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LATEST NEWS

FORD BACKS CAMARO CHANGE! Blue Oval wants arch-rival Chev coupe to take on Mustang, but as MARK FOGARTY reports, not until 2021 AMID THE on-going controversy over the Mustang’s performance advantage, Ford’s worldwide racing boss has backed rule changes to allow the arch-rival Chevrolet Camaro to join the series. But not for next year. While he welcomes the Camaro, Ford Performance global director of motorsport Mark Rushbrook is adamant the two-door Chevrolet can’t be allowed until the Next Generation evolution in 2021. Rushbrook is opposed to any change to the control chassis roll bar height to facilitate the Camaro’s entry as soon as next year. But he agrees that a revision to facilitate more two-door coupes from ’21 would be acceptable, allowing a redesign of the Mustang to look more like the road-going version. In an exclusive interview with Auto Action at the Perth SuperNight, Rushbrook explained that Ford wanted the Camaro in Supercars in 2021, accepting that the Next Generation rules would require a revamp of all eligible models. If the rules are changed to allow the roll cage front hoop to be lowered from ’21, when many other cost-saving and performance-limiting changes are set to be instituted, Ford will revise the Supercars Mustang racer’s shape to make it more proportionate to the road car.

AA understands that a facelift for the road-going Mustang is coming for 2021, making a change to the Supercars version’s look with a rule change more natural. Both Rushbrook and Mustang homologation team DJR Team Penske are adamant that a rule change to accommodate the Camaro as soon as next year is unacceptable. Walkinshaw Andretti United wants to race a Camaro-shape racer to align with its road car partner HSV, which imports and converts the Chev coupe, but not under the existing rules, which would make a Supercars Camaro look even more awkward than the ‘mutant’ Mustang. Rushbrook made it clear that while Ford welcomed a traditional Mustang vs Camaro rivalry in Supercars, he was opposed to changing the rules to fit the Chev after just one season with the Mustang under the existing rules. “We want to race against other manufacturers, the best in the world, and to have the Camaro on-track here would be great,� he said. “We love racing against the Camaro, so do we want the Camaro on-track? Absolutely. “We want as many manufacturers coming to Supercars that are interested in coming. But to make a change to the car as it’s defined today is not what we want to see because we want stability in the rules.

UP COMING RACE EVENT CALENDAR

“We designed our Mustang to fit the current regulations, and we think that anybody that’s going to bring a new body to the series needs to stay with the current architecture (control chassis) because, certainly, we would’ve done things differently if we’d had an opportunity to move that bar. I think that’s only fair. “So, with the new rules, whenever the Next Generation car happens, then that’s the right opportunity to change the proportion of the car to allow the Camaro or whatever other manufacturers are interested to bring a car “If you’re talking ’21 when there’s a new car, we’re all good.� If the rules are relaxed for ’21 as part of a wholesale overhaul of the technical regulations, Rushbrook admitted that Ford Performance would seriously consider redesigning the Supercars Mustang. “We would have to look at that,� he said. “This is all hypothetical because we don’t know when we’re doing the new car, but whenever we’re doing the new car, then we just have to look at what are the rules, what are the proportions and make that decision. “Until we know what that is, we can’t make that decision.� For more on Rushbrook’s views on Supercars, see ‘Up Front With Foges’ on pages 20-23

MUSTANG VS CAMARO TICKET TO STATES

Supercars at the Detroit Grand Prix? Not so far-fetched, says Rushbrook PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES aside, Mark Rushbrook agrees that once the Camaro joins the field, Supercars would have appeal at the hometown event of Ford and General Motors. Add the fact that the Chevroletsponsored Detroit GP is run by Roger Penske’s organisation and a return to the USA on the undercard of the showcase event at the Belle Isle street circuit makes sense. Supercars made a one-off appearance at the Circuit Of The Americas F1 track outside Austin, Texas, in 2013. While Supercars has no known plans to return to America, Rushbrook agreed that when the Camaro joins the series – almost certainly in 2021, when the rules are changed – Aussie V8 support races at the Detroit IndyCar GP would be popular. “I think there would be great reception by the local fans to go see that race,� he said. MF For more on this, see AA’s Opinion on page 19

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TCR IS GO! INTERNATIONAL TOURING car racing returns to Australia this weekend with the debut of the much-awaited TCR Australia Series at Sydney Motorsport Park. For the first time since Super Touring rivalled Supercars in the late 1990s, an alternative non-V8 tin-top championship has attracted new and established drivers and teams. Backed by the Australian Racing Group, TCR Australia kicks off as the headline series of the Shannons Nationals at Sydney Motorsport Park from May 17-19. The new two-litre turbo series has attracted multi-car entries from Supercars teams Garry Rogers Motorsport, Kelly Racing and Matt Stone Racing, along with other established operations. Name drivers include Jason Bright, Tony D’Alberto, James Moffat and Molly Taylor.

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Former Australian rally champion Taylor is one of three females on the grid. The TCR Australia Series will be shown live on free-to-air network SBS. Makes competing are Alfa Romeo, Audi, Honda, Holden (Opel), Hyundai, Subaru and VW. The global TCR category is not a direct rival to Supercars, but comparisons will be made. While manufacturer factory teams are banned in TCR, customer racing support is allowed. TCR is appealing to makes like Honda, Hyundai and Subaru because it doesn’t require multi-million dollar support. With car costs around $400,000 a year, TCR is a cost-effective alternative that has attracted Supercars squads to the fold. “We are a racing family and business and have been forever, and while we are heavily involved in Supercars now, we see that the

TCR category has a lot of potential and we want to be part of it,” Garry Rogers told Auto Action at the recent TCR open test day held at Winton. “People can relate to the cars – young blokes and young girls – they want to own and drive these types of cars, so TCR is relevant. I think the racing will be close and exciting because that’s what we need, close and exciting racing. I think also it’ll be pretty affordable and that’s the big issue today, making sure you can afford what you do and present properly and we saw that we could do that with TCR.” For Kelly Racing’s Todd Kelly, TCR provided the Supercars team a chance to not only expand its operations, but also the team’s commercial partners and driver line-up in cars that provide bang for your buck. “Basically, we’ve got the capability back at

the shop to be able to take something like this on without really having to resource up for it,” Kelly explained to Auto Action. “We’ve got the capacity to do it, the space to do it and given none of it clashed, we thought it would be a good idea. It is an opportunity to expand our portfolio, get more drivers onboard, commercial partners onboard and create a bit more of a pathway in motorsport. “With the Super2 team [MW Motorsport] we support now with our old cars, through our endurance drivers and it just made sense to get involved in it. “They are quite good little cars, fairly easy to run and fairly easy to manag,e so we thought we’d give it a go.” The increasing expense of Supercars racing is what made Rogers commit to TCR. He feels that this new venture will compliment


EXCL USIV E

As the most global touring car category prepares to launch in Australia, HEATH McALPINE and DAN McCARTHY explain why TCR Australia has excited a host of mainstream manufacturers

his team’s existing programs perfectly. “There is nothing wrong with the V8 category of Supercars, in fact none of this would happen without the V8 Supercar category having been created and Supercars has been the benchmark for years and years, but it is so expensive to be part of that category,” a complimentary Rogers said. “It’s exciting to be part of it (TCR) all from the start. We’ve got a starting grid in Sydney of between 15 or 16 cars, with some very talented drivers and good teams, so I think the racing itself should be good. I think the organisers should be commended, they’ve done a really good job of working away to get all of this to this stage, so I think the event in Sydney should be good.” Honda is the first to commit manufacturer’s support to the series through Tony D’Alberto’s Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R, in a year where the Japanese marque is celebrating 50 years in Australia.

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Is this the start of a manufacturer influx? According to Rogers it is a wait and see approach. Most manufacturers represented on the TCR grid have had a limited motor sport involvement in Australia, with Rogers hopeful that his team’s results will be strong to bring the manufacturers into the sport. “What we’ve done is selected the vehicles that we thought suited the brands we would want to represent and look at what we could do with that,” Rogers detailed. “We’ve spoken to most manufacturers along this pit lane here. Look, it’s no good going to manufacturers and sponsors and saying we’ll win this and do this, you’ve got to do it and then talk about it. “Our plan is to do what we can and then with a good bit of business planning we will be able to talk to the manufacturers offer them deals and hopefully they’ll want to get involved.”

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AERO AND COG TEST CHANGES PLANNED The fall-out from the Mustang parity row continues AA EXCLUSIVE By MARK FOGARTY

SUPERCARS IS planning to upgrade aero and centre of gravity testing in the wake of the Mustang parity row. Auto Action has learned that Supercars technical staff under new head of motorsport Adrian Burgess are investigating more comprehensive procedures to measure and equalise drag and downforce and CoG. The new more detailed and more accurate aero and CoG tests could be introduced as soon as the end of this year, with the likelihood of the Mustang, ZB Commodore and L33 Altima all being re-tested before next season. There is also a proposal for downforce levels to be reduced in a bid to improve the racing by making overtaking easier and allowing the cars to run closer. The Mustang was hit with a raised centre of gravity and aero cuts amid a storm of controversy over its early domination, which continued at the Perth SuperNight. Mustangs have now won 11 of 12 races, with DJR Team Penske scoring 10 of those victories. Calls for the VCAT aerodynamic homologation testing to be made more comprehensive have become widespread after the Mustang passed the existing procedure with inherent advantages. Despite downforce parity between the Mustang, ZB and slightly revised Altima being declared the most equal ever, the two-door Ford had legal advantages because the aero test doesn’t measure all racing-relevant characteristics. Testing is restricted to straight-line drag and downforce measurements up to 200 km/h at a fixed ride height. BJR co-owner and Supercars board member Brad Jones has publicly declared that VCAT is no longer up to the job now that sophisticated

computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling is being used to exploit the aero rules. The Supercars Mustang’s body kit was shaped by Ford Performance in the USA using powerful CFD programs honed in NASCAR, WEC and IMSA, and WRC programs. In addition to the reduction of the size of the Mustang’s rear wing end plates and Gurney flap, and front splitter undertray, introduced at Barbagallo, more aero adjustments are likely later in the year once Supercars has completely evaluated the data it gathered up to Phillip Island. Among the proposals to make aero testing more robust and representative is lowering the ride height to match the level at which the cars race. Supercars is also working with American aero consultant D2H to develop even more sophisticated CFD software to allow the technical department to conduct more thorough checks. The new aero testing regime is being overseen by the rules-making Supercars Commission. However, according Supercars supremo Sean Seamer, nothing has been decided. “The Commission and the motor sport team are tasked with continually refining and improving our processes as new technology becomes available,” Seamer told AA. “Any time we can improve the way we go racing, we will, but no decisions have been made about plans for further aero testing and the CoG testing is complete.” His latter comment suggests no change for CoG measurement is being looked at, but our clear information is that it is also being reviewed.

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NO SILVER BULLET FOR WALKINSHAW BY BRUCE NEWTON

THERE’S NO quick fix that will cure Walkinshaw Andretti United’s latest slump. That’s the stark message from the struggling Supercars team’s technical director Carl Faux. The Englishman, who oversaw a lift in performance from WAU in 2018, is now leading an engineering team trying to recapture that form in 2019. The stats make grim reading. In 12 races Scott Pye and James Courtney have managed to qualify eight times in the top 10 and finish there eight times between them in their Mobil 1 MEGA Racing Holden Commodore ZBs. Courtney is 14th in the championship and Pye 18th. “There’s never a magic bullet,” Faux told Auto Action. Every circuit we go to requires a different characteristic and at the minute its plain to see we haven’t got that characteristic right for every circuit we go to despite being quick on occasion. “That’s the problem, the operating window we are working with.” WAU has been impacted by the shift from the trapezoidal to the linear spring, combined with the lift in performance of Tickford Racing, which has used the new Ford Mustang to vault past it on the performance ladder.

But WAU has also struggled to hold its own against the Commodore ZBs, only once qualifying top Holden in 2019. It currently sits eighth in the teams’ championship after finishing fifth in 2018. At the Perth SuperNight, Pye looked on course for a top 10 finish until a clash with Andre Heimgartner put him out. But Faux played down what appeared to be stronger form. “I am not going to celebrate what might have been a seventh place, it’s not good enough.” Faux, who left a glittering career in the British Touring Car Championship to join the Supercars championship, was starkly honest about the search for WAU’s pace. “If I knew what the problem was there wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “I guess I am arrogant enough to say if you ask me a question that I don’t know the

HOLDEN WANTED MOLLY TAYLOR

answer to I will say ‘I don’t know, but I will go and work it out’. “That is what I am going to do. I am going to work it out.” Faux said the search for a solution made the task of extracting speed more challenging for the drivers. “Every time you go out on circuit and you are trying to fix some issue - which the end issue is not being quick enough - you are trying something. Which means the cars are never the same for the drivers underneath them, which means they are always having to drive to what they have got. “It’s not a consistent way, and that way when you are searching for performance is always going to be a step behind. So it’s just part of it.”

