended up

Daniel’s season is not ending well – copping a penalty after taking out miracle Sprint pole man Magnussen on Sunday’s opening lap.

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in the top six, in that order. Verstappen, on Medium tyres was soon in trouble, being beaten by Russell and Sainz close to the end of the 24-lap dash. On to Sunday, and only Ferrari took Medium tyres for the start, with the other two top teams on Softs – the right call, again. Russell led Hamilton from the start but a Safety Car, to clear Magnussen and Ricciardo’s cars after the Australian drove into the back of the Haas, lasted six long laps and, at the restart, Verstappen and Hamilton clashed (read separate story), so Russell’s path to his first Grand Prix win was cleared. Pérez, in second place, was never a real threat for the young Brit, while damaging his tyres a lot more than the Mercedes driver in his bid to stay as close as possible to the leader. As for Hamilton, he was moving through the field, leading between laps 24 and 29, after going long on his first set of tyres. It was a gamble that paid off, for when he resumed in P4, he was so much quicker than Sainz and Pérez that 16 laps later he was already second. For Russell, the second stop still left him 7.7s ahead of his team-mate, with 19 laps to go, but another Safety Car, to remove Norris’ stranded McLaren, gave Hamilton brief hope and admittedly worried his team-mate, who nervously asked the team, “are we securing the one-two or are we racing?”. After being

told they were free to race, Russell judged the re-start perfectly, and gained enough in the first to laps to never allow Hamilton within DRS reach, thus securing his first Grand Prix victory. Russell quickly admitted that, “I was pretty impressed at how quickly I started crying, to be honest, once I crossed the line. It was literally by the time we were at Turn 2, tears were flooding. I just thought of my family to be honest – everybody’s back at home.” The new Grand Prix winner was obviously delighted, saying, “an amazing feeling. Just a huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It’s been an emotional roller coaster this season. This race was a really tough race. I felt in control. Lewis was super fast and then when I saw the Safety Car, I thought, ‘Jesus, this is going to be a really difficult end’. He put me under so much pressure, but I’m so happy to come away with the victory.” Hamilton, for his side, was gracious in defeat, in a race where he was the fastest, even with a slightly damaged car, preferring to pinpoint how important this result was for the team: “It is the most important thing for us to have this result. This is a massive boost to the whole team’s morale. Going into the winter, the team knows that we’re on the right track. And we are still the best team. We will get back to having this more consistent I think

next year and I’m excited for that battle.” And, of course, the seven-times World Champion also praised his team mate: “I’ve got to say huge congratulations to George. What an amazing drive he did today. He did amazing qualifying yesterday. So he truly deserves it. To my team, so proud of everyone back at the factory and here. This is an incredible result. We’ve worked so hard through this year to get a win and so this is hugely deserved for everybody, so a big, big thank you.”

TEAM ORDERS? NOT TODAY MATE…

Team orders were not applied by Mercedes and behind the Silver Arrows, Charles Leclerc, recovering from being dead last after being sent into the wall by Norris after the first re-start, was pleading with the team to tell Sainz, ahead of him in third place, to let him through. The order never came and the Monegasque made a point of explaining that, “I never want to ask this kind of things, I did it because we had a discussion before the race mentioning this case and then, for some reason, we changed our mind, and in the heat of the moment it was very frustrating.” As for Sainz, only post-race was he aware of the discussion, admitting that “I only got to know this at the end of the race, because to me, on the radio, nothing came from my engineer or the team. So, I just got to know this when I jumped out of the car ...”

Sainz hung on for third – and was unaware of team discussion about him potentially letting Leclerc pass.


Alonso delivered another strong result for Alpine ... fifth. The team may come to regret his departure ... Sir Lewis Boys, boys, boys ... Max and Lewis clash at Turn 2.

,

The tears flowed ... Russell is stoked!

Another ‘Multi-22’ moment for Red Bull? There were team orders at Red Bull, though, with Max Verstappen being asked to let Pérez through at the line if he failed to pass Alonso for fifth place until then. The Dutchman, though, clearly stated he wasn’t going to follow the orders, so the Mexican and Leclerc go into Abu Dhabi tied in second place in the championship, with 290 points each. Called into the team area in the middle of the TV interviews to get their stories right, the two man had different views even when they eventually left the room. Verstappen insisted that “I have my reasons for that. We just discussed that, and I think it was better that we finally sat together and spoke about it, and just moved forward from here. For sure, if we go to Abu Dhabi and he needs the points, because they’re tied, I’ll be there, but it’s good that we talked about it now and basically cleared everything that was there, why I didn’t do it.” Apparently it all dated back to the Monaco Grand Prix, when, allegedly Pérez crashed on purpose at the end of Q3 to secure a grid position ahead of Verstappen, but the

Mexican was still disappointed not to be given the extra two points: “Obviously I’m disappointed, especially after all I’ve done, but I’m sure we are all grown-ups and we will move forward for the team. Obviously, I’ve done a lot for him in the past, it’s no secret. But we’re good, we keep this discussion internally and move on.”

