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AFTER WINNING THREE STRAIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS, A YEAR ON THE RACING SIDELINES, AND A BITTER DISPUTE OVER HIS SERVICES, OSCAR PIASTRI HAS FINALLY STARTED HIS NEW JOB AND WILL REALISE HIS FORMULA 1 DREAMS AS A MCLAREN DRIVER IN 2023. TIMOTHY W NEAL, WITH LUIS VASCONCELOS, REPORTS… AUSTRALIA’S OSCAR Piastri has officially embarked on his Formula 1 career with McLaren, taking to the Yas Marina circuit for the first time in a 2022 spec F1 car for post-season testing. Seeing Piastri in an orange McLaren racing suit has seemed like an age coming, since the very public fallout between Alpine and McLaren erupted in a battle for his services after Fernando Alonso announced he was leaving Alpine. Although it wasn’t the first time he has been in a McLaren F1 car (as he had done a behind-closed-doors test at Paul Ricard a couple of weeks before in last season’s McLaren MCL35) this one was for the whole world to see. Piastri completed 123 laps around the Abu Dhabi track in a current spec Formula 1 car for the first time, in a 2022 MCL36. He arrives at McLaren after a year on the sidelines as Alpine’s reserve driver, having been just the third driver in history to win the F3 and F2 championships in consecutive years after Charles Leclerc and George Russell achieved the same feat. He also won the Formula Renault championship a year prior. As important as this post-season testing is for his first step into a competitive F1 drive, it was also a vital pressure release on what has been a publicly tense battle for his services, and the kid that has won in everything he’s put his backside in, can finally start doing what he does best … going fast. Piastri spoke to Auto Action’s Luis Vasconcelos at the end of the session to give his thoughts and some details of the day, as well as explain some of the differences between his experiences in the 2021 and 2022 spec cars. “It’s a cool feeling, and it’s a very different feeling to the ‘young driver testing days’ I did last year, because I knew that was just a day to have fun in an F1 car, whereas obviously this year it’s a building-block towards next year,” Piastri explained. “But it was awesome to have my first day with McLaren and to get to know everyone in the team and try and improve, and get up to speed for next year.” “We did a lot of laps and experimented, which is exactly what today was all about, and I’ve got a good idea on where to improve next year …i t’s nice to be out

on track and finally get to experience the current spec 2022 cars.” For the record, he sat as high as P7 for the majority of the day, before ending up in P14 with a time of 1:26.340, 1.095s off Carlos Sainz in P1, and 0.550s faster than teammate Lando Norris, but Piastri insisted that the timesheets are largely irrelevant in the scheme of things. “Building relationships with the pit crew was the main key for today, so in terms of lap time’s it’s meaningless, because you never know what everyone else is doing,” he continued. “The main purpose was getting to know my engineers, the mechanics, and everyone in the team, and in particular having good communication with my engineers, learning how to give feedback, what to adjust, and just learning about each other.” In terms of the differences between the Alpine and McLaren cars and having to change his driving style to suit – something much publicised with Daniel Ricciardo’s battles with the MCL36 – Piastri played a relatively straight bat on limited 2022 spec experience. “Compared to this car, it’s difficult to say if it’s a McLaren characteristic or just a 2022 characteristic. There are some small differences from last year’s Alpine, but I don’t want to put it in the McLaren characteristic basket. It’s my first day and there’s a lot to learn. “I wouldn’t say it felt 100% natural to drive … but no car is! That’s one of the difficulties of this sport – being able to adapt. It’s certainly different from the other F1, F2, and F3 cars I’ve driven and there’s things that need changing, but there was nothing that was completely alien about it.” He also gave a small insight into his first experience of being alongside Lando Norris, who seemed to have a solid grip on the MCL36, in what was a difficult year for the team. “I was definitely able to have a look at how he drives the car, and obviously he’s made it work well this year, so it was nice to have a reference on how Lando drives, just seeing what he does differently and what he does the same in some places.”

Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES With that 676km session making up around 40 per cent of his on-track testing time before the teams get to Bahrain for the season opening March 5 Grand Prix, it’s a pressurised turnaround to get used to the car for 2023. “It’s definitely important because of the cars being the same next year, and everyone’s going be trying to go quicker and quicker. But it was my first full day in a 2022 F1 car and there are a few things that are different … bouncing down the straights is certainly something new! But I thought the engine felt good. “I’m in the factory next week for my official introduction to everyone and I’m looking forward to that and meeting the whole crew, and then it’s working with the engineers and mechanics and doing sim work that are the big ticket items.”

Piastri was fortunate in that Alpine agreed to release him from his contract end-date early, allowing him the head start in the MCL36 that wasn’t originally going to happen. “Getting these extra six weeks in has been really positive for me, and you can’t substitute anything for actual track work, so having today was really important for things going forward. “I’m quite looking forward to being able to design some of my own little things if I want to – all of that kind of background stuff that doesn’t necessarily get seen – that’s all stuff I can work on in the next six weeks.”



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THE 2023 Repco Supercars Championship calendar has been released to a storm of controversy, overshadowing the return of the Sandown 500. The calendar threatened to rip a hole in the sport, with Supercars claiming the date previously announced for the Motorsport Australia and Australian Racing Group-run SpeedSeries. Along with the Sandown 500, the Newcastle 500 returns in March with Thrifty Car Rentals as its naming rights sponsor, and The Bend retains its spot at the expense of Winton. Bids by two of Tony Quinn’s tracks, Queensland Raceway and Hampton Downs in New Zealand, also failed to unseat The Bend. Despite the positives of the calendar, the main talking point was the controversy surrounding the date of the Sandown 500. Following the crashedriddled opening to the Bathurst 1000, Supercar teams increased the pressure on Supercars for a lead-in endurance race for Bathurst, with the preferred option being the historic and fansupported Sandown 500. Draft calendars have been rolling around the paddock in various

forms since the middle of September and have all been fluid around the Sandown date as it is believed Supercars juggled an attempt to pick up a support gig at the Singapore Grand Prix. If Singapore had come off, it would have impacted both the dates of Sandown and Bathurst, with the latter expected to move one week further into October. Some reports claim Supercars had the September 13-15 provisionally booked with the Melbourne Racing Club, which runs Sandown, when the MRC accepted a booking from Motorsport Australia. However, the most recent draft calendar seen by Auto Action had the race on the first weekend of September, coinciding with the pre-finals bye in the AFL and leaving Supercars with no competition on that weekend. The mid-September date means the Seven Network will not telecast the Sandown 500 live, although it is running live with six other rounds in the Series. With Network Ten covering the Australian Grand Prix meeting, seven of the 12 rounds will be on free-toair coverage. The date also virtually guarantees a clash with the AFL finals in Melbourne. The first any key players knew of

SpeedSeries dumping by Sandown was on the Tuesday night before the midday Wednesday embargo of the announcement. By Wednesday morning, Motorsport Australia walked away from the potentially divisive fight and will find another day for its (and ARG’s) Sandown round, either swapping to the first weekend of September or exploring ways of hosting the TCR World Tour later in the year. “Motorsport Australia was told, as late as Tuesday afternoon, that we still held the booking for Sandown on 15-17 September,” a Motorsport Australia spokesperson said last Wednesday. “Today, we have now discovered the circuit has clearly been double booked, which is certainly frustrating given we announced and locked in this date some time ago. “In the interests of everyone involved, we have agreed to move the SpeedSeries booking to a new date to be confirmed.” ARG’s CFO Liam Curkpatrick commented that “unfortunately, it appears that no consultation regarding this situation occurred prior to the release of the conflicting date as part of the Supercars calendar ... however the situation is what it is and we will issue a revised calendar shortly.” Newcastle regaining its spot on the calendar, now as the opening act, has long been




CALENDAR HIGHLIGHTS Seven rounds on free-to-air TV The return of the Newcastle 500 and the Sandown 500 The Series visits every state in Australia at least once Regional Victoria – Winton – has missed out. Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES reported, but the action was all around the TBC round with the Supercars test tracks Winton and Queensland Raceway missing out to The Bend which had the support of South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas. “We think South Australia has the demand for two events,” Malinauskas said last week. “The Bend is a different experience to the Adelaide 500, and we think they’ve both got their place. I’ve certainly been campaigning behind the scenes with Supercars to not just have the Adelaide 500 but also The Bend event.” Supercars will face increased pressure for an extra round next year if it wants to accommodate a return to New Zealand, but if it expands to 13 rounds it will need to find an extra $1.5m in

payments to the teams which are entitled to $60,000 for every car for each round more than the contractred 12 rounds. Supercars CEO, Shane Howard, said Supercars will push to return to New Zealand in 2024 without hinting whether it will be a 13th round or if The Bend is under threat. “We are still in progressive talks with our counterparts there for an event in the future, however, as they continue it is in the best interest of all parties involved to focus on 2024 and beyond,” he said. “We have every intention to return to New Zealand and we are confident of an announcement in the new year regarding a partnership with a new venue.”

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Manager NZ Major Events, Kylie Hawker-Green, also said the benefits of a Supercars round in New Zealand are clear and the government also hopes racing can resume across the Tasman. “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has previously supported the V8 Supercar events with $2.2 million over five years from the former Major Events Development Fund,” he said. “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will continue to liaise with event organisers to consider how the government could support the event returning to New Zealand in future.”

2023 REPCO SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR ROUND 1: Thrifty Newcastle 500 – 10-12 March (Broadcast on Seven and Fox Sports) ROUND 2: Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix – 30 March to 2 April 2023 (Broadcast on Ten and Fox Sports) ROUND 3: Perth SuperSprint – 2830 April (Broadcast on Fox Sports) ROUND 4: NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint – 19-21 May (Broadcast on Fox Sports) ROUND 5: Darwin Triple Crown 1618 June (Broadcast on Seven and Fox Sports) ROUND 6: NTI Townsville 500 – 7-9 July (Broadcast on Seven and Fox Sports) ROUND 7: Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight – 28-30 July (Broadcast on Fox Sports) ROUND 8: OTR SuperSprint – 18-20 August (Broadcast on Fox Sports) ROUND 9: Penrite Oil Sandown 500 – 15-17 September (Broadcast on Fox Sports) ROUND 10: Repco Bathurst 1000 – 5-8 October (Broadcast on Seven and Fox Sports) ROUND 11: Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 – 27-29 October (Broadcast on Seven and Fox Sports) ROUND 12: VALO Adelaide 500 – 23-26 November (Broadcast on Seven and Fox Sports)



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GOLDING TO RUN WINNING CHASSIS JAMES GOLDING will bring back an ex-Jamie Whincup chassis to the scene of former glory at this weekend’s Adelaide 500. Due to the heavy damage sustained at the Gold Coast 500, PremiAir Racing deemed Golding’s chassis unrepairable within the turnaround between events and will race chassis 888A-053 in Subway colours. It is the chassis Whincup drove to victory on the Saturday of the previous Adelaide 500 in 2020. Car #88 campaigned the chassis in seasons 2019 and 2020 with the last Sandown 500 one of its 10 wins. Craig Lowndes and Declan Fraser also drove it as a wildcard at the recent Bathurst 1000.

JONES TO RACE WITH SA SUPPORT MACAULEY JONES will take on the VALO Adelaide 500 with some home support and a familiar look. Jones’ Brad Jones Racing Holden ZB Commodore will carry red and black TRG Transport colours thanks to support from the South Australian based company. It is the same look he carried #96 carried at The Bend Supersprint and makes the fifth livery change in as many rounds since then. Jones’ car is fresh from a big rebuild after it caught alight following the big crash on the Sunday of the Gold Coast 500.

GEN3 CARS TO HIT ADELAIDE SOME SUPERCARS stars will be steering the new Gen3 prototypes at the VALO Adelaide 500. The cars will be on track across all four days this weekend with six-time Adelaide 500 race winner Craig Lowndes leading the list of drivers. Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki will be the other driver behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Camaro. Tickford star Cameron Waters and co-driver Zane Goddard will be the first drivers to test the new Ford Mustang on track since Dick Johnson debuted it at the Bathurst 1000.

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MSR HANDS HILL SUPERCARS SEAT THE FINAL piece of the 2023 Supercars Championship grid is complete after Matt Stone Racing confirmed Cameron Hill as its new driver. Hill will make his main-game debut in a Truck Assist backed Chevrolet Camaro alongside Jack Le Brocq on the streets of Newcastle next year, replacing the departing Todd Hazelwood. With Brad Jones Racing expected to retain its four drivers, Hill’s signing completes the 2023 Supercars grid with he and Grove Racing’s Matt Payne the two rookies to take on the streets of Newcastle next March. The 25-year-old has been competing in the Dunlop Super2 Series for Triple Eight Race Engineering and currently sits fourth in the standings after a solid showing with podiums at Perth and Townsville the high points. Hill also made his Supercars debut at this year’s Bathurst 1000 and impressed, keeping his nose clean in PremiAir Racing’s retro Coca-Cola Commodore. He and main driver Chris Pither pushed as high as P15 before a power-steering failure relegated the #22 to 21st. But next year Hill will be the star of the show with Pither being a casualty of the Supercars silly season and the Canberra born driver becoming a main-game rookie as the sport enters the Gen3 era. Hill will be Canberra’s first full-time Supercars driver since Dale Brede’s 2004 campaign with Team Dynamik and he cannot wait for his dream come true at Newcastle. “It has been a goal of mine for years to compete at the highest level here in Australia,” he said. “We have massive potential here at MSR. The team has been building towards Gen3 for some time now. “Everyone will have brand new cars, and I see it as a big opportunity for myself and the team to make an impact. “Its the first time the playing field will have been level for years. I am grateful that Matt and the team see my potential and are giving me this opportunity.” Hill has emerged on top of a competitive fight for the coveted main-game seat at MSR.

He saw off other contenders such as Triple Eight teammate and current Super2 series leader Declan Fraser and Hazelwood’s Bathurst co-driver Jayden Ojeda, while MSR commercial director Al Bye revealed to AUTO ACTION one driver with around seven figures of sponsorship backing was also turned away. In Hill MSR is dealing with a known quantity, who has been a consistent front runner across many years and many categories. After winning numerous state and national karting championships he secured the 2015 Formula Ford title in dominant fashion and finished twice in the top three of the Toyota 86 Series. He also stood on the top step after a fighting win at this year’s Bathurst 6 Hour, while the ultimate success in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia series last year opened the door for Super2. Despite Fraser being the preferred candidate to drive the #888 wildcard at Bathurst, Hill has overtaken his Super2 teammate in the race to make the main game. MSR and team owner and CEO Matt Stone says he is excited about the potential of his latest young gun Hill, who follows in the footsteps of Hazelwood, Zane Goddard and Jake Kostecki, who also made their main-game debuts with the team. “It’s exciting to have another rookie in the fold here at MSR,” Stone said. “In Cam, we see a lot of great potential with the experiences and success that he has had in multiple categories over the past few years. “I think he is the perfect fit for the changing dynamic that comes with Gen 3.” The MSR seat is a grand opportunity for Hill. If he can perform alongside a team-mate with 168 races, a Supercars victory and five seasons of experience like Jack Le Brocq, he could become an extremely highly rated talent. Thomas Miles

NEW AND OLD HOLDEN RACING TEAMS PAY TRIBUTE TO THE LION TRIPLE EIGHT Race Engineering (above) and Walkinshaw Andretti United (right) will run tribute liveries this weekend as Holden signs off from the Series. WAU was the original Holden Racing Team in 1990 and Triple Eight carried the branding recently as a minor component of its branding from 2017 to 2020 when Holden was parked as a motoring marque. As the original custodians of the HRT brand, WAU wanted to say farewell to Holden by bringing back the famous lion and helmet logo on its cars as a final sendoff. Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat will also wear race suits reflecting the livery and Optus has also jumped on board and is using its original logo as well. “We wanted to do something special for the last ever Holden race, and it just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have the lion and the helmet on the side of our cars for one last time. We know how much it means to so many people,” WAU team principal Bruce Stewart said. “This team has had such a long and storied history with Holden, we bled red, our fans bled red, so for the final roar, it’s only fitting we reflect back on the journey. “It [Holden] finishing in Adelaide is also fitting, with so many people contributing to the Holden legacy just down the road at the Elizabeth plant, the place Nick’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather worked as well – these people were the lifeblood of Holden. “A thank you to all of our partners who have supported this, we are looking forward to hopefully sending the brand off in the best possible way over the weekend.” Chris Payne, the general manager at Chevrolet Racing overseeing the Camaro Gen3 program, is keen to send Holden out with due recognition of its role in Australian motorsport and spoke about the changes to the Triple Eight cars this way weekend.



“Feelings will certainly be high at the Adelaide 500 this weekend for the final appearance of a Holden badged Supercar,” he said. “Holden fans have been passionate supporters since 1948, and this Holden tribute livery from Triple Eight, combined with the decision by Shane to run the #1, is a fitting way for the lion to have one final roar. “Over 50 years of spirited competition, and at times bitter rivalry between Holden and Ford, will come to an end on Sunday; but the next exciting era will soon be upon us with Gen3, and we cannot wait for the debut of the all-new Chevrolet Racing Camaro Supercar in 2023.” The idea for the white livery with the watermarked logo came from inside Triple Eight and was brought to life by Peter Hughes. Hughes was involved with designing, sometimes in a management role, all Holden Racing Team cars from 1997 onwards. In 1997, he famously returned red to the factory Holdens and eventually morphed it into the main colour for HRT and then eventually incorporated it into Red Bull Racing liveries. “The idea of an all-white livery with a subtle watermark wasn’t unheard of within Triple Eight,” Hughes said, “with Tom [Wilson, Triple Eight Commercial Director] and I floating the idea in the past with no

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luck on more than one occasion, so when the opportunity to execute a ‘Final Triple Eight Holden’ livery presented itself, we knew this theme would work perfectly as a truly unique tribute. “The concept allowed us to celebrate Holden in a very cool and respectful way, impregnating the whole car with Holden logos and badges from its illustrious history without taking away or competing with our current partners. The overall feel is a livery that is Triple Eight DNA through and through, but also with a tasteful extra twist celebrating Holden. “I want to extend a huge thank you to the primary sponsors, Red Bull, Ampol and all the others, for letting us compromise their brand guidelines just a little to help celebrate an Australian icon. I hope the fans enjoy and embrace the livery and the celebrations.” Team co-owner Jamie Whincup won five of his Championships in Holden cars, and saluted once at Bathurst with the lion. Whincup started his Supercar career in a Holden with Garry Rogers Motorsport and drove a Ford for four years before returning to Holden for the final decade of his illustrious career. Now as a team owner at Triple Eight, he has mixed emotions about the demise of the Holden brand as he looks to the future

with Chevrolet, also out of the General Motors family. “There’s certainly no underestimating the significance of this year’s Adelaide 500 the last Supercars Championship event for the roaring Lion,” he said. “Seeing the Holden badge cross the finish line for the final time on Sunday on its home soil will no doubt pull a heartstring. “Triple Eight’s relationship with Holden started in 2010, and we’ve shared so much success over that time; 189 wins, 10 manufacturers titles, eight Drivers’ Championships and six Bathurst 1000 wins to name a few. “Although it’s a time to reflect and celebrate the legacy of Holden, I want fans to be excited for the future of the sport with the introduction of Gen3 and the Chevrolet Camaro. Triple Eight, General Motors and Supercars have put in a mammoth effort over the past three years to get this project on the track for the beginning of the 2023 season, and I can’t wait to be part of the Camaro vs Mustang rivalry into the future.” Holden signs off with 22 titles and more than 600 race wins since its first title in 1970 with Norm Beechey in a Holden Monaro. All but one round of the Australian Touring Car Championship since its inception has featured a Holden of some sort. Andrew Clarke I 7



NEW NAME FOR NEWCASTLE 500 THE RETURN to the Newcastle streets will not only open a new era of Supercars, but also for the event itself. The 2023 season opener will be known as the Thrifty Newcastle 500 after the company became the offical Hire Car partner of category for the next two years. Thrifty is the second naming rights partner of the Newcastle 500 after Coates Hire supported the three previous events held from 2017-19. Having been starved of Supercars since Scott McLaughlin went back-to-back three years ago, a huge crowd is expected to swarm on the Newcastle streets on March 10-12 2023.

DRIVERS EYE TO HIT TV SCREENS SUPERCARS WILL introduce the Drivers’s Eye helmet micro camera technology in the 2023 championship season. Supercars has teamed up with Racing Force International in a multi-year agreement to use the world’s first and only FIA homologated micro camera. The camera weighing just 1.43 grams was delivered for live broadcasting in January 2020 and has been a popular addition Formula 1 broadcasts this year. “The camera will be positioned at eye-level on the inside of the helmet (and) adds a new dimension to the viewing experience,” Supercars head of broadcast David Tunnicliffe.

TRANS AM STAR TO TAKE ON SUPER2 TASMANIAN TRANS Am star Lachlan Dalton will step up to the Dunlop Super 2 Series this weekend. The protege of two-time Supercars champion, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner and fellow Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose replaces Elly Morrow in the Brad Jones Racing Super 2 VF Commodore. Morrow has elected to focus in her S5000 Tasman Trophy duties in Adelaide, opening a door for the teen who finished fourth in the 2022 Trans Am Series. “When the opportunity arose recently to jump into the Super2 car for Adelaide, it was one I couldn’t pass up,” Dalton said.

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LOVE SHIRKS PORSCHE TREND FOR V8 RACING ONE OF Australia’s most promising racing prospects, Aaron Love, has made the move from Porsche’s into V8s after signing with Blanchard Racing Team for their 2023 Super2 program. Love will drive Tim Slade’s 2022 Mustang, while BRT enters 2023 with Todd Hazelwood in its sole Gen3 car, with an eye towards two cars in 2024; potentially paving the way into a Supercars drive for Love. Love fell just short of an Australian Carrera Cup title with Sonic Racing, despite taking 11 wins, but missed two rounds due to competing in two stages of the Mobil 1 Supercup, after also completing the French Carrera Cup season where he finished fifth, racing for Pierre Martinet by Almeras. The 20-year-old WA speedster spoke to Auto Action about why he chose to take a path towards a desired Supercars career, rather than opting for a future in Europe where he was perhaps “expected” to go. “I had a good hard think about why I went over to Europe, and whether it was because I wanted to go there, or because everyone in that part of motorsport in Australia sees it as the natural path to go down, and maybe that wasn’t what I really wanted,” Love explained. “So I thought that Supercars was where I wanted to be, and I had a relationship with Blanchards through Michael Ritter (Sonic team principal) so the option was always there. Mick has always been there for me and my brother like that, and introduced us to people that he thought would be good for us. “Sonic has had quite a few Supercar drivers go through their pathway.”

“There were options to return to the Supercup with Almeras and to the French Carrera Cup, and we were also considering North America in GT racing which has big funding with investors looking to get the right people behind their equipment.” In terms of his preferred racing styles, what Love prefers on the track is what ultimately made the decision for him. “It really came down to where I thought I’d enjoy racing the most. Like in Europe you’ve got cool options like the 24 hours of Nurburgring, but then there’s the more boring races, and I thought what would I like the most? Was I going to enjoy the standard GT race, or a standard Supercars race? And obviously it’s Supercars,” Love told AA. “And I think the way Australians are taught to drive here is just to be really smooth and let the car do its thing. But over there (Europe) in the new Cup cars, you really have to force the thing around. Supercars are obviously a bigger car and they have a lot more horsepower but they have that locked diff, so you know you’ve got to be patient, and I enjoy that it rewards technique rather than straight up hustle.” Being amongst the BRT crew next year and performing well in Super2 could also mean a co-driver berth at Bathurst and the returning Sandown 500, with Tim Blanchard himself having filled that co-driver role of late. “To get a start at Bathurst would be really cool and it’s definitely something we’re looking towards, and obviously there’s a few hurdles to get over. But doing those races is a big task, and I think rushing into it would be a bit inappropriate, but it’s definitely something I’m going to work towards.” TW Neal

SUPER3 STAR READY TO MAKE STEP UP IN TEAM 18 MACHINERY THERE MAY be a scramble among Super2 teams to make the grid next year, but one driver who does not have this concern is current Super3 Series leader Kai Allen. Allen jumps from the third to the second tier next year alongside Eggleston Motorsport, the team which has helped him surge to the top of the 2022 Super3 standings with one round to go. The teenager will race one of the Team18 Holden ZB Commodores currently driven by Supercars stars Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye. Team 18 owner Charlie Schwerkolt confirmed to AUTO ACTION that both cars will be handed over on December 13 and Allen said it is a great reassurance to have a drive locked in. “It will be really cool to be racing a Team18 car with Eggleston,” he said. “The teams are struggling, so it will be interesting to see what they can do. “But we are all locked in and ready to go. Eggleston brought them off Charlie three years ago, so there was never much concern and it is good to know I will have a car. “Looking forward to next year because it will be pretty cool being a new car to learn.” It means Allen will remain behind the wheel

of Triple Eight Race Engineering-built machinery having driven an ex Jamie Whincup Holden VE Commodore this year. The Mount Gambier teen has powered the chassis Whincup won nine races in 2010 to even more success, collecting six wins and a recordbreaking nine pole positions so far in 2022. Although Allen is focused on securing the Super3 title at the upcoming VALO Adelaide 500, he has already shifted some attention to 2023 having cut some laps in a variety of Gen2 cars. He has driven Pye’s Commodore, plus a Ford Mustang from both the Dick Johnson Racing and Blanchard Racing squads at Sydney Motorsport Park, Queensland Raceway and Winton respectively. Allen said he learnt a lot of things from the

experiences including a huge shift in driving styles between the two generations of Supercar. “I have driven the Erebus Supercar at a couple of ride days and have just driven Scott Pye’s and Tim Slade’s car last week. It was really cool to get some laps ahead of next year,” he said. “I learnt so much just because they are so different with all the aerodynamics and big wings. “It is a bit of different technique compared to the old VE where you drive it hard to go hard, where the new cars drive like a GT car.” Allen enters the VALO Adelaide 500 with a 66-point lead to defend from season-long rival Brad Vaughan and he said it will be a dream racing on a track close to his heart, let alone winning the Super3 title. “I have been watching it for all those years on the sidelines as a kid and that was cool, but I am now eager to get on track. It will be a dream come true,” he said. “Brad has been hot on my heels all year, so it will be an entertaining final round. “I am itching to get in the car and hopefully we can start and finish strong to get the title sealed up.” Thomas Miles


AFTER AN impressive opening campaign with Team 18 in 2020, Scott Pye believed the squad’s maiden win was “only a matter of time”. Fast forward almost two years and the team has been unable to return to the podium since, but it has got close many times and is not giving up hope as it prepares for the season-ending VALO Adelaide 500. Plenty of confidence can be generated from the pace Pye and teammate Mark Winterbottom have shown on street circuits where both cars have regularly been in the top 10. Speaking to AUTO ACTION at the squad’s popular Open Day where its Mount Waverley base was opened to the public for the first time, Team 18 owner Charlie Schwerkolt said there is a big chance to do it in Adelaide after overcoming plenty of challenges in its seventh season in the sport. “We have not finished the season yet! It is that elusive win, but we are still trying as hard (as ever),” he said. There is nothing in it, but both cars and drivers are suited to the Adelaide race. “It (2022) has been solid. Not everything has gone our way, but there have been a lot of highs ... the new leadership with (team manager) Bruin (Beasley) and (crew chief) Dennis (Huijiser) coming on board. “You can forget all of our power steering issues – they are gone because we are doing it in-house now. “We have got on top of a lot of things and our reliability is



good as a team, so we are just building into next year.” One of the highlights of the Open Day was the reveal of Pye’s new livery for the season finale, which brings Toyota back to the sport…sort of. Long time Team 18 backer Toyota Forklifts have stepped up to be the fifth and final major sponsor on car #20 in 2022. Pye will be one of four South Australians on the grid and he knows how special the event’s return will be and also believes the resurfaced track might make times faster than ever. “I would have loved to attended it more, but went to it once before I drove in Supercars, but as a kid I saw it advertised everywhere and dreamed of one day racing there. It is one of the coolest tracks,” he said to AUTO ACTION. “We obviously lost it for two years, so it feels like we are getting to do it for the first time again, which is really cool. Being a South Australian it means a lot. “I went there on Wednesday and it has changed a lot. It is going to be a lot faster and we will have to adapt very quickly to the new track. “We are optimistic and will try to finish on a high.” Winterbottom enters Adelaide in the middle of a delicate battle for ninth in the championship. If “Frosty” is to defend P9 in the standings, he must hold off both Andre Heimgartner and Tim Slade, who are both

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within 57 points of car #18. But for a driver like Winterbottom who has the 2015 Supercars Championship, 2013 Bathurst 1000 and 38 wins up his sleeve, he is not too fussed on how the standings shape after this weekend’s season finale. “I am not going there to finish ninth, I am going there to try and win the race,” he said. “You want to finish up as high as possible, but once you cannot win the championship, it is about trying to get podiums. “If we do that then it all looks after itself. Top 10 is a stat, but it is not what (want you want) you are trying to win.” Despite being the most experienced driver on the grid and being in winning positions on many occasions for Ford Performance Racing, things never went Winterbottom’s way on the streets of Adelaide. He is yet to win there and said his bad luck is an example of how hard the race is to finish, let alone win. “It is going to be a tough weekend and it is the only track other than Newcastle I have not won at,” he said. “I have been second there quite a few times, but have not won it. “I have led races there, but broke roll bars and one year I was leading by 15 seconds with eight laps to go and blew an engine. “You can roll through the stories – but it is not a bogey track, it is just a tough event.” I 9


STACKED GT FIELD FOR TENSE ADELAIDE FINALE A THREE-way fight for the title will decide the second season of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS on the streets of Adelaide this weekend. Reigning series winner Yasser Shahin currently leads the standings by 11-points as factory Audi Sport driver Christopher Mies bolsters his already strong title defence. The leading challenger to steal the crown off Shahin is Triple Eight Race Engineering spearhead Prince Jefri Ibrahim. Ibrahim has continued his rapid development in the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and will have a new co-driver in Nick Foster. But the pair are no strangers, having regularly raced in the Fanatec GT World

Challenge Asia powered by AWS together. The third of the title contenders is Shannons Insurance driver Liam Talbot, who will call on his Adelaide experience to close the 14-point gap to Shahin as he will again share the driving duties with Fraser Ross. Series leader Ibrahim hopes his brother Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim can offer him enough support to keep his title rivals at bay. The second Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be one to watch with a man with 11 Adelaide 500 race wins of experience as co-driver. If Jamie Whincup can show some of the same speed he used to become the most successful Supercars driver ever on the Adelaide streets, the sister Triple Eight

Mercedes could be a wildcard amongst the championship contenders this weekend. Shahin hopes for support from stablemate Tony Bates, who also has a factory Audi Sport ace alongside him in Kelvin van der Linde. In addition to the thrilling title fight, the Bentley brigade will be back in town. An exciting inclusion to the field is the latest specification Bentley Continental GT3 to be shared by former GT Trophy combatants Mike Bailey and Brett Hobson. Bailey’s team will be the first globally to race both specifications of the new Continental GT3 together as Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Am Matt Belford will take the wheel of the older model. The battle for Am Class is also yet to be


confirmed as the pairing of Gary Higgon and Paul Stokell holds a formidable 47 point advantage from teammate Matt Stoupas. The likes of James and Theo Koundouris, Marc Cini and the returning Ash Samadi also provide competition in Audis. The GT Trophy is set to be closely contested as reigning class winner Brad Schumacher aims to defend his title alongside Sergio Pires. But it will not be easy as just seven points away is Launch Racing’s Michael Kokkinos, while Scott Taylor returns in his Porsche 997 GT3R to make it a three-way fight for class victory. The 2022 season will be decided by three 40 minute races spread across the weekend. Thomas Miles

STRONG FIELD TO CHASE TASMAN SERIES CROWN A STRONG field of high-quality S5000 drivers will take to the streets for the VALO Adelaide 500 for the final round of the 2022 Tasman Series. Along with ex-Formula 1 star Giancarlo Fisichella, the field will include Tasman series leader and national Trans Am champion Nathan Herne, defending series champion Aaron Cameron, current Gold Star Champion Joey Mawson. Cameron, a TCR regular, missed the Gold Coast 500 round, and will return via the #1 Valvoline GRM entry usually steered by James Golding. Joining Fisichella as another high profile return driver, is two-time Gold Star Champion, and retiring S5000 pioneer Tim Macrow. Fisichella returns for his second taste of S5000’s following the shortened 2020 Australian Grand Prix event, while Macrow will hope to end his full-time racing career on a high, before he sets about running a two-car team in next year’s season. A pair of South Australian young rising stars, Sebastien Amadio and Blake Purdie, both have existing S5000 pedigree and will join Mark Rosser and S5000 debutant Brad Gartner in flying the flag for the SA drivers. Gartner, a convert from dirt track Speedway racing, stepped from Hyundai Excel competition into Trans Am

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Image: DANIEL KALISZ-ARG and TA2 racing this year – however will make another step up into S5000 this weekend. Victorian young guns Jordan Boys and Cooper Webster will also front up for the Taman series closer, with the latter having had a strong S5000 championship for Versa Motorsport, finishing third in the 2022 standings. The drivers tackle the Adelaide street circuit across three races in the December 1-4 event, with FIA and

Motorsport Australia Circuit Licence requirements once again seeing the category operating at a slightly reduced horsepower level to suit the Adelaide street circuit. The minor reduction to their 560 Horsepower maximum, will not affect the use of the newly installed Push-to-Pass system that was used in competition for the first time at the Gold Coast 500. Stefan Millard, team GRM team manager, spoke about

the adaptability of the ‘Big Banger’ machines. “We’re proud of how adaptable the cars are becoming in that we can tune and adapt them to suit different conditions should the need arise,” Millard said. “We have worked closely with Roger Higgins at InnoV8 (category engine providers) to sort the right tuning for the vehicles and they perform extremely well. “On a street circuit like Adelaide, the reduction in power will potentially make it easier to extract a lap time as putting power to the ground – which is critical on a street circuit – will be key. With the new surface we are very confident the cars will give the existing outright lap record a nudge.” Category manager Ben McMellan, echoed Millard’s sentiment on the forced changes, which are a result of the street circuit being classed as FIA Grade 3 track – as opposed to the Gold Coast’s Grade 2. “We’re excited by the field assembled for Adelaide both in quality and quantity. It’s our second largest grid of the year – behind only the Grand Prix – and the best for a Tasman Series round,” McMellan said. “We’re very comfortable with the changes to the cars. They are proving to be very adaptable to different conditions and if this is what it takes to be able to put on a great show at as many circuits as possible, then we will embrace it.” Tim W Neal


THE SIGHT of former Formula 1 star Giancarlo Fischella at this weekend’s VALO Adelaide 500 will be no exhibition, with the Italian hungry for victory. The three-time Grand Prix winner will be the star guest racing in the S5000 category, which brings open-wheel racing back to the same Adelaide streets that hosted the pinnacle of motorsport from 1985-95. Fisichella made his debut at the maiden Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in 1996 and scored a dominant breakthrough win for Renault at the same location nine years later, setting the squad up for success in the constructors championship. The 49-year-old has stayed racing fit since retiring from Formula 1 in 2009 for Ferrari by racing the prancing horse in a variety of GT events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fisichella is aware of the challenge ahead adapting to a new circuit and car, but he has his eyes on the podium. “I come over to win as always, but it is going to be very difficult,” he said. “There are a lot of very good drivers and teams. I will try my best and it will be nice to get onto the podium for sure.” One of the biggest tests for Fisichella will be coming to grips with a car he has hardly driven before. The man who is one of just three drivers to win a Grand Prix for Jordan F1 was lined up to race an S5000 at the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, but could only complete two sessions before COVID-19 cancelled proceedings. Fisichella envisages he will have to drive the car much more aggressively than an F1 car. “I did one test and then was in the race weekend in Melbourne where we did free practice and qualifying,” he said.