HONDA JOINS TCR AUSTRALIA

By MARK FOGARTY RALLY STAR Molly Taylor was approached by Holden to race in last year’s inaugural SuperUtes Series as a preliminary to a possible chance in Supercars. Taylor, 31, is making her circuit racing debut in this weekend’s TCR Australia Series opener at Sydney Motorsport Park, driving a Subaru for Kelly Racing. But the 2016 Australian rally champion could have raced in SuperUtes in 2018 if Holden’s plan had come together. Taylor was sounded out on joining a proposed factory backed Holden Colorado team to be run by Paul Morris, who would also have been her race driving coach. In late 2017, during Holden’s phase of trying to appeal to female buyers, she was seen as the ideal choice to promote the Colorado through racing. Holden’s then senior marketing executives also had big ideas about backing Taylor all the way to a Supercars drive if she showed promise in SuperUtes. The plan fell over because Taylor was contracted to Subaru in the ARC – and still is – and she didn’t want to severe that connection to switch to circuit racing. It is understood Morris had reservations about the level of funding Holden was offering and later declined the offer to run a SuperUtes squad. Taylor confirmed that she was approached by Holden about racing, but emphasised that the talks didn’t go very far. “There were some discussions,” she told Auto Action. “Nothing too serious. I had my contract with Subaru, so there was nothing in the immediate future that could be done and I wasn’t looking to leave that.” Her stance hasn’t changed and she took the TCR drive

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because it enabled her to continue with Subaru in the ARC. “I love the program we’re doing with Subaru and the rally stuff,” Taylor said. “Obviously, as a driver and loving to drive, if an opportunity comes up to do more of it (racing) in something different, if it’s an awesome opportunity, then I’d want to take it. “But, obviously, I wouldn’t want to do anything that jeopardises what I have here (with Subaru in rallying).” Asked if she had long-term aspirations to race in Supercars, Taylor remained firm that she wasn’t looking beyond her debut in TCR. “Who knows?” she said. “I feel like I have just so many steps to go just with this that, honestly, it’s just take one thing at a time.”

HONDA IS the first manufacturer to show support in TCR Australia linking up with the Wall Racing Civic Type R TCR car driven by Tony D’Alberto. Team owner of Wall Racing David Wall said the deal came about thanks to a lot of work both in and around the team. “Through a lot of hard work from everybody, from ourselves, Tony D’Alberto, the series,” Wall told Auto Action. “It’s not any one person, a lot of hard work and it’s come off and they [Honda] are very supportive in helping us move forward in the series and hopefully it’s good for everyone. “We look forward to working closely with Honda as the year progresses.” D’Alberto the reigning Australian GT Endurance Champion approached Honda because he had previous experience working for the Japanese firm. “I had a prior relationship with Honda through some driver training work I have done in the past and the conversations went from there,” D’Alberto said. “I knew a few people within the business and was able to connect with them.” The 33-year-old Victorian believes that Honda get sent a lot of emails from drivers, but it saw the value in joining TCR and jumped at the chance. “Honda probably get sent this ‘come and sponsor my race car’ stuff all the time.

“But I think the TCR stuff, they can see the value in it, they can see it is an exciting category and it made sense for them to put their toe in the water this first year and see what it is all about,” he explained. Wall said that he did not buy the Civics with the belief or knowledge that he would be able to get Honda onboard. “We got the Honda’s with a direct link with JAS overseas [in Italy] where the cars are produced, we know a few people there and I suppose the relationship has grown and the Honda deal has come about later on,” Wall said. D’Alberto reflected on the deal with Honda and hopes that this will entice other manufacturers to join the series. “It was exciting to get Honda on the car and in the team and supporting us. From what I hear a lot of manufacturers are definitely interested in the category and perhaps they are just going to see how the first round goes, or first year goes,” he said. The former Super2 champion feels that it is great for TCR Australia to get a manufacturer involved so early on and as a tribute to Honda, D’Alberto will compete with the #50 on his Civic celebrating Honda’s 50th year in Australia. Dan McCarthy


MORE SUPERNIGHT EVENTS IN 2020 Perth at top of list of renewals in the works By MARK FOGARTY TWO NIGHT racing events are set to be held next year following the success of the Perth SuperNight as Supercars chases several renewals to lock in the 2020 calendar. With WA government backing, Supercars took over the running of the Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway round, run under lights for the first time. A new multi-year deal is being negotiated with the WA government to continue the SuperNight format, which attracted bigger crowds and healthy prime time TV audiences. Barbagallo is set to be rejoined as a night event by Sydney Motorsport Park, which is installing permanent lighting.The $30 million NSW government-funded upgrade has ensured the return of SMP, which successfully pioneered the return of night racing to Supercars last year. Auto Action understands that the Sydney SuperNight will return midseason next year. Starting the split 2020 season

at SMP in January was considered, but it will now begin as usual with the Adelaide 500 in late February/early March. Supercars supremo Sean Seamer is still planning to have a long winter break from JulySeptember. Following the renewal of the Tasmania SuperSprint at Symmons Plains until 2023, Perth is next on the agenda to be secured, as well as the Winton and Phillip Island rounds and the three Queensland events. Winton and Phillip Island are on year-to-year deals that are dependent on Victoria government support. The Queensland governmentbacked Townsville, Queensland Raceway and Gold Coast events are in the final year of their existing agreements. Supercars is in talks with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEG) for multi-year extensions for the

Townsville and Surfers Paradise street race events. The QR round is supported directly by the Ipswich Council with backing from TEQ. According to Seamer, who is aiming the lock in the schedule for the next three years, finalisation of the 2020 calendar is still targeted for an announcement at the end of next month. “We are still aiming for an end of

June finalisation of the calendar for at least 2020,” he told AA. “A lot of work has been completed and positive conversations are ongoing.” Supercars’ new deal with the Tasmanian government involves a $5.6 million investment over the next five years (presumably including this year to reach 2023), plus $1.75 million with Motorsports Tasmania for safety and amenity improvements at Symmons Plains Raceway.

RICCIARDO’S KEEN TO RACE AT BATHURST DANIEL RICCIARDO is keen to race in the Bathurst 1000. The Aussie’s interest in the racing on the challenging mountain top circuit has been sparked by several factors. One was getting the chance to drive Rick Kelly’s Castrol Nissan Supercar at Calder Park on the Wednesday morning prior to the Australian Grand Prix. “I really enjoyed driving the car,” Ricciardo said when he met with F1 outlets including Auto Action prior to the Spanish Grand Prix. “It was on a bit of a rundown circuit so I can imagine driving it on Bathurst or someplace cool. That would be awesome.” Another reason is that two-time F1 world champion and Le Mans 24 Hour winner Fernando Alonso wants to compete in the Bathurst 1000. “That would be cool,” Ricciardo said when asked if he wants to race at Bathurst. “Look, if I could do it at some point over the next three years, and it didn’t create any diversion from what I am trying to achieve here (in F1), then I’d love to do it. It would be fun.” And then there is the lure of driving on one of the world’s most challenging race tracks. “As a circuit Bathurst looks so fun,” Ricciardo said. “As a driver to there are some circuits you want to drive in your life: Bathurst, Macau, some of those. So that would be cool. One day…hopefully before I’m too old!” Dan Knutson

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NO DOUBTS FOR WHINCUP TEKNO AUTOSPORTS released a statement confirming that Jack Le Brocq will continue to drive the Truck Assist Holden Commodore for the remainder of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Le Brocq saying, “I’m pleased to confirm that I am in Perth this weekend and will complete the 2019 Supercars Championship with Truck Assist TEKNO Racing as planned.”

THE TASMANIAN Government and Supercars have signed a new deal that will continue to see Symmons Plains Raceway host the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship until 2023. “The Supercars are a major drawcard on Tasmania’s events calendar. It brings thousands of people to Tasmania who get to enjoy our world-class hospitality,” Premier Hodgman said.

By BRUCE NEWTON WHILE JAMIE Whincup admits he has questioned his own speed during previous results droughts, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team star says self-doubt has not been an issue in 2019. The seven-time Supercars champion showed distinctly improved from at the Perth SuperNight, after a horror swing through Symmons Plains and Phillip Island, but he still languishes in sixth place in the driver’s championship 409 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin. RBHRT has been hit by the new Ford Mustang’s pace and its own struggles to get on-top of the change to mandatory linear springs for this season. The team has also struggled for consistently trouble-free pit stops. Whincup has claimed four podiums, but no poles or wins, in the first 12 races of the season. “I am not doubting my ability, I am not in that place,” Whincup told Auto Action. “I have done that over the

years, but that’s not a scenario now. I could not have lost so much form so quick. “My analysis is ‘no, I am not questioning my ability’. But as I say, I always ask myself ‘could I have done more, could I have helped the situation’ and as a driver in a race team you can always do more, and you have a big influence over the performance of the cars. “You can’t engineer the car, but you can have a big influence over the engineers that do that job. We have

got a big influence, but could I have done more? Yes, I could have done more.” Several times in his career Whincup has also talked about retirement timing, but he says that prospect hasn’t been contemplated through the difficult start to 2019. “It would if you are lazy,” he said. “If you are lazy and can’t be bothered doing it, then it would. But no, this challenge has motivated me more than ever, so I am hungry to fight my way out of it.”

However, Whincup revealed the challenge had distracted him from other aspects of his race preparation. “Physically it takes its toll, so I am not as physically fresh as I would like to be at this time of year. I am certainly not unfit, or not prepared, I want to make that clear. “We are grinding away behind the scenes trying to make the cars faster and it takes a toll on everyone. It is what it is. We will grind our way out of it and get back to where we need to be.”

‘SECRET’ MEETING WITH MANUFACTURERS IT HAS been confirmed that OTR will continue as the naming rights sponsor of The Bend SuperSprint for the next three years. The Shahin family own both the OTR company and The Bend Motorsport Park. Dr Sam Shahin said “The event was incredibly supported last year, and we look forward to showing returning visitors the developments across the park.” FRENCHMAN ALEX Premat will fly over from the United States to drive Scott McLaughlin’s Shell V-Power Ford Mustang during the additional co-driver session at the Winton SuperSprint. The 37-year-old’s drive will mark his first in the Mustang having missed the additional driver session in Tasmania.

THE FIRST meeting of Supercars’ new Manufacturers’ Council was held last week. What was discussed and what decisions were made – if any – is unknown as Supercars isn’t saying. It won’t even confirm who represented Ford and Holden in the inaugural meeting, which was a three-way video conference call held on the morning of Tuesday, May 7. However, it’s known that Ford Performance global director of motorsport Mark Rushbrook took part from Detroit following his return

from the Perth SuperNight, joined by an unnamed Holden representative. The first Manufacturers’ Council meeting was originally due to be held at Barbagallo, but it was decided that wasn’t the right environment amid the Mustang aero parity row. All Seamer would say is that the first discussion was fruitful. “The Council has been received extremely well and we very much look forward to a great working relationship with our current and future manufacturers,” he told Auto Action. “This is an opportunity

to get their feedback, share learnings and work closely together. “Our first meeting was a great step forward.” At Barbagallo, Rushbrook confirmed that a series of meetings were scheduled for the rest of the year “We have a schedule for

meetings to happen through the year and we’re looking forward to those, and participation from the manufacturers and engaging with Supercars.” Inspired by the Manufacturers’ Councils in NASCAR and IMSA, Seamer instituted the local version following a suggestion by

Rushbrook when they met in Detroit at the start of the year. It is a breakthrough because in the past, Supercars has not given manufacturers any representation. Rushbrook is satisfied that Supercars will take Ford’s and Holden’s views into account, just as NASCAR and IMSA listen to them. “That’s all we can ask for,” he said. “That we will have a voice and that Supercars will listen to us and hear us. Now, that doesn’t mean automatically they do everything that we say – and that’s the same in other series. “But at least we have a voice and we know that it’s heard.” Mark Fogarty

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BATHURST 24H BID CONFIRMED European promoter wants it to rival Le Mans and Daytona

By BRUCE NEWTON THE ONLY foreign bidder for a fifth Bathurst event wants to create a 24 hours race at Mount Panorama with the same carnival atmosphere and prestige as the Le Mans and Daytona twice-roundthe-clock classics. Ivo Breukers, the founder and director of Hollandbased endurance race promoter Creventic, told Auto Action that his organisation had big ambitions for a Bathurst 24 hours event. “We would like to make this 24-hour race as big as the biggest races in the world, like Le Mans and Daytona.” Breukers said. “We would expect entries from all over the world if they would decide to give us the bid. “Our interest is to deliver an event with a lot of international live television and drivers.” There has been talk that Creventic wants to run under the auspices of AASA rather than CAMS, which is the designated sanctioning authority for events at Mount Panorama. However, moves are underway to authorise AASA to sanction an event at Bathurst due to competition laws, which allow organisations other than CAMS to authorise racing. Lack of CAMS approval has been nominated as a barrier to Creventic’s bid, but despite BRG’s affiliation with the FIA’s nominated ASN, it can’t legally stop a rival body from staging events at Mount Panorama. Creventic runs 24 hours and 12 hours enduros in Europe, the USA, Dubai and Malaysia. A race at Mount Panorama would be its first in the southern hemisphere. Its races cater for a wide variety of categories including GT3, GT4 and TCR, aimed at ‘gentleman’ drivers rather than professional teams that contest the Bathurst 12 Hour. “We don’t want to be competition for the 12 Hour,” Breukers declared. Creventic’s rivals for the fifth Bathurst date are Supercars, Australian Racing Group/CAMS, Ontic Sports, Mountain Motor Sports and 24 Hours Of Lemons Australia.

Breukers revealed he had held a meeting with ARG, which runs the fledgling TCR Australia Series, seeking a co-operation for the fifth Bathurst race, but “nothing was finalised”. Creventic has identified October-November or February-March as the best times to run a 24 hours race at Mount Panorama. It would join the organisations’ continental championship series, which currently includes Dubai, Portugal’s Portimao, Barcelona and Circuit of the Americas (COTA). “If it means we have to shift other races on our calendar, such as the Dubai 24 Hour or the COTA 24 Hour, then we will do that,” Breukers said. Breukers has raced three times at Mount Panorama and has a real affection for the place, even though he spectacularly crashed a MARC Mazda there in the 2015 12 Hour. He said Creventic had contacted Bathurst Regional Council as early as 2017 to enquire about running an international 24 hours race at Mount Panorama, but was told that would only be possible if a fifth major event was allowed. When that possibility was opened up last month, Creventic lodged an expression of interest (EOI) at the last moment. The 11th hour bid was because Breukers was only made aware of the fifth-event tender process very late. “We would have thought we might have been notified sooner, but maybe something went wrong,” he said. “At the last moment, we decided to express our interest, which we had already for a long time.” Breukers confirmed Creventic would set up an office in Australia if it won the Bathurst bid. While headquartered in the Netherlands, it also has an office in Dubai. Meanwhile, Breukers’ son Rik, who is a contracted Audi driver, will drive in the opening round of this weekend’s TCR Australia Series debut at Sydney Motorsport Park in a Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS3.