ALPINE ALL BUT SECURES FOURTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

There were even team orders at Alpine (!), less than 24 hours after Ocon and Alonso managed to clash twice in the opening lap of the Sprint, throwing them to the back of the grid for Sunday. But the A522 is such a quick car that with an aggressive three-stop strategy and the last Safety Car helping, Alonso managed to finish ahead of the two Red Bulls, in fifth place, with Ocon, on a twostops, in P8, all but securing the team’s P4 in the championship, as McLaren’s double DNF leaves the British team 19 points behind with just one race to go. Ocon was repeatedly told “don’t f*** with Alonso” during the last Safety Car period,

QUALIFYING RACE 21

RESULTS QUALIFYING SPRINT / STARTING GRID 24 LAPS SÃO PAULO

RESULTS RACE 21 71 LAPS SÃO PAULO

Pos Driver Time 1 Kevin Magnussen 1:11.674 2 Max Verstappen 1:11.877 3 George Russell 1:12.059 4 Lando Norris 1:12.263 5 Carlos Sainz 1:12.357 6 Esteban Ocon 1:12.425 7 Fernando Alonso 1:12.504 8 Lewis Hamilton 1:12.611 9 Sergio Perez 1:15.601 10 Charles Leclerc N/A 11 Alexander Albon 1:11.631 12 Pierre Gasly 1:11.675 13 Sebastian Vettel 1:11.678 14 Daniel Ricciardo 1:12.140 15 Lance Stroll 1:12.210 16 Nicholas Latifi 1:15.095 17 Zhou Guanyu 1:15.197 18 Valtteri Bottas 1:15.486 19 Yuki Tsunoda 1:16.264 20 Mick Schumacher 1:16.361

Pos Drivers 1 George Russell 2 Carlos Sainz 3 Lewis Hamilton 4 Max Verstappen 5 Sergio Perez 6 Charles Leclerc 7 Lando Norris 8 Kevin Magnussen 9 Sebastian Vettel 10 Pierre Gasly 11 Daniel Ricciardo 12 Mick Schumacher 13 Guanyu Zhou 14 Valtteri Bottas 15 Fernando Alonso 16 Yuki Tsunoda 17 Lance Stroll 18 Esteban Ocon 19 Nicholas Latifi NC Alexander Albon

Pos Drivers 1 George Russell 2 Lewis Hamilton 3 Carlos Sainz 4 Charles Leclerc 5 Fernando Alonso 6 Max Verstappen 7 Sergio Perez 8 Esteban Ocon 9 Valtteri Bottas 10 Lance Stroll 11 Sebastian Vettel 12 Pierre Gasly 13 Zhou Guanyu 14 Mick Schumacher 15 Alexander Albon 16 Nicholas Latifi 17 Yuki Tsunoda NC Lando Norris NC Daniel Ricciardo NC Kevin Magnussen

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Make Mercedes Ferrari Mercedes Red Bull Red Bull Ferrari McLaren Haas Aston Martin AlphaTauri McLaren Haas Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo Alpine AlphaTauri Aston Martin Alpine Williams Willians

Laps 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 12

Margin 30:11.307 +3.995 +4.492 +10.494 +11.855 +13.133 +25.624 +28.768 +30.218 +34.170 +39.395 +41.159 +41.763 +42.338 +48.985 +50.306 +50.700 +51.756 +1:16.850 DNF

s2 s3 s5 t-2 s4 s4 t-3 t-9 s4 s2 s3 s8 s4 s4 t-8 s3 t-2 t-12 t-3 t-9

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Make Mercedes Mercedes Ferrari Ferrari Alpine Red Bull Red Bull Alpine Alfa Romeo Aston Martin Aston Martin AlphaTauri Alfa Romeo Haas Williams Williams AlphaTauri McLaren McLaren Haas