Giancarlo Fisichella ran with Borland Racing during his 2020 appearance at the aborted AGP. For Adelaide, ‘Fisi’ will be with Team BRM, with VALO backing. Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

“The car was good, there is a lot of power and it is nice to drive the car. “The grip level, the mechanical and aerodynamics level and downforce is much less (than an F1 car). There is good power, but not like an F1 car. “With an F1 car you need to be very smooth, maybe with an S5000 you can drive a little more aggressively. “It is a funny car and you need to drive it like a go-kart, but there is a lot of power so it is a difficult car to drive.” The other challenge for Fisichella will be coming to grips with a circuit and city he has never been to before. His career started just four months after the final Adelaide Grand Prix, which means the Italian has been forced to study lots of onboard footage to prepare for being the driver’s seat. Fisichella said the street track will be a test having highlighted the Senna

Chicane and fast corners such as Turn 8. “I have never been there, so it will be a bit tough to learn the circuit and car in the short time,” he said. ‘It looks a tough circuit, especially the first braking point being a very tight chicane and there are a couple of very quick corners next to the wall. “I started my career in 1996 and then they moved the GP to Melbourne, so it was a shame I did not get to drive in Adelaide, but I will get the chance now.” Fisichella also revealed he is open to having a go at driving and even racing a Supercar if the opportunity presents itself having enjoyed watching them during his time driving at the Australian Grand Prix. “Why not, I like the category,” he said “It is very famous in Australia and around the world with a lot of good drivers “I like these kind of cars and in the past


Freshly rebuilt in September 2022, 350 Chev with all the best parts including; • Light Weight Callies crank • Dart block • Light Weight Carillo Rods • 5 stage dry sump etc • Light Weight JE custom pistons • Comes with Dyno sheets Freshly rebuilt in September 2022 G/Force transmission

Other features of this race car include;

• Race Products cambered diff, with floating axles • Brembo front & rear calipers • Adjustable watts link

when I was in Melbourne I was always watching the race, so why not. Maybe I can race in this category.” As recently as 2018 Fisichella raced a Ferrari in a GT support category at the Australian Grand Prix where he stated his interest in competing in the Bathurst 12 Hour. Although that drive is yet to materialise, the flamboyant Italian said he is still keen to take on the event with his desire for racing showing no signs of slowing down despite approaching his fifth decade. “Absolutely (I would) It is one of the most important races in the world at one of the best circuits in the world,” Fisichella replied to racing at the 12 Hour. “I never get a chance to go there, but if there is a possibility it would be nice. “Next January I will be 50 and I still want to race and try to be the quickest. I love it, it is my life.” Thomas Miles




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THE DUDE MAKING A COMEBACK IN ADELAIDE PAUL MORRIS will return to racing on the streets of Adelaide which will also be the scene of his GT debut. The “Dude” will replace his son Nash Morris and drive alongside Mark Griffith in a Mercedes AMG GT4 in the GT World Challenge finale. It will be Morris’ first drive in a GT4 car and his first race since the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour. Meanwhile, Triple Eight Race Engineering will replace the busy Broc Feeney with former Carrera Cup champion Nick Foster to partner Prince Jefri Ibrahim.


MELBOURNE PERFORMANCE Centre has called up Audi Sport factory drivers drivers Christopher Mies and Kelvin van der Linde to support its Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS title Adelaide assault. Yasser Shahin holds an 11-point lead in the championship and will rekindle his successful partnership with previous GT champion Mies. Garth Tander was going to race, but is tied up with TV commitments. South African van der Linde will race with Tony Bates as he aims to climb further up the Pro-Am standings.


IN A WORLD first, both generations of the Bentley Continental GT will be raced by the same team at once and it will take place at the VALO Adelaide 500. The two-car team is spearheaded by Mike Bailey, who returns to the GT World Challenge field with a newer specification Bentley Continental GT GT3 at his disposal. He will be racing with former rival Brett Hobson. To complete the set Carrera Cup contender Matthew Belford will drive the older specification Bentley.

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Hansford (6) goes into the decider with a points lead, while Michael Almond is back in the #95 Camaro. Image:ARG THE FINAL round of the 2022 Touring Car Masters heads to Victoria Park for the VALO Adelaide 500 with the title on the line in a strong 20-car field. With 200 points on the line, Ryan Hansford and John Bowe are fighting it out for the title, with Hansford leading Bowe by 78 points in his #6 Torana AX9. Bowe failed to take the podium at the Bathurst International whilst Hansford took out three P2s behind Steve Johnson who dominated with a clean sweep in the Hancock #33 Mustang. George Miedecke remains an outside chance, sitting 158 points in arrears of Hansford, whilst surprise Bathurst pole getter, Andrew Fisher, has a slight mathematical shot, sitting 181 points back. The street circuits have remained in control of the two leading Torana’s this season, with the five-litre Holdens having a cornering advantage over the bigger six-litre machines. Adelaide sees a few familiar returns for TCM field, such as the experienced South Australian Gerard McLeod in Holden VB Commodore. “When it was announced that we would be going back to Adelaide it was a no-brainer to dust off the commodore and compete in TCM again,” McLeod said. “This year being the last year of Holden in Supercars at Adelaide it seems to have even more significance to be on the grid.” Micheal Almond will reunite with Whiteline Racing

in the #95 Camaro after injuring his shoulder in the massive crash with Cam Tilley in Townsville, with Sandown winner Adam Bressington unable to make the event. Local driver Chris Meulengraaf is a welcome addition to the field, adding some diversity with a Porsche 911 IROC, whilst Victorian Dave Hender makes a return in his #53 XD Falcon after racing at Sandown. Another local in Jason Palmer will become the first racer to take to a TCM meet in a BMW, with an early 1980 E30, making its street circuit debut after running in the local Improved Production series. Fans might recall Jim Richards taking an E30 to victory in the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship. With the E30 and IROC racing as invitational cars they won’t be competing for points, but they mark the categories efforts to grow and develop the diversity of the grid, as planned earlier in the year and going forward. The Touring Car Masters will take on the streets of Adelaide for the first time since February of 2020, where Bressington took the #95 Camaro to victory, with Hansford mopping up races 2 and 3 over Bressington, C.Tilley and Bowe. Thursday will feature practice and qualifying, whilst Friday will feature the flipped grid Trophy Race and Race 1, whilst Race 2 will come on the Saturday, with Race 3 coming on Sunday as the curtain raiser for the Supercars finale. TW Neal


Best gained some ground by using a potentially tricky wet Bathurst round to his advantage. If the driver who scored Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES a stunning Supercars THE FIGHT for the Super 2 and 3 pole at The Bend SuperSprint crowns are set to go down to the can continue his momentum and wire in a thrilling final round on the overhaul Fraser, it would be some streets of Adelaide this weekend. achievement. A total of five drivers from four Best has been playing catchup different teams are still in contention ever since he lost the championship to take home Super 2 trophy. lead with a costly crash at the Perth Declan Fraser is leading the way, round. sitting in the box seat to give Triple Matt Payne and Cameron Hill are Eight Race Engineering back-toboth heading to the main game next back Dunlop Series championships year, but before they do they are still in its final year in the category. in contention to add a Super 2 title But it is far from a done deal with to their resume. Fraser only enjoying a 75-point lead Payne has been left to rue a clash from Tickford’s Zak Best. with Tyler Everingham at Townsville

and currently sits third 132 points back. Hill has been consistently solid without setting the world on fire and is 165 points back, while another wildcard is Everingham 171 behind after he skipped Bathurst to focus on The Great Race. The 2022 Super3 season has been dominated by two drivers, Kai Allen and Brad Vaughan and the two South Australians will face off for the ultimate prize. Allen has had the outright pace scoring six wins and a recordbreaking nine poles, but Vaughan has shadowed him every step of the way. Only 56 points split the pair and one slip up from either driver could prove disastrous. Away from the championship battles Super3 driver Jason Gomersall will put on a show with his Ford FG Falcon being restored to Scott McLaughlin’s 2012 Super2 championship livery.



AUSTRALIA’S NEXT Formula 1 star Oscar Piastri is ready to race for McLaren in 2023, with McLaren Racing Boss Zak Brown quick to praise the young quick following his post-season testing. The Aussie Formula 2 and 3 champion enjoyed a “good first day”, completing his maiden official laps at last week’s postseason test at Abu Dhabi, doing 123 tours of the Yas Marina Circuit in this year’s MCL36. It was a step up from the behind-closeddoors tests held with the 2021 machinery at Paul Ricard recently, with Piastri already impressing the McLaren hierarchy. McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown said he

expects Piastri to push his well established teammate, Lando Norris, in his up-coming debut season. “Lando is one of the fastest drivers on the grid, and I expect he and Oscar to be close,” Brown said. “I expect Oscar to have some opportunities to beat him and vice-versa. And that’s obviously what you want – two drivers right next to each other and reversing the order. “I don’t have any expectations or set out – this is what Piastri needs to do by this date – But Lando is as fast as anyone in Formula 1, and in race-winning equipment he’d be

winning races. I think probably everyone would agree with that. “So Oscar is going to have a team-mate that’s one of the fastest drivers in the world. But I fully expect Oscar, in time, to challenge Lando.” Despite the high hopes of the new recruit challenging the young Brit, Brown warned onlookers not to put too much pressure on the Aussie. With only three days of pre-season testing in 2023, and with the postseason testing having made up around 40% of his total testing time, Brown said it will be important for not just the team, but everyone to give

Piastri time to settle in. “What’s important is he’s not raced for a year,” Brown continued. “We don’t have a lot of testing and I wish there was more pre-season testing. Not just for Oscar, but just in general. “Because effectively he’s just going to get a day and a half … which is not a lot. But I think he’s going to be competitive and push Lando. We just need to give him time to grow into the team. “We’ve had him in our (old) car. He did an excellent job and I think he’s going to be a future star.” Thomas Miles

WRC RELEASE INNOVATIVE 2023 CALENDAR THE WORLD Rally Championship has announced a 13-round 2023 calendar which includes a three-country race. The WRC will all make a return to North and South America, whilst as already anticipated, New Zealand will miss out, with an expected return in 2024. The Rally that catches the eye in the penultimate Central Europe round, which will feature rally action across the borders of three countries, Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany on October 2629. The south-east German city of Passau will act as the base for the unique concept will traverse the three countries as an Asphalt event.

Mexico and Chile return to the calendar for the first time since the Pandemic began, and the year will open with its traditional Monte Carlo Rally on January 19-20, and again finish with Asphalt Rally Japan event on November 16-19. “We were absolutely determined to get the WRC calendar back to where it was pre-Covid, with a good spread of events inside and outside Europe,” expressed WRC Promoter Senior Director of Events, Simon Larkin. “There was very high demand for the limited number of slots on the calendar, but we’re pleased with the range and variety of events we have. “They will provide a great sporting

challenge for the competitors, as well as providing the highest-profile events in each country.” WRC Promoter and Managing Director, Jona Siebel, echoed Larkin’s sentiments. “We are incredibly happy to be returning to North and South America. We have maintained a dialogue with the Mexican and Chilean organisers throughout the Covid pandemic and we are confident this is now the right time for our return,” Siebel explained. “Additionally, with an exciting new concept added to the mix, the WRC is well-placed to reach more fans than ever before.” TW Neal

Monte-Carlo: 19 – 22 January Sweden: 9 – 12 February Mexico: 16 – 19 March Croatia: 20 – 23 April Portugal: 11 – 14 May Italy: 1 – 4 June Kenya: 22 – 25 June Estonia: 20 – 23 July Finland: 3 – 6 August Greece: 7 – 10 September Chile: 28 September – 1 October Central Europe (AUT, CZE, GER): 26 – 29 October Japan: 16 – 19 November




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F1 LAUNCHES NEW FEMALE CHAMPIONSHIP FORMULA ONE hopes to create “another route” for young women in motorsport with the new F1 Academy championship. The series has been created to increase female participation in motorsport and provide a stepping stone to prepare drivers for higher levels such as F3, F2 and F1. It will comprise of 21 races split by seven rounds and features a 15-car grid with five teams entering Formula 4 level cars with Tatuus T421 chassis. At least one of the rounds will be a support category for a Formula 1 Grand Prix.


AN ALL female team will be chasing glory at The Mountain in next year’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour. Kiwis Rianna O’Meara-Hunt and Chelsea Herbert will be joining forces with experienced Aussie Chelsea Angelo to take on the Easter Production Car classic. The team plans to race the Toyota 86 Supercars Bathurst driver Jaylyn Robotham drove with Mitchell Wooller and Brett Parrish to a Class D victory at the 2022 6 Hour. Angelo brings a wealth of Bathurst experience, while O’Meara-Hunt and Herbert have raced all over the world.


SYDNEY MOTORSPORT Park could become the second stop down under on the new international TCR World Tour, alongside Bathurst. Mount Panorama was confirmed as the first Australian race of the series which will visit four continents and Sydney could be the front runner to join it after some comments made by Argentine WTCR star Nestor Girolami. “When we go to Australia we are going to run in Sydney and Bathurst,” he said on Argentine motorsport show Carburando. A round at SMP would make sense from a logistical point of view, but nothing has been confirmed for the second Australian race.

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Image: BRUCE JENKINS 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-yearold was a former racer in the Formula Regional European Championship (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 2023 CASTROL TOYOTA RACING SERIES 13-15 January 2023 – Highlands Motorsport Park 20-22 January 2023 – Teretonga Park Raceway 27-29 January 2023 – Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon 3-5 February 2023 – Hampton Downs – 67th New Zealand Grand Prix 10-12 February 2023 – Taupo International Motorsport Park

VALE: GREG CUSACK 1960s Australian champion, Greg Cusack died aged 92 in Sydney on November 4. Born to a wealthy, Canberra family, Cusack was an elite driver akin to Alec Mildren, Bib Stillwell and Bob Jane. All raced at the front while building vast wealth in car dealerships and other enterprises. After securing the Canberra VW concession, Greg rallied the product to win a trial in the Snowies and finish second in the ’56 Mobilgas Trial to Eddie Perkins’ (father of Larry) similar VW Beetle 1200. Scuderia Veloce’s supremo, David McKay, encouraged Cusack to try the circuits, so impressed was he by Greg’s pace. He was immediately quick in Porsche Super 90, Lola Mk1 Climax, Lotus 23B Ford and a swag of small-bore single seaters; Elfin FJ, Brabham BT6 and Brabham BT10. Driven with panache and bulk-bravery, Australian F2 titles

Image: BILL PEARSON COLLECTION followed in 1964-65 and the ANF1 title in ’65 too. Cusack and the recently departed Bill Brown demonstrated versatility by winning the ’67 Surfers 12 Hour enduro in SV’s legendary, howling Ferrari 250LM V12. McKay bought him Jack Brabham’s Tasman 2.5 Brabham BT23A Repco V8 to contest the ’67 Gold Star but bad luck and the pace of Spencer Martin’s proven Brabham BT11A Climax prevailed.

It was aboard this car that Cusack had his horrifying, career ending 160mph end-for-end shunt in damp conditions during practice for the March ’68 Longford Tasman round. In retirement Cusack built on his reputation as a respected motor dealer and breeder of Santa Gertrudis cattle. Read Auto Action #1851, on-sale December 15, for a Cusack feature. Auto Action extends its condolences to the Cusack family, friends and associates. Mark Bisset

SAVE WAKEFIELD PARK GROUP DENIED MEETING WITH LOCAL MP THE ORGANISERS behind the record breaking ‘Save Wakefield Park’ ePetition have been dealt a further blow along with the news that the matter won’t be debated in Parliament this year. The group have also been unable to procure a meeting with Wendy Tuckerman, Liberal Member for Goulburn & NSW Minister for Local Government. “To date, Wendy Tuckerman has made public statements that she supports Wakefield Park, however her actions, including this recent refusal to meet, indicates the contrary,” said Jessica Nicholson, a petition organiser. “I’m sure I speak for everyone who signed the petition that we are extremely disappointed.” Auto Action contacted Tuckerman’s office for a response, in which her Electorate Officer provided direct comments from the MP, confirming her decision to not accept a meeting with the group, adding that it would be “inappropriate” towards the Park’s owners, the Benalla Auto Club (BAC). “BAC have advised this office that as the owners they are not affiliated with the ‘Save Wakefield Park’ campaign, and it would be highly inappropriate to discuss confidential business matters with third party persons, a meeting with Save



Wakefield Park would not be productive to the issue…” Tuckerman was quoted as saying. Tuckerman also claims that her office had invested a “significant” amount of time in assisting the group in its early stages, for them to then turn their attention and efforts to the Shadow Minister for Sports, Julia Finn, for “political leverage”, adding that: “I assisted the Save Wakefield Park campaign, with my office spending a significant amount of my time and effort spent not only guiding the group through the matter affecting Wakefield Park facility but also the petition process – which was then given to another Member to be presented by another office at the last minute, for reason I can only gather was political leverage and promise from the Opposition which has yielded little result.” In referring to Finn’s speech to the NSW Legislative Assembly on its last day of sitting, Tuckerman accused the Shadow Minister of a lack of comprehension. “It was clear in Julia Finn’s speech that not only did she not understand the core of the issue which resulted in the facilities closure, she has not recently engaged with its owners, nor has she proposed any substantive solution other than crying out “do something” – which the

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NSW Government most assuredly has,” Tuckerman claimed. Tuckerman also says that she will: “continue to engage with and support the facilities proprietors (BAC) in ensuring progress is made on the matter.” On contacting the BAC Vice President Bruce Robertson for comment, he refuted the claim that Tuckerman or her office has had anything to do with them since an initial zoom meeting. “The Benalla Auto Club is not seeing anything usable from Wendy Tuckerman, but it doesn’t mean she’s not doing anything in the background,” Robertson explained. “In terms of the meeting with the Save Wakefield Park group, that’s very much her personal opinion not to do so, but I don’t see the link. That’s her prerogative,

but I can’t see why meeting them would have any effect on us.” In her aforementioned address to the NSW Legislative Assembly, Finn pointed out the stark inaction by the government on the matter. “Months of inaction have dealt a real blow to Goulburn. There appears to be no recognition by the Government… putting your head in the sand will not make it go away,” Finn stated. “Motorsports is a big driver for tourism in the region and the Government has been absent in dealing with this matter. Ministers have checked out. The Minister for Sport (Henskens) has been disengaged, disingenuous and disinterested…the silence is deafening. What is happening in Goulburn is an absolute disgrace.” Timothy W Neal I 15


SPEEDWAY REUNITES WITH MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIA SPEEDWAY AUSTRALIA has returned to the Motorsport Australia and the FIA fold after splitting with what was CAMS in 2014. With 13,500 licence holders currently in the country – along with 257 Speedway clubs in operation across 97 venues – the move will see the massively popular category join the likes of Karting Australia and the Australian National Drag Racing Authority as authorised delegates of Motorsport Australia. The welcome move benefits the whole sport from its participants, to its officials and its stakeholders, opening it up for government venue grant applications, and improvements to the sport as a whole, from its safety to its audience reach. Speedway Australia’s General manager, Darren Tindal, is excited for the widereaching national benefits that will come as a

result of the union. “It is such a great affiliation for us to be able to come back under Motorsport Australia. It has been quite a few years now, but (it’s great) to be able to come back and join forces,” Tindal said. “And when you join these two with drag racing, karting and motorcycling, we’ve got some great numbers for the sport moving forward. “One of the biggest things is that it gives us a lot of credibility when we go to government as a part of Motorsport Australia, and that will be extremely helpful in every region of our nation. For example, all 22 Speedway Australia venues in Victoria will now have the opportunity to start looking at grants for safety upgrades, lights, catch fences, concrete walls, all those types of things, all

because of this relationship. “We see around the country there are more motorsport complexes being built, where they are putting circuit racing, drag racing, speedway and karting together. I think that if we weren’t part of the Motorsport Australia family, that we may not be recognised as part of those motorsport complexes.” Eugene Arocca, Motorsport Australia’s CEO, echoed the sentiments of Tindal. “We are thrilled that Speedway Australia is back in the family, it’s a benefit to them, and it’s a benefit for us because we can share information. Additionally, it provides a pathway through to the FIA, which connects us to international motorsport,” Arocca explained. “It is very significant from a motorsport point of view in that we now have a major

discipline of our sport, which is Speedway, back under the FIA banner via their delegated authority from Motorsport Australia. “For the Australian Motorsport Council, it completes the process of bringing together the entire motorsport industry being karting, motorsport, motorcycling, drag racing, and speedway. Apart from the opportunity to share our collective knowledge, it is very important in allowing us to promote the sport generally. We already have a strong working relationship between all the recognised sanctioning bodies and importantly, it confirms the international pathways leading within the FIA and FIM.” In 2006, Australian Speedway became the first in the world to be FIA sanctioned through its affiliation with CAMS, which then ended in 2014. TW Neal


CALDER PARK COMEBACK GROWING MOMENTUM THE CALDER Park revival has received its first tentative calendar dates for 2023, with its hopeful return set to be hugely popular for competitors and racegoers alike. After Auto Action broke the news of its possible revival, two tentative dates have been pencilled in by the Victorian Motor Racing Championship and the Victorian State Race Series, with the VMRC round possibly heralding the first race meeting at the venue in 15 years. Its resurgence as a venue on the outskirts of Melbourne is a boon for the racing fraternity, which along with the recent safeguarding of Sandown for the foreseeable future, and the continual growth of the Benalla Auto Club-owned Winton circuit, will help to solve the issues of limited track options for the huge wealth of people looking to go grassroots racing. There’s still water to go under the bridge with the track being inspected by Motorsport Australia and the ASSA, with some work left to be done in order to bring the venue back-up to a usable standard after years of no action. The VMRC have earmarked August 12-13 as its Calder

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return date, the leaked VSRC calendar naming October 27-29. The series held rounds between Winton and Calder throughout the early 2000s and was in fact the last round of motorsport to be held at Calder in June of 2008. Stephen Whyte, the Benalla Auto Club general manager, would be proud to host the first round back at the long-quiet Victorian circuit. “Calder Park’s last circuit racing chapter closed with a VMRC round, so it’s fitting that a VMRC round will open the next chapter,” Whyte said. “There has always been an historical connection between Calder Park Raceway and the Benalla Auto Club and that’s why this is such a great announcement. “As a sanctioning body, the AASA prides itself on making the process of going motor-racing accessible to as many people as possible, and we recognise the importance of permanent motorsport facilities, so the recommencement of Circuit racing at Calder Park is a landmark occasion for the Victorian motor racing community.” TW Neal

THE INAUGURAL running of the Coffs Coast Festival of Motor Sport has gone down as a success for the region, with it a certainty to continue into the future. The month-long festival had a slight hitch at the beginning with weather conditions forcing the cancellation of the Massive Car Show, but Coffs Coast Festival organisers with local everything else went down MP Gurmesh Singh. smoothly, with all events being well attended by both realised that they missed out on a great competitors and spectators alike. event, and as we’ve announced it will The event wrapped up at the Grafton go ahead in 2023 and beyond…there’s Speedway with a big crowd of around plenty of interest from some new clubs. 4,000 spectators to see the V8 Dirt “This was initially run as a month-long Modifieds and supporting categories, promoter for the Coffs Coast Rally, but as the NSW region was also treated to it will be more of a stand alone event the corresponding ARC and APRC rally next year on the strength of how this one championship finals. went. We think we can make it pretty big. From the RedPoint Hillclimb taken out “We’re definitely going to make some by Dave Morrow, to Champions of Dirt changes, It was a shame the motor show and the NSW Rallycross Championship, had to be pulled due to weather, but next to Karting and Off Road Racing, the year that will run in conjunction with the event is on course to be bigger and motorbike show for an even bigger event better for 2023. that this year was opened by our local “It took us two or three years to get this MP Gurmesh Singh, who supported the off the tarmac, and it grew with interest event well.” by the time it had to get off the ground,” Plans for next year include the possible Said organiser Bob Carle. addition of Side-by-Side Off Road racers, “The festival went pretty well in the end, and the potential for an aero race in the as we thought it would. The few clubs skies over the Coffs Coast, that will add a that were hesitant to get involved have huge level of excitement. TW Neal

100 YEAR CELEBRATION FOR VICTORIA’S ALPINE RALLY THE 100TH running of the Alpine Rally will finally go ahead on December 1-4 after its centenary celebrations were put on hold due to the pandemic. The Alpine rally is the longest running continual motorsport event in Australia, and the second oldest rally event on the planet after the famous Monte Carlo Rally. This year will see 107 entrants take to the Gippsland area, with 2017 Australian Rally Champion Nathan Quinn (above) defending his Alpine Rally title from 2019, fresh off a competitive outing in the ARC closer at Coffs Coast where the NSW local took out several stages before encountering mechanical issues. The event was first held in 1922 with 31 entrants, where its

starters led off and returned to the Haymarket in Melbourne. It started out with well known pioneer of early motoring in Australia, Harry James, as an exercise to promote tourism to the Alpine Regions of Victoria. Back then it travelled via Warragul to Lakes Entrance, then North through Omeo and Tallangatta. A day of rest at Mount Buffalo saw entrants then return through Wangaratta, Eildon and Healesville, with a deviation though Ballarat and Geelong before finishing back at the Haymarket. The event was then moved to Victoria’s Bright region, which utilised roads through Myrtleford and Beechworth, and was considered the golden era of the

Alpine rally. With the unfortunate closure of forest areas in the Bright area due to government privatisation of forest resources, the Alpine rally then moved to Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland where it has been welcomed every two years by the community. For the centenary celebrations of the Alpine Rally, aside from ARC runner Quinn in his Mazda RX2, other past winners such as Jack Monkhouse in his Datsun 180B SSS and Brendon Reeves in a Datsun P510 are considered among the favourites, as well as Darkie Barr-Smith in his Ford Parana, and Andrew Travis, Adrian Stratford and Luke Sytema, all racing an Escort RS1800. TW Neal

ADELAIDE RALLY BUILDS MOMENTUM FOLLOWING A successful return last weekend, the Adelaide Rally will keep on moving for the next four years with strong support from the South Australian State Government. The South Australian State Government has committed $2 million of funding to provide certainty to the event over the next for years. The rally returned to the South Australian capital last weekend and kicked into gear a huge week of motorsport which also includes the comeback of the VALO Adelaide 500. Supercars stars Craig Lowndes, Brodie Kostecki and Todd Hazelwood were all in action, along with some classic Formula 1 cars. Hazelwood made it an occasion to remember, completing the Prima Tour in a 1979 Porsche 911 with his father Russell. The 71-car main tour was also accompanied by a Prima, Mercedes AMG, Porsche Club, BMW, Mini, Zagame, Solitaire, GH and Hyundai N-Performance tours. The main event, the Trophy category was taken out by Richard Lovell and Karl Radziszewski. The pair drove their Subaru STI with distinction to edge out Matthew Selley and Hamish McKendrick by 21 seconds. Lachlan Cox and Sam Martin were in a league of their own, easing to a Heritage Trophy win in their Ford Escort by over two minutes.