PHILLIP ISLAND PIT LANE WON’T BE WIDENED ANY TIME SOON PHILLIP ISLAND’S narrow pit lane is unlikely to be widened any time soon, according to the circuit’s management. That means pit lane could continue to be closed during safety car periods for future Supercars racing at the oceanside track. The Linfox-owned Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit doesn’t have a deal for 2020 and beyond, making a change even more unlikely. The contentious move was made for last month’s Phillip Island SuperSprint to avoid double stacking, potential collisions and injuries to pit crew in the series’ narrowest pit lane. The same restriction may also be introduced at the season-ending Newcastle 500 because of its similar pit lane confines. Several Supercars identities, including Triple Eight boss Roland Dane and BJR’s Brad Jones, have criticised Phillip Island’s pit lane width. “The reality of Phillip Island is you have one of the greatest strips of tarmac in the world, and one of the worst pit lanes and pit buildings in the world,” Dane told Auto Action. “I find that massively disappointing it hasn’t been re-developed properly over the years.” Phillip Island’s pit lane measures 9.6 metres in width, against the current FIA/ FIM requirement for 12 metres for new circuits. PIGPC’s new general manager David Bennett cited two significant issues that make widening the pit lane unlikely. “Increasing the physical envelope of pit lane here is difficult,” Bennett explained. “You’d have to knock the pit wall down and move it out into the track, which

then changes the whole dynamic of the circuit. “It would change the turn 12 exit, it would change the whole main straight and it would change turn one. So, there is this whole flow-on effect. “The second option would be to knock down the pit building and rebuild it to give us an extra 2.5 metres of spaces. The reality is that would cost us tens of millions of dollars.” Bennett also pointed out that the circuit only had a year-by-year rolling agreement with Supercars to host a championship round and would require a longer commitment to even consider an investment in widening the pit lane. “It’s tough to talk about what the future may look like when we don’t even have a round (confirmed for 2020),” Bennett said But he did concede that a renewal was likely following positive talks with Supercars management during last month’s event. Instead of widening the pit lane, Bennett endorsed the suggestion made publicly by DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard that Supercars teams be spread further apart along the entire length, which has many more garages than are used by Supercars teams. “Right now, we are consolidating Supercars teams up one end to accommodate another category,” Bennett said. “How do we spread them out to allow some changes to be made that makes the double-stacking and normal pit lane rules potentially possible? “That’s the most realistic option, to be honest.” BN

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MOTOR RACING names including Colin Bond will help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Australian Grand Prix at the Historic Leyburn Sprints on the Queensland Darling Downs on August 1718. The multiple Australian Rally Champion will make his first visit to the annual Sprints, which will be staged on a 1.0-kilometre street course around the village of Leyburn, for the 24th time. ENTRIES ARE now open for this year’s Winton Festival of Speed, which will take place on August 3-4. It will be its biggest program of events since inception. Additional new categories have been added to the program, including HQ Racing and Historic Sports Sedans, and this year also sees the return of Formula 5000 and the new inclusion of Hyundai Excels.

BROWN AIMS FOR COMPLETE WEEKEND QUEENSLANDER WILL Brown has been competing in the Dunlop Super2 series with Eggleston Motorsport since the start of the 2017 season. In Perth the 20-year-old finally broke through for his first victory in the category, but unlike his father he kept his emotions in check. “To tell you the truth I wasn’t too emotional. It was really exciting to finally get it, I feel we’ve got the pace and we’ve had a lot of pace ever since I started in the Dunlop Series,” he told Auto Action. The weekend started poorly for Brown, who failed to break into the top 10 in either practice session, but the team turned things around and Brown qualified on the front row alongside Zane Goddard, but confident of a race victory. “I thought if we could get the start, we’ll be able to win this and we did,” he explained.

Saturday, however, was a lot tougher for the 2016 Formula 4 champion who failed to get in a clean lap on new tyres during qualifying. “Coming into Saturday the track had changed a lot (and) we didn’t quite get our car right. The worst part was we were actually quick in qualifying but we didn’t get a new tyre run because we got held

up, qualified ninth on an old set of tyres and ended up finishing eighth,” Brown said. The former Toyota 86 Racing Series champion feels that Barbagallo Raceway is a hard track to overtake on with its resurfacing and this is one of the reasons he was unable to move forward through the field. Having finished eighth in the

second race Brown still finished third for the round, but the Erebus co-driver is disappointed not to have achieved more. “I still don’t think like I’ve put a (good) weekend together after finishing eighth, I want to stand on the top step of the podium one time and p3 wasn’t good enough, but we’ll press on. Dan McCarthy

THE INAUGURAL V8 Sleuth Touring Car Classic will honour two-time Australian Touring Car Champion Glenn Seton. The ‘Glenn Seton Trophy’ will be presented to the winning driver in the V8 Supercars pre-Project Blueprint era class for cars made between 1992 and 2002. “I’m extremely honoured to have a trophy like this named after me,” Seton said.

A PROPOSED Motorsport Park near Newcastle has been given development approval. The $77 million facility will be known as BlackRock Motorsport Park and will be located in the Lake Macquarie City Council, and will be 5.58km long.

FORMER FORMULA 1 World Champion Jenson Button returned to the Mount Panorama Circuit on Easter Monday, driving a Honda Civic Type R around the historic track with the aim of setting a new frontwheel-drive lap record. He succeeded by setting a lap time of 2m 35.207s in a quest that has sent Button to a variety of tracks across the world.

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GARWOOD AMOUNG WINTON TCM RETURNEES TASMANIAN ADAM Garwood returns to the Touring Car Masters grid at Winton on May 24-26 and is set to be an outright contender driving Bob Middleton’s 1970 Chevrolet Camaro. The Camaro has been driven in previous seasons by the experienced Mark King, but Garwood will take over for Winton and potentially Queensland Raceway. Garwood is looking forward to joining Middleton’s team, one that he competed against in the series two seasons ago. “Bob’s team present an awesome car. I’ve raced against that Camaro and the one Adam

Bressington races,” Garwood told Auto Action. “I know its pros and cons and it has a lot of pros. It’s a great car and I’m really looking forward to it.” Garwood has been on the sidelines for much of 2019 after selling his Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car at the start of the season. He recently competed in the Sports GT support races at Symmons Plains and last week participated in Targa Tasmania, but an incident on the opening stage of the fifth day ended the event for he and navigator Bec Sheldrick. Earlier in the year he also won a state speedway title in Formula 500.

“I started the year doing Formula 500, we did that for a bit of fun and ended up winning the state title out of it,” Garwood said. “I was only really going to run Targa this year, which we did last week. Then, there was the opportunity to run Bob Middleton’s second Camaro, an opportunity we couldn’t deny. We’ll see how we go.” Not only is Garwood returning to the grid, but so too will the Seton name in third-generation racer and TA2 frontrunner Aaron Seton. Seton is listed on the entry list for the Winton event to drive Leo Tobin’s 1969 Ford Mustang. Heath McAlpine


GODDARD REMAINS POSITIVE QUEENSLAND BORN Zane Goddard had a breakthrough weekend at the Perth SuperSprint, claiming both pole positions and a practice lap record in the Super2 series. “The speed was really strong all weekend Bryce [Fullwood], Tyler [Everingham] and I were all super quick, so credit to the team in that regard, it was good to seal the deal in both qualifying sessions,” said Goddard. Despite the excellent one lap pace, Goddard struggled to get off the line in both races, saying that a few things caused the issue but the young Queenslander takes responsibility. “It was all my fault, the start, there was no dramas with the car, it was my doing,” Goddard told Auto Action. “I think maybe my warm up wasn’t good enough. I don’t think I quite got the procedure right, I didn’t quite find the bite point properly.” Despite the poor start in Race 1 Goddard felt the win was still on the cards as he closed on the

leader, good friend, Will Brown. “I was getting closer and closer, but it’s one of those tracks where you have to have a little bit of speed on the person in front to make the overtake. “You can catch them but you need that little bit more. I was trying to force him into making a mistake, which he didn’t do,” he said. Race 1 was a good result, but another poor start on Saturday caused Goddard to fall down towards the back of the top 10. “We are still p2 in the championship so we are still in a super strong spot only 64 points off the lead. “It is just about finishing races, being consistent, we are ticking all the boxes,” the former British F4 race winner said. The next round of the series is on the Townsville Street Circuit. It’s a track that Goddard loves, having recorded his first top 10 result there last season. Dan McCarthy

WHINCUP SET FOR AUSTRALIAN GT RUN SEVEN-TIME Supercar champion Jamie Whincup will make his Australian GT Championship debut at Phillip Island on June 7-9. The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver joins Yasser Shahin in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the opening round of the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship. For Whincup it’s a return to GT racing and Mercedes after a strong campaign at the Bathurst 12 Hour, where he joined teammate Shane van Gisbergen and Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver Craig Lowndes. Shahin has had a busy start to the year after competing at the Bathurst 12 Hour alongside 2017 Bathurst 1000 winners David Reynolds and Luke Youlden. He contested the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup at

the Adelaide 500 and travelled to the second round of the series at Zhuhai last week, winning on debut. “I’m really looking forward to getting back into the Australian GT action,” Shahin admitted. “I love the endurance format and driving alongside and learning from a world class driver like Jamie can only help my development. “I’ve known Jamie for a while and am obviously aware of his ability behind the wheel, so I’m really looking forward to sharing the drive and taking the fight to the leading teams.” The opening round of the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship forms part of the second round of the Shannons Nationals alongside TCR Australia and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.

WELCOME, TCR AUSTRALIA SERIES On behalf of everyone at CAMS, we welcome Australia’s newest category to the track. Congratulations to everyone at ARG for making this Series a reality. Watch TCR live on SBS and thenationals.com.au

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KIWI BRENDON Hartley will replace Fernando Alonso at Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2019/2020 World Endurance Championship Super Season. Alonso will remain with Toyota as he seeks to pursue new racing challenges with the Japanese brand. “I have enjoyed being part of Toyota Gazoo Racing in WEC but this chapter is ending,” Alonso said. MOTOGP RIDER Andrea Dovizioso will race in the DTM series when he subs in for Pietro Fittipaldi at the Misano round on June 8-9 as Fittipaldi will be at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix on reserve driver duties for Haas. Dovizioso has previous experience driving with four wheels, in 2016 the Italian drove in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final. SUPER GT chairman Masaaki Bandoh has confirmed two events that will combine both DTM and Super GT cars. Three Super GT cars will contest the final round of the DTM series as wildcards at Hockenheim, before 12-14 DTM cars will be shipped over to compete at Fuji Speedway in November. NETWORK 10 has announced a free to air deal to show the remaining rounds of both the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship and Cams Australian Rally Championship. The Coffs Coast Kennards Hire Rally Australia will be shown live and free from November 14-17. THE WORLD Endurance Championship and IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship will once again pair up for the ‘Super Sebring’ double header race weekend in 2020. It has been confirmed that the World Endurance Championship 1000 Miles of Sebring will take place on Friday the 20th of March with the IMSA Sebring 12 Hours to take place the following day.

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HEIMGARTNER IMPRESSES IN ASIA IN THE Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner replaced Australian David Russell in the #27 HubAuto Corse Ferrari 488 GT3. The second round of the championship took place at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand where Heimgartner paired up with Japanese driver Yuya Sakamoto. Race 1 was an exciting and action packed race, especially in the opening laps with many positional changes throughout the field. The race calmed down as the pit stops began, but the race continued to produce great racing. With just under 10 minutes of the race remaining Heimgartner closed to up to a battling pair to make it a three way podium scrap. But despite having the speed to catch, he did not have the speed to pass finishing the race in fourth position. The Triple Eight team of Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Jazeman Jaafar

finished the first race in 11th 47s off the race lead. Further back, in the AM Cup Class the Aussies of Ben Porter and Andrew Macpherson took second from B-Quik’s Daniel Bilski and Henk Kiks on the final lap. Race 2 looked like a positive race for the Triple Eight squad as Jaafar fought for the podium in the early stages before colliding with Jeffrey Lee Ibrahim exiting Turn 3, which sent the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG spinning. Having pitted from 12th position a great final stint resulted in the HubAuto Corsa’s Heimgartner and Sakamoto recovered to finish an impressive second just 0.7s ahead of the TSRT’s Audi crew in third. The Triple Eight Mercedes finished down the order in 18th while Porter and Macpherson rounded out a brilliant weekend finishing the second race in 13th.

MCELREA CONTINUES STRONG SHOWING HUNTER MCELREA and Cameron Shields both showed great pace in USF2000 around the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In Race 1 Gold Coast born McElrea made a great start moving up a place taking second into Turn 1, there was a crash behind when Jak Crawford ran out of racing room and tagged the rear of Darren Keane. Other cars were caught up in the incident and this allowed Shields to jump from 13th to fifth. It was several laps before McElrea made a move for the lead overtaking championship leader Braden Eves, which started a great tussle between the pair. In the final laps the Ohio born American and the Australian exchanged the lead several times, on the final lap the pair ran side by side around the final turns of the lap, Eves pipping McElrea to the line by less than 0.3s “To be on the podium at a place as legendary as Indianapolis means a lot. It was a good race but the last two laps were pretty hectic. I got past Braden for the lead and held it pretty

comfortably until I made a mistake and he was able to get back by,” McElrea said. Shields brought his home Newman Wachs Racing car in seventh. McElrea’s second race was not quite as good briefly holding second he would

eventually cross the line third behind Eves and Keane. Another strong performance for Cameron Shields was halted after contact with secondgeneration racer Eduardo Barrichello, causing the Aussie to retire from the race.