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but insisted, “I want to pass Vettel, then I’ll deal with it” and so he did, making sure he also scored valuable points for the team. For Aston Martin there was heartbreak, for Vettel led Bottas during the first stint, in the battle for P6 in the Constructors’ Championship, but the Finn undercut him and on the last stint the German went down the order, even finishing behind team-mate Stroll, who scored the last point on offer. There was, however, no stopping Bottas from beating them both and extending his team’s advantage over Aston Martin to five points, the Finn admitting that “we got unlucky with the Safety Car, as we would have finished ahead of the two Alpine without it, scoring bigger points, but the most important thing was to outscore Aston Martin today.” Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there were team orders at Alfa Romeo too, as Zhou was told to move aside to let Bottas through after the Finn’s first stop for tyres, a decisive move for the veteran to beat Vettel on strategy early on in the race CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER RACE 21

Laps Margin 71 1:38:34.044 71 +1.529 s1 71 +4.051 t-1 71 +8.441 s2 71 +9.561 s10 71 +10.056 t-2 71 +14.080 -t2 71 +18.690 s10 71 +22.552 s5 71 +23.552 s7 71 +26.183 t-2 71 +26.867 t-2 71 +29.325 71 +29.899 t-2 71 +36.016 s5 71 +37.038 s3 70 +1 Lap t-1 50 DNF t-11 0 DNF t-8 0 DNF t-12

Pos Driver Points 1 Max Verstappen 429 2 Charles Leclerc 290 3 Sergio Perez 290 4 George Russell 265 5 Lewis Hamilton 240 6 Carlos Sainz 234 7 Lando Norris 113 8 Esteban Ocon 86 9 Fernando Alonso 81 10 Valtteri Bottas 49 11 Sebastian Vettel 36 12 Daniel Ricciardo 35 13 Kevin Magnussen 25 14 Perre Gasly 23 15 Lance Stroll 14 16 Mick Schumacher 12 17 Yuki Tsunoda 12 18 Zhou Guanyu 6 19 Alexander Albon 4 20 Nicholas Latifi 2

s1 t-1 0 -

VERSTAPPEN UNREPETANT AFTER CLASH WITH HAMILTON IT SEEMS there is a magnetic attraction between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, for every time they go into a battle armed with relatively even weapons, they end up clashing. It happened again in Interlagos, after the first Safety Car period, at the start of lap 7. Getting a good tow from the two Mercedes ahead of him, Verstappen went for a move around the outside into Turn 1, leaving himself with a terribly tight angle to make the second leg of the Senna S. As Hamilton turned in, the two touched and went wide, the Dutchman stopping at the end of the lap for a new nosecone, Hamilton continuing, down in eighth place with a slightly damaged car. Although he got a 5s penalty for the incident, Verstappen was unrepentant about his move, insisting “if you ask me if I’d do it again, Yes, definitively.” He then explained that, from his point of view, it was Hamilton who initiated what ended up in a collision: “I went around the outside in Turn 1, and as soon as I was going next to him, I just felt it that he had no intention to leave me space. So, I said, “Ok, if you don’t give me space then we’re just going to collide”. At the end of the day, we were too slow anyway; for him, it ruined his chances to win the race. “I thought that after last year, we maybe forget about it, and we could finally race, you know. First of all, when I went side by side, I thought ‘OK, let’s have good racing,’ but you feel it when the other driver is going to leave you space or not and there was zero intention to leave me space.” Admitting he “wasn’t expecting a penalty”, the World Champion insisted that, “I was 85% alongside and my intention is never to crash, but I could feel he was just not going to leave the space into that corner, and then, yes, we collided. If he would have just moved a little bit, he probably would have stayed ahead, anyway, and it’s a shame. I want to race, I want to have a good fight, but when the other one doesn’t want to work with you … I want to race and I thought we were racing. We were alongside, it’s not like I’m not there, you cannot just turn in.” Obviously frustrated by an incident that robbed him of chance to win in Interlagos, Hamilton refused to dwell on the matter after finishing second: “I don’t really have much of an opinion about it, to be honest. I don’t have any concerns. I think it’s natural when you have the success and the numbers on your chest, that you become a bit of a target. But it’s OK – it’s nothing that I have not dealt with before...”

www.autoaction.com.au I 57


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TEST YOUR MOTORSPORT KNOWLEDGE

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5. Two Scottish drivers have won the F1 Championship – Jackie Stewart is one, who is the other? (surname) 7. Who was won this year’s British Touring Car Championship? (surname) 8. Who won the 2022 MotoGP World Championship? (surname) 10. Who was fastest in the MotoGP post-season test? (surname) 11. Which Australian won gold in this year’s FIA Motorsport Games? (surname) 12. Who won the 1995 ATCC title? (surname) 13. Who is the most recent Scottish BTCC series winner? 14. How many Supercars Championships hasShane van Gisbergen now won? 15. For how many years were Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup teammates at Triple Eight? 18. Which current driver will move to the Blanchard Racing Team in 2023? (surname) 19. Who won the final F1 race in Adelaide? (surname) 20. By how many laps was the final Adelaide Grand Prix won by? 21. With what team did Jody Scheckter make his F1 debut in 1972? 22. Which Supercars driver will move to PremiAir Racing next season? (surname) 23. Joey Logano won the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series, what number title was this for him? 24. In what country was Paul Radisich born?