Lovell and Radziszewski were also the best across the Platinum Stages, besting Selley and McKendrick by 45 seconds. Despite being second best in the outright standings, Selley and McKendrick did take home some silverware having won a thrilling fight to be the fastest across the Bronze stages. Just 10 seconds covered the top five with the Selley and McKendrick leading the way in their 2003 Mitsubishi Evo. Lovell and Radziszewski had to settle for second this time after falling short by just two seconds, while Porsche pair Ben Auld and Lucy Barker completed the podium. But next year’s comeback from November 17-19 2023 is expected to be bigger than ever with an urban night stage and second town stage planned, while the latest announcement will only fuel that belief. Minister Stephen Mullighan said the


Adelaide Rally is central to bringing the state alive once again. “Big events drive our economy” he said. “We are repositioning ourselves on the national and international stage to bring tourists and dollars into our state. “It’s fantastic to witness SA streets buzzing again.” After this year’s rally ran under interim rules upon the release of the Motorsport Australia Tarmac Rally Review Panel findings, the 2023 edition is expected to break the previous entry record of over 420 cars. The 2023 Adelaide Rally will return to competition categories including the outright competition run under new Motorsport Australia technical rules. Entries will open early next year and are expected to come flooding in after the event stole the stage this weekend. Thomas Miles

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READY TO INVADE ADELAIDE THE STREETS of Adelaide will be invaded by a big field of Aussie Racing Cars as the category returns to the South Australian capital this weekend. The Battery World Aussie Racing Cars have not raced on the street circuit since 2017 when James Duckworth, Craig Woods and Kel Treseder shared the spoils. But a lot has changed since then, and although the 2022 championship is done and won, the stakes remain high as a big 30-car field lines up for the first round of the new Highland Trans Tasman Cup. Aussie Racing Cars’ Brad Hard said it will be special for the pint-sized category to continue its Adelaide history which started back in 2001. “It’s really exciting to be back on the streets of Adelaide with a huge field of cars,” said Ward. “Our category has been involved in the event for almost all of our 23 years since

we’ve been running as a major national category. “The competitors absolutely love the track and the atmosphere, It’s the best event for us to come to. The circuit really suits our cars and it promotes great racing. It doesn’t matter where you look in the field, there will be plenty of battles. “For all of these reasons, our class is a favourite of the fans as well. “We can’t wait to get back to Adelaide. There’ll be a great buzz around the venue and we are proud to play our part in the return of this great event.” With the #1 on the door of his CoolDrive Racing car, Josh Anderson is the man to beat and will be determined to end a successful year on a high. But Anderson will have plenty of challenges for company led by previous champion Joel Heinrich and rising rookie Cody Brewczynski, who were only

separated by a single point in the season finale at Sandown. Anderson’s teammate Reece Chapman will be another to watch alongside former frontrunner Kyle Ensbey, who makes a comeback following a part-time campaign in 2022. Previous pole sitter and title contender Peter Carr hopes to recapture some of his old form, while Scott Taylor will be balancing double-duties with Aussie Racing Cars and Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS commitments. There will also be two female drivers on the grid with Emma Clark being joined by young Formula Ford star Imogen Rayburn, who makes her debut. The Battery World Aussie Racing Cars will contest four races across the VALO Adelaide 500 weekend.

BATTERY WORLD AUSSIE RACING CARS ENTRY LIST #1 #3 #6 #7 #11 #15 #16 #17 #18 #21 #22 #23 #25 #28 #30 #38 #41 #42 #46 #47 #51 #58 #64 #69 #82 #87 #88

Joshua Anderson Dale Dunston Ian Chivas Andrew Lorgelly Leigh Bowler Adam Clark Joel Heinrich Denis Butler Cody Brewczynski Kyle Ensbey Scott O’Keefe Scott Dornan Reece Chapman Kent Quinn Peter Carr Jack Boyd Kody Garland Adam Sharp Pawel Faber Troy Jones Emma Clark Glenn Boyd Craig Woods Jamie Sharp/Layton Mckechnie Cody Mckay Imogen Radburn Michael Bartsch

PUSH TO PASS BOOSTED AHEAD OF ADELAIDE 500 DEBUT THE PUSH to Pass system has received a boost ahead of the second and final round of the S5000 Tasman Series in Adelaide this weekend. The Push to Pass system was introduced to the open-wheel category in the Tasman Series opener at the Gold Coast to promote closer racing and more overtaking. Drivers receive an increased amount of throttle percentage and horsepower when implementing the boost, but can only use it for a set number of deployments throughout each race, which adds an extra element of strategy and intrigue. For its S5000 Adelaide debut, the system will operate in the same way, but will instead now be deployed based on a maximum amount of time for each race. Drivers will now enjoy 90 seconds of Push to Pass deployment, which will remain activated until a driver turns it off manually or applies the brakes. Garry Rogers Motorsport S5000 technical partners representative Stefan Millard, said the changes will allow for better use of the system to set up a potential overtakes at different parts of the circuit.

“The revisions to the Push to Pass system for Adelaide will introduce more strategy into the racing and we think will make for a better product,” Millard said. “Much like how it is used in IndyCar racing, drivers can pick and choose how they utilise it rather than being stuck with a set number of deployments per race. “They can turn it off when they have pushed the button, so if they see the car in front using it, they can save their

time for later. “Similarly, it allows the system to be used on shorter straights to set up a pass for later in the lap. “At the Gold Coast we were aiming for approximately 0.4 to 0.5 seconds gain on the straight, and Adelaide will be similar. “We will continue to tune the system throughout the weekend.” Fans will be notified when the Push to Pass system has been activated by a flashing LED rain light located at the rear of each car. The S5000 cars are expected to lap the 3.219km Adelaide Parklands circuit in less than 77 seconds, which would better the current Supercars qualifying lap record of 1:19.2951s set by Shane van Gisbergen in 2017. Nathan Herne is the driver everyone is trying to catch this weekend after he bossed the opening Tasman round at the Gold Coast 500. But the likes of Joey Mawson and former Formula 1 star Giancarlo Fisichella will be on track looking to slow the rising star when the VALO Adelaide 500 shifts into gear on Thursday. Thomas Miles

MERCEDES TEAM READY FOR FIRST BATHURST 12 HOUR TILT MERCEDES AMG Customer Racing squad Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport, will take on the LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour for the first time next year. The team has confirmed it will race its #101 Mercedes AMG GT3 in Australia’s International Enduro with Ross Poulakis spearheading the assault. Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport made its racing debut at Mount Panorama in the recent Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS Endurance Championship finale at Bathurst. It was a major success and confidence booster with Poulakis and international Aussie Jordan Love starring to finish on the third step on the podium after being in contention for victory. But now the team is ready to go four times the distance around the famous 6.213km circuit, and Poulakis said it is the next step in his GT racing dream. “Before November, competing at Mount Panorama was a dream and to leave there with a trophy and having stood on the Bathurst podium was incredible,” he said. “Confirming our entry into the Bathurst 12 Hour is the next step for Harrolds Racing as we continue to dive headfirst into the world of GT Racing. “The 12 Hour is one of the most prestigious and competitive races on



the planet, and to even talk about going there is exciting. “The three-hour race was a great opportunity to get the experience we needed to feel confident to take the next big step and enter the 12-Hour next year.” Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport also heads to this weekend’s VALO Adelaide 500, and is in contention for another podium finish in the GT3 Am class with Poulakis at the wheel. The squad also has representation in the GT4 championship where Sam Brabham and Chris Bathos sit second in the class. Since the family run Harrolds and Volante Rosso Motorsport has been led by five-time Formula 1 constructors championship winning engineer Chris Papadopoulos from midway through this year, things have flourished, and they hope more success arrives at Mount Panorama. Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport’s Josh Hunt is excited by the team’s promise ahead of next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour. “We’re excited to be working with Ross and the Harrolds crew to take

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the next step forward and tackle the Bathurst 12 Hour,” he said. “As a team we have lots of experience in long-distance racing and we know we will put our best foot forward with a very competitive team. “The pieces of the puzzle we have assembled have all come together well, and we’re very pleased with the team we have. “The race will be competitive from others we know are running, but we want to be in a position to win our class and we think we have the ingredients in place.” Thomas miles


THE 2023 LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour has its first entry with a collaboration between EMA Motorsport, and the German Porsche team, Manthey. Manthey, the famous German-based Porsche team will join forces with EMA Motorsport under the ‘Manthey EMA’ banner in a Porsche 911.2 GT3R. After some successful events in Europe, the Australian-German collaboration will enter the race in a hard to miss, and iconic green and yellow ‘Grello’ livery for the February 3-4 event in 2023. Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director of Manthey Racing GmbH, is looking forward to kicking off the 2023 GT campaign at the world famous track. “The season opener of the Intercontinental GT Challenge in Bathurst is a special highlight in the racing calendar, and we are looking forward to starting our motorsport year 2023 with this event together with EMA,” Raeder said. “With its hilly sections, the Mount Panorama Circuit is reminiscent of the Nordschleife and places very high demands on both the vehicle and the drivers. This is exactly where we’re experienced from our stints in the Green Hell. And we clearly want to compete for victory in Australia.” EMA Motorsport had its European debut at this year’s Spa 24-hour race, and recently contested the eighth round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series with the support of Manthey. The two teams are now expanding their joint team-work, and will jointly field a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pro class at the spectacular Mount Panorama Circuit, with the driver line-up yet to be announced. Fans at Mount Panorama may find the 911 livery familiar, with it already having appeared at Bathurst in 2018, with team Manthey finishing in P6. For EMA Motorsport, it will be another debut ticked off the list, with this being its first appearance at the Bathurst 12 Hour, having already taken to the mountain circuit in the Carrera Cup earlier in the year. The race will also be one of the final appearances for the 991.2 iteration of the GT3 R in top-flight competition, ahead of the new 992 generation joining grids from later in 2023. The latest-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) is not yet eligible to compete in the opening race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, hence Manthey entering the 911.2. The details for the Pro class driver lineup will be released early in 2023. Tim W Neal



PORSCHE CARS AUSTRALIA HAS RELEASED ITS EIGHT ROUND PORSCHE CARRERA CUP CALENDAR FOR 2023. AUSTRALIA’S PREMIER one-make championship will again be the primary support for the Supercars Championship, with a stellar selection of rounds for its 2023 tilt. Following 2022’s introduction of the Type 992 generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, record fields took part as the championship battle between eventual winner Harri Jones and Aaron Love went down to the wire at the Gold Coast 500. The country’s premier Porsche category will continue to hold its Championship status from Motorsport Australia, as it continues to be a proven and well travelled pathway in both the Pro and Pro-Am classes for Australasian drivers to take big strides both locally and internationally. The season will take-off in style in 2023, with the opening round coming in Australia’s biggest Motorsport show, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix on March 30 - April 2, with seven marquee rounds to follow.

After the Darwin Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway, the series will head to the streets of Townsville, before returning to The Bend. Following SA, the show then heads to Victoria’s Sandown on September 15-17 as support for the welcome return of the epic Supercars Sandown 500 prior to Bathurst. After tearing around the Skyline of The Mountain in support of The Great Race, the series then makes a return to the hectic streets of the Gold Coast for its penultimate round, before closing its season at the fan favourite Adelaide 500. Once again, every round of the Carrera Cup will be live on Kayo and Foxtel, with five rounds also featuring on national television across the Seven Network, namely Darwin, Townsville, Bathurst, Gold Coast and Adelaide. Barry Hay Motorsport Manager of Porsche Cars Australia, was excited to introduce the schedule for Australia’s classiest race series.

“We are delighted to announce our 2023 calendar which will see our drivers continue to race at the biggest motorsport events of the year in front of the biggest crowds, enjoying the best support and television package available,” Hay commented. “Every season we strive to deliver a premium class experience for all our customers, teams and partners, and I have no doubt that the 2023 season will arguably be one of the best in its long and illustrious history.” 2023 PORSCHE CARRERA CUP CALENDAR Rd1. F1 Australia GP, VIC 30 March - 02 April Rd2. Darwin NT 16-18 June Rd3. Townsville QLD 07-09 July Rd4. The Bend SA 18-20 August Rd5. Sandown VIC 15-17 September Rd6. Bathurst 1000 NSW 05-08 October Rd7. Gold Coast QLD 27-29 October Rd8. Adelaide SA 23-26 November

PITHER, PREMIAIR UPBEAT ABOUT FINAL RACE CHRIS PITHER and PremiAir Racing will part ways following this weekend’s VALO Adelaide 500, but they both hope to end the 2022 Supercars Championship season on a high. PremiAir Racing has had everything thrown at them in its eventful rookie season with many highs and lows ranging from driver changes, shootout appearances and heavy crashes. The team has taken all of the moments in its stride and enters the Adelaide finale with some hope after a promising weekend on the Gold Coast. Pither has been the only full-time driver to last the entirety of the team’s maiden season, but will not return in 2022 after his departure was announced following the Bathurst 1000. But he didn’t let that setback stop him from recording a season best result in the second race of the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500. Pither’s #22 Commodore managed to avoid all of the chaos around him to come home P9 and secure his first top 10 finish of 2022 and fourth in his career. The Kiwi will continue to carry the popular 1995 Wayne Gardner Coke tribute livery on the Adelaide street circuit this weekend, as he hopes to end what could be his final fulltime season on a high. “To have the Adelaide 500 back to finish out our 2022 season is great,” Pither said.

“I can’t wait to see what we can do in the #22 PremiAir Coca-Cola Racing Supercar this weekend. “We will once again be carrying the retro livery honoring the 1995 Coca-Cola car which has proved quite popular over the last few events, and hopefully we can carry it all the way to a good result for our final event. “I had a personal best PremiAir Racing result on the Gold Coast, so hopefully we can continue that momentum into this week’s racing and really give our fans something to cheer about to round out the season.” The sister Subway entry of James Golding has been delivering most of the headlines for PremiAir Racing. On the streets of Surfers Paradise Golding pushed a special Gold Coast themed Commodore into the Top 10 Shootout, much to the joy of his garage. But those celebrations quickly turned into commiserations when car #31 was bashed up in the infamous Beach Chicane incident on the Sunday. Due to the heavy damage, Golding heads to Adelaide armed with a new chassis 888a-053 - which has winning pedigree at Adelaide thanks to Jamie Whincup winning the Saturday race of the 2020 event. The young driver has plenty of experience racing on the streets of Adelaide, most notably during his full time Supercars debut

with Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2018. Although the first race did not go to plan being forced to retire after getting tangled up in a Turn 5 incident involving fellow full-time rookies Richie Stanaway and Todd Hazelwood. Golding did manage to finish the three Adelaide 500 races he has competed in since then, and hopes his previous experience can make a difference. “This will be my sixth time racing at the Adelaide 500, and it is a track at which I have had success previously,” he said. “I can’t wait to continue our current form, hopefully, and to keep progressing up the grid. “I am really looking forward to getting to Adelaide – it is one of the best tracks on the calendar and it’s fantastic to see it returning to Supercars after a couple of years away.” The team is also feeling plenty of excitement ahead of the Adelaide 500, and despite a busy period since the Gold Coast race - which not only included getting a new

chassis ready for Golding - it has also been busy with its preparations for Gen3. “It sure has been a massive year for PremiAir Racing, and we can’t wait to see what Jimmy and Chris can do on the infamous streets of Adelaide,” said PremiAir Racing Team Principal, Matt Cook. “The buzz around this event is already really ramping up as everyone, drivers, teams and fans alike, are so excited to see it back on the calendar after a few years away. “The team has been working hard to not only prepare for the 500, but also for next year, and we are looking forward to hopefully seeing that hard work rewarded with strong results in South Australia this weekend.” The VALO Adelaide 500 commences this Thursday.

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GMSV AND CHEVROLET RACING TO SHOW OFF ‘OFF-ROAD RACER’ IN ADELAIDE GM SPECIALTY Vehicles (GMSV) and Chevrolet Racing have teamed up to show off a surprise preview of a new offroad racer concept. A Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 concept vehicle was put through its paces before becoming the latest addition to the brand’s portfolio early next year. “The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 will be a new model to the GMSV line-up for MY23 and will deliver next-level offroad capability direct from the factory - making it the perfect platform for this latest announcement from Chevrolet Racing,” said GM Australia and New Zealand Network and Motorsport Director of Planning, Tim Price.

“What started as a passion project 12-months ago across GM teams in Australia and New Zealand quickly transformed into the creation you see today.” The Chevrolet off-road racer concept car was built at the company’s Port Melbourne workshop by some GM employees, and was then taken to the next level with support from Chevrolet Racing. Initial testing and development of the Silverado ZR2 will take place early next year with the help of Supercars legend Craig Lowndes. GMSV Marketing and Communications General Manager Jodie Lennon, said

the upcoming launch of the first-ever Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 will add a new level of off-road capability and performance to the brand’s growing portfolio. “GMSV has enjoyed a sensational two years since its launch in November 2020 and we’re incredibly excited to be adding an entirely new model to the line-up,” Lennon said. “The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 will feature an enhanced appearance, a new level of technology, eye-catching aesthetics, and increased driver and passenger comfort throughout the cabin, complete with renown

performance attributes. “It will be the new hero in the increasingly popular full-size pick-up segment, and we’re super proud to offer it as part of the GMSV range.” The Silverado ZR2 Off-Road Racer concept will be on display as part of the GMSV activation at the Adelaide 500 this weekend, alongside the Corvette Stingray and Chevrolet Silverado models, as well as the 3,500hp Chevrolet Racing Pro Slammer drag car that was unveiled at the Bathurst 1000 this year. Thomas Miles

NEW SURFACE ADDS ANOTHER DIMENSION TO ADELAIDE 500 FOR THE first time since Formula 1 arrived down under in 1985, there will be a new track surface on the Adelaide street circuit, which adds another dimension to the returning VALO Adelaide 500 this weekend. After the South Australian state government - led by Premier Peter Malinauskas - brought the Adelaide 500 back from the dead, the event will look a little different with a new title sponsor, new date, and now a new surface. During the frantic preparations for the event, more than 70% of the famous 3.22km street circuit was resurfaced for the first time since it was created ahead of the 1985 Australian Grand Prix. The new tarmac begins in the braking area of the Turn 9 hairpin and runs all the way through Victoria Park, up the bumpy Wakefield Street, and around the Esses to the entry of Turn 7. This leaves Bartels Road, Dequetteville Terrace, and the deadly Turn 8 as the only untouched and original surfaces.



How the cars, stopwatch, and most importantly the tyres react to the new track surface, will be one of the biggest story-lines surrounding the season finale with tyre degradation a big unknown. PremiAir Racing’s James Golding expects the new track surface to shake things up. “The resurfacing will definitely play a pretty big role when it comes to strategy

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and will be something for everyone to consider and get their heads around,” he said. “Everyone knows the old surface pretty well, so it will certainly change things up.” In 2016 Winton Motor Raceway was completely resurfaced and lap records fell instantly, meaning the current Adelaide race lap record of 1:20.3792s set by Chaz

Mostert in 2019 could come under threat. Team 18’s Scott Pye has already inspected the newly laid out track and believes the resurfacing will have an impact on how much the notorious kerbs will impact the cars also. “The big thing about street circuits is how it is always about kerb compliance,” he told AUTO ACTION. “In Adelaide in particular you use quite a lot of kerb, but I went there on Wednesday and noticed it has changed quite a lot. “For us it is going to be a lot faster, the tyre wear we’re not really sure on, and strategy obviously plays a huge part. “We’ll go there with a calculated base setup based on based references, but we will need to adapt very quickly and tune the car up.” The first chance to see how quick the new track surface will be takes place on Thursday when the 2022 VALO Adelaide 500 roars into life with the first Supercars practice session at 16:25pm. Thomas Miles

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YOUNG OPEN wheel export Hugh Barter has been quietly and successfully going about winning in Europe’s F4 competitions after leaving home shores in 2021. The 16-year-old from Hughesdale, VIC, has completed a monstrous 42-race season, juggling two F4 campaigns in the FIA’s Spanish and FFSA’s French championships, achieving 16 wins and 11 poles. Barter finished second in both championships, but four of his French F4 victories were ineligible for points due to having raced on the circuits in the Spanish category, which would have earned him the title. With his hectic European season over, Barter sits on the cusp of a seat in the Formula 3 championship, another step toward fulfilling his F1 dream. On a short break in the UK, Barter spoke to AUTO ACTION about the nature of his double F4 duties with Campos Racing and the FFSA, and on the fact that he will most likely be racing in a home grand prix in 2023. “It’s nice to finished with those seasons, but it’s the classic ‘once one finishes the other starts’, so preparation has already started for next year … I just can’t confirm the team yet, but the idea is to be competing at the pointy end of the F3 field next year,” Barter said. If Barter gets an F3 seat, he’ll get to race in front of his home crowd, which is something the speedster would be elated to achieve. For Aussie motorsport fans, it would mean an Australian Racer in every open-wheel category at Albert Park,

with Oscar Piastri for McLaren in the F1, and Alpine Academy driver Jack Doohan, likely for Virtuosi in F2. “It will mean the world to me, and it’ll be the first time back at home in over two years by that stage. And to come back on those terms, racing for my country, is something I’ll be grateful for. I didn’t think the opportunity would come so soon to be honest. “To be amongst those names would be an absolute privilege, and I hope to do everyone proud and perform at my very best.” Barter gave an insight into fighting for two championships in two very different series’, running at the front consistently in both with Campos Racing in the Spanish F4, and in the unified FFSA field in the French series. “For starters, the tyre compound was completely different between the Hancook and Pirelli and how they’re made, so the driving style was night and day between the two championships. It was certainly more than I admitted to at the beginning. “I almost tried to gaslight myself into thinking I had it all under control, when in reality I didn’t have the swap-over and knowing the differences until about the third round of both series. “I had more of a handle on the French car because I raced it last year, whereas, for the Spanish F4 and the Hancook tyre, it was something I had to get used to and start from zero again. “On top of that, switching between the two, with two different

compounds and engines was an intense learning curve in that sense. “The two championships were extremely different – in the French F4 you’ve got a grid of 25 cars under the one banner/team, so everything’s shared and open between the drivers and there’s no personal engineer … you’ve got to operate on your own to a certain extent. “Whereas the Spanish F4 is individual teams and we had six drivers for Campos, each with their own engineer which helps you with checkups, data and analysis, and helps you to drive at your fullest potential, so it’s easier to prepare and be on top of your game. “But at the same time, it’s easy for a driver to get lost and get carried away in all that stuff, so it was good to have two different experiences, running two very different championships.” Although Barter went into the year knowing the French F4 would be a tough prospect to win due to tracks with ineligible points, his focus was to gain experience over different aspects of racing to prepare him for his probable F3 season in 2023. “We knew the rule

going into it, and that it would be difficult to win, so it was about working on other things whilst having a real go at P1. “With Qualifying I didn’t have a single pole last year, so performing on the new tyre was a big one, from getting good starts to driving under Safety Car conditions. “And leading a championship was an important thing to experience and learn from. To win and to lead a championship are two different things – knowing you’ve got to score, and then to race in flipped grid fields where you’ve got to give it everything.” And Barters Favourite track? “Honestly? Spa … it’s so iconic and nice to drive, and the amount of undulation between the bottom and top, and the speed you carry through some corners is just incredible.”


18 I

SUPERC ARS SEA SON PRE VIEW EX PERT AN SINCE 1971 ALYSIS evolution of Formula Ford Racing,



FORMULA FORD is now likely to remain as a multiple manufacturer as distinct from trying to introduce AA’Safter COLUMNIST SAYS HE – AND OTHER RACE FANS – category Motorsport Australia something that’s entirely new that we took note of competitor feedback. know with our Formula 4 experience WILL BE CURED OF CFS THIS MONDAY. Motorsport Australia Director hasn’t worked.” YOU’RE EXCUSED if you’re of Motorsport and Commercial Smith also admitted that the plan feeling a little fatigued as a fan of Operations Michael Smith opened for a 2023 introduction along with the motorsport. You may well up local to Auto Action about the current reintroduction of championship status be suffering from CFS – Chronic state of play in the incredibly popular is looking ambitious. Farewell Syndrome. Australian Formula Ford category. “If I’m being really honest, I think You possibly contracted CFS Smith explained that the original 2023 introduction might be a bit on 11 December 2013, the day idea Formula Ford now appears to be ambitious at this point,” Smith felt. General Motors announced substantially less likely after listening to “But we haven’t formed a fixed view it would cease vehicle and competitors views. on that, the Formula Ford Association engine production in Australia Enough! life. I note some media and “We’re really wanting the DNA to stay “We’ve taken the time totospeak to “But ultimately, if we’re, wanting to of course, will be key to all of this as four years. Your condition Consider the wider symbolism sycophants, who thewithin same,” he said to AA. every single one of those paddock people or achieve or carry on the philosophy of well. in during an endless of this weekend’s Adelaide 500. its looks when it broke “I set know one of our preliminary email every single one of defended those people. Formula Ford Racing we need to be “What I will say is our current thinking stream of subsequent closure ultimate farewell occurs cover in late 2018, are now recommendations was to look at a Holden’s “I guess as a consequence of that able to do it in a multi-manufacturer is to run Formula Ford, the current announcements and Holden home town, over five it ugly as they know single manufacturer path,” he said. in its oldwe’ve come around to thecalling view that environment.” cars as a national series next year, and ‘lasts’. Nine long years of them. years since the final all-Aussie they’ll no longer offend their “Whilst the (Formula Ford) working perhaps a multi-manufacturer concept Smith believes the reason that then at a point in time, whether that’s Announcements included the Commodore emerged from the paymasters. group hasn’t formed a view, one way is the way to go.” Formula 4 did not work in Australia 2023 or 2024, we will introduce a new dates the last engine would be fully American-owned company’s least next year’s cars are or another on that, I think we’re coming Smith feels that if they canAtget the was because it did notW appeal to the HA IT car as a championship. built at Fishermans Bend and Yet everything old is new lookers. Let’s hope they race around to the view that, potentially afactory. rules right, then a multi-manufacturer Australian motor sport scene, T this is ME“We’d existing cars in parallel ANSrun the last Commodores would roll the Holden-badged as well as they look. FOones multi-manufacturer format would beagain, with series will continue to work why it is essential that Formula Ford with the new a mixed R SasUsort PEofRfor out of the Elizabeth plant. Then bowing out upon With the changeover CA a better path to go, because that’s V8 ZB racer successfully. remains as close as possible to its grid and that would happen a RS came news, in February 2020, the return of the storied Adelaide to Gen3’s Ford-funded consistent with what Formula Ford has “In order to do that (a multi-brand roots. period, broadly speaking, I’d be that the Holden marque itself street circuit, thought lost to always been in this country. category) you have to getMustang the rulesand the largely “Formula 4 didn’t work here,” he anticipating that it’d be three to five would be retired. Plus there was the sport forever. What’s more, Supercars-funded Chev “We had the stakeholder forum, we right, we know that, it’s a lot simpler admitted. “It’s clear, people are very years, something like that. the hullabaloo when the actual can’t help Scott it depends on the then had the survey, and then we the parklands to craftevent a setreturns of rules whenCamaro, you’re Ionly passionate about Formula Ford Racing “I guess ultimately, y stu shutdowns took place and the as a brilliant conclusion to the wondering if the balance invited people to make submissions. have one homologated manufacturer. “Our thinking take up of any T new e car. DM ns in P is have it as an

with Luke West








xas t erkin last cars built – for both Holden season, just like the 11 fondly of power politically will ests s cla and HSV. Lasts, lasts, lasts... remembered Australian Grands finally shift from red to ssic r esto It’s been the same with Holden Prix held there, 1985 to 1995. blue. Issue #1 7 Feb 20 to 80 Mar in racing. We’ve had the last Ashes will also be scattered To me, it has often $8.95 IN 4 2020 PLU S C GST races for the final locally-built around the parklands for Gen2. felt like the Supercars www.a of the illustrious names that won in the ONE OF the country’s longest serving utoacti model, the VF, and the last The current ugly and irrelevant championship category. category administrators Margaret Hardy .au Holden factory team outings in machines have barely been was held for the How it Hardy assisted all of these drivers on passed away from cancer on Thursday all beg 2020. And a subsequent two able to pass each other for four benefit of Holden, with Ford an their route to Australia’s top-level. August 19. seasons of farewell tours for seasons. The high-top Mustang just involved as Holden needed Bathurst to She was liked by all who knew her Hardy was involved in motor racing at each circuit. Only ZB Commodore someone to beat. With about 70 square the ledger. In more in the industry which is why the motor for Holden decades and was known for her versus unloved Holden could get away with hatchback era won’t be warmly percent of the fanbase bleeding recent times, in 2019, Supercars meaningful sport community is sad to hear of her dedication to Formula Ford. three final Bathurst wins. Three! recalled in the future. Compare red, ensuring the Holdens were jumped to attention when the racing discussions always passing. Hardy joined the Light Car Club as CFS? More like FFS? As in, these last four years to the Car perennially competitive always Mustang outshone the ZB descending into the typical During her time in the category, the office manager and began working FFS I’ve had enough – it’s time of the Future’s first two, 2013 and made good short-term business Commodore. squabble between the two sides. she was named a Life Member of the with the Australian Formula Ford the sport moved on! We’ve 2014, when terrific racing was sense. More bums on seats and In contrast, the sport was I hate when our vibrant sport is Formula Ford Association. championship 1978, doing paperwork celebrated and farewelled more common than not. And eyes staring at the idiot box. slower to react when Ford found dumbed down to Ford versus Formula Ford Association for the category throughout the ‘80s. enough. Time for Supercars to how good does the FG-X Falcon Long-term? Not so much. itself behind the eight ball, such Holden. Early in the following year she became representative Phil Marinon said detach from the Holden teat, racecar look now? It’s always bothered me that as in the AU Falcon’s era, 1999I can’t wait to observing how she remained very connected to the the administrator of the category and pull on some big-boy pants and Good riddance to the the category’s masters invariably 2002. Holden’s executives and our sport emerges from the category. was tasked with organising national forge on into the future. Frankenstein’s monster of a reacted quickly to change the politicked very effectively shadow of the eternal battle. and was always drivers focused on the result and present took to social media to “Margaret was a tireless Administrator series events, a role she held until 2013. Thankfully, this weekend Mustang. I hate to think how rules when the Commodores against a parity adjustment. Blue versus red can live on in rather than looking for accolades. send their condolences. for Formula Ford Association and also She has dealt with many of Australia’s should see the last of the lasts. car enthusiasts were uncompetitive. The but easier to achieve memory banks, books, DVDs, the AFFM including category manager “Margaret was Admirable, very dedicated to Outside of Formula Ford, Margaret motor sport stars over the years andmany general Holden will truly be history turned their backs on Supercars very first season, 1993, was when most of the sport’s fans on YouTube and via historic also took on roles such as the race for the national competition,” he told all things Formula Ford and has was well-known as a hardworking and post-December 4 – this Sunday. due to its Mustang barely a good example. Ford driver racing. It’s time for professional secretary for Sandown Raceway. Auto Action. recently assistedwear the red. association in passionate worker. Supercars racing has effectively looking like the real McCoy. I still Glenn Seton won the ATCC, It’s a shame good-natured motorsport in this country to Hardy was diagnosed with “Her attention to detail and ability to the production of a book on 50 years In her time as category manager kept the marque alive for two shake my head wondering how then the Falcon’s front splitter and pub banter move on. Then new era starts Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2019 support the competitors has been very of Formula Fordcampfire in Australia and seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig additional years beyond the the powers-that-be allowed this was snipped handing the between supporters will next Monday when we will be and went into Stage 4 in May. strongly acknowledged on social media disappointingly will not get to see the Lowndes, reigning 1000 victor, Will dealerships shutting down. God-awful thing to be brought Commodores an advantage for dissipate. But I won’t miss more cured of CFS.



Davison, David Reynolds, Chaz Mostert and Anton de Pasquale are just some

and is undisputed. “Margaret was a very private person

final result.” Many Australian racing legends past

Auto Action sends its condolences to her friends and family. DM

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AUSTRALIA’S RECENTLY-crowned Porsche Carrera Cup champion, Harri Jones, has participated in the three-day Porsche Junior Shootout. The program that has been running for 26 years is designed to elevate junior champions up the Porsche Pyramid with a chance of competing in the Mobil 1 Supercup, Porsche’s premier European competition. Fresh from a P2 for Lechner Racing in Bahrain for the Sprint Challenge Middle East, Jones competed against 11 young Porsche stars, with the winner to be announced on December 17, where Jones will hope to follow in the footsteps of Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans (NZ) as past Trans-Tasman winners.