PIASTRI ON TOP AT SILVERSTONE AUSTRALIAN FORMULA Renault Eurocup driver Oscar Piastri has fired into title contention after an unbeaten weekend at Silverstone on May 11-12. Piastri won pole, but was beaten off the line by his teammate, Russian Alexander Smolyar with the pair duelling throughout the opening stanza of the race, much of it side-by-side. The lead duo was well clear of the field, but Smolyar was bitten by bad luck when a broken tie rod stud lap 9 leaving Piastri 12s clear of Joao Vieira and Petr Ptacek by the end of the race. It was a perfect start from the Aussie, who again took pole and maintained a solid margin ahead of Alexander Smolyar and Victor Martens. Piastri quickly bridged a gap before Smolyar started to respond during the mid-section of the race. The Australian stayed calm and took a comfortable victory and became the first driver to take a double-victory this season. “No win is easy, said Piastri post-race. “My start was better than yesterday, but I couldn’t really afford myself to cruise in the opening laps. I had a really good pace, which allowed me to pull away and go on for the win. It is good to be at the top of the general classification although it doesn’t mean much after just four races. All I know for now is that I want more after these

two victories.” Piastri holds a 16-point title lead heading to the next round at Monaco on May 23-26. ALEX PERONI debuted in Formula 3 on the same weekend in Barcelona, finishing 12th and 24th over the two races, the last after getting involved in an incident.

TALENTED YOUNGSTER AFTER SUPPORT

NOT ONLY was 17-year-old Ryan How robbed of race and round victory at the latest Australian GT Championship in Perth, but the rest of his season has been placed in jeopardy due to the damage sustained from a freak mechanical failure. How appeared to be on his way to sealing a certain GT Trophy round win and a second outright victory for the weekend until with 15s to go heading into the final corner, How’s 2011-spec Audi suffered a brake failure, which sent the brake disc into the air. The brake disc shot through the front guard and landed into the crowd where luckily no one was injured, but it has had a devastating effect on How. “We know with my car the front rotors weren’t cooling down as much compared to the other cars because of the smaller front tyre, less air can escape,” How explained to Auto Action. “We put brand new rotors on the car that morning, but we think the rotor has overheated going into the final corner, the rotor couldn’t take anymore and exploded.” Although the older Audi is unrestricted it is a tough car to drive according to How, who this year stepped up to Australian GT after two seasons in the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships.

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“You definitely have to fight it to get it to where you want to go, but that’s why I like Perth so much because it’s a real driver track, so you really have to work on the speed,” said How. “You don’t really rely on mechanical grip and aero, it’s just basically how you can point the car.” How took the first outright victory for a Trophy Class car in Race 1, but he was nearly a non-starter at Perth due to budget constraints. “It’s hard to explain, emotionally. We’ve been doing this for the past couple of years and really put everything we’ve had into it, I mean Perth we really shouldn’t have been there money-wise, but we had to have a crack and be there.” A six-month break until the next round on the Gold Coast with the youngster requiring $50,000 to make it, but with only a few small sponsors the program is mainly funded by his father and himself. “My dad and I funded all the state rounds by ourselves and we continue to do that for Australian GT,” How said. “I’m not some rich kid that has a lot of money, my dad is a truck driver and I work full-time as a mechanic, so all our savings have gone into that.” HEATH McALPINE

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DOOHAN DELIVERS AGAIN AUSSIE JACK Doohan had another solid weekend in Asian F3, taking the second race of the three and finishing other the two behind his Hitech GP teammate Ukyo Sasahara. In the first race Sasahara launched from pole and immediately shut the door on Doohan. The 16-year-old pulled alongside the Japanese driver into Turn 1 and the pair ran two-abreast into the opening few turns of the lap, leaving each other just enough room. Doohan could not get through and slotted in behind the leader, and Sasahara began to edge away to eventually win by 4s. The other Aussie Tommy Smith’s race came to an early end when his alternator belt broke, before being struck with more issues in Race 2.

Doohan fought back in Race 2 to beat teammate Sasahara. The Japanese driver got away from pole well and led into Turn 1. The Australian immediately came under fire from Eshan Pieris in third, holding off the challenge, allowing the Queenslander to switch his attention to his teammate. On lap 2 Doohan make a decisive move on his teammate with a dummy which paid off. Getting a good exit out of Turn 1, he faked a move to the left, Sasahara went to defend the outside

and Doohan nipped through on the inside to snatch the lead. From there Doohan pulled away, winning the race by over 9s. Race 3 of the weekend had Sasahara once again start from pole. The Japanese driver made a great start, while Brendon Leitch took second off Doohan. The Australian bided his time

and eventually took second back from the New Zealander, which was the way it stayed for the remainder of the race. “Brendon was definitely very fast in the first half of the race,” Doohan said. “I didn’t have the pace that Ukyo had. I think I pushed a bit hard in Race 5.” The next round is in Japan at the Suzuka circuit on 22-23.

W SERIES TOP 10 FOR WOOD AUSTRALIAN CAITLIN Wood competed in the inaugural allfemale W Series race at the Hockenheimring, finishing inside the top 10 out of the 18 starters and earned a point for her efforts. The first of six rounds in 2019 was won by British driver Jamie Chadwick, who excelled in the tricky conditions to beat another Brit Alice Powell, while Spaniard Marta Garcia rounded out the podium. Chadwick made a perfect start from pole and led the field until

a mistake at the Turn 6 hairpin allowed Sarah Moore into the lead. Further back a collision at Turn 6 between Megan Gilkes and Emma Kimilainen resulted in a safety car being deployed. Chadwick retook the lead after the safety car pulled into the lane, Alice Powell quickly climbed from sixth to second and the all British battle for the lead ensued. Powell sat on the tail of Chadwick for the remainder of the race but the order remained the same. Wood salvaged 10th while struggling with an issue, in spite

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of this Wood still climbed up through the field. In the closing stages she locked up and ran wide at Turn 8 losing several positions, before making it back up to 10th by the end of the race. “I was trying to modulate an issue whilst coming through the field, and a small mistake un-did all my passes in the later stages of the race,” Wood said. The next round of the series takes place at Zolder in Belgium on May 17-18.

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AA’s perspicacious pundit can’t believe that Ford and DJR Team Penske didn’t see the Mustang aero cuts coming. Of course they did… ONCE AGAIN changes to limit the performance of the Ford Mustang have proved inconclusive. And that’s being polite. On the basis of Barbagallo, trimming the Mustangs’ wings had no effect. Of course, like the centre of gravity ‘adjustment’ before Symmons Plains, the aero cuts mollify the outraged opposition. Supercars is seen to be doing something to redress what rivals regard as a travesty in the first place. Everyone not running a Mustang agrees that it should never have been approved in its original form. Ah, yeah, but it complied with the rules as interpreted by the then Supercars technical management. There is now a new regime much wiser to the potential for exploiting loopholes in the out-dated VCAT system. So they’ve plugged the leaks as best they can, invoking the underlying proviso that Supercars is a technical parity formula. It is implicit that if your new toy is too quick, it gets reined in (Mustang pun intended). Thus has it ever been for the past 25 years. And no one was more aware of that than DJR Team Penske and Ford Performance. You think they didn’t anticipate the aero cuts? Puh-leeze. Saw it coming, were prepared for it. And more. The calculations on likely aero trims had been done and accounted for. They would have been very remiss if they didn’t see the shit

storm coming. However, we won’t know if the changes have had any real effect on the Mustang – especially the DJRTP versions – until possibly Tailem Bend and Pukekohe, certainly Bathurst and again possibly Sandown. And, don’t forget, by shaving the Mustang’s downforce, drag was also reduced. A simple person would deduce that the changes meant the bluff Ford’s 3-4 km/h straight-line disadvantage to the slippery ZB Commodore was eradicated… Barbagallo was not the place to measure any downforce reduction. The resurfaced track was grippedup to hell, masking any aero deficit. Seriously, 11 wins from 12 races tells you a lot. In fact, everything. With a fully state-of-the-art car, DJRTP – and even Tickford Racing – have set a new standard. There’s a New World Order, especially as previous yardstick Triple Eight struggles to readapt to linear springs. Barbagallo under lights was a great spectacle, reinforcing the obvious fact that motor racing is at its best after dark. The sights, sounds and smells are accentuated, and it looks brilliant on TV. Unusually, I watched the start and early laps of both races from Turn 1. Yes, there was hospitality involved. But the buzz of the cars flying down the straight and into the corner in

semi-darkness was palpable. As far as I’m concerned, the more night races Supercars can conjure – Perth, Sydney, Ipswich, Winton and Townsville or the Gold Coast – the better. The Barbagallo short weekend was also interesting for the fact that Supercars, Ford and their teams went out of their way to not mention ‘The War’. In fact, there was a ban on addressing the aero cuts with media. This head-in-the-sand attitude extended to Roger Penske refusing me an interview. That. Has. Never. Happened. But in a brief conversation, he made it clear that if he said something, it wouldn’t be complimentary to the category. Make no mistake, Ford and Penske are seething behind the scenes. But they’ve adopted the ‘good corporate citizen’ approach of expressing their dissatisfaction behind closed doors. You can take it to the bank that Penske, Ford Performance’s Mark Rushbrook and Ford Australia chief Kay Hart gave Sean Seamer an earful in meetings at the track. Things will change.

VALE: MELISSA MCCORMICK IT IS with profound sadness that we record the passing of former Auto Action staffer Melissa McCormick, who died in tragic circumstances early this month. Melissa worked at AA in the early 2000s as a sub-editor and journalist, and went on to become a respected automotive writer. Her death has hit me particularly hard because she is the first close friend I have lost. It seems inconceivable at my advanced vintage, but all my other best mates are still around. Melissa was very much at the younger end of my clique. Which makes her passing even more wrenching. Yes, she had physical and mental health issues, but she died way too early. On her good days, Melissa was charming, funny and whipsmart. She was knowledgeable and passionate about cars and racing, and at her peak, was a consummate professional. She could also be very, very difficult. Her wilfulness and

waywardness were challenging, but her good side always redeemed her in the eyes of those few who knew her well. Among those who experienced Melissa’s good nature to its best effect was her best friend Brett Ramsey. While he also often felt the sharp end of her lacerating tongue, she supported Brett’s efforts with the long-running In Pit Lane community TV show throughout and to her end. I never stopped admiring her pluck and intellect, and, despite our many differences over 16 years, she remained a valued friend. Melissa’s demons derailed her career and in recent years she struggled to find her place. It is unfortunate that, just as she seemed to be getting better, she made a fatal mistake. As much as her death distresses her family and friends, there is some comfort in the fact that she is now at peace. We extend our deepest condolences to all those who loved Melissa McCormick.

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s w e n e n O Formula

RICCIARDO’S TRICKY NIGHTMARE

FINDING THE narrow window that is the sweet spot of good handling for the Renault chassis has become a tricky nightmare for Aussie Daniel Ricciardo, his teammate Nico Hülkenberg and their engineers. “It is still tricky,” Hülkenberg said when Auto Action asked him about dialing in the car. “The balance is not that consistent and it changes around often even during a session with conditions changing. It is tough to stay on top of the balance, and it seems the operating window is quite narrow and sharp. So it makes it tough to get the rhythm sometimes and the consistency.” AA put the same query to Ricciardo who expanded on the conundrum. “I feel like every race we’ve had a car good enough to do it (qualify in the top 10) but it is just not always that easy,” he explained. “The midfield is so tight, so if you do make a little mistake you are missing out. Sometimes the car is pretty good, and then next session it

DAUNTING AND PROCESSIONAL DAUNTING, DANGEROUS, awesome and processional. Those are the predictions from F1 drivers of what the racing will be like at Zandvoort, when F1 returns to the Dutch circuit in 2020 for the first time since 1985. A number of the current F1 drivers have raced at Zandvoort in the junior categories. George Russell rates it among his top five favorite venues. “It’s a really incredible circuit,” he said. “It’s got so much character. Obviously safety is incredibly important these days in F1, but I just truly hope we don’t get rid of the gravel runoffs in Zandvoort in the two high-speed corners, because that’s what makes the circuit so daunting and so incredible to drive.” Daniel Ricciardo raced in Formula 3 at Zandvoort in 2008, and he has driven an F1 car around the 4.3-km 13-turn circuit on demonstration runs. “The track to drive on is pretty awesome,” the Perth native said. “It is high speed, it is old school, big balls. With how fast

16 AutoAction

it is, and how narrow some places are, I don’t think it would be that exciting for overtaking. With the speeds we go now, following another car would be very difficult. So that is my reservation with it. It could be a very processional race. “Otherwise the track is cool. I’m a bit torn because to drive on it would be fun, but it would be tricky to make an exciting race.” Formula 1 returning to the Netherlands is due, of course, to the huge number of Dutch fans who became interested in F1 because of the success of Max Verstappen. The grandstands at Zandvoort, which is located in the dunes next to the North Sea, will be a sea of orange as his fans wear “Dutch orange” especially at the races in Belgium and Austria. “It’ll mean I’ll have two home grands prix then!” he said

of F1’s return. “Spa and Zandvoort. It is a challenging track. For sure they have to do some changes to the track because it’s still from 1980. There will be a lot of Dutch fans and that’s always good to see, some crazy Dutchies!” Some modifications to the circuit are being considered, but the avid fans still might not see a lot of overtaking during the Dutch Grand Prix. “Even in F3 it was almost an impossible task to pass,” Nico Hülkenberg said. “But it should be good fun, a good party. I loved Zandvoort during my time in F3, Formula BMW and A1. Cool memories of there of a cool track in a great location, and of course the Dutchies are always fired up for a good party.”