1. With what team did Jody Scheckter win his F1 World Championship? 2. For what manufacturer will Joan Mir ride in 2023? 3. Which nation won the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games? 10 4. Which Scotsman won the 1995 World Rally Championship? (surname) 5. Which NASCAR driver went viral after spectacularly riding the wall to qualify for the Championship 4? (surname) 6. After finishing the first lap in last, Larry Perkins and who recovered to win the 1995 Bathurst 1000? (surname) 9. What number car does Joey Logano drive in NASCAR? 12. Who am I? I made my Supercars debut at Bathurst last year, I currently sit second in the Super2 Series and scored pole position at The Bend as a Supercars Wildcard? (surname) 13. What brand won the final MotoGP race of 2022? 16. Which team won the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series? 17. Who won the 1995 IndyCar Series and Indy 500 in 1995 before making his F1 debut the following year? 20. With what team did Jody Scheckter score his first F1 race win? 21. Who scored his first Supercars Championship victory at Queensland Raceway for Dick Johnson Racing in 2013? (surname) 22. Who said, “I am not designed to come second or third. I am designed to win.” (surname)

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1848 Crossword answers: 1 down – Van Gisbergen, 2 down – Moffat, 3 down – DJR, 4 down – six, 5 down – Rins, 5 across – Raikkonen, 6 across – BJR, 6 down – Bright, 7 down – Suzuki, 8 down – Benetton, 9 across – Di Grassi, 10 across – Adelaide, 10 down – Aprilia, 11 across – Herta, 12 across – Pither, 13 down – Crompton, 14 down Bellof, 15 across – Alex Marquez, 16 across – Hill, 17 down – Doohan, 18 down – two, 19 down – Skaife, 19 across – Sandown, 20 across – Bright, 21 across – Imola, 22 across – McLaren, 22 down – Mazda, 23 across – Senna, 24 across – one, 25 across - third

We take a look back at what was making news in Auto Action 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago

Unfortunately readers we are missing a number of copies of our AA collection from 1972. 1972: JOHN HARVEY wrapped up a comprehensive campaign in the Australian Sports Car Championship. After winning the first four races, Harvey secured the championship crown with another win in the season finale at Symmons Plains driving a McLaren M6 Repco. His nearest rival was Phil Moore, while the closest championship contender Alan Hamilton did not greet the chequered flag, but still finished second in the points standings.

1982: A STRONG field competed at Calder Park in the 1982 Australian Grand Prix and Ralt RT4 Ford’s dominated the race, accounting for nine of the top 10 finishes. Alain Prost was peerless with a flag to flag win and was joined by fellow Frenchman Jacques Laffite and Brazilian Roberto Moreno on the podium. A turbo-charged Dick Johnson Special Ford Falcon was rumoured to be the basis of the three-time Bathurst 1000 winner’s touring car team, while his arch-rival Peter Brock was keen to test Prost’s F1 winner.

58 I www.autoaction.com.au

1992: THE 1992 Formula 1 season finished with a bang as Gerhard Berger scored a ‘brilliant tactical’ win in a dramatic Adelaide Grand Prix ahead of Benetton pair Michael Schumacher and Martin Brundle. Nigel Mansell had cruised to the world title that year, but his season finished on a sour note after an infamous final-turn clash with Ayrton Senna. The Brit slammed both the FIA and Senna after the crash, which was deemed a racing incident by the stewards. In the Group A touring cars, Jim Richards edged out John Bowe in a tight battle, while Mark Skate added the Winfield Trophy to his enormous 1992 trophy cabinet.

2002: GREG MURPHY was crowned the king of Pukekohe for a second straight season, but unlike 2001 he had to do it the hard way. Murphy only won Race 2, but a fighting effort through the weekend was enough to beat Todd Kelly for the round and seal second in the championship. After another Holden win, Ford president Geoff Polites took aim at “boring” V8Supercars racing and called for a major review of the series’ structure.

2012: AUTO ACTION correctly reported that Shane van Gisbergen would announce a sensational retirement from Supercars at just 23. After reports of unrest within Stone Brothers Racing, van Gisbergen called quits in what would become one of the shortest retirements ever, with him suiting up for Tekno Autosports the following year. On the track Jamie Whincup his fourth V8Supercars championship as Triple Eight Race Engineering swept the penultimate round at Winton.


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