MANSELL GRADUATES TO WORLD STAGE THERE WAS a time when Christian Mansell thought he would never race again, but next April he will be lining up on the Albert Park grid making his full-time Formula 3 debut. Just three years ago the brakes were slammed on Mansell’s motorsport career when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “It was a scary time because you do not know what was around the corner,” he recounted to AUTO ACTION. “It was refreshing to still chase the dream and the Dexcom technology is the only reason why I able to do what I do.” Since overcoming the significant setback Mansell has been racing in Europe and will drive for Campos in the 2023 FIA Formula 3 Championship. “We have committed to a full season with Campos, which will be really, really exciting,” he said. Mansell’s signature creates the dream scenario for fans coming to Albert Park with Australians racing in the three highest open-wheel categories with Jack Doohan and Oscar Piastri also in F2 and F1 respectively. Mansell is no stranger to the F3

world having raced at the Hungarian and Belgium Grands Prix this year and reached the chequered flag in three of the four races. He said the experience puts him in a good position to race in F3 and chase his F1 dream. “It takes the pressure off because I am used to all of the systems and different buttons,” he said. “It is not foreign and takes away all of the rookie errors you could make in your first time, so to get it out of the way is really good. “At this point I am on the trajectory to get to Formula 1 Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES and chase the dream. “The likelihood of that Mansell took on the competitive happening is super low, but it is like Euroformula Open Championship that for everyone, so why can’t I have in 2022 and was a consistent force, a crack?” registering three wins and 15 podiums The Newcastle born and bred racer to finish third in the standings despite started his career aged nine and a “scary” crash at Monza. made his single-seater in 2019 before Having endured many highs and moving to Europe moments before the lows in a short career, Mansell is arrival of COVID-19. prepared for whatever F3 throws at After back to back top 10 finishes in him. the British F4 and GB3 championships, Thomas Miles


JIMMY PISZCYK and Costa Toparis – two of Australia’s brightest open wheel prospects – began their international F4 careers in Abu Dhabi, racing for Hitech GP and Carlin in the UAE F4 Trophy races, opening for the F1 finale. Qualifying in P6 and P9 respectively, Race 1 finished with Toparis in P4 and Piszcyk in P7. Race 2 saw Piszcyk take another P7 and Toparis slipping to P8, with Kiwi Lewis Sharp taking out both races. Both speedsters will contest the 2023 British F4 championship, whilst Piszcyk will also contest the UAE F4 championship early next year. Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES


KEVY NOTT, an amateur off-road racer, managed to finish one of the world’s most challenging races, the Mexican Baja 1000. Nott took to the famous race on the Californian Peninsula with his son Jackson as one of his navigators, with the Queenslander managing to be one of the 137 finishers out of 276 starters. Nott finished the race in 109th position, having driven the whole 1333 kilometres under his own steam in a time of 29 hours, 51 minutes and 48:216s, to finish fourth in the seven car field of Class 1 vehicles.

20 I

JACK DOOHAN entered the final F2 round of the season doing double duties for both Virtuosi and Alpine. After completing his first FP1 session in Mexico City as an Alpine Academy Driver, he backed it up with a second FP1 at Yas Marina in Fernando Alonso’s A522. On top of that, he completed a full day in the A522 for Alpine’s post-season testing, before embarking on Virtuosi’s three-day F2 post-season tests. After finishing P3 in the opening practice session in his #3 Virtuosi, Doohan’s second crack in an F1 car ended up in P19, running in the top 10 early, clocking a time of 1:28.484 over 23 laps, 1.851 short of Hamilton in P1. His F2 qualifying saw him finish in P5, above Logan Sargeant in the battle for third and top-rookie, with his time falling just +0.220s short of Iwasa on pole. The flipped-grid Sprint race had him dropping two spots to finish in P7, where Kiwi driver Liam Lawson dominated the field for victory. After suffering three DNF’s in four races, a pit error costed Doohan dearly during the final feature race of the F2 season. After inheriting the lead with the frontrunners pitting,

Doohan stayed out until lap 26 in a bid to over-cut Sargeant and Lawson in the battle for third in the championship, building a 24.3s gap to the effective leader. After finally pitting, Doohan’s front left wheel flew off his car on re-entry, causing the Aussie another DNF in a disappointing end to an otherwise successful three-win season, and Sixth in the Championship. Doohan went back out on the Yas Marina circuit on the Tuesday for an extended F1 drive, where he impressed with P11, doing 111 laps and 610kms to post a lap-best 1:26.297, beating his FP1 time by 2.187s, and posting a time just 1.052s short of Carlos Sainz in P1. He then proceeded to top the overall time sheets over the first two days of the three-day slog in the F2 testing, and was the only driver to post a time below 1:36s with a time of 1:35.990, until Victor Martins pipped him on day 3 with 1:35.908. A well earned break will hopefully see Doohan return for an assault of the 2023 F2 championship, although Alpine’s reserve driver seat is still up for grabs. TW NEAL


THERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS IN THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT YEAR’S SUPERCARS’ CALENDAR. THE SANDOWN 500 is back as a two-driver enduro, the start of the Gen3 era is confirmed for the streets of Newcastle from March 10-12, and Bathurst will celebrate its 60th anniversary in October. Those three things are covered with glowing praise in the official announcement from Supercars. But what about the bad news? There is much more bad than good for 2023, and it’s now obvious that Supercars needs to expand beyond 13 race weekends in the future. The near future. Tracks have been culled, there is no sign of the promised overseas expansion trip, and Supercars has muscled over the top of existing events to get its dates. New Zealand? Nah. Winton and Queensland Raceway? Nah. Phillip Island? Ba-bow.

with Paul Gover

THE PG PERSPECTIVE The fan reaction has been obvious … Starting at the start, the announcement of the calendar is ridiculously late and that has made planning super-tough for anyone – from teams to volunteer officials – who plan to hit the championship trail in 2023. Why so late? If Supercars insiders are right, and they usually are, the delay was caused by a plan for Supercars to perform – racing is probably the wrong word – on the undercard at the Singapore Grand Prix. The new owners of Supercars, the RACE consortium, have made no secret of their desire to turn the category into a regional – perhaps even global – championship at some point. Singapore was intended as the

first step, but the idea was riddled with potential problems – from three very short races in daylight, because Formula One wants the impact of night racing for itself, to the cost of obtaining high-quality television coverage. So Singapore is out, at least for 2023, and the final calendar has arrived. But New Zealand is missing and that’s a huge failure, considering the incredible turn-out at Pukekehoe and the availability of other suitable circuits across the Tasman Sea. So, too, is the absence of Winton and Queensland Raceway, which obvious lost some sort of bidding war with The Bend. Yet Supercars is happy to trumpet the vital role of Winton and QR as the category’s two test tracks.

Sydney continues on the roster despite miserable attendances, thanks to a deal with the NSW government to fund the installation of lighting for night races. Similar support from the state’s bank account also helps to explain the return of Newcastle for season ’23. What can be done? It’s as obvious as the rapidfire growth of the Formula One calendar – add more dates. If Supercars is going to be as profitable as RACE believes, and there is a suitable pay-out for teams, then more racing will be good for almost everyone. It’s not going to happen in 2023, when the people on the workshop floors will be suffering fatigue from the late Gen3 builds even before the season begins, but it should be a top priority for 2023. Covid has already proven that teams can operate over race weekends with fewer garage staff, the biggest cost of taking Supercars on the road, and a roster system would allow staff

to travel and rest without burnout. There has been resistance in the past to adding more dates and that needs to be addressed. Pronto. If Singapore gets up in the future, it will put more pressure on the existing events at a time when RACE should be doing everything it can to expand its fan base. Winton and QR both have huge regional support, Phillip Island would be a worthwhile addition to the calendar, New Zealand (somewhere) is a no-brainer, and the ambitious plans of Rodney and Kim Jane for Calder Park could make the suburban Melbourne track a serious contender for a championship slot in a couple of years. And then there is the plan for an all-new track, backed by Motorsport Australia, somewhere in regional Victoria. Formula One has already proven ‘If you build it, they will come’ so maybe it’s time for a serious re-think on the future of the Supercars calendar.


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email: Postal: Suite 4/156 Drummond Street. Oakleigh Victoria 3166 interested to see if I have any withdrawal symptoms. Doubt it. Shane Wilson, Wodonga, Victoria



SO SUPERCARS has punted Winton from its calendar for next year. Well I’m punting Supercars. Supercars headquarters needs to wake up to itself. Winton is a traditional part of the calendar and the people of this region have been great supporters of events there. Supercars is thinking only of big cities and kicking people in this region in the guts. The only rounds in Victoria will be at the Grand Prix (too expensive) and Sandown (another long trip if we want to go). Not only is Winton not on the calendar but nor is Phillip Island with the best track in the country for spectating – and a place I’d make the journey to. The Gippsland region gets the same kick in the guts as northern Victoria, Albury-Wodonga and surrounds. Supercars needs to remember where its bread is buttered. A few years ago they made a big song and dance about having a race in Sydney at the Olympic Park, It was a failure and got packed off to Newcastle.

Fair enough that Newcastle and Townsville and places like that get a round, but what has Winton – and Wangaratta and AlburyWodonga and the broader area – done wrong? Nothing. We’ve been loyal to what we’ve always thought was our country’s best form of motorsport. Well is it any longer? I can’t get greatly excited about Gen3, although I would go and have a look if they came to Winton. The TV is another thing. We don’t get the full free-to-air coverage any longer, for some years now, so again Supercars has shown it’s all about the dollars from pay television rather than thinking of its loyal fans. I read somewhere the other day that no sport really benefits longterm once it gets into bed with pay TV. Another thing I read this week, in a story on the calendar in a major newspaper, was that it was Winton in Queensland (?) that has been a Supercars fixture since 1985. That’s another kick in the guts for our region. ‘Twominute expert’ in the big smoke thinking they know it all and, like Supercars head office, showing that they know very little in fact. I’m going to take a ‘holiday’ from Supercars next year. Will be



DANIEL RICCIARDO’S return to Red Bull looks odd to me. What is it really going to amount to? Helmut Marko has said that young New Zealander Liam Lawson will have some Formula One reserve driver duties for the team next year. There isn’t much F1 testing these days, so am wondering how much of that Daniel will get to do, if any. Maybe he will get plenty of time in the team’s simulator to keep his hand in, and there will be the demonstration drives all over the place, but that’s hardly going to keep him sharp if he needs to be called in to race in 2023, or do anything for his case for a race drive, certainly with any top team, in 2024. By the way how come we can’t get the Auto Action here in Darwin until the following week it goes on sale down south? Steve Lockyer, Darwin Editor’s comment: Thanks Steve, you make a valid point, and we don’t really understand exactly what Dan will be doing either … But if it keeps him in front of the team owners and he shows that he can drive the Red Bull fast, then who knows, it might lead him back to a fulltime drive. With regards the Auto Action not being available in NT the same time as the East Coast. Unfortunately, the cost of our Auto_Action


airfreight went up 400% after COVID hit and it doesn’t look like its coming down any time soon. We do know for sure that subscribers get the magazine in Tasmania, WA and SA usually on the Thursday or Friday it goes on sale so that could be an option to consider.

VARIETY THE SPICE OF NOVEMBER BATHURST JUST A quick note to say that I recently watched the Bathurst International on TV and, while it appeared there weren’t very many people at the track, it made for interesting viewing with all the variety of different categories and what have you. I live in the western suburbs of Sydney and I was thinking of going over there for the weekend but some friends who live just out of Bathurst told me that it was probably not going to be a great idea because there were issues with flooding and a problem with a gas pipeline, so a lot of the place didn’t have gas for hot water or food in restaurants and pubs. So I think that might have had an effect on the crowd. But the racing was good and it was good to watch on TV from what I could see of it. It was a shame it wasn’t all on free-to-air and maybe next year when things settle down I might make it over there. It looked like a good mix of racing. Thanks for the coverage in the latest issue of the mag, it filled in a few gaps! And it was great to see Steve Johnson back in TCM and in a fast Ford. Go the Blue Oval! Bill Williamson Penrith AutoActionMag

Although the chequered flag is approaching for 2022, the comments have not stopped flowing on Auto Action’s social channels


Brendon David Dollente Burgess I am interested to see how he goes in the simulator against Max. They like a similar car. If he is closer to Max than he was to Lando, we will know it was the weird cars that done DR at McLaren. Ben Murphy Checo and Max chemistry going down the toilet, Danny Ric and Max get along famously. Go to Red Bull as a reserve and wait for Checo to be thrown back on the scrap heap and get back in a decent car. Better to be battling for podiums and helping Max getting the odd win rather than wobbling around at the back of the grid struggling to get a point each week and playing second fiddle to Lando. Christine McDonald It is so nice to see that smiling face again, something that we have not seen for a while.

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Darren Crebert Three weeks gap between events equals loss of interest. Especially for new younger fans who have other sports each week competing for their dollar. Lachlan James Sheekey Perfectly demonstrates how out of touch supercars management are. Ditch Winton, a track that always draws a strong crowd and produces great racing, for The Bend, where no one bothers to go and the racing is rubbish. Good call Supercars. JediJT74 Whilst other series around the world are expanding their calendars, Supercars is shrinking theirs. Says plenty about the state of the category.

Brocky’s Skyline is fitting. He will always be King of the Mountain. There are too many other legends to pick and choose. One over the other. Neville Mander An excellent recognition of one of Australia’s finest racers, a Bathurst champ, international ambassador and the other side of the Brock story. Brian Coffey It will likely have overwhelming support from anyone who is true motor racing fan. Moffat was the first driver to be called King of the Mountain; it is a fitting tribute to the man responsible for making tin top racing the premier Motorsport in Australia through his professionalism.



NO, NOT to that one – not to Max Verstappen (who fully deserved his second Formula One crown), but to departing legend Sebastian Vettel, who decided to call it quits at the age of 35, after a long and successful career that rewarded him with four consecutive World Championships, something only Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton have achieved. So it’s clear the likeable German is in good company ... Given his greatest successes date from a while back, people’s short memories focus on his difficult final two years with Ferrari and the largely unsuccessful two seasons with Aston Martin, so it’s worth remembering the impact the then baby-faced German had in Formula One in his first full season. Running as third driver for BMW Sauber in the final stages of 2006 and the first half of 2007, Vettel didn’t impress the management enough, even when he scored a point in his early debut in


with Luis Vasconcelos

F1 INSIDER Grand Prix racing, standing in for the injured Robert Kubica in Indianapolis. They released him to Red Bull, who had comanaged the German with BMW. They took him and they didn’t regret it. His victory for Toro Rosso in Monza, in 2008, was the stuff of legends. If the pole position had been achieved with the help of a good team strategy, in the wetto-dry race he reigned supreme and won by a country mile, in spite of only having the fourth or fifth quickest car. Promoted to Red Bull, he quickly established himself as the faster driver in the team, but a poor start of the 2009 season from the team meant his late charge for the title was too little


too late and Button took away the crown. But from 2010 to 2013 there was no stopping Vettel as he won four championships in a row, while Mark Webber, his team mate, couldn’t do better than three third places and one fifth. Unlike this year, Red Bull got the completely new 2014 technical regulations wrong. Vettel was nowhere in the first part of the season, as, very much like Hamilton this year, his engineering team and the driver were still trying to recreate the previous car’s balance on a platform that simply needed something completely different. When Alonso banged the door at Ferrari, Vettel, who had signed an option with a very limited time window to join the

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Scuderia, had little choice but to go and his first three years with Ferrari promised a lot. Clearly faster than Raikkonen, he was the undisputed number one, but the team always came up short against Mercedes and the championship challenges never lasted long enough. The arrival of Charles Leclerc in the team coincided with Vettel’s loss of faith in the Italians and the rest is recent history. The man, however. Is probably more impressive than the driver. Yes, toys came out of the pram often more at Red Bull than at Ferrari and there were some dubious moves along the way – Istanbul/2009 with Webber but especially Baku/2017 with Hamilton spring to mind. The ‘Multi 21’ debacle was simply retribution for the events of the title-deciding 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix although, like Verstappen with Pérez recently, Vettel lost out by not going public with his reasons. That all drivers have asked Vettel to remain a director of the

GPDA even in retirement just shows how highly they regard him and that old foes Alonso and Hamilton were genuinely sad to see him leave the sport also gives you an idea of Vettel’s status in motor racing. A well-read, educated man, with a quick wit and a sharp sense of humor, Vettel is not your typical driver or German, and that’s why he gained so many fans in the paddock. Of course there were days on which he could be brash and curt, like we all do, but any chance to have a chat with him was generally pleasant and would finish with a couple of laughs. His recent awakening to the world’s bigger issues came as he became a father of three, but he quickly informed himself, discussing things with F1’s original campaigner, Lewis Hamilton. Together they steered the GPDA and forced the FIA and the FOM to follow suit. If nothing else Sebastian Vettel did would get him a place in the sport’s history books, that alone should do the trick I 23


RICCIARDO RETURNS TO RED BULL FOUR YEARS ago the thought would have been fanciful ... but Daniel Ricciardo has reunited with Red Bull. Ricciardo returns to the team he won seven of his eight Grands Prix victories for between 2014 and 2018 as its third driver, performing duties such as testing, simulator work and commercial activities. The Aussie will support the world champion’s current stars Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, plus reserve driver Liam Lawson. After a rough couple of years where stints at Renault and McLaren did not get the desired result, Riccardo was pumped to return to a place with many happy memories. “The smile says it all,” he said. “I am truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their Third Driver in 2023. “I already have so many fond memories of my time here, but the welcome from Christian (Horner), Dr (Helmut) Marko and

the entire team is something I’m sincerely appreciative of. “For me personally, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely appealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refocus. “I can’t wait to be with the team and support with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go.” Since losing his drive at McLaren and not securing a full-time set for 2023, Ricciardo has been looking for a reserve role to remain at the pinnacle of motorsport, whilst enjoying a much-needed break, having endured four challenging seasons since leaving Red Bull in 2018. This development got the paddock talking about where the ‘Honey Badger’ could head with rumours suggesting the possibility of supporting a top team such as Mercedes and Red Bull strong. Ricciardo fuelled speculation in the buildup to his final race in papaya at Abu Dhabi

by revealing “progress” had been made on his “pretty exciting” future. The rumours were sent into overdrive by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who slipped his tongue on Sky Germany’s coverage of FP1 at Yas Marina. Marko said “Ricciardo will be our third driver.” However both driver and team quickly poured cold water on the comment saying no contract had been signed. But three days after the chequered flag fell on the 2022 season, pen was put to paper and Riccardo and Horner were seen arm in arm. It was a far cry from the immediate aftermath of Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull to Renault when a shocked Horner claimed the Australian “was running from a fight” with Verstappen. But four years on and two drivers

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PORSCHE’S F1 BID? PORSCHE’S INTENTION to re-enter Formula One from the start of 2026 seems to have gone out the window – the deadline for manufacturers to register as Formula One partners from that season expired last week with no announcement from the German manufacturer that it is coming into Grand Prix racing. The first, and probably decisive, blow to Porsche’s Formula One aspirations was given by Red Bull. Under Christian Horner and Helmut Marko’s pressure, the Thai shareholders agreed to quit the negotiations that had been going on while Dietrich Mateschitz was still healthy enough to run the operation. Red Bull’s decision clearly caught Porsche off guard, as the Germans had no ‘Plan B’ and previous tentative talks with McLaren had led to nothing. Zak Brown’s team was, again, Porsche’s first port of call, after the Board of the German company agreed to release more funds for a Formula One program. Without Red Bull Powertrains inpout, Porsche

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would now have to totally design, build and develop a V6 Internal Combustion Engine and is already more than one year behind its rivals on that part of the project. Once again, McLaren’s reply was clear: buy a majority of the whole company and we’ll work together, because there’s no interest in selling control of the Formula One team alone and keeping the car company as a separate identity. Obviously, Porsche doesn’t have any interest in acquiring McLaren Cars, so after enquiring about the technological capabilities of AlphaTauri and Haas, Porsche’s Motorsport Director, Thomas Laudenbach, concluded Williams was the only possible partner for his company. Negotiations with Dorilton Capital, the investment company that owns that historic Formula One team, don’t seem to have advanced much as, for more than one month now, there has been no hint of a deal being done. So with the deadline to apply as a Formula One partner gone, if Porsche really decides to enter Grand Prix

championships later, Horner was delighted to welcome back the former Red Bull Young Driver Program success story and believes he will only enhance the team’s capability to stay at the front of the grid. “It is great to bring Daniel back into the Red Bull family,” he said. “He has enormous talent and such a brilliant character; I know the whole factory is excited to be welcoming him home. “In his role as test and third driver, Daniel will give us the chance to diversify, assisting in the development of the car, aiding the team with his experience and knowledge of what it takes to succeed in F1. “We’re very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the team in 2023.”

Porsche’s last F1 involvement ... Monaco, 1987 – mechanics refuel a McLaren MP4-3 TAG.

racing in 2026, it will have to do it without voting rights – something no manufacturer will really want to do, as it will have no influence in the way the rules are changed and, therefore, no way of protecting its position.

Unless something dramatic happens soon, Porsche’s Formula One bid seems to be dead and buried, leaving Audi as the only new manufacturer to enter Formula One from 2026 ... which is bellow the sport’s expectations. LV

VETTEL “EMPTY AFTER SUCH AN EMOTIONAL WEEKEND” TIRED, BUT satisfied. It’s the best way to describe how Sebastian Vettel felt at the end of his last Grand Prix. The fiery competitor was there until the end, complaining to the team, “why did we get the strategy so wrong?” when he found himself stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo, consequence of a one-stop strategy that backfired and had to, again, let team-mate Lance Stroll go through, in an unsuccessful bid to outscore Alfa Romeo in the battle for sixth in the championship. But as soon as the four-times World Champion got out of the car, with the adrenaline levels going down, his retirement started to become more real: “It is strange. Obviously, the exhaustion, in a way, kicks in ... it’s been a busy weekend. I think it will hit me at some point

probably when I go to bed tonight or tomorrow morning!” The German was overwhelmed with the outpouring of tributes received over the whole weekend and by having virtually the entire paddock, including several Formula 2 and Formula 3 drivers, running the track with him two hours after the end of qualifying: “It’s been very special for me to have that kind of farewell. I enjoyed that. I had a great time across all these years and was able to enjoy success, win championships, so from a sporting point of view it’s been huge. But I’ve also been able to grow and mature in many ways and reflect on a lot of things. It’s always been the same rhythm season-by-season, but nice, and for me I’m very happy I was able to build so much off the track.

“I found a partner – now wife – that I’m very, very in love with still, after so many years. We’ve got three kids. I look forward to spending more time at home with the dog. So, things that might sound really boring but I’ve built next to the racing and will hopefully will be able to enjoy. “Then we’ll see what happens, I’m restless in many ways and interested in lots of things, so I’ll give those a bit more room.” Earlier, as he left the car and was interviewed on the grid by Jenson Button, Vettel left his final message for his friends and fans: “I think the last two years have been very, maybe disappointing from a sporting point of view, but very, very useful and important to me in my life, a lot of things happened. A lot of things

that I realised. I think it’s a huge privilege being in the position that we are in and with that comes some responsibility. So, I hope to pass on a little bit to the other drivers to carry on some of the good work. It’s great to see that we have the power to inspire you with what we do and what we say. I think there are far bigger and far more important things than racing in circles, but obviously it’s what we love and through that if we can transfer some of the really important values, that’s big. For that, the last two years have been have been great for me. “So, thank you for the support. Thank you for the messages, the letters and all the love in general, I will miss that. But it’s been an absolute joy throughout my career, so thank you. Thank you.” LV

Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES Although a racing return is no certainty for Ricciardo, at least his smile will not disappear from Formula 1 and he returns to an environment he knows can extract his best to remain in contention for a future seat if the opportunity presents itself. Thomas Miles

SEASON OVER: BINOTTO SET TO GO ... MATTIA BINOTTO’S days as Ferrari Team Principal were set to end, according to sources from the Italian company, as AA went to press this week. The Italian engineer had already been told his fate was sealed and, while he remained in Maranello for three of the last four races, he was back on track in Abu Dhabi for what was to be his last Grand Prix in command of the Scuderia. In spite of his knowledge of the situation, the Italian insisted that, “I’m relaxed and the reason why I’m relaxed is that I always have open, frank and constructive discussions with my bosses, with my chairman, not only on the short-term but on the medium and the long-term. More than that, I think if I look back at the season – yes, we had a few ups and downs, we are not the best yet, the fastest car on track, but I think we achieved our main objective, which was to be back, to be competitive in that new era of the 2022 cars. “If I look at the way we started the season, I think no-one in the room would ever have imagined Ferrari to be so fast at the start of the season. That is proving the team has



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worked very well though difficult moments as the 20202021 seasons.” The Ferrari Team Principal took all the stories about his future as a personal attack and cut most journalists from his post-race Zoom call – from the almost 100 normal attendants, only a dozen were invited to the post-race interview, as he black-listed almost the entire press corps from the event. His situation at the head of Ferrari looked extremely solid shortly after the start of this season, with Charles Leclerc winning two of the first three Grands Prix but things soon turned sour with the shambles in the pits during the Monaco Grand Prix being the start of a series of mishaps that threw the Monegasque out of the title battle against Max Verstappen. Things took a turn for the worse at the end of the British Grand Prix, with Leclerc furious he had been forced to throw away the lead due to another bad call from the pit wall and Binotto having very strong words with his driver soon after he got out of the cockpit of his F1-75. Since then, according to team insiders, Leclerc and Binotto haven’t really been on speaking terms and one sign of that was the end of the postrace press conferences with the drivers and the Team Principal, that had been organised since the start of 2021,

being replaced by events with only the Team Principal answering the journalists’ questions. With the situation becoming untenable, and both Stellantis Chairman John Elkkan and Ferrari’s CEO Benedetto Vigna unhappy with other decisions made by Binotto, they decided the team’s future would be better served by keeping Leclerc for his long-term contract rather than risking lose the Monegasque to a rival team, which could happen if Binotto would stay on for another season as head of the Scuderia. While Binotto’s future has been decided (but the terms of his release are yet being discussed), the future Team Principal will be announced before the end of this year, with three names being mentioned in Maranello. Promoting Laurent Mekies to the role of Team Principal could be a solution, but the Belgian may lack the kind of ruthless leadership that Elkann and Vigna believe is a necessary quality for the job. It’s worth mentioning that Frederic Vasseur was Sergio Marchionne’s first choice to replace Maurizio Arrivabene when he decided the Italian had to go, but the CEO’s untimely death aborted Vasseur’s move to Maranello, with Binotto being promoted by the new management. Now, insiders have assured us the Frenchman is on pole position for the top job at Ferrari. LV I 25


THE ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX MAY HAVE BEEN DANIEL RICCIARDO’S LAST FORMULA ONE RACE, AS THE AUSTRALIAN HAS NOW SIGNED TO REJOIN RED BULL – ALBEIT AS A TEST AND RESERVE DRIVER, FOR 2023. BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT, AA’S LUIS VASCONCELOS SAT DOWN WITH THE MAN FROM PERTH, TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND WHY HE STRUGGLED SO MUCH TO GET TO GRIPS WITH THIS YEAR’S MCLAREN MCL36, BUT ALSO TO REVISIT HIS DECISION TO LEAVE RED BULL AT THE END OF 2018. OPEN AND almost candid about his struggles, Ricciardo took us with him on this journey, explained what was lacking from this year’s car and how the team and himself could never overcome those issues. While admitting a year off is just what the doctor ordered, as he needs to get some time off to rediscover himself (and like he

said, “get that hunger back”), it’s clear the Australian still believes there’s more Grand Prix racing in his future, although he’s realistic enough to admit that’s something that is not entirely in his hands. Q - You’ve stated you could have stayed in Grand Prix racing next year but you felt

Ricciardo celebrates winning his first Grand Prix in Canada, 2014.


Daniel ‘needed to move’ from Red Bull, but the Alpine (Renault) never quite measured up.

A - If you break it down, it’s probably a feeling. Because it’s through feeling that you ultimately get the levels of grip and understanding of what the car is going to do. I think the biggest thing that I haven’t had is a feeling of predictability. I sometimes felt like an input that I would do should get me to a certain point in the corner, but maybe it got to a different point and then it’s ‘oh, why is that?’ and then I have to do something else … It’s hard to

“ ” it would be better to take a step back, get the reserve driver role for one year and then decide what you want to do for the future. So, do you rely on just hope that there will be a racing seat for you in 2024 or do you have something realistic to aim for in the next 12 months? A - I don’t believe Abu Dhabi was the end for me in this sport, on the grid, but I also cannot tell you that I know that as a fact, because I don’t know what the future holds. But my attitude, my mindset is that this is just a little interval, and that, ideally, in 12 months I’m back.

explain but I was having to be a little bit reactive, instead of anticipating what’s going to happen next. Q - But does that mean that whatever the car is doing is alien; it’s unnatural to you? A - Yes but obviously this isn’t all the time and in every corner, but when I try to push the car to the limit, it sometimes doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m in control, at least completely in control.

But my attitude, my mindset is that this is just a little interval, and that, ideally, in 12 months I’m back...

Q - You talked about having that feeling already in 2021, when you first started driving for McLaren, but after a bit of an initial struggle you started to close on Lando, sometimes beat him – you won Monza, so it’s fair to say you held your own. So, when you first drove the MCL36, were you shocked that a car that was completely new, designed to new regulations and so on, was an even bigger challenge for you than the MCL35 that, let’s say, was designed around Lando’s feedback and needs? A - A little bit, yes (laughs). But I was also coming into the season with new regulations, and on one hand I was excited, because that would give me a fresh start, we could improve the car, but, on the other hand, I knew that wouldn’t guarantee it. I was going like, “I hope this is better but maybe it’s the same, maybe it gets worse.” So, as filled with a bit of optimism, I still had the reality on the other side, so I think that, ultimately this year, the car is difficult to drive but this year the struggles are still similar, so probably we’re looking at something that is more in the core, in the DNA of the McLaren design philosophy. You see, the team now has a pretty old wind tunnel – there’s probably a few tools that maybe bring it back to getting a similar result, from a feeling, but I think what’s really funny is that people forget, even I forget, is that my very, very first qualifying with McLaren, I actually outqualified Lando. So, in a way, when I had less information, I was better (laughs). But that’s more an observation. It’s not meaning anything about the team or even me, but maybe at some point we got a little bit confused or complicated. I don’t know, but in saying that, I think that if we knew, we would have fixed it in season. So, that was probably just a coincidence. Q - On previous occasions we’ve talked, you have admitted you were not too keen on the technical side of racing until recently. Do you feel that may have hindered you a bit in the search for what needed to be done to the MCL36 for you to drive it the way you want it? A - No, because in terms of filtering and understanding what the car is doing, I would say I’m pretty much in tune. But where I think I’m not good is if you were to say, “tell me what are you seeing inside the gearbox”, or “what does this part of the engine do”, I couldn’t tell you. So, the mechanics of how a car works,

Ricciardo’s time at Red Bull was undoubtedly his most successful in F1. Here he is leading Red Bull teammate Sebastion Vettel on his way to winning his first Grand Prix in Canada, 2014.

Q - Throughout the year you’ve been telling us the car doesn’t gives you what you want and, no matter what changes have been made, that fundamental issue hasn’t gone away. So, what do you need from a car that the MCL36 never gave you? Is it a feeling, a balance that works for you?



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Ricciardo leads the field away at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, a race he went on to win for McLaren,

I’m not good at – I’ve never been good – but from getting a feel for the car and explaining what I’m am feeling and what I need to get from A to B, I have confidence I can do it. If you ask me why I couldn’t get this car from A to B, then that’s the second layer – you have to go back to the factory, and coming up with a solution is maybe different. But in terms of having an idea, I have an idea. I have confidence but I’m not going to say I know everything and if you ask “if you knew what every part of the car does and would you be any better if you did”, then the answer is maybe, but, also, maybe that just would fill my mind with a lot of other stuff, so I don’t know. Q - You’ve done two years at Renault, two years at McLaren and while there were clear highlights, you never achieved the results you were aiming for or the results you were getting at Red Bull until you left. Yes, Red Bull was becoming Team Max by 2018, but have you, at any stage, regretted not having stayed there longer? Even if the attention was focused on Max, you would have still been winning races, so is hindsight just a wonderful thing or do you believe you did the right thing by leaving? A - I do believe I did the right thing. I really needed to do it but for sure, on paper, you could say that if I had remained in Red Bull I would have got more podiums, probably would have won more races, so I get it when people tell me I should never have left, but I truly believe I needed this.