DOUBLE JEOPARDY

ramped up. If there is one circuit where a driver needs a consistent and predictable car it is the upcoming Monaco. Ricciardo won last year’s grand prix there driving for Red Bull and has always performed well through the narrow streets of the Principality. “I am really curious to go to Monaco (in the Renault) to see how it all feels,” he said. “I’m optimistic that if I can drive the track the way I want to drive it, then I can get the car further up than maybe it might be on a normal track. “The biggest thing there is confidence,” he added, “and so on Thursday all I want to get out of myself is get comfortable with the car and have the confidence to tackle the kerbs and brake where I want to brake. If I can get that then I will be able to do something good.” And if not, it will be a nightmare weekend for Ricciardo.

might not be. It is still a little bit hard to read and it lacks some consistency.” For example, the car was quite good in practice on Friday morning in Spain but not in the afternoon session. “We didn’t change too much but we just fell off the pace,” Ricciardo said. “We know some reasons why with set-up, but it is not always that clear. Sometimes it is a bit of a nightmare to get it in that window.” To make matters worse, there is no pattern. In one practice session the car will be stable in the low speed corners but not the high speed, and then that can mysteriously flipflop in the next session. Renault brought upgrades to Spain for its chassis which did improve the situation somewhat. There was also an updated power unit but that is more to address the reliability problems from earlier this season, than to add horsepower. Once the former has been verified then the power can be

FOUR COUNTRIES are in jeopardy of losing their Formula 1 events in 2020. This is the last year of the race contracts for Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and Mexico. Two of them will definitely not be back in 2020, according to Chase Carey, CEO and executive chairman of the Formula 1 Group, owned by Liberty Media. In fact, the promoters of all five events are dealing with financial woes and there is a chance that more than two are at risk of disappearing from the calendar. The Dutch Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit is set to return for the first time since 1985, and it will be joined by the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi on the 2020 schedule. “We’ve not finalised the number of races in 2020, but we currently expect it to be 21, the same as 2019,” Carey said. “Obviously the maths means that we will not be able to renew all our current races.” So two of the vulnerable five will definitely be dropped. However, there are now “only” four of the races at risk, as a deal has been worked out to keep the Italian Grand Prix at the historic Monza for another five years. But the owners of Silverstone are still trying to finalise a compromise to retain the British Grand Prix. It is the only one of the five that does not receive some sort of financial aid from government coffers. Leadership changes in Spain and Mexico have put those events in peril as those governments have stated they will not fund the races.

The 2019 German Grand Prix was also in danger of disappearing until a compromise was reached last August to keep the race at Hockenheim for one more year. Now it is on the bubble again. Other countries are waiting in the wings. “We value our partnerships with our existing promoters; however we believe it is important for our fans and the growth of our sport and business that we both add exciting new locations, and manage a limited level of churn,” Carey said. “We’re in the fortunate position of having more demand than supply, but recognise that we need to manage that dynamic in a thoughtful manner.” The factors when choosing a venue include the quality of the track for great racing; a location that captures the world’s imagination; the level of fan and broader support and enthusiasm in the host city and country; the historic importance and future potential of the track and race; and the global balance of the schedule, according to Carey. “We clearly have demand for more than 21 races in 2020, and do expect that number of races in a year will increased slightly after 2020,” he said. Whatever the final outcome is after the wheeling and dealing for 2020, it won’t be an end to the predicaments for promoters. Those who do not have adequate resources, and especially insufficient or no government funding, will be in jeopardy of losing their races in the future.

FERRARI’S FAST SLOW FERRARI IS in dire need of a fast fix for slow corners, and the famous Italian Scuderia has sped up its development programme to try overtake Mercedes, which has now won the opening five races of this season. The Ferrari looked fleet in pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, although Mercedes did close the gap in the final days. Ferrari’s main problem is that its car really lacks mechanical grip. That can be countered by aerodynamic downforce in high-speed corners, but mechanical grip is essential in the slow-speed corners, where aero has limited benefits. In the final sector of the Barcelona track, which features plenty of slow, twisting corners, the Ferrari drivers were losing six-to-eight-tenths of a second to the Mercedes drivers during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

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“We gain down the straights and we lose in the corners,” Vettel said. “In the first two sectors we have straights to compensate, so maybe you don’t see the loses in the corners but it’s pretty transparent. For us, it’s a lot of homework. The car certainly didn’t feel perfect, so there’s something we can improve. “Overall, we seem to be a bit down in terms of grip and not being able to carry as much speed through the corner, not go on throttle as easy as them (Mercedes), so it’s a loss not necessarily in braking. It’s more the speed carried around the corner. It’s not the first time. Obviously here it bites you in the last sector because there are many corners and no straights. “It’s not the first time this year that we are losing in these sorts of corners,” Vettel added. “If it was easy, we would just fix it, but currently we are all working

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very hard and trying still to just understand why we are losing out in these types of corners, sometimes more than other times.” All the teams had upgrades for their cars for the first round of the European season. Ferrari realised at the first race in Australia that it needed to speed up its development programme. “We tried to push on all the main items where we

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were already planning developments,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said in Spain. “We were looking for opportunities in anticipating some of the programmes. We did it already with an aero package in Baku which was introduced earlier compared to our initial programme. We did it here as well for the power unit. You achieve that by trying sometimes to shortcut or intensify the activity.” While Ferrari has sped up its development schedule, it’s doubtful that it can find a shortcut solution in the two weeks between the races in Spain and Monaco. And as the Monaco Grand Prix is all about slow-speed corners and mechanical grip, it could be another losing race for Ferrari barring a lucky twist of fate.

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17


F1 INSIDER

with Dan Knutson

DON’T BLAME IT ON RIO SO THE Brazilian Grand Prix is going to move from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro in 2020. I have one question: Who is going to pay for it? With much fanfare, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro signed an agreement with Rio de Janeiro’s mayor and governor for a Formula 1 track to be built on the outskirts of the city. They stated that no government money would fund the project. The local and state governments in Brazil have been cutting funding to programmes such as education (by 30 per cent!), health, crime, the problems with the favela slums and more, so they could hardly justify funneling millions into a race track. For convenience sake here, I have converted all figures to Australian dollars. The cost of building the entire facility from scratch is said to be $337 million. The good thing about starting with an open piece of land is that the designers – Hermann Tilke’s company – can have free range to do whatever they want. The

bad thing is that unlike the new track coming in Hanoi, you can’t incorporate prebuilt and already paid for facilities such as a sports stadium. The good news is that the land for the track is free. It’s a former military training ground – the landmines have (hopefully) been removed – which has been donated to the project. The fees that the Formula One Group charges a country to host a grand prix vary, but the group of private investors headed by JR Pereira that will fund the entire Rio project would have to find about $36 million annually. The general idea about investing is to make money. And Formula 1 races do not make a lot of money, if any at all, for the local promoter. So how will investors recoup the original $337 million plus the annual $36 million? And then make a profit on top of that? This is why most F1 races these days require government funding. Pereira says the track will make money by selling 100,000 to 130,000 grandstand seats

annually. Bolsonaro, meanwhile, was quoted as saying: “The hotel sector is certainly happy, there will be 7000 direct and indirect jobs that will stay forever.” According to government sources in Rio, the grand prix will have an economic impact of $225 million annually. I don’t know how that figure was reached, but whatever money the track would generate would be spread around to hotels, restaurants, shops etc and not be going back to the investors. Sao Paulo, which has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix since 1990 has, obviously, a complete FIAapproved F1 track and facility in

place. The circuit does get some local government funding. While it’s true that the Interlagos circuit promoters have had financial problems, it is also true that the circuit has a firm contract until the end of 2020. Sao Paulo officials say they want to extend the deal. The Deodoro area, where the proposed but yet to be funded track would be built, is 40km from Rio’s famous Copacabana beach. Deodoro consists mostly of favela slums, and a Brazilian colleague of mine says there are no middleor-upper-class neighborhoods in the area. Therefore the teams and the rest of the F1 circus plus the fans will have to travel quite some way on traffic-congested roads to

get to a decent hotel. No matter what government officials are saying in Rio, I don’t believe that there will be a Brazilian Grand Prix there in 2020 or later years. Of course Rio did stage successful F1 races from 1978 though 1989 at the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, better known by the marvelous name Jacarepaguá, which is the local neighborhood also on the outskirts of the city. I went there for the Brazilian Grands Prix from 1984 through 1989 and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. My mates and I would sneak into the InterContinental hotel where all the drivers and teams stayed. There was a vast swimming pool complex where the drivers would hang out, and we would hang out there was well. The circuit and facilities, which in no way would meet modern F1 standards, were demolished in 2012 in order to build facilities for the 2016 Summer Olympics. So if F1 does not return to the city, I won’t blame Rio. I’ll blame it on a business model that will not work.

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BORN IN THE USA By MARK FOGARTY Editor-At-Large MUSTANG VS Camaro is not just the battle Supercars fans want to see, it’s the long-running rivalry that could attract interest in a return to America. Once the Camaro joins the Mustang, there’s a powerful argument for Supercars to revisit the idea of racing in the USA. Supercars raced at the Circuit Of The Americas F1 track in 2013 – and everyone loved it except the promoter, who lost a bundle. It was more successful than Shanghai, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi crowdwise, but financially for COTA, it was a financial disaster. No surprise – apart from noisy V8 engines, an unknown series with unknown drivers in unfamiliar Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons, and unappealing Nissan Altimas, Supercars wasn’t going to be a hit. But that could all change if it’s mainly Mustangs and Camaros – and you pick the right place. Plus, add some American NASCAR and IndyCar stars as wild cards. Suddenly, you have something to talk about. There’s no plan for Supercars to go back to the States, but once the field is mostly made up of cars with which American fans can identify, the idea starts to make a lot of sense. And the most logical place for Supercars to gain a foothold over there is Detroit, the home of Ford and General Motors. They’d be perfect on the support program of the Detroit IndyCar Grand Prix, which is run on the Belle Isle street circuit. The track is a gnarly 3.78 km course that would suit the Aussie V8 racers, which are at their rough-and-tumble best on unforgiving street tracks. So you’d have road-look Camaros and Mustangs performing in front of American muscle car enthusiasts,

and GM’s and Ford’s most senior executives. Throw in the fact that Roger Penske’s organisation runs the Detroit GP and you have an immediate entrée. Of course we’re talking 2021 at the very earliest, because it’s now clear the control chassis rules aren’t going to change before then to allow the Camaro to race here without compromising its low-line coupe shape. But it’s going to happen and when it does, Walkinshaw Andretti United will be all-in to support its road-going partner HSV, which has a lucrative business converting Camaros to righthand drive. By then, GM in Detroit and even Holden may be fully on board as the Commodore becomes irrelevant. The future of Supercars is in two-door fastbacks like the Mustang, two-door coupes like the Camaro and other twodoor ‘halo’ performance models like the reborn Toyota Supra. Traditional four-door sedans (or fivedoor hatchbacks like the ZB) are dying. They’re being replaced in the market by SUVs. Any manufacturers interested in Supercars in the future will want to promote their brands through two-door high-performance models, which will survive the SUV onslaught. The outlier may be Kia with its twinturbo V6 rear-drive Stinger, but the Korean company has so far resisted approaches to back a Supercars version. So in 2021 – and certainly by 2022 – the Supercars grid will be mainly Mustangs and Camaros. There may be some ZB Commodore stragglers and the pensionable Altima could still be around, rebodied in the new American model’s look if Kelly Racing have absolutely nowhere else to go. For the purposes of this argument about Supercars’ making a guest appearance at the Detroit GP, the ZB could be passed off as a Buick Regal GS – also a rebadged Opel Insignia – and the Altima would at least be familiar to

Editor-At-Large Deputy Editor

Creative Director/ Production Jason Crowe Special Contributor Bruce Newton Staff Journalist Dan McCarthy National Editor Garry O’Brien Online Editor Rhys Vandersyde

Contributing Writers Australia Garry O’Brien, Mark Fogarty, Bruce Newton, David Hassall, Bob Watson F1 Dan Knutson Speedway Geoff Rounds

American fans. All this assumes a lot of things. Mostly, that someone would pay Supercars – including the more than $1 million transport bill – to race in Detroit. Roger Penske likes Supercars and the enthusiast in him would love to see them race at Belle Isle. But not enough to fund their visit. He made that very, very clear in the wake of his purchase of the controlling interest in Dick Johnson Racing in 2015, when the logical question was asked. But Ford and GM might be convinced to underwrite an Aussie invasion to promote a pure Mustang versus Camaro stoush in their own backyard. It would recall the heyday of Trans-Am in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, when productionlook Camaros and Mustangs battled it out, establishing much of the lore that surrounds their enduring appeal in the USA. It would certainly resonate with one R Penske, whose first major championship was the 1969 Trans-Am title with a Camaro Z28 driven by the late and legendary Mark Donohue. Practical difficulties aside, the idea of Supercar support races at the Detroit GP has considerable appeal. When I put it to Ford Performance racing boss Mark Rushbrook at Barbagallo, he was initially taken aback. As in, hadn’t

thought of that. But when I explained the Mustang vs Camaro scenario, he warmed to the idea and agreed the cars would suit the Belle Isle circuit very well. He was aware of Supercars’ one-off appearance at the Circuit Of The Americas just outside Austin, Texas, in 2013 and questioned the viability of return. He was right to do so. Supercars’ original deal with COTA was for six years. It lasted one, cancelled by mutual agreement when both sides realised the $6 million annual deal was unsustainable. But leaving practical considerations aside, Rushbrook admitted that Supercars would be a hit at Belle Isle. “I think in Detroit it would be very popular,” he told me. “What I don’t know is the practicality of it. “Supercars came and raced at COTA once in 2013, and I don’t know what was good or bad about that event, so certainly I think we’d look to Supercars for lessons learned from that.” But, in essence, Rushbrook liked the idea: “I think there would be great reception by the local fans to go see that race.” If Supercars ever hopes to gain a showcase event outside this region in a major market where its loud, aggressive racing has natural appeal, Detroit is it.

We take a look back at what was making news 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago 1979: PETER BROCK snatched back the

1999: IT WAS on in Perth, plenty of

Australian Touring Car Championship lead after winning the sixth round of the title at Surfers Paradise International Raceway. Title rival Bob Morris managed only a fourth place as Charlie O’Brien and Brock’s trusty teammate John Harvey completed an allA9X podium. In other news, Amaroo Park celebrated its 10th anniversary.

biff, plenty of arguments, but Craig Lowndes still took victory. The Kid proved unstoppable in a dominant period for the Holden Racing Team, claiming an historic result as he took a hat-trick of victories across the event. There was another proposed new street circuit, this time in Fremantle, with Paul Radisich taking AA readers on a tour of the route.

1989: SHELL THREATENED to withdraw its naming rights sponsorship of the Australian Touring Car Championship if television coverage wasn’t improved for 1990. It came after the promised live coverage and highlights programs failed to materialise. CAMS also joined Shell in its concern.

Mark Fogarty Heath McAlpine

2009: DESPERATE times for title contender Will Davison as Ford ascended its dominance of the V8 Supercars Championship, leaving the Holden Racing Team chasing its tail. Aussies were going well in America with Marcos Ambrose declaring he belonged in NASCAR and Ryan Briscoe securing a front-row start for the Indy 500.

Photographers Australia Ross Gibb, Rebecca Hind, Mick Oliver, David Batchelor, Randall Kilner, Rhys Vandersyde International LAT Images Advertising Manager Bruce Williams All Advertising enquiries bruce@overdrivemedia.com.au (0418) 349 555 Editorial contributions may be sent to Auto Action. No responsibility will be accepted for their safety. If you require the return of any sent item or items, please attach a separate, stamped and fully addressed envelope

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

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THE

BIG BLUE Amid the Mustang parity controversy, Ford Performance global motor sport boss Mark Rushbrook spoke exclusively to Foges about the Blue Oval’s all-conquering return to Supercars

F

ORD IS back in Supercars with a new level of commitment. Not only is Broadmeadows re-engaged, but returning with the Mustang is backed by global headquarters in Dearborn. The company’s public show of support for racing is back to the heady days of the early 2000s, when then Ford Australia boss, the late Geoff Polites, adopted a boots-and-all approach. The Blue Oval isn’t spending tens of millions on backing teams like it did during the noughties, or even at the six-figure levels until its withdrawal at the end of 2015, instead investing heavily in the development of the Mustang. However, Ford Australia is engaged at a highly visible level, supplying the safety car, and medical and rescue vehicles at each event. The regular attendance of local president and CEO Kay Hart and other senior executives at races is in stark contrast to the absence of top Holden brass. The Mustang racer was developed in league with the racing division of Ford Performance, the first time the Blue Oval’s main motor sport operation has been directly involved in Supercars. Senior FP engineers have been at three events so far this season, with global director of motorsports Mark Rushbrook visiting the Adelaide 500 and recent Perth SuperNight. Rushbrook oversees Ford’s factory participation in NASCAR with the Mustang and in the WEC and IMSA with the Ford GT, as well as its technical support of the Fiesta in WRC. He arrived at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway, where Roger Penske was also in attendance, in the wake of the contentious centre of gravity and aerodynamic adjustments to the Mustang. Like all Ford figures, he avoided commenting on the parity row, but make no mistake – while it accepted the inevitability of the CoG and aero changes, behind the scenes the company is seething over the politics involved. Within strict rules of engagement, Rushbrook agreed to a broad discussion of Ford Performance’s involvement in Supercars and its other racing activities in his only extended media interview during his Perth visit.

20 AutoAction

Have you been surprised by how well the Mustang’s done so quickly? Well, what I will say is that, generically, in all the programs where Ford Performance is engaged, our mission is to go win races, go win championships. It doesn’t always happen and when we don’t win a race, we are disappointed because we go there to win. So we certainly came with the new Mustang to Supercars to win with it, that was the goal. I don’t know whether we’re necessarily surprised because we worked really hard on it. And it wasn’t just Ford Performance, right? It was with our teams. We have great teams that have been working on a lot of areas of the car beyond just the new body – adapting to the change in spring rules and the simulation tools to be successful with that. So I guess I’m not necessarily surprised that we’ve

won races. The fact that it’s been as many is probably better than we had hoped for, but that’s our goal – win every race. Winning 11 out of 12 races is an unusually strong start, isn’t it? That’s a strong start [smiles]. You don’t think it’s an unusual rate of initial success? We have seen it in different ways in other series, where a new car has come in and done very well in its first year. I’m not trying to trap you here. I’m just trying to ascertain how happy you are that the Mustang has done so well so quickly. Oh, we are very happy.


DJR Team Penske was dominant again in Perth, winning both races.

This is your third visit to a Supercars event – the second this year – so what’s impressed you most about how the Ford teams are operating? Team Penske we know very well from our relationship with them in the United States in NASCAR and what DJR Team Penske has done is somewhat of an extension of the team in the USA. So what we see there and what we see here is the attention to detail in every aspect of the car and every aspect of executing the race, and I think that’s a huge part of what makes them successful in all the series they compete in, which goes beyond what they do with us, with what they do in IndyCar and IMSA. But what they do with us in NASCAR and what we’re seeing here, that’s what it takes to be successful in racing. You cannot miss anything. You have to optimise everything to put the car to the front and to win consistently, and I think we’re seeing that here. Working with Tickford Racing and 23Red, and what we’ve seen from them and the partnership in designing and developing the new car and the execution on the track, I think that whole collaboration and relationship with Ford and working with DJR Team Penske has got them focused in all the critical areas – and, obviously, running at the front of the pack as well. You’ve worked with and seen world-class operations in action. Is DJR Team Penske in the same league?

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Oh, absolutely. As you said, we see a lot of racing operations, and some of them our ours and some of them are competitors that we see in the different series. But, definitely, I think that all of the tools that it takes to go racing and be successful are being applied here. And what about Supercars racing overall? First of all, the product on the track – the series in terms of what they present on the track, how it gets put out in the media and the show – it’s fantastic racing. Lots of strategy and good close racing between the cars. I think it’s very engaging for the fans. What I see up and down pit lane and in the garages is a very large group of very passionate racers. So it is a world-class racing series full of world-class racing engineers and teams that are out there to put on a good show, put on a good race. Why are you here (at Barbagallo) this weekend? The trip had been planned for some time, not just in reaction to recent events, right? I can’t go to every race for every series, so I have to strategically work out which are the important ones and for this series, Adelaide was important because it was the debut of the new car, so I definitely wanted to be there for that to how it was going to race and see if we were going to have success

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on track or problems that we needed to address. And then I wanted to have checkpoint somewhere in the middle of the season and then planning to come back at the end of the season. So this was a good one because next month gets pretty hectic with stuff going on in France (Le Mans 24 Hours). This was a good opportunity to come back here to see how the teams are doing and what was going on. Also, at one point, the first of the new Manufacturers Council meetings was going to be here. It’s been rescheduled (it was held via video conference call on the Tuesday morning after Barbagallo) and that’s fine and that’s good, but that was originally an added reason to be here. We have a schedule for meetings to happen through the year, and I’m looking forward to those and participation from the manufacturers and engaging with Supercars. Will you be back for the Bathurst 1000 or the Newcastle 500?

For every racing series, we want many manufacturers involved. We want to race against other manufacturers, the best in the world, and to have the Camaro on-track here would be great, just like we race against it in NASCAR at two different levels and in IMSA in the GT4 class. We love racing against the Camaro, so do we want the Camaro on-track? Absolutely. We want as many manufacturers coming to Supercars that are interested in coming. But to make a change to the car as it’s defined today to make what I will say is a relatively minor change compared with going to an all-new car and architecture is not what we want to see because we want stability in the rules and we designed our Mustang to fit the current regulations, and we think that anybody that’s going to bring a new body to the series needs to stay with the current architecture (control chassis) because, certainly, we would’ve done things differently if we’d had an opportunity to move that bar. I think that’s only fair.

I think it will end up being either Gold Coast or Newcastle. I’d love to come for Bathurst, but that clashes with the last race of the season for IMSA (Petit Le Mans).

That’s one reason why the change is unlikely to happen until 2021 with the Next Generation evolution of the rules. Otherwise, any sooner, and it could be reasonably argued that it wouldn’t be fair to Ford after just one season.

There’s been a lot of discussion about changing the roll cage height rules to facilitate the entry of low-line twodoor models, particularly the Camaro. What’s your view on that?

So, with the new rules, whenever the Next Generation car happens, then that’s the right opportunity to change the proportion of the car to allow the Camaro or whatever other manufacturers are interested to bring

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Mark Rushbrook points to NASCAR as an example of GM racing the Camaro with a different greenhouse.

a car to their liking. But I would say even before then that if you look at the Chevrolet Camaro in NASCAR, both at the Cup level and the Xfinity level, the proportions are different to the road car. As you look at our Mustang in NASCAR, we as a company have made the decision to meet the rules as laid out by the series and to stretch the car to fit those rules, and be legal and meet parity, and there’s no reason why Chevrolet can’t do that here in this series if you look at what they’ve done in NASCAR, both at the Cup and Xfinity levels. They’re willing to do it; they’re willing to have a different greenhouse on the car in NASCAR. If they really want the Camaro to come here next year, General Motors/Chevrolet, by what they’ve shown in NASCAR, should be willing to do that here. So, in simple terms, you’d be opposed to such a change for next year, but if it were part of Next Generation, which is scheduled as soon as 2021, you’d be OK with it? Yes, absolutely. Of course, even if that roll hoop bar were lowered, you wouldn’t necessarily have to change the Mustang, because my understanding is that the existing car would remain homologated. You’d only have to re-homologate it if you reportioned the roofline. So, theoretically, you’d have the option to keep racing the Mustang as it is. But that gets to the basis of why we don’t want to see the Camaro allowed by making a rules change like that because we followed rules, we brought our car legal to those rules. If that bar is moved for the Camaro so that they can come into the series – and we haven’t talked about this

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more rigorous aero and CoG testing? Again, in all the series, we work as partners with the series and with the other manufacturers to have the best processes in the interests of the sport – and it’s no different here. So that to me is one of the benefits of the Manufacturers Council, that I don’t want those decisions to be made here, sitting in a trailer, with one manufacturer talking to the series. I want those decisions to be made with all the stakeholders, with all the manufacturers there with the series, to agree on that and then to have a technical team with representatives from each manufacturer and the series to help define what is the best centre of gravity test, what is the best aero test, whether it’s an onroad test or a wind tunnel test. with the series because it shouldn’t get to that point – but the reason it shouldn’t get to that point is we as a company are then put in the position of doing we continue racing with our current Mustang or do we go spend money to do an all-new aero and body development program? And we shouldn’t be put in that position because there would be performance opportunity with that change for the Camaro. So if we want to continue being as competitive as possible, we’d be forced into the position of doing an all-new car after just one year. Realistically, though, we’re talking about 2021 at the earliest. OK, if you’re talking ’21 when there’s a new car, we’re all good.

we’re doing the new car, but whenever we’re doing the new car, then we just have to look at what are the rules, what are the proportions and make that decision. And until we know what that it, we can’t make that decision. What about continuing to run what you have? If the rules allow that. I don’t know if they will or won’t. We also know that Supercars is looking at changing the aero and centre of gravity testing to make them more comprehensive. I’d imagine that while you’ve been here you’ve had some meaningful discussions with Supercars management, is that right?

And if that happens, you would modify the Mustang accordingly?

That’s right.

We would have to look at that. This is all hypothetical because we don’t know when

I’m sure that subject came up, so in broad terms, would you be in favour of

The Manufacturers Council is a breakthrough for Supercars because previously manufacturers’ views on the technical regulations were ignored. Is it your impression this will be a valid forum, not just a talk fest? Yes – and that’s all we can ask for. That we will have a voice and that Supercars will listen to us and hear us. Now, that doesn’t mean they automatically do everything that we say – and that’s the same in other series. The one in NASCAR started five years ago and it’s definitely changed through the years, and the one in IMSA also started five years ago. Both of them have changed through the years, but what we appreciated about those is that we have the ability to state our position as a manufacturer, to hear what other manufacturers think, to talk about it together, and to find some kind of alignment between the manufacturers and then the series can hear that alignment, and sometimes they do exactly what we say and sometimes they don’t. But at least we have a voice and we know that it’s heard.


Working with DJR Team Penske has focussed Tickford on some critical areas, says Mark Rushbrook.

There’s been talk about Scott McLaughlin racing in NASCAR one day. There’s an obvious link with Penske, but would you also try to help like Ford did with Marcos Ambrose? I won’t answer that specifically; I’ll answer it more generically. First of all, it’s a personal decision. Is that something Scott wants to do or not? And then it’s a team decision. Do they want Scott to stay here or want to move him to a different series? What we want to see is back to our mission of winning races and championships. We want to keep winning here in Supercars. We had a great season in NASCAR last year and we want to keep there into the indefinite future – and to that you have to have the best car, the best engine, the best team, the best driver, so that is something that we would certainly talk about with Roger and Dick and Scott if that’s something that all of them are interested in and see if that makes sense. What you see in NASCAR, because that form of racing is different to a lot of other series, a lot of drivers go

there and not have the same success in NASCAR that they’re used to in other series. We would want to make sure that if something like that were to happen that it would be successful. So that would take time and planning and development. Marcos Ambrose showed that you can successfully switch from road racing to NASCAR. We think Marcos did a great job. It was great to see him back in the car at Adelaide (demo runs in NASCAR Cup Ford Fusion). Now that you’ve confirmed this is Ford’s last season in WEC and IMSA GTs, what’s Ford Performance’s future in international racing? Well, the programs we’re continuing are NASCAR in the US, Supercars here and WRC, and we haven’t made any announcements about anything else at this point, so I’m not able to talk about Ford has announced that this will be its last season of WEC/IMSA competition.