Also, looking back at 2020, I feel that was one of my best seasons in Formula One, from a self-evaluation, so I did have, let’s say, success post-Red Bull. Where Red Bull is today is a phenomenal place, but my 2018 season with them was a disaster. It started really well with two wins in six races, but then I didn’t get another podium, I didn’t finish on eight or nine occasions – I’m not throwing back to them, but I was not very happy then. So, I feel like I needed to try something else, so when I look back at that time and how I felt in 2018, I still stand by it; I still think I did the right move. Did it work out perfectly? No, it didn’t, but I still feel I needed to answer that question of what could be and it has been answered, I’m totally OK with it. I think Red Bull is going to have three cars on the grid next year, so I’ll be OK (laughs). Q - Your old sparring partner from Formula Renault, Valtteri Bottas, accepted going from Mercedes to a team that had been in the back of the grid for years, taking on the challenge of bringing it back to the front. Is that a challenge you’d like to take on, from 2024, for example? A - Maybe in six months’ time that could be more appealing to me. I think that right now and for the last few months, it hasn’t been appealing to me. I’ve certainly tried to do that when I left Red Bull to Renault and then kind of took a step across to McLaren, so I feel like I’ve – I don’t want to say exhausted that route

RACE CIRCUIT 2014 Canadian Grand PrixCircuit Gilles Villeneuve 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring 2014 Belgium Grand Prix Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang International Circuit 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Baku City Circuit 2018 Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai International Circuit 2018 Monaco Grand Prix Circuit de Monaco 2021 Italian Grand Prix Monza Circuit

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CAR RB10 RB10 RB10 RB12 RB13 RB14 RB14 MCL35M

TEAMMATE Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel Max Verstappen Max Verstappen Max Verstappen Max Verstappen Lando Norris

– but I’ve certainly attempted that route for the last four years. Obviously there are no top teams available at the moment, so I think I’ll be better off just removing myself a little bit, regrouping and regathering and if there’s nothing available at the top, in six months, then, OK, it will make sense to go and give it another go. But right now I feel I’m better off not being in a seat than jumping into another situation that may or may not work. Q - What are the plusses of being a reserve driver, apart from the fact you’ll be around, will understand how cars are evolving or even get a chance to do a race or two if needed? A - I think there’s always opportunities with a a top team to learn, see how they operate, do some tests, simulator work or whatever. But I think the biggest thing for me is just getting some time to myself – I say work on myself but it’s like I need to go and do some self-discovery; it’s just having some free time, do some other things. The season is so busy now that we never have the opportunity to look at ourselves from a difference angle, analyze things and so on. And doing that, I’ll probably learn more, understand it and I’ll probably miss it more too and that will bring the hunger back. So, it’s more that, for sure, with a top team, I will continue to learn, but the big thing is to have some time for me.

Q - You’ve grown beyond the sport thanks to your personality, to the extent that you were mentioned by the ESPN CEO as someone they would like to have with them, when they announced they were extending their F1 broadcasting deal. So, will you be exploring other careers in 2023, maybe in the sport, or just focus on trying to get back to racing? A - I’m open minded to all those things. The only thing I can say I don’t want, is to travel to 24 races, otherwise I might as well race again. So, it will be all finding a balance between it all, and if that means doing a bit of work, for some events, in some Grand Prix, then that could be something that is appealing. But, ultimately, I want something that fits my personality, something I can have fun with and, if I have to wear a suit and a tie, then that’s probably not my look, or my feel! If the right opportunity comes up and I feel I can have fun, express myself and enjoy it, then I’ll keep an open mind. Q - What comes now, as the season is over and your future for 2023 is settled? A - I had to spend a little bit of time in Europe, to sort out everything, go back to Monaco for a little bit; and before Christmas it’s time to go home and enjoy it. Sooner rather than later I’ll get home and will start a mini holiday before I get bored and want to get back to it!















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ADELAIDE 500 BACK BEFORE IT WAS GONE THE STORY OF HOW SA PREMIER PETER MALINAUSKAS RODE TO VICTORY ON THE BACK OF THE ADELAIDE 500 AND NINE FRANTIC MONTHS TO MAKE IT A REALITY. AUTO ACTION’S BRUCE WILLIAMS SPOKE TO THE PREMIER AND ANDREW CLARKE PUT THE STORY INTO CONTEXT.... IN AN ERA where a politician will say and do anything to get your vote, the dedication and speed with which South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas approved the revival of the Adelaide 500 is refreshing. It would have been easy to sit back and let it slide for 2022. After all, it wasn’t on the calendar when he was elected in March. Nor did it have any of the infrastructure needed to run the race after the previous government sold the lot. Concrete walls, fences, bridges, the pit complex and pretty much all the other assets required to put a street track together were sold in a firesale.

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But with Newcastle opting to move to March and open the season, Adelaide swooped to become the closing round 2022, and it will remain in that spot on the calendar for the foreseeable future. With urgency,

Malinauskas put the band back together, reforming the South Australian Motorsport Board and tipped in the cash needed to get it moving. And before you could wonder what life was

like without the Adelaide 500, it was back and only missed the COVID year of 2021. “There’s a buzz around town, the state’s very excited,” the Premier said from Adelaide last week. “Ticket sales have outperformed

The Adelaide event returns having missed just a single ‘Covid’ year ... Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

ADELAIDE 500 TV TIMES (AEDT) THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1 1:45pm-5.15pm Live: Fox Sports 506/ Kayo FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2 9:15am-6:45pm Live: Fox Sports 506/ Kayo SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3 12.30pm-6pm Live and free: Seven Mate 9.30am-6.30pm Live: Fox Sports 506/ Kayo SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4 12:00pm-5.30pm Live and free: Seven Mate 9.05am-6.30pm Live: Fox Sports 506/ Kayo

Premier Malinauskas and then Supercars CEO Sean Seamer shake on the deal.


Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES expectations to date, so all things are heading in the right direction. “We’ve had some difficulties with the weather in the last few weeks, and there was a degree of concern about getting



everything finished off, but we’re very much back on track. I think all is in place for the most spectacular V8 race the nation’s seen in some time.” When the previous government announced it was cancelling the race on October 2020, the motorsport world was in shock. This was the showpiece event of the domestic calendar and one of the best touring car races anywhere in the world. It changed the way we went racing when it began in 1999, and in 2008 its crowds peaked at nearly 300,000 for the four-day event. Then, two things happened that changed the race and put it on a slippery slope. First was the change of format on Saturday, with the first leg of the Clipsal 500, as it was at the time, being replaced with two 125km races. Supercars said at the time its research pointed them in that direction, that it was something the fans wanted. Yet no one could find anyone in favour of it, except the TV people who wanted two starts and shorter

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races to hold the audience. If you like the idea, jump on our socials and let us know. But we think the idea sucked. The other fatal step was disbanding the Motorsport Board, which had successfully run both this and the Australian Grand Prix before it. SA Tourism was given the race to run and promote, and quite simply, they had no idea. In 2020 the crowds were down to nearly 200,000, and the vibe had gone. Adelaide had lost its mojo. Not that we need to blame Steven Marshall, he inherited a basketcase. But he also didn’t have the vision to work out what was needed. Malinauskas did. “Motorsport runs through the veins of so many South Australians in a whole number of ways. Per capita, South Australians have more classic cars than any other part of the nation. It’s part of our state’s cultural identity, and there was always going to be a period post-COVID where major events were a possibility again. “My job as an opposition leader was to think

into the future about what would best serve the interest of our state in a sort of postCOVID period. The Adelaide 500 struck me as being a really simple thing that we could do that would make a big difference to the state’s economy. That economic imperative was central to the decision, let alone the fact that I think many South Australians want to be able to enjoy motorsport in the city. And all those things have come together. “It is working. Hotel occupancy is the best it’s been since COVID and the four days of the race, hotels are looking like they’re going to be booked out. Ticket sales are strong. Corporate sales are even stronger. It’s going to be one of the best years in terms of corporate sales the event’s ever had. And restaurants are reporting that they’re mainly fully booked. “Look, COVID isn’t gone. The pandemic’s with us. But I think this major event is a linein-the-sand moment to say, “you know what? We’re back. We want our city to be alive, and we want to live again.” I think that’s something to be excited about, and I think you can feel the excitement in the air. You really can.” He said there is a palpable change in mood among the people of Adelaide. After this race, Adelaide hosts the first cricket test of the summer, then there’s Tour Down Under. After that it is Fringe Festival, and even the AFL’s Magic Round – or whatever they call it – next year along with the LIV Golf Tournament. For a sleepy city, Adelaide is certainly back and making a noise to the rest of Australia, I 31

Shane van Gisbergen walks the resurfaced track with SA Treasurer Stephen Mullighan.

and there is a reason to cross the border and drive past the wineries to the city. Malinauskas seed the Adelaide 500 as the springboard for a recovery. It’s importance was highlighted in the actions taken to get the race happening. “Within 24 hours of the election result, I was on the phone putting together the Motorsport Board because we didn’t have a day to lose. These events normally start preparations for next year’s event the day after it finishes. We had half that time, and we were dealing with the fact that the former state government tried to flog off a lot of the infrastructure needed to put the race on. “I won’t lie, it has been very challenging, and the Motorsport Board, chaired by Andrew Daniels, and Mark Warren and the team, have been working around the clock, and they probably are going to be right up until the event. Some people were saying that it couldn’t be done – we couldn’t put on a world-class event in this short a time, and I think the naysayers are going to be put back in their box once it’s all over. And next year, we’ll be better again because we have got more time. “When political leaders make big policy decisions like this, you’re always nervous about whether or not it’s going to be pulled off, and it takes a dedicated team working their guts out. That’s exactly what Mark and the team have done.” Strangely for a can-do Premier, he has no

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plans for a permanent pit facility that doubles as a multi-purpose venue like in Melbourne, but he says that doesn’t mean they aren’t working on upgrading the facility and set-up. “We’ve got to get the balance right about maintaining the park and the facilities. We’re very open-minded to upgrading facilities. We already have spent a bit of money on the infrastructure to upgrade it. We’ve resurfaced the track, which hadn’t happened in decades. “We are investing in the capital and infrastructure to bring things up to speed, and that’s something we’ll continue to turn our minds to in the years ahead. But we don’t have a policy of building anything permanent. “I want to see it with my own eyes now. I was down there last week, but I’ve got this flooding situation along the River Murray that’s occupied my time and focus so I haven’t seen it recently. If you saw it two months ago, you’d think, “Bloody hell, how are they going to do this?” But now it’s a race track. “We had a lot of big policies that we took to the election, and the Adelaide 500 was a key part of us of bringing a certain vibrancy back. It was a risk at the time because people were saying it couldn’t be done, and then we went really out on a limb in February, about six weeks before the election, when we announced that we weren’t just bringing it back, we were going to bring it back this year. “And I think that’s when a lot of motorsport fans in South Australia started saying, “Oh, hang on. These guys are actually serious”. That obviously presented with it a big challenge,

Scott McLaughlin was the winner at the last Adelaide 500, just pre-Covid, in 2020. but we’re all set to meet it.” ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA’S DETROIT? At the risk of boring you with history, in 1856, James Alexander Holden started a saddlery business in Adelaide, which later moved into the automotive field and eventually became General Motors-Holden’s. Even under GM’s ownership, Holden kept its heart in Adelaide, where it set up a factory in Elizabeth, 24km north of Adelaide. Chrysler, and later as Mitsubishi, also had a plant there in the south, and the city thrived on the motor industry. There were also niche players and motorsport manufacturers like Veskanda, Elfin and

Shrike to name a few. Today Brabham Automotive is building the stunning Brabham BT62 in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. But it was always Holden that was inextricably linked with Adelaide, and its people were attached to Holden financially and emotionally. The Adelaide 500 was a place to wear their hearts on their sleeves. That Holden has dominated the race (14 wins in the 22 races) has only reinforced the connection many people feel between Holden, Adelaide and the race. It is appropriate then, that this is where Supercars says farewell to a brand that was a key part in its formation.







2022 VALO ADELAIDE 500 SCHEDULE Thursday, December 1 8.50-9.10

Touring Car Masters Practice


GT World Challenge Practice 1

10.25-10.50 S5000 Tasman Series Practice 1 11.05-11.45 Dunlop Series Practice 1 12.00-12.20 Aussie Racing Cars Practice 1



’S NEW D OMINAN FORCE T COULTH A FABULO RD’S US ISLAN D WIN Issue #183 2 March 24 to April 6, 2022 $9.95 INC GST


12.30-12.50 Touring Car Masters Qualifying 13.20-13.45 GT World Challenge Practice 2 14.00-14.25 S5000 Tasman Series Practice 2 15.00-15.40 Dunlop Series Practice 2 15.55-16.25 Supercars Practice 1


Friday, December 2 8.50-9.10

Aussie Racing Cars Qualifying


GT World Challenge Qualifying 1


GT World Challenge Qualifying 2

10.30-10.50 S5000 Tasman Series Qualifying 11.20-11.40 Touring Car Masters Trophy Race 11.55-12.15 Aussie Racing Cars Race 1 12.30-13.00 Dunlop Series Qualifying 13.15-13.45 Supercars Practice 2 14.05-14.15 GT World Challenge Race 1 14.55-15.15 S5000 Tasman Series Race 1 15.30-15.50 Touring Car Masters Race 1 16.05-16.25 Aussie Racing Cars Race 2 16.40-17.10 Dunlop Series Qualifying



1999 Craig Lowndes 2000 Garth Tander 2001 Jason Bright 2002 Mark Skaife 2003 Mark Skaife 2004 Marcos Ambrose 2005 Marcos Ambrose 2006 Jamie Whincup 2007 Rick Kelly 2008 Jamie Whincup 2009 Jamie Whincup 2010 Garth Tander 2011 Jamie Whincup 2012 Will Davison 2013 Shane van Gisbergen 2014 James Courtney 2015 James Courtney 2016 Nick Percat 2017 Shane van Gisbergen 2018 Shane van Gisbergen 2019 Scott McLaughlin 2020 Scott McLaughlin EVENT NAME 1999 Sensational Adelaide 500 2000–17 Clipsal 500 Adelaide 2018 Adelaide 500 2019–20 Superloop Adelaide 500 2022–24 VALO Adelaide 500




Holden Racing Team Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Racing Team Holden Racing Team Holden Racing Team Stone Brothers Racing Stone Brothers Racing Triple Eight Race Engineering HSV Dealer Team Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden Racing Team Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford Performance Racing Tekno Autosports Holden Racing Team Holden Racing Team Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske

17.35-17.50 Supercars Qualifying


Holden VT Commodore Holden VT Commodore Holden VX Commodore Holden VX Commodore Holden VY Commodore Ford BA Falcon Ford BA Falcon Ford BA Falcon Holden VE Commodore Ford BF Falcon Ford FG Falcon Holden VE Commodore Holden VE Commodore Ford FG Falcon Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Ford Mustang GT Ford Mustang GT

Saturday, December 3 9.10-9.30

Aussie Racing Cars Race 3


GT World Challenge Race 2

11.00-11.30 Supercars Practice 3 12.00-12.20 Touring Car Masters Race 2 12.35-13.05 Supercars Top 10 Shootout 13.20-13.40 S5000 Tasman Series Race 2 13.55-14.25 Dunlop Series Race 1 14.45-17.15 Supercars Race 33 (78 laps)

Sunday, December 4 8.40-9.20

GT World Challenge Race 3

10.05-10.45 S5000 Tasman Series Race 3 11.00-11.15 Supercars Qualifying 11.30-11.50 Aussie Racing Cars Race 4 12.05-12.35 Supercars Top 10 Shootout 12.50-13.10 Touring Car Masters Race 3 13.25-13.55 Dunlop Series Race 2 14.15-16.45 Supercars Race 34 (78 laps)

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Jeff Grech IT WASN’T the full track, mind you. Nestled in the parklands adjacent to the city and cutting through the former Victoria Park horse racing track, the Supercars circuit turned right at Bartels Road instead of continuing along Hutt Street to Rundle Road. It was only shortened by 500m, but it was a significant change in that it created the infamous Turn 8 while cutting the cost of the track build and imposing on the city a little less. It was a hit. From the challenging and awesome Senna Chicane to the combination of the corners from Turns 4 to 7 known as the staircase, through Turn 8 to the hairpin and then through the parklands, it suited a V8 Supercar. The legendary organisation skills of the South Australian Motor Sport Board, which had changed the Formula One world with the way it ran a race, were on full display. It did the same here. Then there was the format. The Championship was still fought with three 20-minute sprint races at each round. So Adelaide was something else. Two 250km races in a hostile environment, with car fumes and heat trapped between the concrete walls. It was two legs rather than one race, although there were points for Saturday. Each race had two compulsory pitstops, one for tyres only and the other for fuel only. It was a unique format at a unique track, and right from the first session on Friday, it was obvious they had built something special. The teams had plenty to master.

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“Probably the biggest problem was dealing with the heat,” Holden Racing Team’s then-team manager, Jeff Grech, said recently. “Because it’s such a closed circuit, there’s not a lot of airflow around, so the heat and fumes were a big thing. “The pit stops weren’t a big issue – I mean, one for tyres and the one for fuel was tricky to first get your head around it, but once you nutted it out, it was pretty straightforward, other than picking the timing around Safety Cars. “You could have the best strategy in the world, and then there’s a Safety Car, and someone lucked it in where they’d be called in under the Safety Car and gain a huge advantage. We expected Safety Cars.” The other big challenge was backing up from Saturday to Sunday. Some drivers really struggled. HRT’s Mark Skaife failed to finish one race with back issues, and Paul Radisich collapsed at the wheel of his Falcon after succumbing to the fumes of the cars in front, joining John Faulker on a drip to recover at the end of Sunday. The three days of the race meeting recorded top temperatures of 24°C, 23°C and 27°C with virtually no wind, but it felt hotter. “We just went about it race by race. On Saturday, you might have had a ripper or bad day, and then you had to regroup and attack the next day. With that also was managing the drivers. If it was really hot in the first race, we knew it would take a lot of time for them to recover. I’ve got to say, at that particular time, our two drivers were fairly fit, but they both admitted that the second day took a bit more out of them than the first day.” The track itself was similar to what they




Craig Lowdes’ ‘come from the back’ win on Sunday at the first ‘Sensational’ Adelaide 500 in the #1 HRT Commodore was extraordinary. Below left: Bright (4) and Skaife lined up on the front row. Centre: Bright led early on. Right: Greg Murphy came from grid 16 for second. Images: MARK HORSBURGH-EDGE PHOTOGRAPPHICS/AA ARCHIVES



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raced on when supporting the Grand Prix, and the shortening of the track did little to the cars and drivers except for the challenge of Turn 8, which Grech said was always a factor, not just in that first year buy every year thereafter. “It was still a unique circuit. Turn 8, for the many times that they’ve tried to shift walls or put tyres on the inside or whatever, that was always the biggest worry. It’s a unique part of the circuit, and as a team, we always tried to reiterate to the drivers not to take a risk there in practice or the race. Qualifying was different, and the whole team would always gasp a little bit as the cars went through there in qualifying, hoping we didn’t have a mishap. “There’s no doubt about it, though, it’s one of the best circuits that Supercars goes to. It’s got a lot of character and, not belittling Melbourne, but even when they had Formula One there was something

about the circuit and the town made it special. They embraced it, and to this day, it was one of the most enjoyable tracks to go to. “It was like having a race at the MCG on grand final day with the crowd and atmosphere. If Gen3 has a lot less downforce and becomes more of a driver’s car, I think that’ll show the circuit’s potential.” The race opened up as a pure gladiatorial contest. The brutality of the track as the cars pounded kerbs and walls and the nature of the track meant overtaking was possible if you were aggressive. Jason Bright led the first 16 laps from pole, before Skaife and Lowndes mugged him on consecutive laps. By Lap 28, the leaders were lapping the slower cars, and with 40 cars in the race, there were plenty of them, like privateer Danny Osborne. He’d qualified his ex-Mark Larkham Falcon in 30th spot, more than

Garth Tander ran third on Saturday, but struggled on Sunday.

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five seconds off the leading pace. Skaife passed Osborne on the short squirt into Turn 8 on that lap. Then Lowndes powering out of the corner, came up suddenly on the slower Falcon, which was sitting on the racing line. Lowndes had to dive to the right to avoid slamming into him and clipped the rear of the Falcon, which turned sharp left and smashed nose-first into the wall. On the telecast, Osborne said he was “clipped by Lowndes as he was overtaking me, and he threw me into the wall. He just came up and did a vicious swing and hit the back of the car as he was trying to overtake. I moved right over to the left to get out of his way. I don’t know why that happened.” Those comments no doubt played a part in what followed. First, Lowndes got a stop-go penalty before winning the race, only to be disqualified later that evening. “I knew it was going to be a late night,” Grech said of the hearing, “we were before the stewards for a few hours and got a penalty, and we were sent to the back of the grid. It was a stressful Saturday evening, I can give you the tip. “But typically with Craig, and to one of his great strengths, he just shrugged it off. We tried to fight the penalty, and when we lost, he apologised to the guys and everyone else in the team and just got on with it the next day. “I didn’t think we had any chance, but one thing about Craig is, when his back is against the wall, he puts 120 per cent into his driving. As the race progressed, he rewarded himself with a pass and that pushed him even more. That was a great

part about Craig right through his career.” Lowndes was pretty upset at the hearing, believing he wasn’t given a fair hearing, and he felt like a bit of a scapegoat. “That hearing went on for a little while, but Danny Osborne’s car had already left the circuit, so they didn’t extract any of the data out of his car,” Lowndes said. “That meant we couldn’t confirm what we suspected had happened. From my perspective, as we exited turn eight, I was chasing Skaife, and unfortunately, Danny was between us, and I believe he missed a gear on the old H-pattern gearbox. “Originally, I was going to go around the left-hand side of him down the race line, but he went left. So, I went right, and then I tagged the back of his car, put him into the fence, and damaged his car. The data from our car showed that I’d lifted and didn’t have full throttle at the time of impact. “The investigation, from my recollection, was only sort of half investigated, and they made a decision without knowing all the facts. I got a drive-through penalty in the race and then was put to the back of the field. I was fined as well.” Auto Action’s race report summed up the first leg of the Adelaide 500 and Lowndes’ part in a few incidents: “It was a rare sight to see Lowndes involved in contact with Osborne, Johnson, Richards and Seton in the one race. He [Lowndes] described the incidents as, “Osborne pointed left as I went right, Dick backed off to avoid Emerzidis and I tagged him. Then I hit Steve when the front tyres weren’t up to temperature and I couldn’t pull up.” With all that parked, Sunday’s race would be run with the grid formed by the

“ ” Mark Skaife and Lowndes ran 1-2 early in Saturday’s first leg. Above right: After a midfield result on Saturday following ‘contact’ with Lowndes, Dick Johnson worked his way to 10th on Sunday. Below: Danny Osborne’s wrecked Falcon never raced again. Centre: a tough weekend for John Faulkner, forced to retire with heat exhaustion. Bottom left: The chequer. Right: Lowndes most recent Adelaide win came in the second of two Saturday races in 2014.



I didn’t think we had any chance, but one thing about Craig is, when his back is against the wall, he puts 120% into his driving.

finishing order of the Saturday leg, and Lowndes was starting so far down he was around the corner. Grech said the race strategy was easier when you were chasing than when you were leading; you just watch the front runners and react. Lowndes was given straightforward instructions. “Starting on the Sunday at the back of the grid, I remember talking to Robbie Star (the #1 engineer on his car) and him saying to me, ‘You drive the wheels off it. We’ll call the strategy and see where we end up’. “I remember throughout the race that I was constantly radioing to the crew to find

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out where we were. It was after the last pit stop that they said, ‘You’re in the lead of the race’. I couldn’t believe it at that point. The car was unbelievably good, the tyre life was good, and just to be able to come back through the field was really special. I think we also had a little luck with Skaife, Radisich and others.” Skaife retired from the race with back dramas, courtesy of an injury he sustained when he’d flipped Godzilla here in the Grand Prix days. John Faulkner and Paul Radisich finished the race early with heat exhaustion, while plenty of others had mechanical issues. It was a tough race for the cars and drivers. And Lowndes was on fire. He went from 39th (Osborne didn’t start and that car never raced again) to 24th on the first lap. He then executed five more passes on the next two laps, and then kept going. By the time the first round of stops came on Lap 115 of the dual-leg race, he was second. On Lap 133 of 156, he took the lead and ran to the flag for a famous victory that helped start the legend of the Adelaide 500. Lowndes said Adelaide changed the course of V8 Supercars in a few ways. “No one expected or predicted the strain and the fitness that you had to prepare yourself for an event like that. It raised the bar for everyone. But it also highlighted some issues for teams, and the current designs of the cars all stemmed back to that race. For example, we used to have the exhausts coming out both sides of the car. Adelaide highlighted the heat and everything else that radiated up through the car, so the exhaust was shifted to one side only. “There were a lot of changes to the car for an event like that. We didn’t have cool

suits back then, and we didn’t have power steering. But we didn’t know any different at the time. I remember I was physically and mentally tired at the end of the race. My eyes were sore because of all the fumes and everything else we inhaled back then. As time went on, we rectified all that. “The first 500 was probably the special one because no one expected or understood what it was going to take to win the races. It was extremely special in the context of how we had to win it. You want to win from the front row, which is where we should have started, but coming back through the whole field made it so special.” Not only did V8 Supercars have a new standard-setting race and a Holden win in the city where J. A. Holden & Co started business in 1879 before evolving into the car company we knew. Both Lowndes and Grech referenced that during this discussion. “For us, being a factory Holden team, and the main plant being in Adelaide, it was a big thing,” Grech said. “We were so proud to be the factory team in Holden’s home state, a lot of employees had come through the pit area, and everyone was proud to be behind us, so we lapped that up, to be honest. “It’ll be emotional next week. Unfortunately, I won’t be going, but it will be an emotional weekend. I know GMSV has a lot of plans. It is quite fitting, to be honest, to the brand that it is in Adelaide that it will race for the last time.” Twenty-three years ago, a legend began in V8 Supercars. This year, it marks the closing chapter for another legend. Welcome back to the Adelaide 500, vale Holden. A few weeks after the race, Lowndes’s disqualification from the first leg was overturned. It is just as well that he won the race, or who knows what the Holden fans would have done. I 37

Nick Percat drove the #222 Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Commodore VF. to a shock win in the Clipsal 500 in 2016, in appalling conditions. Images: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

PERCAT’S EMOTIONAL RETURN TO ADELAIDE by ANDREW CLARKE NICK PERCAT has ridden an emotional rollercoaster with the Adelaide 500. He grew up with the race, debuted in the main game there and then won the 2016 Clipsal 500. Then, in 2020, the similarly Adelaide-bred Holden shut down and the brand was parked by General Motors. Then, in October 2020, at the height of the COVID Pandemic, the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, announced the cancellation of the Adelaide 500 and its assets were sold. This year, Peter Malinauskas unseated Marshall and rode to victory on the back of a promise to return Adelaide to the fore of the major events market and that he would revive the Adelaide 500. And, strangely for a politician, he has delivered and this weekend, Percat will take the streets of Adelaide again, albeit for the last time in a Holden for him, Walkinshaw and the Supercars Championship Series. Percat’s win in Adelaide was one of the biggest shocks we can remember in Supercar racing. He was into his second year with the minnows of pitlane, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, and finishing in the top 10 was an achievement. Winning one of the biggest races of the year was rated no chance. But it happened. His history to that point was a rookie win at Bathurst in 2011 with Garth Tander, and

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a couple of podiums when running for SA businessman James Rosenthal in a third Walkinshaw car in 2014. Then, in 2015, he joined the team run by his old mate Lucas Dumbrell. His first season with the team was a struggle. He had a few top 10s and missed the final two rounds after being hospitalised with a severe infection. If you know Percat, though, you’ll know he is an optimist, and he bounced into the 2016 season full of hope. The season opener was the Clipsal 500, which was for the last time of three, running the disastrous two 125km races on Saturday that played a part in the demise of the race. Percat finished each of those in 21st and 19th. On Sunday, a storm hit the track just before the start of the race, and all bets were off. The race eventually started behind the Safety Car and ran that way until the seventh lap when it went green. In all, there were four Safety Cars over 15 laps in a race which was first red-flagged on Lap 42 of 78 and then restarted only to be red-flagged again on Lap 48 – 30 laps shy of full distance. That was it for the racing as the weather didn’t let up, and the fading light made it too dangerous to continue, and leading at the time was Percat, making him the only local to ever win the race. Four years later, Percat was coming to grips with the cancellation of the race at the height of the COVID

Bathurst 2011 ... a careerdefining win. Below: New world for 2023.

pandemic. He’d grown up with racing on the streets of Adelaide, first with Formula One as the centrepiece, then with Supercars. It was devastating news for him, like many others, in an automotive city. Holden was founded there and had its manufacturing base in Elizabeth in the north of Adelaide. Chrysler/Mitsubishi manufactured from Tonsley Park in the south from 1964 to 2008, and much of the industry of Adelaide was there to feed those factories. The loss of those plants hurt Adelaide. So dropping the Adelaide 500 was like pouring salt into open wounds. Thankfully, Peter Malinauskas decided that part of his tilt to become the premier of South Australia was the return of the ADL500. He won the election in March, and now, in December, we are back. “It kind of feels like it wasn’t cancelled because we couldn’t go there anyway,” Percat said of the return to the streets of Adelaide. “It is weird. But it’s like the Gold Coast – we hadn’t been there for two years either, and we were back there like we’d never left. I think Adelaide will be like that too. “It’s a little surreal to think that it was cancelled and everyone in Adelaide has managed to rally together and get the event back. Everyone’s just pumped to get there, I’m looking forward to it.” Percat was 11 when the first Sensational Adelaide 500 was run, and he was there and has been ever since as either a fan or a driver. He debuted in the series as a main game driver for James Rosenthal Racing out of the Walkinshaw stable in 2014. Then in 2015, he joined Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and had six top 10 finished in an illness-shortened first season but he struggled at Adelaide. Both he and Dumbrell bounced into 2016 with high hopes and targeted many more top 10s, but after 21st and 19th in the first two races, it kind of looked like more of the same. But then Mother Nature intervened, and the unlikely happened. “Obviously, it was a big surprise for the team and me, and probably the category, too,” he said. “That was probably one of the best days of my career. Bathurst was unbelievable, but winning your home event, an event that you’ve been going to since you were three or four months old (he’s counting the Australian Grand Prix), was pretty surreal. “With the links of my family to Holden and my friendship with Lucas … getting a win for him was probably the most special part of the whole thing. “The Bathurst win and my Bathurst podium up to that point were really special, but to win this event as the main driver was amazing. It was a rough old day, too. It was hard to keep the car in a straight line, let alone survive the whole race with



Winning Bathurst in 2011 with Garth Tander. Image: MOTORSPORT IMAGES

Percat shares the VALO ADL500 trophy with VALO founder and CEO, Aaron Hickman.

Two-wheeling at the Gold Coast – Adelaide will provide the same spectacle! Image: Edge PHOTOGRAPHIS/MARK HORSBURGH Safety Cars and red flags. It was chaotic. “And then we had to come up with ways to use a lot of fuel in a short amount of time so we could get the minimum fuel drop done. I was driving around with my foot on the clutch and holding it flat behind the Safety Car and other stuff like that to burn as much fuel as possible just in case the race didn’t go the distance. “It was doing opposite things than what we would normally do when we’re trying to keep the engine cool and save fuel. This was ‘who gives a shit about engine temperatures, hold your foot flat for as long as you possibly can’ – a crazy day. “A few cars had to pit because they didn’t get the allocated amount in, and that worked for us.” On Lap 46, the first and second-placed cars – Scott McLaughlin and Craig Lowndes – pitted for more fuel, and

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that left Percat in the lead. Five cars didn’t manage to get the required fuel into the car, and they all got 60-second penalties, meaning the brains at LDM had got it right. It was the 12th win for a Holden there in 18 races, and Percat says he wouldn’t have had it any other way. “Holden and Adelaide are very united. Holden has given so many opportunities for people to have jobs and careers in the automotive industry in Adelaide. So it holds a pretty sweet spot to South Australia, so that’s one side of it. Then there’s the Motorsport side, where Adelaide is a big petrol-head city. “The Ford versus Holden rivalry in Adelaide is quite big. Every win for Holden in the Adelaide 500 was the biggest day for that brand, every single time. It even goes back to Brock at Mallala. Holden has always been very special to South Australia. “This being the last race for Holden is going to be a little bit surreal for a few people in the grandstands and team owners, and I’m sure Ryan Walkinshaw and our team will be

emotional. Some people in our current group will probably shed a tear because they’re Holden through and through. “For the last Holden race to be in Adelaide is pretty crazy. Chaz and I will be, we’re always at 100 per cent, but we will do whatever we can to get our car on the podium and the top step to sign off in a good way. The general public and most fans still see the Walkinshaw Racing Team as the factory Holden team, so we want to honour that. “I think it’ll be a pretty special day if one of us can get up there.” It is well documented that the Walkinshaw camp is leaving the GM camp with the demise of Holden and the heralding of Gen3. It is almost unthinkable, although globally, the Walkinshaw family has been aligned to many brands – think Mazda, Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan and Rover, as well as Arrows F1 – but in Percat’s entire racing career, he has only ever known Holden. The switch to Gen3 and the need to replace everything in the workshop with minimal carry-over equipment opened the door for Walkinshaw to cross the biggest river in Australian sport. “The workshop’s been normal. We’re just going about our business trying to make sure the cars and the team are as best prepared as possible to get a big result. I don’t check the social media stuff too much, but when I do, all the fans are upset that they’re not going to have the brand on the track in the same way they have.” It’s the Holden trifecta for Percat. His last race in a Holden, Walkinsaw’s last race in a Holden and Holden’s final outing in Supercars. “It’s great that GM will still be heavily involved in the sport, but it is different. “A lot of people have been tagging myself, Chaz, Ryan and Bruce, saying please run a tribute livery; we need the Holden Lion on the doors one last time. The fire still burns pretty strongly in a lot of people and I think that’s a legacy that Holden should be very proud of. “I think the Walkinshaw team, with the famous lion and helmet on the door, did a lot of winning at Bathurst, Adelaide and championships. That’s what everyone remembers. “But it’s not as easy as throwing a livery on a car these days. We will create something special to say thank you for everything Holden has done for our team and the sport. “I’ve never driven anything but a Holden. I’ve only ever had Holden branding on my car, even back in my Formula Ford days. My dad and granddad are a little upset that this chapter’s over – they’re huge Holden fans, and they worked at the factory building the road cars. The factory and everything in Elizabeth closed down, and now the racing side’s closed down, so it’s a pretty sad day. “Honestly, with those three things and the annoying year we’ve had on my side, winning would be bigger than my Bathurst win. To stand on the top step for Holden in its last weekend would be the dream result of probably my career, bar a championship win to be honest. “So if we can somehow wrangle that and everything aligns, it would be seriously amazing and probably quite an emotional as well. I think whoever wins it, if they’re in a Holden is going to be seriously lucky. But yeah, I would trade a few things in to get that one.” I 39





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KING JAMES THE PERTH Motorplex hosted the 41st Annual Scardifield’s Smash Repairs King of Wings, coinciding with the third round of the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series and, for the first time this season, we would see Victorian Rusty Hickman and South Aussie Matt Egel venture across the Nullarbor for a crack at the Sandgropers on their home turf. In addition to the open Sprintcars ,there was also a large count of both Pro and Limited Sprintcars making it a Sprintfest for the fans with over 70 Sprintcars in the pit area. James Inglis and Dayne Kingshott fronted the top 22 cars for the 40-lap marathon. At the drop of the green Inglis (pictured) was quick to check out from the field, Andrew Priolo advancing to second and Kingshott entered a tussle with Jason Kendrick before Todd David brought on the first of the yellows. Inglis again led the field until the mandatory pitstop. At the recommencement, Kendrick soon moved to third, relegating Kingshott into the clutches of AJ Nash and Kye Scroop. By halfway, Inglis entered traffic as he sliced and diced before Daniel Harding spun to a halt. The next yellow quickly followed after contact between Nash and Robbie Farr. Again, with clear track, Inglis made the most of the restart – however with three laps to run Andrew Priolo would bounce off the fence ending his tilt at the podium. The final restart would see Inglis cover the distance with minimal effort to become the third round winner, taking home a $10k payday! Kendrick and Kingshott joined the podium celebrations, while David Priolo and Egel battled for fourth followed by Bradley Maiolo, Callum Williamson, Jason Pryde, Ryan Lancaster, Nash, Scroop, Mitchell Wormall, Jack Williamson and Jaydee Dack rounding out the 14 competitors to travel the journey. Joining A. Priolo on the non-finishers list included Taylor Milling, Harding, Farr, Hickman, Trent Pigdon, Kris Coyle and Davis.




SPEEDWAY NEWS with Paris Charles Kendrick, A. Priolo and Inglis made the most of their 8-lap qualifiers,

Williamson Wins Pro Sprints

The 20-lap Pro Sprints final saw Callum Williamson find the quickest way to Victory Lane, Shaun Bradford and Kaiden Manders joining the celebrations, with Ryan Lancaster, Kris Coyle, Mitchell Wormall rounding the six, all pursuing double duties in the open Sprintcars with Luke Mewett and Murray Iwanow also on the lead lap, trailed by Ed Trutwin, Michael Gronow, Myles Bolger, Tammy Wilson, Joe Latham and Jeremy Warren. Failing to go the journey was Tim Boujos, Ryan Farrell, Troy Lawson and George Eaton. Williamson claimed two of the

8 lappers and Bradford the remainder.

A Double Keen Sandwich!

MICHAEL KEEN stormed from the third row to claim the honours in the 20-lap Merv Woolford Memorial feature for Limited Sprintcars. Separating the Keen’s would be Jarrin Bielby as the meat in the sandwich with Daniel Keen third. Dominic Rifici, Craig Bottrell, Matt Peaker, Joel Ettridge, Chad Pittard, Greg Clarke, Brendan Condren, Matthew Laughton, Kyle Francis, Mat Borgas, Aaron Chircop, Jason Jones, Anthony Gaudio, Clayton Dickinson, Stephanie Hanlon and Tim Davis curtailing the finishers. Tim King, D. Keen, Ettridge, Peaker, Bielby and Bottrell shared the heats.


FORMER STATE champion Glenn Carstairs upset the consistent Steven Ellement to claim the Opal Finance Formula 500s 15-lap feature and joining the podium celebrations was Rhys Cumming, the Nardinis in Luke and Jamie rounding the top five. In the Kart divisions Jorja Farrell claimed the Open Outlaws, Mitchell Campbell the Intermediate, Kayden Puglia the Beginners and Braxton Watts in the Box Stock Outlaws.

VEAL HITS SIX, HUNGRY FOR MORE! VICTORIA’S JAMIE Veal has continued his undefeated run at Sydney’s new Eastern Creek Speedway, for round 4 of the Sprintcar Track Championship. Right from the get-go Veal would fire his best shot stopping the clock with a creditable 11.536 to sit him at the top and above 36 other hard chargers on the qualifying sheet. This time back in his own team car Veal would line up alongside Sam Walsh as the lights blazed green for the final. Veal pounced away, Brock Hallett quickly advanced to second quickly pursued by Marcus Dumesny relegating Walsh to fourth before his retirement on the tenth circulation thanks to a deflated right rear tyre as an enthralling battle developed for the minor placings as Hallett and Dumensy traded places several times. In the later stages Jessie Attard would enter the fray relegating Hallett to fourth, however the latter would rally for one last push to catapult back into second, following Veal to chequered flag, Dumensy would take the final step of the podium. J. Attard next followed by Troy Little, Speedcar ace Michael Stewart subbing in the Mark Blyton entry, Aaron Kelly who charged from

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16th and Daniel Sayre, however Image: Anthony Snedden the biggest mover in the field V35 Jamie Veal was Luke Geering advancing 13 continues his hot spots to finish in ninth, Lachlan streak of 6 on the Caunt, Warren Ferguson and trot. Brett Hobson rounded out the top dozen. Alex Attard, Kaidon Brown, Mick Turner, William Lucas, Matt Geering and Brendan Scorgie making it 18 competitors to greet the chequered flag while Michael Saller, James Thompson, Walsh, Jake Baines, Jordyn Brazier and Queensland veteran Allan Woods failed to go the journey. extended his Club Championship lead The six 10 lap qualifying heats would be with a third. Former Australian Compact shared amongst James Thompson, Woods, Speedcar Champion Mark Heaton used his Scorgie, Walsh, J. Attard and Veal while A. experience to slice his way from deep in Attard led the way in the 12-lap B Main. the field moving from 12th to victor over the 18-lap journey, the battle for the minors was SUPPORTS a thrilling affair as the laps closed out Kyle The Wingless Sprints presented in large Sharp and Adam Ollerton passed by early numbers with a field of 43 competitors race leader Rhys Birkett to square off the striving to find the fastest way to Victory podium which allowed Ollerton to head the Lane. Victorian Travis Millar took the early track championship. Ross Nicastri’s AMCA lead before Jason Bates would find a way National’s debut proved fruitful, leading all by and not look back to take the win, 20-laps to win the final with Jarrad Eveleigh Millar a close second and Bailey Goodwin and Darrell Kime for the minors.

DESPITE THE heavy rainfall throughout Victoria, the Drouin Speedway managed to successfully kick off their summer season with the opening round of six in the Gippsland Wingless Sprint Series and, with 17 competitors suited up for battle, the racing proved a fast and furious affair as the competitors put their best wheels forward to bank some early points. Dillon Seily and Ricky Mills shared the front row for a what would become an incident plagued 25-lap feature. At the drop of the green, Mills (pictured) established a lead and started pulling a handy distance, however some early caution periods brought the field back together. One incident causing second, fourth, fifth and sixth to spin amongst lapped traffic. Travis Evans spun in the next set of laps as Mills set consecutive fast times, his best lap a 16.609 posted on his way to notching up his maiden Wingless final. Thomas McDonald, Aaron Lawrence filled the podium followed by Ben Hodge, newcomer Blaine Densley and Kim Gosling, followed by the Logues in Peter and Wayne rounding out those to go the distance. Parked up on the infield were Scott Irons, Ben Shaw, Evans, Stuart McDonald, David Anderson, John Rotheram and pole sitter Seily. From the four 10-lap qualifying heat races Mills, Seily, W. Logue and Gosling were victorious.

Blencowe Snares Sally’s Race Also featuring on the card was the ‘Sally Memorial’ for Standard Saloon’s in honour of Sally Walkinshaw. Taking the honours in the 20-lap final would be Jeff Blencowe (pictured), adding another edition of this race to his CV as he led Pole sitter Mark Miles to the chequered flag. Rounding out the top three for the podium celebrations would be defending winner Shane Stewart. Kacey Ingram, Andrew Miles, Simon Strang, Justin Hutchins, Matt Leek, Darwyn Lee, Justin Cadman and Brad Warren would all finish on the lead lap. Jack Yeomans would retire one lap from home, joining Nigel Frew, Leigh Gooding, Ash Dean, Chris

Miles and Stephen Douglas on the list of non-finishers. Blencowe took two of the qualifying heats while the remainder of the 10-lappers were shared between Stewart and the Miles family in Mark, Chris and Andrew.

Supports Dette Miles’ run in the Ladies Standard Saloon final, would come the hard way after starting from the rear of the field having swapped cars due to damage in the qualifying heats. Joining her in the top four were pole sitter Erin Mitchell, Tasharni Murray and Stacey Sheedy. Other race day winners included Beau Stuchbery with a late race pass to claim the Junior Standard Saloon’s win over Nathan Miles. Jack Braz was consistent in third and Bree Walker fourth in the 12-lap final. Arthur Hutchinson proved a dominant force taking two of the three qualifying heats and the 8-lap final in the Junior 1200cc Sedan’s with a flag to flag run. Joining him in the top quartet were Braidan Webster, Holly Hutchinson and Dayne Murdoch.

ALICE ACTION APLENTY! ALICE SPRINGS’ Arunga Park Speedway recently ran successive meetings which played host to a small but enthusiastic list of local Sprintcar competitors for the annual running the President’s Cup, followed by a club show the following event. Making every post a winner at the President’s Cup was the well-travelled second generation racer Lachlan Cole who used his experience to clean sweep the field.

After claiming all three 8-lap qualifying heats Cole claimed Pole Position. Squared up on the front row outside for the 12-lap final would be John Little who placed runner up to Cole in all three of the heats. At the drop of the green Cole opened a handy margin over Little who chased valiantly over the distance which ran express to the chequered flag. Jamie Phillips and female racer Katie Thompson

had a strong battle for third, however the first mentioned would take the final podium step. Sadly, Warren Thompson and Jack Wade had challenging runs through their heats races and would not take their starting spots in the final. The following meeting would see a change of fortune for the previously luckless duo as Thompson claimed two


A STRONG field of 28 Sprintcars rolled into the Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba Speedway for Round 3 of the Clay-Per-View Ultimate Sprintcar Championship, presented by Queensland Speedway Spares. Lachlan McHugh made every post a winner, taking his qualifying heat and the A Dash to claim Pole Position for the 30-lap final. At the drop of the green McHugh would check out to open a handy lead – within four laps he would hit lap slower traffic, however the red lights would blaze for Randy Moragn, Taylor Prosser and Mark Pholi, the latter two retiring to the infield. At the recommencement Ben Atkinson Jr would pounce to lead as they entered Turn 1. Maroske followed suit but McHugh would split the duo coming through Turn 2 in the blink of an eye to reclaim his mantle as he set about opening some handy real-estate and, by one third the journey, Atkinson Jr, Jy Corbet, Cody Maroske and Jamir Oldfield had engaged in a hot four-way dance for minors as they negotiated traffic until the yellows brought the field back together for the wounded Anthony Lambert entry. Again, McHugh would make the most of clear track and stretched his legs, chased hotly by Corbet. At the halfway point Atkinson’s strong run would come to an end, pulling his entry to the infield.



Oldfield and Maroske would battle for the final podium step as the laps counted down. With half a dozen laps remaining the yellows would again come into play, this time for the stranded entry of Erin Vanderreyden after contact with the back straight wall. With six to run, McHugh would negotiate the distance without trouble, while following him to Victory Lane would be Corbet and Maroske after a solid battle with Oldfield. Fifth was Ryan Newton, followed by Jayden Peacock, Brent Kratzmann and a strong comeback from Moragn after rolling early in the final. Cody O’Connell, Jack Bell, Karl Hoffmans, James Matthews and Blake Darcy rounding the baker’s dozen. One revolution back was Libby Ellis who qualified as the first reserve and Tarhlea Apelt. In addition to McHugh the heats belonged to Newton and Atkinson Jr. Oldfield claimed the B Dash while Brodie Boss went flag to flag in the B Main but failed to take his starting position for the final.

Kiwi Currie In A Hurry!

A strong field of 18 Speedcars assembled for round 3 of the GSA Advanced Machining Ultimate Speedcar Series. New Zealand’s Kaleb Currie made the most of his pole position as he set his plan of attack into

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of the heats and Wade the remainder to find themselves fronting the field for the feature race. After a series of aborted starts Thompson (pictured) would go flag to flag for an untroubled win, with Phillips home in second while K. Thompson would fall only metres from the finish line after tagging the wall coming out of the final corner, while Wade spun out of contention before retiring to the infield earlier in the journey.


action. Dylan Menz would push him every inch over the first ten revolutions before Tom Clauss and Michael Kendall connected, taking #7 Lachlan McHugh both out of the equation. amongst traffic Currie led the restart while (Sprintcars) Menz felt the heat coming from Troy Ware and, after a brief battle, Ware would get the upper hand. With 10 laps remaining the yellows would blaze for the stranded entry of Tim Devine. Rusty Whittaker would be the next to pause the race, lucky not to roll before contacting the wall. Currie would lead them away, but Ware found a faster way on his mission #6 Kaleb Currie, #71 Troy Ware to the pointy end and over the next few and #46 Dylan Menz (Speedcars) laps they would trade blows – the yellows unfortunately would play their final role after Supports Harry Stewart came to a halt. Steve Potts would find the fastest way home With three to go Ware led them away in the 15-lap AMCA Nationals final closely however his ride bogged down allowing hounded in the closing stages by Michael Currie to pass and onward Victory, Scott Denning and Brett Robotham advancing Farmer also skipped by relegating Ware from sixth to third. After 12 fast laps the to the final podium step. Next was Menz Compact Speedcars victory went to Trent followed by Brad Dawson, Robert Mazzer, Usher; the battle for the minors was a tight Devine, Cal Whatmore and Ty Horne affair with Andrew Parkes getting the upper curtailing those to travel the journey. hand over Mitchell Rooke. With a top six Currie would claim a heat and the Pole inversion for the 10-lap Lightning Sprints Shuffle, Whittaker the remaining heat and final Keith Blatch took the maximum points Kody Stothard the Dash. over Wayne Iacono and James Elliot. I 43


VEE TROPHIES AT SEASON’S END THE ROB JANNEY Memorial Meeting at Raceway on November 5-6 was the last of the State Championship outings for the year and the sixth at Wanneroo. Formula Vees figured heavily with five races and the annual Morton Cup and BM Plate to be won.


DAVID CAISLEY dominated on Saturday before a glitch allowed Rod Lisson to top Sunday’s results. Caisley (Jacer) won the opener ahead of nearest championship rival Franz Esterbauer (Jacer). Third went to Mackenzie Matthews (Jacer) once he passed Austin Pearson (Jacer) and Lisson (Sabre). Caisley also took out the next while Esterbauer fell to fifth before a comeback earned him second ahead of Matthews and Lisson. Caisley had the following race won until the gearshift broke which allowed Lisson to emerge and down Matthews, Pearson and Esterbauer. The early leader of the next was Matthews whereas Caisley’s charge from the back to win while Esterbauer was third. Victory in the last gave Caisley the Morton Cup. Matthews had a spin at Turn 1 before Pearson finished second ahead of Lisson and Esterbauer. The BM Plate for 1200s was won by Brett Scarey (CD-Vee ) who was first in every race. Myles Lockett (Ajay 99) won the race for second in the opener from Callum Lamont (Polar) who scored two further seconds while Lockett and Connor Welsh (Repco) also scored runner-up places.


WINS WENT to Paul Kluck in SCs, Garry Edwards in IP while NSW’s Tom Shaw was the lone PC. Kluck (Nissan Skyline R32) opened up an early lead in race one before Nik Mitic (IP BMW M3) passed him. Grant Gillon (Ford Escort Mk1) grabbed second, but Kluck took it back shortly after. In race two Mitic lost out to Kluck who took a commanding lead while Gillon was third. Mitic didn’t front for the twilight third race. Kluck won where Gillon was second from Chris Cheverall (BMW E36 M3). Shaw was ninth, his best overall result.


ELLIOT CLEARY (Van Diemen RF94) dominated the three races. Craig Jorgensen (FR93) was second in the first but not until he retook the spot off Jay Coul (Stealth) who passed Tom Chapman (RF93) earlier. Jorgensen had second until the last lap of race two where he slipped to sixth. Chapman held off Coul, Elly Morrow (RF92) and Brock Brewer (Van Diemen) for second. Jorgensen came through to score third in the last, behind Chapman and in front of Coul and Brewer.


BOTH RACES were won by Caleb Sumich ahead of fellow Radical SR3 drivers

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Michael Woodbridge took the silverware in HQs ... Images: MICK OLIVER Elliott Schutte, Adam Lisle, Sebastian Fiorenza. Campbell Nunn was next in race one ahead of Brad Russell and Andrew Eldridge, and then behind Eldridge and Nunn in the second.


POOR STARTS didn’t stop Dan Gate (Ralt RT4) from three wins ahead of Terry Nielson (RT4) and Martin Bullock (Chevron B20). Simon Alderson (Van Diemen RF88 FF2000) led race one as Gate (Ralt RT4) fell behind Martin Bullock (Chevron B20) and Bill Norman (Ralt RT4). Within a few laps Gate was in front and won from Bullock and Norman as Alderson pitted. Bullock and Norman led Gate in the second before the latter won. Norman took second before a moment dropped him spots while Nielson took second and Bullock placed third. Nielson was best at the last start followed by Bullock and Norman. Gate was fifth on the first lap but led by lap five and won from Nielson and Bullock who had a 5s penalty which elevated Alderton.


FROM BEHIND in each outing, Jack Clohessy came through to win the three races where he took the round points ahead of Brett Sherriff while Harrison Douglas and Jackson Callo were equal third. Craig Charnley was on pole for race one and led before passed by Sherriff, two laps before Clohessy did the same, and later displaced Charnley for the win. Sherriff led race two for four laps before he fell to Clohessy. Shortly after Ruano Stumpf rolled at Turn 1. After the restart Dean Hill and Callo overtook Charnley. Afterwards Hill received a 35s penalty. In the twilight race three, Sherriff led before Clohessy relegated him, and Callo and Douglas did the same. Douglas briefly passed Callo before Hill rolled at Turn 4 and red flagged the race.


IT APPEARED Ryan Humfrey (Falcon XE/ Chev Sports Sedan) would dominate. He led race one throughout and kept Grant Hill (Ford Falcon BA) behind. Cody Gillis (TA2 Mustang) was third but retired with gearbox issues. Tim Wolfe (Audi R8) chased Hill before he stopped at Turn 6. The race finished under yellows with Robbie McAfee (Porsche Gt3 Cup) third. Humfrey led from the second race start followed by McAfee and Walter Epple (Porsche 997.2) and Ron Moller (TA2 Camaro) who soon displaced Epple. Gillis was on a charge and took the lead when Humfrey had the gearbox break. Moller held second until Wolfe passed him.

Brett Scarey won the 1200 Vee contest.

Elliot Cleary took all the Formula Ford glory. Brett Sherriff heads the Excel pack.


WHILE HE was beaten in the last, Rob Marcon (Ford Falcon AU) won the Pro round ahead of Chase Hoy (Holden Commodore VT) and Rick Gill (AU). In race one, Marcon beat Mason Harvey (AU) who pipped Grant Johnson (VT) at the finish. The second race went safety car when Johnson, behind Marcon and ahead of Hoy and Harvey, was off at Turn 1. With the resumption, Hoy assumed second, and Brock Ralph (VT) was third until he retired. Mason finished third ahead of Gill. In race three Marcon led until Hoy and Harvey passed him. Ralph was next from Chris Kneafsey (AU).

the second ahead of Woolhouse and Barr (Holden Torana XU-1) after Raynor and John Bondi (Holden Monaro HQ) retired. With a number not up for the third, it left Barr the winner over Stuart Young (XU-1) and Bondi. The race was declared after Mike Rowe (BMW 2002) went off.


In Pro-Am Michael Koberstein (Commodore VN) led the first two races from start to finish where Justin Chaffey (VN) and Neil Streatfield (Falcon EA) each had a second and third. Both passed Koberstein in the third but not for long as he won ahead of Streatfield while Chaffey lost out to Matt Jenkins (VN).

THE ROUND went to Michael Woodbridge over Michael Howlett and Dennis Russell. Woodbridge started with two races wins. In the first Russell was second until passed by Howlett, but the former came back to pip him on the line. Next time Howlett had to pass Russell to take second. Russell led the last before Peter Marsh glimpsed the lead briefly. Then Woodbridge hit the front only to finish second to Howlett.



OUTRIGHT VICTORIES went to Paul Stubber and Greg Barr. Stubber (Chev Camaro) won the first two encounters, the first in front of Clint Raynor (Camaro) and Graeme Woolhouse (Ford Mustang), and

RUN THREE times, Mike Van Den Rydt (Ford Cortina TC) was first, ahead of Arran Birmingham (Ford Escort Mk1) and Peter Dyball (Ford Falcon AU). Mick Oliver


Jarrod Hughes heads for Excel victory.

David Waldon (above) shared the Improved Production points with Kyle Organ-Moore. Images: TRAPNELL CREATIONS

NATIONALS WRAP with Garry O’Brien JUST TO spice up the fourth and final round of the Queensland State Race Championship at Morgan Park on November 19-20, if it needed it, there was heat, rain, a fire and even a power outage.


JARROD HUGHES had already enough points to take the state title, but it didn’t stop him from a win at the final round where he beat Riley Beggs, Treigh Maschotta and around 30 others. The triumph did not come easily for Hughes as there were three different race winners with Hughes in comeback third race driver where there were nine lead changes. Bradi Owen was the fastest qualifier and in race one, while fighting for the lead with Brock Giblin, Riley Beggs and George Wood, went off at Turn 1. Several others were also involved but Maschotta came through to win ahead of Hughes and Wood. Owen regathered for fourth while Giblin was out. There was downpour as race two started. Maschotta led while Cooper Barnes went from 10th to second. That became first when Maschotta went off at Turn 1 on the second lap. After a four-lap safety car, Barnes held off Zane Rinaldi, Max Geoghegan, Beggs and Hayden Hume for the win. Hughes fell back to 12th before Barnes was excluded on a technicality. It was dry and warm for the third where Hughes came through to win. Owen finished a close second after he started 24th. Both passed Giblin on the last lap. Then followed Jackson Faulkner, Beggs, Maschotta and Wood. Geoghegan who was third early, retired three laps from the end.



Alex MacDonald and Alex Hedemann ran 1-2 in Vees.


ON EQUAL points at the end were David Waldon (Mazda RX3) and Kyle OrganMoore (Holden Commodore VS) after Organ-Moore won Saturday’s encounters and Waldon had success in both of Sundays. While Organ-Moore led all the way, Ashley Isarasena was second until a broken watts linkage dropped him to sixth behind Waldon, Bruce Cook, Brock Paine and Simon O’Dell-Fontana. It was close (0.06s) at the front in Race 2 where the top five was a repeat of earlier. Waldon finished with two narrow wins over Organ-Moore as Jason Grimmond came through for two thirds. Isarasena was back after repairs for a fourth in Race 3, ahead of Guy Gibbons, and then finished behind Cook and Zachary Gough in the fourth.


THE ROUND went to Alex Macdonald (Jacer) with three race victories. Alex Hedemann (Rapier) had one race win and finished second overall while Matt Dicinoski (Jacer) was third. After a DNF in race one when fourth, Tim Alder (Rapier) hit back with strong results to be fourth overall. Almost 4s behind Macdonald in the opener, Dicinoski overcame Hedemann to place second. The two fought for the runner-up spot in the next until Alder came through to beat them both. Hedemann battled through to take race three and beat Macdonald who was fifth at one stage while Alder was third. Macdonald then passed

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Hedemann to win the last as Dicinoski filled third and Alder warded off David Hedemann (Bee Cee Jabiru) for fourth.


AFTER THEY went one-two in the first two races, Saloon Car drivers Cameron Klee and Gerard Miscamble packed their Holden Commodore VTs away and left the front running to the HQs and Geminis. Joe Andriske was the best of them in those two events where he headed fellow HQ rival Brandon Madden and Mark Gray (Gemini) in the first, and Madden and Jake Madden in the second. Brandon Madden won the later races to take the major points. Andriske was second ahead of Jake Madden in Race 3. Madden then crossed the line second in the last before he was penalised. It allowed Peter Coleman to take second ahead of Andriske.


DESPITE FASTER racing cars, the Formula Fords came out on top with Tom Davies (Mygale SJ2011a) the overall winner ahead of Oliver and Liam Loiacono in their Mygales. Blake Varney won the first race in his Dallara F304 ahead of Chris Farrell (Ralt RT4) and neither started the following races. Davies was third in the opener before beaten in Race 2 by Oliver Loiacono for outright honours. Davies took the last two races ahead of Loiacono. Marcello Surace (Spectrum) DNF’d the opener and came back for a trio of thirds.


IT APPEARED that Grant Wilson would be unbeaten after he led throughout the first three contests. But while in front in the last he became a non-finisher. That paved the way for fellow Chev Camaro driver Matt Clift (pictured, top) who chased Wilson and had three seconds, to take the last and outright win. Behind the big Chev V8s in each was Ashley Heffernan (Holden Torana XU-1). Adam Duce (Morris Cooper S) was an early casualty of Race 1 which promoted Sean Karger (XU-1) to fourth. Brad Seagrove (Cooper S) jumped to third for a period in race two before he finished fourth ahead of Morne Lombard (Ford Escort RS1600) . The latter was fourth in Race 3 and third in the last.


OVERALL IT was Daniel Crompton in the team’s Transam-spec Ford Mustang who collected the overall win ahead of Geoff Taunton in his MARC II Mustang and Darren Currie (MARC V8 Mazda). Crompton led the first race at the start before Taunton chased him down and won. Currie was third ahead of fellow MARC V8 drivers Grant Donaldson and Frank Mammarella. Graham Lusty failed to finish as his Mosler went up in flames. He managed to extract himself and collapsed, and was dragged from the immediate area by Taunton. Taunton won the Race 2 start and won ahead of Crompton and the three MARC V8 drivers in the same order. The Sunday races were taken out by Crompton where in both, he comfortably headed Currie, Donaldson, Taunton and Mammarella.


FORD MUSTANG GT driver Lindsay Kearns was the winner of the three races, and took the honours ahead of Scott Dean (Mercedes Benz AMG A45) and crowned state champion Jake Camilleri (Mazda 3 MPS). There was only a small entry and the trio finished in that order in each outing. James Hay (VW Scirocco) scored two fourths and a fifth when Tim McDonald (BMW M240i) bettered him in race two. Garry O’Brien I 45

NATIONALS WRAP Harry Inwood hit the front late in the Excel race to take the win. Image: RICCARDO BENVENUTI.


A ONE-HOUR enduro for the APRA Pulsars finished off the year for the successful MRA series. The eighth round took place at Sydney Motorsport Park on November 12. Jamie and Josh Craig led away, lapped in close formation, and pulled a gap on their pursuers. Behind a fierce scrap evolved for third. First it was between Harri Inwood and Will Foot. Inwood held the upper hand, but Foot was constantly probing, and forced Inwood to drive defensively. Thus the Gavan Reynolds/ Arratoon and the Scott Tidyman entries joined the scrap. On lap eight, Foot made a lunge and passed Inwood. A few laps later they’d spread out a bit and Foot was the first to make his mandatory pit stop, on lap 14. Inwood followed a couple of laps later. One by one the lead group pitted, until only Josh Craig was left. He finally pitted on lap 24, a few seconds after the CPS window closed. Josh was penalised 10 laps for missing the window and dropped well out of contention. However, his string of fast laps had him 7s ahead on the road, so to stop earlier would have been a great move. Jamie Craig was still in second, from Inwood, Reynolds/Jamie Arratoon, Tidyman and Chris Manning. Foot retired late in the race, but not as late as Jamie Craig, whose engine seized on the last lap. With both Craigs out of contention, Inwood was the winner, from Reynolds/ Arratoon by 10s, with Smith/Maynard third. In the earlier 20 minute race Dan Smith led from start to finish with Josh and Jamie Craig in the minor placings.

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THE MUSUMEICS Michael and Alfio (GTV6 and Alfetta) took first and second in the two earlier races, with thirds to Roberto Seritti (GTV6) and Darren Harris (GTV). Michael Musumeci continued his winning way in the third race and led all the way. Bill Magoffin (Guiletta) had a great run to second place from sixth. Darren Harris (Alfetta) held second early on but faded to fourth, with Alfio Musumeci third at the finish.