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anything else at this point. Are you thinking of doing something else? We’re always looking five years out, roughly, in terms of meeting all of our principals of winning races and championships, and the ability for technical innovation and tech transfer and people development. So we continue to do that and that does include the sports car world as well as everywhere else where we already continuing to participate. Are the proposed ‘hypercar’ rules for the WEC interesting to Ford? The LMP1 ‘hypercar’ rules have been transitioning in the past couple of months. They kind of put their rules out there and they had a set of rules, and now, in order to try to attract the most interested competitors and manufacturers, they’re adjusting those rules. And I think that as they’re written right now, where you’re allowed a prototype or road-going car and they’re going to be competing together, could be an interesting class. I think there are still some discussions going on with what those rules really will end up being or not. We continue to follow on and see if it gets to a point where we would be

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interested. Where it is right now, we’re not interested. What about Formula E? All I can say about anywhere we’re not participating is we haven’t made any announcement and we don’t comment either way if we haven’t made an announcement. Surely you’ve had a good look at FE? We have had a very close, hard look at Formula E and continue discussions with Alejandro (Agag, chairman and cofounder) and Ali (Russell, chief marketing officer) and their team. So you like the concept? We like the concept of racing a full electric vehicle and a lot of what that series has to offer, that is true. Will there be a GT3 version of the Ford GT? GT3 is part of what we’ve continued studying in sports car. So it’s still a possibility? Yes.

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Walkinshaw Andretti United’s media-shy technical director isn’t well-known in Australia, but as BRUCE NEWTON explains, he has enormously impressive UK racing credentials

FAUX IS THE REAL W

HEN BRITISH boffin Carl Faux joined Walkinshaw Andretti United in late 2017, the news didn’t generate huge headlines. His was a name unfamiliar to many in the Supercars community, let alone the fans in the outer. But it was definitely a different story back in the UK, where Faux (pronounced ‘foe’) had established his credentials as one of the top race car designers and engineers in the British Touring Car Championship. Faux is the French word for imitation or fake, but among touring car propeller heads, Carl is the genuine article whose genius could have a Ludo Lacroix-like effect on WAU.

Unlike the out-going Frenchman, Faux is a background creative genius who eschews publicity. However, behind the scenes, he is an equally quirky character and they share an unconventional approach to race car design. It took a while to pin down Faux for a chat, but once you get him talking, he is phlegmatically fascinating. Lowkey and to-the-point, there is also an underlying confidence. As well there should be. His achievements in the BTCC, where Lacroix also made his name, suggest he could be the next Supercars design guru. Ash Sutton won the BTCC drivers’ championship in 2017 in the Team BMR

Subaru Levorg station wagon designed by Faux. Before that, he’d headed the design project for the front-running MG6 for the UK version of Triple Eight Race Engineering. It leads to the obvious question, why give all that up to come to Australia and start all over again? “Supercars is a very pure form of racing,” said Faux, who is WAU’s technical director. “There’s no success ballast, it’s a very polished product, the cars are fast, the professionalism is great.” No doubt, given WAU’s struggling start to 2019, Faux has his hands full figuring out how to get the Mobil 1 Mega Racing Holden Commodore ZBs of James Courtney and Scott Pye back on the pace. But there is no shortage of determination from Faux to get that job done. “I came here not because it was easy, I came here because it was hard,” he declared. “I have come from m a comfortable arena into someone else’s backyard to try to beat them at their own game.” Before we delve further into the present, let’s travel back in time to Faux’s early days to discover his motor or sport roots. Faux, 37, was raised in Harlow, Sussex, in southeast England. He didn’t n’t come from a motor racing family, but his grandfather owned a garage and like ike many young fellas, he enjoyed cars. “I quite liked watching racing on TV,” Faux recalls. “I ended doing some junior racing when I was a teenager, left school at 16 and was lucky enough to get a Faux headed the design project for the MG6 program in the BTCC for Triple Eight UK (left and above right).

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job as an apprentice on a race team team.”” He raced Mini Stocks, a UK class for the ubiquitous ‘Bricks’ that ran mostly on tarmac ovals. He soon realised he was more talented wielding spanners than a steering wheel. “I ended up on my roof a few times, I’ll tell you that,” Faux laughs. “It quickly became apparent that I was no good at


Afte leaving Triple Eight UK Carl After Faux (above) freelanced, working Fau for RML’s Chevrolet Cruze program in the World Touring Car prog Championship (top left). Cha

driving, but reasonably good at setting a car up. As a teenager, that paved the way toward what I was going to do next. “I built a few cars for people and that was good fun. It was learning the ropes really hands-on. “I worked around UK circuits, starting with the MGF Cup in the late 1990s. Then did some V6 (Renault) Clios, did a bit of European racing, progressed through the

ra ranks of a spanner up to n number one running a car, w which was quite cool.” That’s when Faux decided iti was time to raise his sights further and he s went for a job at Triple Eight Race Engineering, which was then the factory Vauxhall team in the British Touring Car Championship. “I sat opposite (team boss) Ian Harrison Harris and he said ‘What do you want to do?’ and I said ‘I want to design cars because bec I am fed up with putting cars together that are designed by idiots’. “He said ‘I’m not going to give you this job because you are not going to last, go and get yourself a piece of paper and come back to me’.” Faux took Harrison’s advice seriously. Without A-levels (UK uni entrance

qualifications), he still managed to “blag” his way into the automotive course at Bolton University, studying various racingoriented subjects including aerodynamics. He’d already studied Computer Aided Design (CAD) when he was a mechanic. “I knew what I wanted to know when I went to university, so I was very focussed on the bits that I needed to know to progress in my career,” Faux said. After he graduated, he went back to Harrison and got a job. “I don’t think he expected to see me rock back up on his doorstep,” he laughed. “I got sat down in what was called the ejector seat because people didn’t usually last there. I was given a six-month contract and then never left, really.” It was here in that Faux made his first contact with Supercars. As he started, Ludo Lacroix, the French engineer who now works at DJR Team Penske, was finishing up at T8 in the UK to shift to Australia with Roland Dane to set up the Australian version in late 2003. T8 in the UK played a supporting role back then. Faux designed parts for those early Betta Electrical-sponsored Ford Falcon BAs.

Faux makes clear how fundamental this period was for building his knowledge base. “In that era, car design was split up into various sections,” he explained. “You were in charge of interior, then you were in charge of chassis and cage design and analysis. Then you could end up on suspension or fuel systems. You got to work across all aspects and you got to go to the circuit as well. “It’s the quick-fire from design to going on track and seeing if it does work or not work, and how it can be improved in a short turnaround time. It was really good.” Faux’s first stint at Triple Eight UK ran from 2006-09 and in that time, he contributed to the design and development of a series of factory Vauxhall Astra and Vectra racers. He also worked with some of the best drivers of that era as a data and race engineer, including Matt Neal and Yvan Muller. But his favourite was Italian Fabrizio Giovanardi. “He is a standout for me,” Faux said. “He wouldn’t qualify particularly well, bit if there was head-to-head racing, he was the man you wanted in your corner.” Vauxhall pulled the plug on its deal with

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An early WAU Supercars performance highlight was Scott Pye’s win at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.

T8 at the end of 2009 and Faux went freelance, plying his trade across the massive British motor racing industry. There were many projects, among them working for RML, which was then running the Chevrolet Cruze in the World Touring Car Championship. Faux went back to Triple Eight in 2012 with the title of technical director and the task of developing the factory backed Chinese MG6 for BTCC competition. It was his biggest challenge yet and one he accepted with relish. By then, he had developed strong philosophies about touring car design which still guide him. “The physics haven’t changed, so the principles probably shouldn’t either,” he shrugged. “Aerowise, it’s all about downforce/drag ratios for each circuit you go to. “From a vehicle dynamics perspective,

26 AutoAction

it’s all about the tyre. “You have to start and its low centre of gravity as perfect for with the tyre and then work up, not start BTCC racing. with the car and work down. He left T8 for Team BMR along with Plato “Your tyre, into your upright, into your and by late 2015 they had convinced damper and your spring, into your anti-roll Subaru of the concept’s potential. The bar and your geometry.” Levorg BTCC racer was born. In three seasons, the MG6 twice finished It was one heck of an ask turning the allthird and then second in the drivers’ wheel drive family wagon into a rear-wheel championship with Jason Plato behind drive racer, but the task was completed the wheel. The manufacturers’ championship in 2014 only Faux (middle, below left) partially compensated for Faux. masterminded the BTCC Subaru Levorg wagon, “That was good for MG,” he winning the 2017 title. said. “But we were competitive and that’s all you can ask for, because there are other great people out there doing the same thing.” In 2015, Faux had another scheme cooking. He’d been coveting Subaru’s flat-four ‘boxer’ engine

and the car was immediately competitive. Colin Turkington finished fourth in the 2016 BTCC and Ash Sutton won the title in ’17. “For Subaru to put their faith in us to deliver the project, and then for us to roll it out and go and do what we did with it, is one of the highlights,” Faux said. “It started from nothing and to get to there was good.”


AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST SUPPLIER OF HIGH PERFORMANCE ENGINE PARTS! Plato and Sutton join Giovanardi on the podium of Faux’s list of top racers. He won’t say in which order they sit, but he clearly established a strong bond with Plato, the colourful and controversial two-time BTCC champion. “I know Jason better than any of them,” he said. “He has a great understanding of cars. From a mechanical level all the way through. You make a change and in half a lap, he can say ‘yes, no’ and where and why. He was great to work with.” Even before that sensational Subaru triumph in ’17, Faux was thinking about the future. He’d travelled to the 2016 Bathurst 1000 purely as an interested spectator in to check out Supercars. There were things about it that appealed to him. “I wanted to try something very alien to what I had done before,” he said. “I liked longer races and I liked touring cars, so where does that end up? It ends up in Supercars, so let’s give that a go.” Faux quickly had Ryan Walkinshaw on the phone and soon after they met at a services stop on the M25 motorway that rings London. A handshake later and a deal was done. Faux’s first event was the 2017 Gold Coast 600, only days after Sutton clinched the BTCC crown. In the time between the handshake and when he landed, the deal with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports to buy into Walkinshaw Racing had been done and Faux found himself the technical director of a multi-national team. For all that, he was in no doubt of what he was getting himself into. “The team had obviously been in a bit

of a bad place in the recent past,” Faux said. “That’s not to say there are bad people here. There are really, really good people here. “It was about getting us all to work together and look at the things that matter – that’s car performance – and ignoring the things that are worth half a tenth and taking the things that are two-tenths. “The biggest thing with the Supercar is always going to be the tyre. The tyre we have here in this championship has a very short life span. To extract the most out of it, you only have one lap. “That means when you go testing, to know if the car is better or not, you need to throw lots of tyres at it. And we don’t have that opportunity. “Jumping into this championship is extremely hard. It’s very competitive and it’s very easy to get it wrong.” His impact seemed obvious in 2018 as Pye scored an early season win at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix meeting and finished the season in seventh place in the championship. But so far, 2019 has been hard. The WAU cars have tumbled down the order. The team has been leapfrogged by the Tickford Racing Mustangs, while other Holden teams have also moved forward. “If I knew what the problem was, there wouldn’t be a problem,” Faux admitted. “I guess I am arrogant enough to say if you ask me a question that I don’t know the answer to, I will say ‘I don’t know, but I will go and work it out’. “That is what I am going to do. I am going to work it out.” Given his track record, you wouldn’t bet against Faux doing just that.

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INDIANAPOLIS 500 Preview

THE GLORY

AND THE

POWER Australian IndyCar star Will Power tells MIKE BRUDENELL what it will take to become a back-to-back winner of “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing”

HE WALLOPPED the field in last year’s Indianapolis 500, streaking to the finish line 40 car-lengths ahead of his nearest rival. Toowoomba’s favorite son Will Power put on a superspeedway clinic to win his first Indy 500 after numerous attempts and create Australian racing history at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Team Penske ace now wants a second chance to drink the milk in victory circle as he and fellow Aussie James Davison (Dale Coyne Racing) gear up for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in the early hours of Monday, May 27 Australian time. Power, 38, will be at the wheel of the #12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet as he seeks to repeat his dominating performance of 2018, when he led Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon across the hallowed yard of bricks, becoming the first Australian to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Brisbane-born Dixon won the 500 in 2008, but holds New Zealand citizenship. “This is my favorite time of the year,” Power told Auto Action in the lead-up to the Midwest swing of the NTT IndyCar Series. “I love racing each week. I enjoy all the tracks coming up, and I feel I have a great car and I’m in great form.” Power was referring to the IndyCar Grand Prix (May 11) at IMS, the Indy 500 (May 26) and the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix double-header (June 1-2) – a rapid-fire run of races having considerable clout on the outcome of the IndyCar title. He has victories at each venue, including three wins in the IndyCar Grand Prix road course race. “You do well at these races and you can stamp yourself a real title contender,” said Power, who was sixth in points going into last weekend’s Indy GP. For a time, the Indy 500 and the concrete walls at IMS spelt uncertainty and disappointment for Power, who finished a close second in 2015 and wrecked twice in 10 starts prior to last year’s triumph.

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Scott Dixon (above) is among the leading contenders aiming to stop Will Power (above right) from taking back-to-back Indy 500 crowns.

“I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen, whether I could ever win the Indianapolis 500,” said Power, the 2014 IndyCar Series champion and four-time runner-up. “I would have been bitterly disappointed had I not had that honor in my career. “I’ve ticked that box, so I can soldier on and enjoy the month, and I don’t have that stress hanging over me as we look for another 500 win.” Winner of 35 IndyCar races and 56 pole positions, Power has proven himself one of the best of his generation – and shows little sign of slowing. “I think I’m driving as well and as quick as ever, maybe better,” he said. “I like my car and I like the style of racing in IndyCar. It changes year-in and yearout. “It’s never the same. An aero package change here, something else there. It’s never a constant.” In victory circle at Indy last year, Power accidently splashed some milk over the 500 Festival Queen’s face in his wild celebration. He was congratulated by his Penske teammates, as well as fellow IndyCar stars Alexander Rossi, Ryan HunterReay and Graham Rahal, among others.

It was win number 17 for Roger Penske at ‘The Brickyard’ and Power’s victory was the first for an Australian driver.