Charlie Khoury changed tyres and raced away with Super TT. Image: BRUCE MOXON


A CLEAN sweep of race wins went to Todd Herring. He led every lap along the way in the three encounters. In each it was Tim Herring second from Zak Raddatz. Next was Mathew Fraser in the first two races. In the third, Fraser held second for the first seven laps, but back to fourth with an electrical issue that had the car not revving properly.


THE FIRST two races went to the NASCAR truck of Brett Mitchell, but his gearbox failed and ruled him out of the final. In the first race the minor placings went to Charlie Khoury (Honda Civic) and Dennis Pana (Holden VS Commodore), and then Pana and Mark Granger (Falcon) in the second. Khoury had battled some grip issues, so he changed rubber for the last race, and it worked. Pena made a good start, as did Chris Sutton (Subaru Impreza WRX) with Khoury away third. Khoury passed Sutton in Turn 2, and Pena around the outside of Turn 4 and took off. By lap four he was leading by the length of the main straight, while behind him Pena and Sutton battled with Charlie Viola (Honda Integra) and Harry Inwood (WRX). Further back Julian Burke (BMW), Parry Anastakis (Peugeot

Papadatos and Mork provded the Super TT action, while Andrew Carrig (below left) won in Clubmans.! Images: RICCARDO BENVENUTI.

205) and Richard Mork (Mazda BT50 SuperUte) were having an entertaining scrap. Sutton had a smoky turbo failure on lap five, Pena had a tyre fail and hit a Magpie late in the race, and dropped to seventh. Khoury won by 50s from Viola and Inwood.


FROM FOUR starts, Lee Vella (Avoig) was a four time winner. Mark Robin (Avoig) took four second places. While lap charts might suggest a procession, certainly in the last race Robin took the fight up to Vella, and poked his nose in front at least once, mid-race. Adam Stewart (Anderson Mirage) took

three third places, after a first race DNF, with that third going to Robbie Trimmer (Stockman).


THE FIRST two races were win by Joshua Versluis in his Birkin. Ivan Sreiber (PRB) and Andrew Carrig (Mallock) filled the second and third places in both. Versluis didn’t appear in the final. Sreiber led early, from PRBs in the hands of Chris Barry and Adam Sreiber, Peter Brown (BAP) and Carrig, who was down on power in his historic car, when compared to the others. Ivan Sreiber led until the last lap, when Carrig made his way past and won from Ivan and Adam Sreiber, then Barry. Bruce Moxon



CALENDAR ADELAIDE 500, SUPERCARS RACES 33 & 34, Adelaide NSW – Dec 01-04 ADELAIDE 500, SUPER 2/SUPER 3 RD06, Adelaide NSW – Dec 01-04 ADELAIDE 500, S5000 TASMAN SERIES RD03, Adelaide NSW – Dec 01-04

WINTON AMRS FINAL THE CLASSIC Winton 300 endurance race and the final round of the TA2 Muscle Car Series were the highlights for the sixth and final round of the AMRS, which saw three of its 2022 rounds at Winton, two at the SMP, and one at Ipswich. Rounding out the weekend’s categories was the Legend Cars Australia Series competing for its Australian Title, as well the Thunder Sports and Stock Cars.


IN THE TA2 finale, Jett Johnson wrapped up his first national title racing for Team Johnson in the #117 Mustang, with Johnson



ADELAIDE 500, TOURING CAR MASTERS RD06, Adelaide NSW – Dec 01-04 ADELAIDE 500, AUSSIE RACING CARS N/C, Adelaide NSW – Dec 01-04 ALPINE RALLY OF EAST GIPPSLAND, Lakes Entrance VIC – Dec 01-04 TIME ATTACK #5, Queensland Raceway QLD – Dec 01 STATE OFF ROAD SERIES RD06, Cambridge TAS – Dec 03 MOTOR SPORTS CLUB OF TASMANIA KHANACROSS RD06, Symmons Plains TAS – Dec 03 COME AND TRY DAY, Phillip Island VIC – Dec 03


IN THE Mountain Motorsports Winton 300, Benny Tran and Ben Connell took out a dramatic come from behind victory after assuming the lead on the penultimate lap. The historic win came at the cost of BYP Racing team-mates Jimmy Tran and Tom Vucicevic when their Honda Civic suffered a throttle position sensor issue in the closing stages of the 100 lap enduro. The fancied entry of Steve Johnson and Matt Mackelden (Ford AU Falcon) was the race’s first casualty, retiring after just five laps with a power steering failure. Along with the Civic of Myles Jones and Parry Anastakis, the three cars were embroiled in a tight contest in the early stages, with their race coming to an end on the 40th lap when the Civic encountered mechanical issues at Turn 8, bringing out the first Safety Car. A flurry of pit stops ensued with the race order being thrown into chaos, with two further Safety Cars coming on laps 60 and 67 due to the Commodore of Daniel Van Der Heyden and Paul Currie going off track several times. Tran/Vucicevic held the lead from the Daniel Kapetanovic and Adam Thompson BMW 328i and the restart, but the BMW experienced overheating with Kapetanovic behind the wheel with 17 laps to go. With a lead of over a minute and the finishing lap in sight, Jimmy Tran’s Civic was reduced to a crawl as Connell powered by on lap 99 for the win, with Tran managing to still get P2 and the father son pairing of Todd and Jett Herring taking P3 in their Mazda MX5. The top three combinations pocketed prize money thanks to the event sponsor, Mountain Motorsports – $1,000 for Tran/ Connell, $600 for Tran/Vucicevic and $400 for Herring/Herring.


CLUB HILLCLIMB, Jacks Hill Wanneroo WA – Dec 03 Benny Tran and Ben Connell took out the 300. doing enough to claim the Indianapolis style Championship ring with finishes of P2, P4, P5 and P4 (see family image above). There would have been some nervous moments on the Friday night for Team Johnson however, with an engine rebuild required until 2am on the Friday night following a failure in the practice sessions, but the experienced and somewhat handy pit-crew of Dick and Steve Johnson helped turn the ship around. The winner of the round was 21-yearold Cairns speedster Kyle Gurton and he mastered the wet and difficult conditions for wins in Races 1 and 2, to then closed the weekend out with a couple of podiums, with a P2 and P3 enough to get the outright win. Race 3 was captured by SA driver Brad Gartner who claimed second in the weekend outright, with Victorian speedster Jackson Rice then claiming Race 4 to fill out the final spot on the overall podium. But it was the third-generation racer in Johnson who stole the show with what may be the first of many titles after a nine-win season was enough to secure him the title by the third race. “It was a bit of a rocky start after the engine dramas on Friday, but we performed strong all weekend, no other dramas and I was able to keep it clean and ultimately got the victory,” Johnson explained. “I was really conservative, especially in the first two races when it was wet to make sure I got the championship. “Once I knew I had the lead and I couldn’t be overtaken, I gave it a good push in the last race and ran with the leaders. “I hope I made my granddad proud in that last race. He wanted me to push hard, and I feel I did that. “And I reckon he’d definitely be proud of the burnouts that I did.” With Johnson taking fourth for the weekend overall, Graham Cheney and Nicholas Bates would end the

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HSRCA SUMMER FESTIVAL, Sydney Motor Park NSW – Dec 03-04 HQ HOLDEN 4 HOUR, Winton VIC – Dec 03-04 SUPERKARTS RACES/MULTI CLUB REGULARITY, Mallala Motorsport Park SA – Dec 04 6 HOURS OF SYMMONS, Symmons Plains TAS – Dec 04 ALFA ROMEO OWNERS CLUB SUPERSPRINT RD09, Phillip Island VIC – Dec 04 season in second and third respectively in the 2022 pointscore.


RYAN PRING took out the standalone Australian title for the Legend Cars Australia Series, with the national champion having already been decided in October with Shane Tate declared the victor. After Brendon Hourigan and Billy Finnegan cleaned up in Races 1 and 2, Pring got the job done in the reversed-grid Race 3; and after plenty of dramatic door to door stuff in Race 4, Robert Hogan avoided any trouble to take the chequered flag. But a P2 and P4 in the other races saw Pring secure the oneoff Australian title, with national champion Shane Tate in second over Race 4 winner Hogan.

STOCK CARS AND THUNDERSPORTS THE STOCK Cars and Thunder Sports vehicles had it respective weekends marred by bad weather due to not many cars having wets, but it didn’t deter Brett Mitchell taking out three of four races to clinch the ’22 title in his OzTruck, with Scott Nind taking the dry Race 4 out in his ex-Xfinity series car. And in the Thunder Sports class, Brett Mitchell competed hard in his Mazda MX5 to take it up to the combined field and was able to go well against the more powerful Stock Cars in the wet conditions, taking out the weekend for the category. Timothy W Neal

VINTAGE STAMPEDE, Wanneroo Raceway WA – Dec 04 MG CAR CLUB REGULARITY HILLCLIMB, Ringwood Park NSW – Dec 04 NIGHT SPRINTS RD06, Queensland Raceway QLD – Dec 08 FORMULA SAE-A, Winton Raceway VIC – Dec 08-12 MOTOR EVENTS RACING, 4 Hour East, The Bend SA – Dec 09 TIME ATTACK #3, Lakeside Park QLD – Dec 09 IPSWICH WEST MORETON AUTO CLUB AUTOCROSS DAY/NIGHT, Willowbank QLD – Dec 10 JUNIOR TRAINING PROGRAM, Baskerville Raceway TAS – Dec 10 NORTH WEST CAR CLUB HILLCLIMB, Oonah Road Highclere TAS – Dec 10 PIARC CHRISTMAS SPRINT/RACES, Phillip Island VIC – Dec 10-11 QR DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP, Queensland Raceway QLD – Dec 10-11 500 CAR CLUB KHANACROSS SUMMER SERIES RD02, Baskerville Raceway TAS – Dec 11 GEELONG MOTOR SPORT CLUB KHANACROSS, GMSC Avalon VIC – Dec 11 WHITELINE TWILIGHT RALLYSPRINT SERIES RD03, Sydney Dragway NSW – Dec 15 BENALLA AUTO CLUB SPRINTS RD04, Winton Raceway VIC – Dec 17 ROLL RACING BRISBANE #12, Queensland Raceway QLD – Dec 17 I 47

NATIONALS WRAP GRIGG-GAULT AND SMITH WIN MEMORIAL ENDURO THE FEATURE of the Victorian Motor Racing Championships fourth round at Winton Motor Raceway on November 1213 was the David Lowe Memorial Enduro Cup. There were two one hour and a half races, a field of 33 driver combinations, with many of the best one-make series steerers around. Recently crown Nationals winner Ethan Grigg-Gault and Ben Smith won both races (right) to take out the Memorial. Second in both were Jaylyn Robotham and Jordan Boys, with Kobi Williams and Dale Carpenter on the final step of the podium after a pair of thirds. There were two qualifying sessions for race one with Brad Vereker (teamed with Mason Kelly) top of the first and Jarred Farrell (with Harry Tomkins) the other before Grigg-Gault won the Top 10 Shootout ahead of Vereker and Tomkins. Farrell and Tomkins were the leaders when they pitted after 18 laps of race one. One lap earlier Brad James/Glenn Mackenzie were passed by Williams/Carpenter for second. Next were Robotham/Boys from Tom Waghorn/Adam Bywater. Grigg-Gault and Smith led the first lap and were sixth when they elected to do their stop on lap 17. Cadel and Rohan Ambrose and Scott Appledore/Kaide Lehmann were one-two for the ensuing eight circuits before GriggGault/Smith took over and ultimately won by 23.8s. Fourth were James/Mackenzie from Waghorn/Bywater, Daniel Webster/ Wayne Milburn, Preston Breust/Wil Longmore, and William and Harrison Sala. The Ambrose pair was found to be underweight and disqualified, and Vereker/Kelly were also scratched while

there were seven DNFs. Grigg-Gault and Farrell topped the qualifiers for race two before Williams took out the four-lap Dash for Cash. Grigg-Gault and Smith only led 11 laps of the 42 – the first six and the last five. Williams and Carpenter had the front running for over half the event before they fell to third behind Robotham/Boys on lap 38 when the rain came. After a DNF in race one Pieter and John Faulkner stormed through to fourth ahead of Waghorn/Bywater and Webster/Milburn. Also from the back of the grid were Kyle King and Clay Richards, and Vereker/Kelly who finished seventh and eighth. The latter duo were fourth across the line before a 90s penalty was dealt out.


IN HIS slick-shod Ford Falcon AU, Josh Dowell downed the small number of treaded tyred opposition in three of the four races. Each time he showed the way to Andrew Goldman (Subaru Impreza WRX) who turned the tables in the last and beat Dowell. Third in every race was Russell Deller in his Falcon EA.


THEY COULDN’T be split points-wise after the four laps as Hyper Racer X1 drivers Dean Crooke and Luke Klaver had two wins and two seconds. It was the former with the last race triumph that took the meeting honours. With a sequence of thirds, Hamish Leighton took the final podium step. Ian Branson was fourth in race one before Lucas Mathew Stasi filled the spot in the second, and Chris Jewell in the last two.



WOODGATE EVO pilots Russ Occhipinti and Brad Tremain finished the seventh round first and second. Occhipinti had wins and consistent placings while Tremain’s better race result in the last meant he placed ahead of Sanuja Perera (Arrow) after they squared the points. Each outing had close finishes with Occhipinti the winner of the first ahead of Tremain, Doug Savage (Scorpion), Jayden Veld (Arrow) and Perera who endured a bent axle from a crash in qualifying. The latter won the second and third encounters over Occhipinti who was victorious in the last. Tremain went fourth, third and a second in the last while Perara was a last race fifth.


TWO WINS and a pair of seconds gave the overall round seven honours to Nick Schembri (125cc Anderson Maverick) over Colin McIntyre (125 Woodgate) and Tim

Klaver leads Crooke – Hyper Racing duel ...

Dowell heads Goldman in Super TT. Clarke (250cc International Anderson). The latter took out the first encounter ahead of Schembri and McIntyre before Schembri scored the next two races ahead of McIntyre and Todd Gardner (125 CRG Road Rebel). Clarke had a pair of DNFs before he won the last where Schembri and McIntyre filled the minors. Garry O’Brien


THE FEATURE event at the one-day November 19 SA Motorsport Series third round was the Misch’s Excel Garage Excel Enduro. There was a large interstate contingent for the two one-hour races where Supercar’s kiwi Chris Pither and Victorian Brad Vereker (leading, above) climbed onto the top podium step with a countback required to decide the minor places. Hugo Simpson and Ben Grice squeaked into second ahead of Nick Scaife and Ethan Grigg-Gault. In Race 1 it was top qualifiers Ryan Casha and Rylan Gray who led the early laps from the Simpson car. By lap seven the Scaife/ Grigg-Gault duo had made their way to the

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front. During the pit stops Casha/Gray led for a lap before their pitstop and handed the lead back to Skaife/Grigg-Gault. In the final laps, Casha made his move to take the win while Scaife slipped back to third behind Vereker. Simpson and Grice placed fourth ahead of Adam Currie/Joel Heinrich with Shayne Nowickyj/Mitch McGarry sixth in front of Jess Martin/Tim Colombrita, Josh Denton/Will Seal, Brodi Dominic/Jayden Wanzek and Jacob Currie and Super3 racer Brad Vaughan. The Casha/Gray and Vereker/Pither cars ran nose to tail but the glory was short lived. Casha retired after a couple of laps when a pedal mount broke which put Joel Johnson

and Aaron Oliver at the front of the pack. Johnson’s lead was only punctuated during the pit stop which gave Nowickyj/ McGarry one lap of glory. On the final lap Vereker found a way past Johnson and ensured he and Pither of the overall win with Simpson a bit further back in third. Skaife and Grigg-Gault were fourth in front of Martin/Colombrita who was fourth overall, Denton/Seal, Currie/Heinrich, Nowickyj/McGarry, Brian Smith/Jonathon Poethke and Dominic and Wanzek. Making an appearance was 2022 Australian Prototype series winner John Paul Drake who teamed up with Matt Totani finished 18th and 13th respectively and came home 15th overall.


series win. Max de Meyrick (Future Car) had his first run in the class and was instantly on the pace but was plagued by minor problems preventing a good outright result


THE HOUR-LONG race was comfortably won by Mark Haigh (Datsun/Ford V8 – below) although Jason Palmer (BMW E30) led the first few laps before Haigh moved ahead. Wayne Williams (Ford Falcon FG Ute) led for three laps before making his pit stop. Trevor Dew caused the Safety Car to be deployed when his Mazda RX7 stopped on the main straight late in the race, but it didn’t affect the result with Haigh followed home by Williams, Palmer and Declan Kirkham (Future Racer). David Batchelor

IT WAS a dominate performance for Daniel Price (Future Car) and he won as he pleased with Jack Boyd (Aussie Racing Car) the best of the rest while Cooper Brown (Future Car) was a distant third. The result was enough for Boyd to clinch the 2022 Images: DAVID BATCHELOR



ON A BUSY WEEKEND IN THE SUNSHINE STATE, THE EIGHTH ROUND OF THE QR DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIPS TOOK PLACE AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY ON NOVEMBER 19-20, AND FOR SOME CATEGORIES THE SEASON FINALE. secured him the 2022 title. Gray who was second behind Brown in those outing, broke through for his first win in race four and followed with another in the last. Gary Lange (BMW E46) was third four times and only blemished by a ninth in Race 3. Michael Woodcroft (Holden Torana) started with two fourths, a third and fifth but did not figure in the last. Meanwhile Ben Malpass (E36) next best in Races 1 and 2 before a sixth in the wet third outing. He finished with a couple of fourths to take out Class B. There were multiple winners in Class C with two each to Ettore Vosolo (E36) and Hudson James (Commodore). Paul Bonaccorso (Commodore) was best in the last, but the class honours went to Vosolo.



TWO SECOND places preceded Stuart Walker (Holden Commodore – above) netting three race victories and the outright round honours ahead of Shane Tuxworth (Commodore), Danny Turner (Honda Integra) and Brian Smallwood (Toyota 86). Walker was first to the finish of Race 1 but contact with Ian Woodward’s Chev Camaro cost him 15s. Woodward went on to win the second race before opting to skip the second day of racing. Len Meiers (Commodore) was third in race one and he DNF’d out of the next two outings. Second in Race 3 went to Rex Scoles (Commodore) who was ahead of a close



finish between Dylan Perreira (BMW E36) and Turner. Shane Tuxworth (Commodore) finished his weekend with a pair of seconds, the first of which (race four) was ahead of Turner, Billy Scoles (Commodore) and Smallwood. In the last Turner was fourth as Mark Burgess (Commodore) headed Smallwood.


THE OUTRIGHT and Class A honours were shared between Holden Commodore drivers Chris Brown and Peter Gray. Brown (pictured above) won the first three races and was second in the last two, and that

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UNBEATEN ACROSS the four races was Anthony Tenkate in his Ford Mustang (#69, pictured). Six litre rivals Ian Palmer (Plymouth AAR Cuda) edged out Alwyn Bishop (Plymouth Duster) in qualifying but could only chase his Mopar powered rival throughout the four races as they completed the top three places each time. Next best was Mark Spencer (Mustang) with a sixth, a fifth and two fourths, ahead of Peter Schultz (AMC Javelin) and Ron Prefontaine (Mustang) who headed the 5.0 litre class ahead of Don Fleming and Simon Trapp in their Mustangs.


OUT OF the three classes, Glenn Wiggins, Russell Jamieson and Paul Buckley collected the wins at the final club round for season 2022. The 250cc machines driven by Ewen Burg (PVP) and

Tim Weier (Stockman) were outright first and second in race one. Doug Amiss (125cc Gearbox Anderson) was third ahead of the same class Andersons piloted by Chryss and son Russell Jamieson. Peter Nuske (PWR) headed up the Non-Gearboxes after Buckley spun and won from David Dyson (Scorpion) and Andrew Cain (Arrow). Burg was tearaway winner in the second race with the Jamiesons, Russell and Chryss, next ahead of Weier as Buckley was clear of Nuske and Cain. It was wet for the first race of day two and the safety car was out with Burg off at Turn 3. Russell and Chryss were first and second ahead of Buckley, Dyson, Amiss and Cain in a depleted field. It was fine for race four which finished behind the Safety Car when Burg spun off, again at Turn 3. Amiss was the winner from Chryss Jamieson, Buckley and Wiggins with fifth after three DNFs. In the last it was again Amiss from the Jamiesons with Wiggins next from Buckley, Nuske and Dyson.


AFTER QUALIFYING fastest and three race victories Anthony Cox and his Dodge-powered Saab 93 were nonstarters in the last two with no available Avgas at the track. That gave the round to Lachlan Gardiner. The MARC V8 Focus driver was second in those races before he collected two runaway race wins. Grant Draney (Chev Monte Carlo) chased Gardiner all meeting for three thirds and a pair of seconds while Lee Sandes (Renault Megane 265) was next best and the under 4.0lt victor. Garry O’Brien I 49



Dan Day exits the Bus Stop on his way to a record breaking win. Image: STEVE WALTERS -SE VOICE

THE WIN by Dan Day in this year’s Legend of the Lakes on November 12-13 was his seventh in a row and this time he set a new course record, a couple of times in his Subaru Impreza WRX STi. After he overcame a problem with his new paddle shift, Day equalled the previous mark, then went a tenth faster before establishing a new benchmark of 49.45s. Second was Keven Mackrell in his NASCAR Chev-powered 4WD Datsun 260Z ahead of Damien Brand in another WRX. The 17th annual Legend of the Lake Hillclimb attracted 143 entries. The event is held in the Lower Valley Lake recreation area and climbs 1.4kms out of the extinct volcano crater with a side

deviation through a tight hairpin. The Saturday runs took place in increasingly wet conditions, and the weather prediction for Sunday was not much better. As it turned out, it remained dry with sunny periods and the times tumbled. There were six available runs before the overnight break. Mackrell led the way by 0.12s over Day and Brand. Gav Farley was fourth in front of Jordan Rohrlach (WRX), Andrew Campbell (Nissan S14), Doug Johnson (WRX), Damien Malizani (Mazda RX7), Anthony Norris (Nissan Silvia) and Nathan Green (Nissan Skyline). On Sunday there were four runs before the top 10 had one more opportunity

at the end. Mackrell did the first but didn’t go faster. On the next attempt he stopped after the start with a front diff issue that ruled him out of further competition. Day pulled the new record in the shootout and his seventh victory equals that of Peter Gazzard. Brand looped near the end of his last attempt but still held third. Johnson jumped to fourth ahead of Rohrlach and Farley. Campbell dropped a spot to seventh with Malizani next. Robert Vanderkamp picked up places in his Group N Ford Falcon XY GT to place ninth ahead of Norris. Best of the FWDs was Darren Hart (Ford Fiesta ST) in 24th. Garry O’Brien

Team Beautiful took the 7 Hour contest!. Image: MER


AT THE Goat Challenge, the penultimate Motor Events Racing outing for the year, competitors initially battled a deluge before hot and steamy conditions prevailed through the 7 Hours around Lakeside Park on November 20. The team that covered the most amount of laps – 312 in all – was one called Beautiful in a Class ME-1 (140-199kw) Ford Falcon AU. They finished six laps ahead of Steinard in an ME2 Audi A4 who in turn went a lap longer than their 90-139kw class rivals PoorAgain with its Ford Laser. Zilla Jet Boats and their ME-2 Hyundai Excel were the trailblazers in the early part before ABC Building Products (Mini Cooper S) were the pacesetters on and off for the next 38 laps, although Beautiful and Ripple Strip (ME1 BMW 318i) were thereabouts at times. Others that showed prominence were 710 Motorsport (Audi A4), Red X-Ray (Mini) and for an extend period, Mini Maniacs (Cooper S) until a broken driveshaft put them in the pits for repairs. From lap 92 Beautiful was leading the lap count and, apart from a 12lap stint where 710 led, were on top of the most accumulated laps to the end. Meanwhile Steinard displaced PoorAgain with 46 laps remaining. Behind them at the end was Anteck in their Class ME-1 Holden Commodore. Anteck trailed the podium pair by seven laps and finished with the same number logged as Detuned (ME-1 Nissan Skyline) just 0.7s behind, and Team33 (Excel) who headed up the ME-3 (up to 89kw) contingent. One lap further back were Zilla with another two laps to Ripple Strip and Joels Comics (ME-2 BMW 325Ti) and Bonaparte’s Retreat (Peugeot 206 GTi) who were tenth of the 34 entries. Garry O’Brien

REDHEADS’ RALLYSPRINT ROUT ROUND TWO of the Whiteline Tarmac Rallysprint Series, at Sydney Dragway, went to brothers Josh and Matt Redhead, in their Mitsubishi EVO 5. They overcame braking issues to top a quality field of 87 starters. Round one winner Phil Heafey and Luke MacFarlane (EVO 6) started well, fastest on the first two runs and third on the next, before they struck trouble. They crashed into a barrier and damaged the rear suspension. With the best three runs over the 4.5km course to count, Heafey was still in contention, provided nobody else went quicker. David and John Calabria (EVO 7) did just that on run four. He knocked a couple of seconds off Heafey’s best time, before the

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Redheads went and took another 3.5s off. Calabria put his car away and Redhead put in another fast time to seal the win. The Redhead car was suffering from high brake temperatures, after recent upgrades gave it more power. New to motorsport David Calabria finished second, 8.8s away and his speed showed he’ll be close to a win soon. Third went to Heafey, his early speed kept him on the podium. Fourth were Reece McIntosh and Tim Weston (Audi S1), ahead of Lance Arundel and Luke Job (Subaru Impreza WRX). First of the 2WDs were Michael Caine and Tom Vadoklis (Mazda RX7), doing only three runs before their differential

The Redheads were victorious! Image: BRUCE MOXON

blew. Second 2WD was the Honda Integra driven by Robert and Sascha Kolimackovski. Best of the Junior drivers was Jake

Beattie, with his dad Dallas alongside in their WRX, from Kiara and George Zabetakis in an EVO 7. Bruce Moxon


BATES SECURES MAIDEN ARC TITLE LEWIS BATES and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin (above) were crowned the 2022 Australian Rally Champions at the Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally Finale. Bates finished second outright in the rally, doing enough to claim the title after two straight wins in the prior rounds, which set up the battle with defending champion and brother Harry Bates. 2017 champion and local racer Nathan Quinn and co-driver David Green claimed their first outright ARC win of the season by 2:27.7s over the eventual champions, with Richie Dalton claiming third over Victorian Troy Dowel. Making the win all the more impressive, is that Quinn got through Sunday with a broken diff. The P3 for Dalton sewed up third in the Championship, with Dowel also claiming fourth. New Zealander Hayden Paddon was the official outright victor of the event, which earned him the FIA Asia Pacific Championship title, finishing 1:41.9s in front of Quinn, but all eyes were on the Bates brothers as they fought it out for the ARC title. The championship was effectively sealed during Stage 12 on the Sunday when H.Bates crashed out 21km into the season-defining stage, with Bates just needing to finish to claim the trophy. “I can’t thank the whole team in front of me enough for everything they have done,” Lewis said at the end of the 14th and final stage. “The GR Yaris has been incredible all year, especially this weekend. It was a tough event, and it has been absolutely faultless. I can’t thank everyone that supports us enough … I’m lost for words. “I think the second half of the season has been very strong for us; we’ve had a really good points run and we have been incredibly consistent. It’s unfortunate for Harry and John today ... something I never want to see and I’m gutted for them. “Overall, I’m absolutely over the moon.” The event started out well for H.Bates, with



Hayden Paddon took the outright win and the Asia-Pacific title.

Taylor Gill snared the Production Cup.

ARC CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Lewis Bates 474 2. Harry Bates 372 3. Richie Dalton 371 4. Troy Dowel 348 5. Daniel Gonzalez 248 Nathan Quinn took an impressive ARC win ... he and co-driver John McCarthy topping the first day of rallying in dry and dusty conditions. H.Bates went into the sheds after the first seven Stages with a 6.8s advantage over Quinn, who took out the third and fifth stages to put himself in a good spot for the 90km running on the Sunday. The day started out in dramatic fashion for WRC2 driver and Australian Luke Anear, with his Ford Siesta taking a nose plant over a ridge during Stage 2. The car flipped end over end to rest on its roof with both he and codriver Alan Stephenson thankfully uninjured. It was a three-way battle all day between the cross entries of the Bates brothers and Quinn, with all three drivers doing well to keep on the heels of Paddon throughout the seven stages. The 90km Day 2 started out well for H.Bates, but it was Quinn that kept the ascendancy by taking stages nine and 10

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in the ARC, with Bates still doing enough to keep his grip on the title. With H.Bates crashing on Stage 12, his brother pounced on the opportunity by taking out the stage behind Paddon before playing it safe on Stage 13 to ensure his victory. He then put his foot down for the final EROAD Power Stage, surging to the title in style by outclassing Paddon to take the 14 phase by 0.900s and five minutes over eventual winner Quinn. To top it off, the EROAD Power Stage victory was enough to net Bates P2 as a cross entrant in the APRC finale, finishing 4:09.6s behind the Kiwi WRC driver. Quinn’s outright ARC victory on home soil also gave him the NSW Rally championship victory over Riley Walters and Andrew Crowley, whilst the Production Cup class in the ARC stakes went to one of Australia’s most promising future stars. Taylor Gill, fresh from claiming the Asia

Pacific FIA Rally Star, took out his maiden title in the Production cup by finishing 1:51.4s over Alex Rullo and co-driver Steve Glenney, with Queensland Rally Champion Ronald Bustard rounding out P3, and second overall. Gill and co-driver Brkic, took his #8 Subaru Impreza WRX to outright seventh, with his closest competitors in Bustard and Max McRae finishing P9 and P10 respectively. McRae had drive shaft issues on the first Day of competition, forcing him to nurse his #10 Subaru through the afternoon and into the sheds, but Gill finished consistently above both challengers all weekend. The remaining class titles went to Dean Ridge and co-driver Phillip Bonser, who’s outright P11 was enough to claim the ARC 2WD Cup, whilst Molly Spalding and codriver Douglas Johnson’s P12 netted them the ARC Junior Cup victory. The final class win for the event saw Ian Griffin and Liam Bainton take out the ARC Classic Cup with an outright P17, beating David Thompson and Matthew Sanders. TW Neal I 51



Tony Groves took out the Sports Sedan feature. Images: REVVED PHOTOGRAPHY By: STEVEN DEVRIES PIARC CELEBRATED 70 years of motorsport with the 32nd running of its signature Island Magic event on November 26 and 27. While the weekend was headlined by Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge on Saturday, the other eight categories delivered just as much entertainment.


Everything went right for 2022 State champion Matthew Hillyer. Pole on Saturday was followed by three comfortable wins aboard his Duratec-powered Mygale SJ18A. Leo Scott (VIC) and Edison Beswick (NSW) just edged out Queensland’s Jack Bussey for the last two podium spots in the trophy race. Hillyer’s efforts were repeated by Richard Davison in the Kent class field. Pole in class and three wins on the weekend handed him the trophy ahead of Craig Arnold (VIC) and Ray Stubber (WA).

RX7 pilot Ben Schoots third after holding off a late surge from South Australian Max De Meyric (Nissan Silvia).


Tony Groves and Stu Eustice shared the honours for the first two preliminary races – both taking a turn to finish first and second in their MARC Mazdas ahead of Francois Habib’s VZ Commodore. After missing Saturday’s on-track action, Michael Robinson arrived on the scene on Sunday, immediately showing his intent with a last to fourth place run in Preliminary 2. He issued a challenge to Groves in the 50k Plate race but came up two-tenths short of the win – Groves taking a maiden title ahead of Robinson with Eustice a distant third.


A first ever Pole Position for Charlie Nash was a prelude to pack racing for the Circuit Excels. Toby Waghorn upstaged the first-time pole sitter on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning, with a huge seven-car group fighting cleanly and fairly through the eight and six lap sprints. A scheduled 20-lap feature became 16laps as two cars became stranded when the ante was increased. But even with the race being shortened, Waghorn was at the front of a six-car group at precisely the right time to claim a clean sweep of the weekend’s races – the title his ahead of 2022 State champion Hugo Simpson, with James Lodge third.


2021 plate-winner Adam Poole blitzed Preliminary 1, breaking a six-year-old lap record on route to an easy win in his Monaro ahead of Jarrod Tonks (Holden Commodore) and Tasmania’s Jason House (BMW E92). The same three occupied the podium positions in preliminary 2, with Poole having to work a little harder for the win after an ordinary start. Poole made quick work of the shortened nine lap trophy race to bag his second Matthew Flinders plate in two years. Tonks was second for the second year running, with

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Paul Stubber (31) took out the Historic Touring Car feature from Race 2 winner Aldo De Paoli (96).


Saturday’s race delivered a first-time winner in Formula Vee, with John Cassimaty outlasting Heath Collinson and fellow Beacham driver Reef McCarthy – the top two separated by six ten-thousandths of a second – the top three by six thousandths. McCarthy and first-year driver Andre Curin edged ahead of Nic Jones at the line to conclude the eight-lap second race on Sunday morning. Six drivers fought over the podium spots for most of the trophy race, but McCarthy edged clear with three laps remaining to make history with four consecutive Mauri Fordham trophies. Ash Clifford and stablemate Curin brought the remaining five-car pack home in second and third respectively, in what was the last race of the weekend.

Winners (Sargent) are grinners! Images: SPEEDSHOTS

Adam Poole blitzed the Improved Production contest ...

SARGENT HOLDS OFF WOOD FOR PORSCHE TITLE Toby Waghorn (84) came out on top in the Excel clash, ahead of State champion Hugo Simpson (117).

Eventual winner Reef McCarthy (61) and Andre Curin (32) were part of the six-way Vee contest!


Jamie Westaway and Cameron Beller continued the battles they had in this year’s state series, pushing each other throughout the weekend. However, Westaway had the upper hand all weekend – winning the first two races by small margins but cruising away from Beller in the Endeavour Cup race to win by eight seconds. The returning Lyndon Watson was looking good for a podium finish after two strong podiums in the first two hit-outs but did not complete a racing lap in the finale. That left Adam Brewer to bounce back from a difficult Saturday to complete the podium on Sunday afternoon.


A huge field of over 35 cars brought smiles to the crowd gathered at the circuit. They were short-lived as a heavy collision with the inside wall at Turn 12 for West Australian Cono Onofaro (Morris Cooper S) after two laps brought Saturday’s action to an abrupt halt – a race which was not restarted. Fellow West Australian driver Aldo De Paoli (Chev Camaro) took out Race 2 on Sunday ahead of Victorians Trevor Talbot



(Chev Camaro) and Darren Hossack (Mazda RX2). But it was another West Australian in Paul Stubber adding to his 2014 and 2015 triumphs with a feature race win ahead of De Paoli and Talbot.


The John Roxborough Trophy was on offer for the first time in 20 years as a variety of Formula 3, Formula 4 and other winged formula cars returned to Island Magic. Trent Grubel was dominant in his Mygale F3 with a comfortable win in both preliminary races. Former Formula Ford pilot Noah Sands (Dallara F308) and Ethan Brown (Dallara F308) filled the podium in the first race, with Mitchell Neilson (Dallara F308) replacing Sands in second spot for preliminary 2 ahead of Brown. With time certainty hanging over the event and rain making the circuit slippery, most of the field gambled on slick tyres for the feature race. However, several drivers spun out during tricky formation laps and the race was declared with no result, meaning the silverware was handed out to the podium getters from Preliminary 2 (Grubel, Neilson, and Brown).

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THOMAS SARGENT emerged victorious after a “very hard” season-long battle for the 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge title with Ryan Wood. The duo had engaged in a back and forth arm wrestle all year and it all came down to the Island Magic finale last weekend. Despite Wood being 32 points down, he gave his title hopes the best shot by taking out every trophy on offer at Phillip Island. He claimed pole and won both races held to win the round, but Sargent won the war with a pair of second place finishes to take home the big trophy. Consistency was the key behind Sargent’s success, finishing in the top two in every race to win by 19 points. “It has been a very, very hard fought year,” he said. “The racing has been awesome between Ryan and I and the rest of the field so I’ve learnt so much about Porsche driving and race craft. “It was great to wrap up the series win.” The weekend started in familiar fashion with Wood taking a sixth pole position from as many rounds to be crowned as the undisputed qualifying king. The Kiwi qualified 0.26s ahead of Sargent as the pair locked out the front row they had owned all season. Determined not to let his rival gain any advantage, Sargent flew off the line to rake the lead into Doohan corner.

But the Safety Car was called as early as Lap 2 when tOM Caplin locked up and hit Lachlan Bloxsom’s rear. Sargent looked in control after the restart, but a big move under brakes at Miller Corner was enough for Wood to steal the lead and control the remainder of the race. Courtney Prince completed the podium, while the Pro-am and Class B winners were Adrian Flack and Jacob Li respectively. After the second race was called off due to a heavy shunt for Daniel Stutterd, who flew into the Turn 10 tyres following contact with Sam Shahin, it all came down to the final race with Sargent needing a top five result to seal it. Wood and Sargent once again fought hard in the opening laps before the Kiwi drove 3.6877s clear to take the chequered flag in the clean 11-lap race. But all the entire paddock was saluting Sargent as another second secured a special championship. Brett Boulton sealed the Pro-Am title, while the Class B champion was Li. Thomas Miles 2022 PORSCHE MICHELIN SPRINT CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP 1: Thomas Sargent798 pts 2: Ryan Wood 773 3: Aron Shields 579 4: Courtney Prince 549 5: Lachlan Blossom 531

Ryan Wood (40) won everything at the Island – not quite enough to catch a tyre-smoking Sargent (47) for the title. I 53

BAJA 1000

FIERY DISASTER FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT BAJA 1000 TEAM AUSTRALIA’S push for victory at the Baja 1000 ended in a fiery wreck when its 4WD Mason Trophy Truck burst into flames on the Mexican California Peninsula. The team of Paul Weel and Toby Price had been in the US and Mexico for some months after already contesting the Reno to Vegas, and the Baja 400. After an electrical failure following a typhoon in the Reno to Vegas, they put in a strong showing in a 2WD trophy truck to finish P5 at the Baja 400, giving them a healthy field position at the Baja 1000. In an effort to have a chance at contesting the 1000, they went all out and switched to an AWD Mason Trophy Truck and ran 10 days of pre-event testing. After competing near the front for 170 miles and contending with two flat tyres, the teams campaign ended in disaster with Weel at the helm. The pair were aiming to become only the second Australians to get a victory after the late Daymon Stockie took out a win in 2016, at a race that’s been dominated by American drivers “Well, we made it to about 170 miles before disaster struck at the Baja 1000. I’m heartbroken for Preston, Toby and

Team Australia watches as its car goes up in flames ... Kellon, our great partners who have supported us coming over here to race and our whole crew,” said a disappointed Weel. Price was aiming to add the Baja 1000 to his incredible endurance CV before

the fire struck. “Seriously lost for words. The day started out well, Paul and Preston were holding a strong pace doing exactly what was needed…the boys were holding their own,” Price said.

“The truck was completely destroyed but the boys are safe which is all that matters..everyone worked so hard on this and Paul has had such a shit run in this sport. I’m heartbroken for him! TW Neal


BAJA 1000 TREBLE FOR ‘THE BIG BLUE M’ LUKE MCMILLIN (above) has claimed his third straight outright Score Baja 1000 victory in an AWD Mason Trophy Truck, defeating 276 entrants in the 55th running of the Mexican endurance race. McMillin teamed up with fellow US driver Rob MacCachren for the second year running, completing the course in a time of 16:37:45s. MacCachren is now a six-time winner after achieving his own treble between 2014-16, which included two wins with Luke’s Cousin Andy McMillin. His six victories make him the most successful driver on four-wheels in the competition’s history. Luke’s Baja 1000 win makes it 13 wins at the event for the McMillin family - a family known as ‘The Big Blue M’ - starting with Mark McMillin in 1981, brother of Scott McMillin (father of Andy). P2 went to Dan McMillin (Luke’s older

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brother) who alongside Josh Daniel, fell 22 minutes short. Their push for victory came undone with a flat, as Luke passed them at the 394th mile. Outright third went to Larry ‘Mr Baja’ Roeseler who raced in a solo effort for the second year running, finishing in 17:38:44s in a Toyota Tundra. Roeseler himself is a 13 time winner, including 10 wins on a motorcycle. Andy McMillin (5-time winner) couldn’t make it an all McMillin podium when two transmission failures ruled him out of the race. On the motorcycles, Mark Samuels continued the treble-trend by taking his third Straight 1000 on an enduro Honda CRF450x, making it seven overall for the American, teaming up with compatriots Justin Morgan and Kendall Norman, all multiple 1000 winners with six and eight respectively. TW Neal

A NEXT-GENERATION Ford Ranger Raptor built and prepared by Kelly Racing in Victoria managed to complete the Baja 1000 desert enduro, competing as the sole competitor in the Stock Midsize Class. The race-prepped Raptor, which remained stock and street legal, driving on Shell bio fuel, finished the race in P83 out of 155 finishers, with American Brad Lovell behind the wheel at the finish line in a time of 26 hours and 21:39.519s. After competing in one of the worlds toughest races, the street-legal Raptor then drove back to its home base in Riverside, California, some 187km North of Tijuana, Mexico. The race team, managed by Baja legend Curt Leduc, saw incredible stints at the hands of the four driver/ co-driver pairings of Brad and Byam Lovell (Lovell Racing), Jason Hutter and Paul Blangstead (Fire Guys Racing), Loren Healy and Eric Davis (Fun-Haver Off-Road), with ARB’s Andy and Danny Brown anchoring the race. That was a battle. Right from when we first got in the truck, the track was just so tough and so technical and there were dead vehicles everywhere out there,” said Healy.

“We just picked our way through, stayed patient like was the plan. I’m just so stoked to be here. Always great to see the sunrise in a race car.” Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports, explained the global efforts of getting the vehicle to Mexico. “This is the Baja 1000, one of the toughest off-road races in the world. It’s a key proving ground for Ford Performance and our vehicles to earn the badge of Raptor. This effort has been a global effort from the beginning, with Ford Australia having done the design and initial development sign-off, then shipping it to the States and working with all of our partners to pool all available resources for this common goal. It takes a great truck and it takes great people. We’ve proved that we have both of those on a global level.” The Raptor remarkably finished the race without any major incidents or repairs needed, taking the chequered flag in such good condition that the team decided to drive the vehicle home following the event in tribute to the 2017 Baja 1000 effort – with a stock F-150 Raptor – which similarly drove home following the legendary offroad racing test. TW Neal


IWASA CLOSES OUT F2 SEASON JAPANESE DAMS driver Ayumu Iwasa took out the finale of the FIA Formula 2 season at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The 21-year-old Osaka resident held off the charging Felipe Drugovich by 0.830s, with the Brazilian having taken out the title at Monza’s last round, and is now Aston Martin bound as part of their Driver Development program. Liam Lawson took out P3 in a weekend he soon won’t forget, after driving Max Verstappen’s RB-18 to P5 in the first FP1 session on the Friday, before taking out the F2 Sprint race with a dominant 7.943s gap over Richard Verschoor and Drugovich in P3. The battle for rookie of the year went to the 2023 William’s bound Logan Sargeant, after the American finished in P6 due to Aussie Jack Doohan falling to his third straight DNF – although also participating in his second Alpine FP1 session of 2022. Iwasa started the finale as he started it, with a P1 in the first practice session over Pourchaire and Doohan, before backing it up in Qualifying, edging out teammate Roy Nissany by 0.036s. Doohan claimed the edge over Sargent in the rookie battle by taking P5, just 0.220s short of the pole time. The field was split by under a second down to P20, in a tense opening. The final Sprint race of the year saw Lawson take his fourth victory in the top-10 flipped grid race, starting on the first row with Verschoor, who held P1 until Lap 10, but was unable to break away from the New Zealander’s DRS zone. “Had a really nice race, managed to win, which is nice to at least have a win on the final weekend. Obviously the season hasn’t exactly gone to plan, but it’s great to finish the year like this,” Lawson said. The feature race started well for Iwasa, holding his teammate into the hairpin with Drugovich charging into P3 early, with Carlin’s Lawson jumping Sargeant who was essentially driving his own race to guarantee his F1 licence. A Virtual Safety Car on Lap 3 saw Drugovich take P2 on the restart after Ralph Boschung spun out of the race.

Liam Lawson closed off his year with a great weekend – p5 in F1 P1, then a win and a third in F2 ...

Felipe Drugovich had the F2 title won before they turned a wheel, but still put in a spectacular effort in the Feature.

Iwasa and Lawson shake hands – not a bad season end for both. Both Lawson and Iwasa went for the early undercut, with the move working beautifully for the #5 Carlin driver, jumping Pourchaire into essential P3. By leap 10, Doohan assumed the lead which changed the Virtuosi strategy, with the Alpine Academy driver staying out on the Soft tyres whilst the other teams had gone onto the Mediums. By lap 22, Doohan was still out on the Softs, and had a 24.3s split to Iwasa who had climbed through the field in P5, with Drugovich and Lawson behind him.

When he finally pitted on lap 26 with six laps remaining, he looked to be re-joining in P5 but with little chance of a podium, when his front left wheel flew off, ending his season with another DNF. The Virtual Safety Car was called to recover the errant wheel, and on the lap 28 restart, Drugovich worked his way in the DRS of Iwasa. Strange scenes saw Pourchaire hit a bird with 4 laps remaining, causing an issue on his ART car when he was pushing Lawson for P3, causing him to drop through the field,

Jack Doohan went for a long Medium stint in the feature, but one of his set of Softs fell off as he left the pits ...

which allowed a frustrated Sargeant to move up into P5. The closing stanza saw a tight battle for victory between Iwasa and Drugovich, with the #11 MP Motorsport driver harrowing the Japanese driver for P1 with several passing attempts to be just 0.5s off into the last lap. Despite having DRS the Brazilian couldn’t pass Iwasa who held onto the lead to take his second F2 feature race victory, whilst Lawson punched the card for third place in the championship with a double podium round over Dennis Hauger and the F1 bound Sargeant. “I’m really, really happy. It’s the last race of the season and actually, it was really tough because I had really big pressure from Felipe,” Iwasa said. “But in the end, I could defend well, but still I need to look at the data to get the information on what I can do even more. Anyways, really happy!” The win lifted Iwasa into fifth in the standings behind Sargeant, with Doohan having to settle for a frustrating sixth as his three victory season ended with spate of DNFs. Timothy W Neal F2 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Drugovich 265 2. Pourchaire 164 3. Lawson 149 4. Sargeant 148 5. Iwasa 139 6. Doohan 128



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Formula 1 Round 22 Yas Marina Circuit ABU DHABI GP

15 wins in a season ... when you have the best car, and a ‘controlled’ team-mate, that’s how good it can be – hey Lewis!

MAX MAKES IT, PÉREZ DOESN’T! By LUIS VASCONCELOS Images Motorsport Images MAX VERSTAPPEN dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from start to finish and his success took his tally of race wins this season up to 15, clearly leaving behind the old record of 13 Grand Prix wins in a championship, jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. This means the Dutchman won more than two-thirds of the Grands Prix held this year, a clear sign of his tremendous domination, especially after a shaky start that saw him retire from two of the first three races of the year! Verstappen was out to erase the memories from the previous weekend, where Red Bull had its only uncompetitive outing of 2022, in Brazil, after a wrong tyre strategy, decided before the start of FP1, compromised the RB17’s efficiency, particularly in terms of tyre life. In qualifying it was clear the World Champion was on a mission, being the only driver to lap in less than 1m24s and his race was like a walk in the park. Having decided one-stop was the way to go, and with Sérgio Pérez right behind him – the perfect scenario for the team as that would secure the Mexican second place in

the championship – Verstappen didn’t push too hard, keeping his team mate a couple of seconds in arrears, not enough to damage his tyres but enough to give him a bit of a tow. ,In any case, Pérez’s front tyres started to go by lap 10 and, with Leclerc losing in, the Mexican pitted on lap 15. He resumed behind Vettel, made a costly mistake on his first attempt to pass the German, went wide in the chicane and had to do it all over again at the start of the following lap. Being set on a one-stop strategy no matter whatl, Leclerc stayed on track until lap 22 but Pérez was making enough progress that Verstappen was called in one lap later, to guarantee he’d resume still in the lead, the Mexican now just 1.8s behind, having dropped to 5,7s on lap 14. By pushing his tyres too hard, Pérez opened a 6.1s gap over his rival but, ahead of him, Verstappen was just cruising and looking after his tyres: “On the Medium tyres, initially, I think we had very good pace – just my last three laps on that tyre was a little more tricky but I had to get to a certain lap, right? And I think we managed to extend that stint quite well. And once I put the hard tyres on, I brought them in quite nicely, because I had a good gap. At one point, I wanted to go a little bit faster, but we were still not sure if the tyre was

Leclerc had his best (strategic) race for a while and earned a strong second place, at the expense of Perez (right) who fell short of second in the race – and the championship.

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going to hold on for the whole stint to the end. So, it was a bit of management to see if you could make it – but then at one point, I hit a crossover where the two-stop is not going to work anymore. But, luckily, at that point, the tyres were really good and I could just continue to the end.”


For Pérez, things just didn’t work out. As on the Medium tyres, his first set of Hard tyres degraded quicker than expected and, with Leclerc about to get within DRS range, he pitted on lap 33 for another set of Hards, that now had to last the 25 remaining laps. Once again he pushed really hard at the start of the stint and, with Sainz and Russell also going for two stops, only Hamilton, on old tyres, remained between himself and Leclerc – but the gap for the Ferrari driver was 18s with 22 laps to go. Hamilton did put a bit of a fight, repassing the Mexican immediately after losing the position on lap 45, so was now in third place. Pérez had a 9.6s to gap in 12 laps and still passed his rival. Losing time behind Albon and Gasly, who were fighting for P12, didn’t help him, so he was still 1.3s short at the flag, losing P2 in the race and in the championship.

Still, the Mexican put on a brave face at the end of the race: “I think it’s how this sport really works – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Today, I think Ferrari and Charles did a fantastic race. They had great tyre management and they were stronger than us, especially on that first stint. “I died towards the end. And that made it a little bit tricky, our strategy. And it was that second stint, while I was behind Max ... Max was on a one-stop, I was on a two-stop, and then I ended-up not being able to, to maximise this stint, and I couldn’t push as much as we should have pushed on that second stint. But at the end of the day, we gave it all. And that’s what really matters.” Asked if he felt Verstappen had held him up, Perez admitted that, “we were discussing it at some points. I think we thought that the degradation was going to be higher than it really is. And we just didn’t push as much as we should have pushed on that second stint, and probably will left two seconds on the table there.” And so, Red Bull continues to chase that elusive one-two finish in the championship, as, like Vettel and Webber on no less than three occasions, Verstappen and Pérez finished the championship in first and third place, respectively.


Alonso – last race for Alpine spent helping 2023 team Aston Martin ... Ricciardo – Scoring points made for a dignified McLaren exit.

Sir Lewis

Russell finished 2022 in the tiop five – again – and fourth in the championship.


Mick Schumacher’s F1 career is, for now, over ...

For Charles Leclerc, being quick while preserving his tyres was the key to beating Pérez both in the race and in the championship and he was clearly chuffed to bits at the end of the 58 laps: “I was 110% from the first lap to the last lap. Honestly, we had the perfect race; for us there was not much more today. I knew that the only possibility for us to beat Checo today was with a different strategy and playing with the tyre management, which we did really well today. And we managed to make the one-stop work. So really, really happy.” Crucially, Ferrari had decided to go for a one-stop strategy with both cars but tricked Red Bull into believing the Monegasque was about to come in on lap 33, when he was already right behind Pérez. The message that came, “do opposite to Pérez”, made Red Bull jump the gun and pit the Mexican immediately, to prevent an undercut, but Team Principal Mattia Binotto admitted, “that was a dummy pit call because Charles knew he wasn’t going to come in, even QUALIFYING/STARTING GRID RACE 22


Pos Driver 1 Max Verstappen 2 Sergio Perez 3 Charles Leclerc 4 Carlos Sainz 5 Lewis Hamilton 6 George Russell 7 Lando Norris 8 Esteban Ocon 9 Sebastian Vettel 10 Fernando Alonso (11) 11 Yuki Tsunoda (12) 12 Mick Schumacher (13) 13 Daniel Ricciardo (10) 14 Lance Stroll 15 Zhou Guanyu 16 Kevin Magnussen 17 Pierre Gasly 18 Valtteri Bottas 19 Alexander Albon 20 Nicholas Latifi

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

Time 1:23.824 1:24.052 1:24.092 1:24.242 1:24.508 1:24.511 1:24.769 1:24.830 1:24.961 1:25.096 1:25.219 1:25.225 1:25.045 1:25.359 1:25.408 1:25.834 1:25.859 1:25.892 1:26.028 1:26.054


if Pérez would have stayed out. That was perfect strategy from the team and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done today.” Behind the battle between his team-mate and Pérez, Carlos Sainz paid the price of having a long battle with Hamilton in the first few laps, was forced into a two-stop strategy and was too far behind his normal rivals to get more than P4, seeing Hamilton retire just when he was about to pass him on track, with just three laps to go. So, it was no surprise.


McLaren needed a miracle or two to leapfrog Alpine in the championship, trailing the French team by 19 points going into the last round. With Daniel Ricciardo set for a three-place grid penalty for his incident with Magnussen in Brazil, this was always going to be a big ask for the team but if they missed out by 14 points, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Norris was brilliant again in qualifying, CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER RACE 22 (FINAL)

Make Red Bull Racing Ferrari Red Bull Racing Ferrari Mercedes McLaren Alpine Aston Martin McLaren Aston Martin Alpha Tauri Alfa Romeo Williams Alpha Tauri Alfa Romeo Haas F1 Team Haas F1 Team Mercedes Williams Alpine


Laps Margin 58 1:27:45.914 58 +8.771 s1 58 +10.093 t-1 58 +24.892 58 +35.888 s1 58 +56.234 s1 58 +57.240 s1 58 +76.931 s6 58 +83.268 s4 58 +83.898 t-1 58 +89.371 58 +1 s3 57 +1 s6 57 +1 s3 57 +1 s3 57 +1 57 +1 t-1 55 DNF t-13 55 DNF s1 27 DNF t-10

Pos Driver Points 1 Max Verstappen 454 2 Charles Leclerc 308 3 Sergio Perez 305 4 George Russell 275 5 Carlos Sainz 246 6 Lewis Hamilton 240 7 Lando Norris 122 8 Estaban Ocon 92 9 Fernando Alonso 81 10 Valtteri Bottas 49 11 Daniel Ricciardo 37 12 Sebastian Vettel 37 13 Kevin Magnussen 25 14 Pierre Gasly 23 15 Lance Stroll 18 16 Mick Schumacher 12 17 Yuki Tsunoda 12 18 Zhou Guanyu 6 19 Alexander Albon 4 20 Nicholas Latifi 2

s1 t-1 s1 t-1 -

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even getting close to the two Mercedes, while Ricciardo got into Q3 but had to start the race from P13. On different strategies, Norris went for two-stops but had only one set of Hard compound tyres available, while Ocon had two and nearly got him at the end: “I have to admit my heart was beating pretty hard in the final few laps because my tyres were gone and Ocon was closing really fast. I would have been really upset if I’d finished seventh, but as I finished sixth, I can say I’m really happy”, concluded the British driver. Ricciardo recovered well while looking after his tyres and although he had no tyres left to keep Stroll behind in the final laps, did enough to beat Vettel – also on a one stop strategy – to P9, ending his first Formula One stint on a high: “I’m happy, I’m relieved also that the season finished like this and not like the race in Brazil. I think to see the chequered flag, to finish in the points, it just makes me a little more at peace with how this year has ended. And, of course, I don’t know what the future holds. So, if this was to be my final ever race, at least I can say I had a nice little battle with Vettel at the end and just, I feel a bit more content with my performance. So, for that, I’m relieved.” Ocon saved the day for Alpine after Alonso retired early with yet another engine issue, but the Spaniard seemed more preoccupied with looking to help Aston Martin – his 2023 team – in the battle for P6 in the championship, than anything else, sitting patiently behind Vettel the entire first stint, without ever attempting to pass him, even with DRS available all the time! Aston Martin had all the cards to snatch P6 from Alfa Romeo, as the Swiss team had a dreadful time in Abu Dhabi, but putting Vettel on a one-stop strategy cost them dearly, for he went from fighting with Ocon in the first stint to dropping behind Stroll and Ricciardo at the end, only scoring a point on his last Grand Prix thanks to Hamilton’s late retirement.

“THIS IS a bit of a reality check for us”, said George Russell at the end of a weekend where Mercedes was never a real threat to Red Bull or Ferrari. After the one-two finish in Brazil, the Silver Arrows were in no man’s land in Abu Dhabi, too far from the top teams to seriously challenging but far enough from the midfield to not be under threat from behind. Splitting tyre strategies seemed to be Mercedes’ only chance to get into the fight but Russell’s race was compromised by a long pit stop that was compounded with an unsafe release – and subsequent 5s penalty – so after repassing Norris in the early laps, he was pretty much on his own for the rest of the race. Hamilton had a great ding-dong battle with Sainz early on but cooked his tyres in the process, so compromising getting to the target lap for a one stop strategy. He then gave Pérez some of the Mexican’s medicine by holding him back after the Red Bull driver’s second stop but quickly lost position and was in the process of losing out to Sainz too, in the closing stages of the race, when the hydraulics of the W13 failed and he retired with three laps to go. His first sentence out of the car summed up pretty much his mood: “I am very pleased it is over and done with. I’m glad I’ll never have to drive this car again after Tuesday’s test and this one is certainly not going to go into my collection – I can promise you that!” For Team Principal Toto Wolff, “I think we pushed very hard at the beginning, it looked like in the first few laps that we had real pace but expecting it to stabilise but it didn’t. On the hard, we were pretty much with Lewis on the same trajectory like all the other teams, but we expected more from the car in terms of tyre degradation than we actually had. We gave up lap time in qualifying in order to be quick in the race and that didn’t materialise.” For Hamilton, this was a season of negative firsts: first Formula One season in which he didn’t win a race; first in which he didn’t get a pole position; and first in which he didn’t finish the championship in the top five. Still, throwing it back 12 months, he insisted he’d had worse times: I “think 2011 was probably the hardest year I had, just in terms of life. This year is not the greatest, it is up there with probably the top three of the worst seasons, but it’s been a much stronger year in terms of myself, in terms of how it worked with the team, how we’ve all stayed united. So I think there’s been lots of pluses.” I 57

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE ADELAIDE 500? Across 1. Which team has taken the most Adelaide 500 round wins at the venue? (abbreviation) 3. The first Adelaide 500 event in 1999 was won by a Holden driver – what model Commodore was he driving? 8. Who was the first Ford driver to win a round on the streets of Adelaide? (surname) 11. After winning Bathurst in 1986, who went on to win the ATCC support race in Adelaide a few weeks later? (surname) 13. How many South Australian born drivers are on the grid this year? 14. The chicane at the end of the pit straight is named after which Formula 1 driver? (surname) 15. For how many years did the event run the three-race format? 16. The winner of the Adelaide 500 has gone on to win the championship on eight occasions, who is the most recent to win both in the same year? (surname) 18. When was South Australian Premier Peter who promised the return of the Adelaide 500 elected? 19. What brand became the legendary sponsor of the Adelaide 500 in 2000?

21. Who won an incredibly wet race for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in 2016? (surname) 24. What brand sponsored the event in 2019 and 2020? 25. Who scored the first Adelaide 500 pole position? (surname) 26. How many times did Mark Skaife win the Adelaide 500 round? 27. How many times did Scott McLaughlin win for Volvo and GRM in Adelaide? 28. Who was the first Ford driver to win a V8 Supercars Championship race in Adelaide? (surname)

Down 2. Who won the first Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide? (surname) 4. To the nearest kilometre how long is the current configuration of the Adelaide Parklands Circuit? 5. What is the name of the new Adelaide 500 naming rights sponsor? 6. Who collected both Super2 race victories in Adelaide back in 2020? (full name) 7. Who made his Supercars debut for Erebus Motorsport on the Adelaide streets in 2018? (surname)

9. How many race wins has Jamie Whincup scored on the streets of Adelaide? 10. Commodores and Falcons have won all but two Adelaide 500 events, what car model won the other two? 12. Who scored his first career race win on the streets of Adelaide in 2006? (surname) 14. When the event debuted in 1999 it had no

sponsor, what adjective was used to describe the maiden event in its title? 16. Who won the most recent Supercars Championship race on the streets of Adelaide in 2020? (surname) 17. Who has won the most Adelaide 500 rounds in total? (surname) 20. How many corners does the Adelaide

Parklands Circuit contain? 22. The first ATCC race on the Adelaide Parklands circuit was held as a support to the Australian Grand Prix in 1985 – who won the race? (surname) 23. Who won the first V8 Supercars Championship round on the streets of Adelaide in 1999? (surname)

1849 Crossword Answers: 1 down – Ferrari, 2 down – Honda, 3 down – Italy, 4 down – McRae, 5 down – Chastain, 5 across – Clark, 6 down – Ingall, 7 across – Ingram, 8 across – Bagnaia, 9 down – twenty-two, 10 across – Marini, 11 across – Campbell, 12 across – Bowe, 12 down – Best, 13 across – Shedden, 13 down – Suzuki, 14 across – three, 15 across – six, 16 down – Team Penske, 17 down – Villeneuve, 18 across – Hazelwood, 19 across – Hill, 20 across – two, 20 down – Tyrrell, 21 across – McLaren, 21 down – Mostert, 22 across – Slade, 22 down Senna, 23 across – two, 24 across – New Zealand

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 KEVIN BARTLETT secured the Repco Birthday Series title in the final Formula 5000 event of 1972. After missing out on the Australian Gold Star with Frank Matich, Bartlett turned the tables in the five-round championship celebrating Repco’s 50th birthday. All rounds were held at Calder Park and despite Matich winning the final race in December, Bartlett was crowned champion by nine points with a third place finish.

1982 BEFORE ADELAIDE set the trend for street tracks around Australia, Geelong attempted to bring motorsport to its door. Proposals of a 3km street circuit starting on Eastern Beach hosting a 500km endurance race for 10 years were presented to the Geelong City Council. Just before the edition went to print it was announced the Geelong City Council voted against the street race proposal. If it had come to fruition it would have been the second richest race in the country behind Bathurst.

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1992 AFTER TONY Longhurst and Paul Morris won in Wellington, it was announced the BMW M3’ they ran were about to have their wings clipped. Due to fears the German manufacture would dominate the ATCC, a Touring Car International proposal seeked to place similar rev and compression ratio limits on the M3s to those applied to the VP Commodore and EB Falcon. The naming rights deal between Castrol and Larry Perkins, which would last to 2005, was also announced.

2002 MARCOS AMBROSE gave V8Supercars fans a glimpse of what was to come over the next two years by dominating the seasonending V8 Ultimate at Sandown. Ambrose gave the often struggling AU Falcon the perfect send off by putting his Pirtek SBR car in P1 in every session across the weekend. Off the track the silly season stepped with Jason Bargwanna switching camps, while Will Davison increased his bid to chase the Formula 1 dream.

2012 THE AUSTRALIAN motorsport world was in a frenzy following Casey Stoner’s switch from two wheels to four. At just 27 Stoner retired as a two-time MotoGP world champion and would chase “different things in his life”. One of those things was about to be V8 Supercars, but sadly he never made it beyond the Dunlop Series. In Formula 1 land, Sebastian Vettel made it a hat-trick of world championships after a comeback drive to deny Ferrari and Fernando Alonso in a thrilling Brazilian finale. Michael Schumacher also called time on his staggering career for a second and final time.

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