“That meant a lot to me – that they were all happy to see me win the 500,” recalled Power, who’d finally overcome his doubts and doubters. “I’ll never forget that moment.” This year’s field for the 500 is deep, with the return of two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso (McLaren), a stellar rookie class and proven IndyCar regulars such as Dixon (Ganassi), Helio Castroneves (Penske), Rossi (Andretti Autosport), Josef Newgarden (Penske), Sebastien Bourdais (Coyne) and Marco Andretti (Andretti).

“It’s certainly a tough field,” Power said. “At Long Beach, the grid of 24 cars was separated by roughly a second. The pace is fierce, the competition is tremendous.” He expects the unexpected when it comes to defending his Indy 500 crown. “Look, if it were exactly the same race, I’d do exactly the same thing – but it’s not going to be,” Power forecast. “It never is the same. “It’s not going to be as easy – or maybe it will. “You just got to work hard and never be complacent. You got to expect the


THE OTHER AUSSIE AT INDY

LAP 166 is seared into James Davison’s memory. A brief, magical moment that would soon turn dark for the third-generation Australian open-wheel racer. On the last Sunday in May 2017, Davison, whose grandfather Lex was a four-time Australian Grand Prix winner and inaugural Australian Gold Star champion, took the lead in the 101st Indianapolis 500 at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Substituting for the injured Sebastien Bourdais in the Dale Coyne Racing #18 Honda/Dallara, Davison had come from last on the grid to the front of the 33-car field in a breathtaking charge that would sadly end when he and Spanish veteran Oriol Servia tangled in Turn 1 on lap 184 of 200. Their collision triggered a multi-car wreck that also took out fellow Australian Will Power, who would win the 500 in 2018 for Team Penske. “Everyone has their story, but had I cleared Servia, it was game on,” recalled Davison, whose father Jon is a former Formula 5000 competitor who was also the colourful long-time promoter at Sandown Raceway. “We had a top-three car; I felt I could win this thing.” The crash relegated Davison to 20th in the finishing order. Japanese driver Takuma Sato won the race and drank the milk. Now 32, Davison will attempt to qualify his #33 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality and Restaurant Group Honda for Coyne in the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26. Now residing in Miami, where he owns a car wash and is dabbling in property development, Melbourne-born Davison knows it will be a struggle in his fifth appearance in the 500 with a minnow squad. Piloting the third Coyne car, he hopes to qualify mid-field for the 500, but knows a starting spot in the back third of the grid is more realistic. “Once you go racing, there is a lot more equality with the slipstream,” he said. “The new aero kit has made it tougher to follow, so you got to have good mechanical grip. “I race well. I think that’s my strength.” But Davison is used to being an underdog, having battled to carve a career in the USA despite some standout results. From finishing second to JR Hildebrand in the 2009 Indy Lights Championship to driving sports cars in the Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with a few IndyCar and NASCAR Infinity Series road races in between, he has had to work doubly hard off the track on raising sponsorship. “You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time in this sport,” explained Davison, whose cousins are Supercars star Will and his enduro co-driver brother Alex. “Just making the Indy 500 is an achievement. I’ve gone further in racing than I ever dreamed of in my life. “We are still busy putting deals together for the 500, and we are doing the best with the economy and the cards we have been dealt,” he said. “The day has come where I’ve got to think out of the box, outside racing a bit more.” MB Fernando Alonso will once again create great interest in his pursuit of motor sport’s ‘Triple Crown’.

unexpected at Indy and hope for the best.” Without giving away much race-day strategy, Power believes he can win back-to-back 500s. “We now know how to win the race and we have great equipment,” he said. “If we execute, we will be right there.” Moments after he flashed across the finish line in 2018, Power’s wife Liz sank to her knees in shock and joy near his pit stall. “That was a big one for her last year,” he recalled. “She was so over

the moon. Liz has been there for my whole career. She has been a huge part of my success. “Can she handle another 500 win? Yep, I think so.” Of the other Aussie trying to make the 33-car field, Power rates part-timer James Davison as a good chance to shine again in the third Dale Coyne Racing Honda entry. “James is as quick as anyone given the right equipment,” he offered. “He showed that in 2017, when he led laps in the 500 for Coyne in the Bourdais car. James is plain quick.”

Australian James Davison will be hoping for better luck than last year. Images: LAT

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Full TCR category race one preview and TV guide

Touring Car Racing (TCR) is the most significant new racing category to be launched in Australian motor sport for many years. A truly international competition, TCR opens up the opportunity for multiple car manufacturer brands to compete on a levelled playing field, racing contemporary models that reflect the cars being sold today. It is

also set to offer opportunities for up-and-coming young drivers and potentially be a pathway to international success. It will also provide Australian enthusiasts with a fresh perspective on touring car competition. Read on to learn everything you need to know about TCR’s arrival in Australia.

Sydney Motorsport Park May 17-19


SUPERCAR TEAM OWNERS EXCITED FOR NEW ERA

CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca and ARG’s Matt Braid on TCR Australia INCREDIBLY, it has taken just over a year to bring Touring Car Racing (TCR) to fruition in Australia. From the first idea to this weekend’s first round of the TCR Australia Series at Sydney Motorsport Park, a huge amount of work by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) and the Australian Racing Group (ARG) has gone into delivering an impressive 16-car field for the opening weekend. Here the key players provide their thoughts.

Eugene Arocca

CEO Confederation of Australian Motorsport Excitement levels are certainly high for the opening round of the TCR Australia Series at Sydney Motorsport Park and for everyone at CAMS, we are eager to see the first cars out on track. With the entire 2019 Series part of the iconic Shannons Nationals, we’re very pleased with the race formats and competitive racing TCR is expected to offer up. With a two-day live stream available on the Shannons Nationals website, as well as the live broadcast of all TCR races on SBS in HD, fans are going to be able to watch every second of the action. There will also be plenty of close racing with the other categories on the Shannons Nationals’ card benefitting from a larger audience than in previous years. TCR has already proved to be very successful overseas and we are excited about the category making its debut in Australia. Matt Braid and everyone at the Australian Racing Group should be proud of their efforts to this point and be just as excited about what lies ahead for this category, both in the short and longterm future.

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Matt Braid

Director Australian Racing Group Matt Braid spoke to Auto Action prior to the opening round at Sydney Motorsport Park describing the buildup and what to expect this weekend. Are you impressed by the quality and ilk of teams involved in TCR already? That is something that has been really positive for us, I think, as we see and talk about the benefits of TCR, they’ve all seen it themselves and start talking about it. To see the likes of some Supercar teams and other very professional category teams being involved in TCR, is extremely positive. It gives the category a great endorsement when you have the good teams arrive. Obviously, drivers have been watching the category and the feedback they’ve been getting from some very senior drivers is that they like the fact that manufacturers are in the category, they like the fact it’s a global category. That has seen them gravitate to it and obviously off the back of some very professional teams entering the series, some name drivers follow that. Honda announced it is supporting the series. Are there other makes that are interested in joining?

I think it’s a really positive announcement from Honda. All credit to Tony D’Alberto, particularly, and Wall Racing because they worked hard on that. Having eight brands represented in our first year of TCR is an impressive feat in itself to have manufacturer support, we’d love to see more come in, there are some very positive conversations off the back of the Honda announcement. We’d like to think there will be a couple more that will follow in very short order. Is it a bit of weight off the shoulders that the cars have tested and the initial planning is complete? I’d say yes but not really, to be frank. It’s really good to see the cars here, the first time in Australia we’ve seen all the cars together and that’s really positive. We know how the cars are going to perform, but now we’ve shown the teams, some of the spectators and the media what the cars look, feel and sound like. We want to put on a good show for the fans, both out there and on the broadcast on SBS, so I’ll be a bit more relieved and relaxed after Round 1.

SUPERCAR TEAM owners Garry Rogers and Todd Kelly are already thoroughly impressed by the new TCR category, after testing was completed at Winton on May 6. GRM were one of the first teams to join the series, initially entering a pair of Alfa Romeo Giuliettas, before expanding its fleet to include two Renault Megane RS TCRs. Rogers explained that his team has previously ventured into a number of categories outside of Supercars including Super Touring, Formula Ford and AUSCAR, with TCR becoming the next step. “We saw this category had a lot of potential, the racing will be close and exciting,” Rogers told Auto Action. “That’s what we need, close and exciting racing.” Kelly Racing runs four Nissan Altimas in the Supercars Championship, but team owner Todd Kelly felt that the team could take on this project without having to add extra resources. “We’ve got the capability back at the shop, the capacity to do it and given none of it clashed [with Supercars], we thought it would be a good idea and opportunity to expand our portfolio,” Kelly said. “To get more drivers, commercial partners onboard and create a bit more of a pathway in motorsport. “It just made sense to get involved in it.” Kelly Racing has entered four cars split equally between the Subaru Impreza WRX STI TCR and Opel Astra TCR, as already the performance and bang for your buck value of TCR is beginning to show, according to Kelly. “They are quite good little cars, fairly easy to run and fairly easy to manage, so we thought we’d give it a go,” the former Bathurst 1000 winner said. Rogers agrees with Kelly, adding that affordability is the big issue with the Supercars Championship these days. “I think it’ll be pretty affordable, that’s the big issue today, making sure you can afford what you do and present properly and we saw that we could do that,” Rogers explained. “There is nothing wrong with the V8 category of Supercars, in fact none of this would happen without the V8 Supercar category having set the benchmark for years and years, but it is so expensive.” A former Australian Touring Car Championship driver himself, Rogers feels that what really makes TCR shine is its appeal to the car market. “Young blokes today want a car like this, they want these sort of cars. No one wants a V8 Statesman anymore, that was a time in life, but that time has passed on.” Rogers and Kelly are both confident that the event in Sydney will be a success. “I think the racing itself should be good and I think the organisers should be commended, they’ve done a really good job of working away to get all of this to this stage, so I think the event in Sydney should be good,” Rogers concluded. DM


TCR has grown to become the world’s leading touring car category in just five years.

TCR’S RAPID WORLD GROWTH BACK IN 2014, former World Touring Car Championship promoter Marcello Lotti announced plans for a new entry level touring car category, initially called TC3, later renamed TCR, and the rest is history. Lotti had left his position as General Manager of the World Touring Car Championship in 2013, having led the transformation of the previous European Touring Car Championship onto the world stage in 2005, basing the TCR on GT boss Stephane Ratel’s successful formula from 2006 which had introduced the global GT3 competition. Ratel’s genius had been to unify each one-make GT category namely Porsche’s Carrera Cup, the Ferrari Challenge and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo with Balance of Performance measures the equivalent to a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car to even out the field. This is the same principle that Lotti used with his new TCR regulations, but for 4-5 door sedans or hatchbacks fitted with 2.0L turbocharged engines and with power going through the front-wheels. The Seat Leon Supercopa was a popular one-make class in Europe and was the perfect chassis to base the class on, and indeed this model was the most popular during the inaugural TCR International Series in 2015. And just like GT3, manufacturer entries were and are outlawed, though significant support is given by a handful of manufacturers worldwide. “The name TC3 had been chosen to introduce the technical concept of a global Touring Car category, based on production cars, that was affordable to private teams and drivers and inspired by the existing GT3 concept,” said Lotti after the FIA gave TCR approval. “We decided on the change of name of the series to TCR to create a strong and personal identity for the new series. In addition, the name change avoided any potential confusion with other touring car championships and series that might suggest pre-arranged hierarchies.” The Seat was soon joined by a TCR-version of the Volkswagen Golf – both are built in the same factory – while Opel, Subaru, Ford and Honda were also

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represented on the grid. In its first year, TCR supported three Formula 1 Grand Prix events in Malaysia, China and Singapore as experienced open-wheel and tin-top driver Stefano Comini wrapped up the title. In 2016, the category began to expand as further regional and national TCR titles popped up across firstly Asia, then Europe. TCR chassis were also adapted for endurance events including the Crevantic and 24H Series, which both conduct events worldwide. The growth of TCR was in direct comparison to the WTCC, which at the time had upgraded its ruleset to cut costs and attract more manufacturers, but failed as Citroen then Volvo grew to dominate the series with limited marque interest. TCR, on the other hand, was managing to do the opposite, with Audi, Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai, Lynk & Co and Peugeot all having a significant involvement, while Alfa Romeo, Lada, Kia, Subaru, Renault are represented but not as official manufacturer developed models. The rapid advancement of the world’s newest touring car category didn’t go unnoticed by the FIA as it moved to install TCR as the replacement for the struggling WTCC in 2018, renaming it the WTCR or World Touring Car Cup. The TCR regulations have been credited with rejuvenating the touring car championship landscape as now a healthy 26-car grid of professional drivers contest the WTCR, while the European Touring Car Cup and ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship also have strong fields. TCR has also succeeded where Super Touring failed, in America. Both IMSA and the USAC have jumped on board as has Hyundai US, which has built and homologated the Hyundai Veloster N TCR especially for the American market. Growth between the two series has been significant as more manufacturers push into the American TCR market.

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Asia is a market that TCR started early in, but Japan is a key market that Lotti wants to push into, with only Honda involved in TCR officially at this stage. Interest from Japan has been encouraging as Lotti met with key powerbrokers last year from Nissan, Mazda and Toyota, which are all said to be seriously investigating the possibilities of joining TCR. The launch of TCR Japan this year could open the flood gates to new models that will no doubt head down under. Honda Australia’s support of Tony D’Alberto’s Wall Racing Civic Type R TCR highlights the importance of TCR to the Australian motoring landscape. Just as it has done overseas, TCR has the power to attract significant manufacturer support. Makes such as Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen and Renault are bereft of any recent Australian motorsport history, but that is about to change this weekend. The appearance of the TCR cars is relatable but they still look far enough removed from their road car counterparts to have a real presence on track along with the spectacle of eight different makes going wheel to wheel on track. What is it they say, variety is the spice of life? Right? HM

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WHO’S ON THE TCR With new cars arriving over the past few weeks and new drivers announced by the day Auto Action previews the grid for the opening TCR round at Sydney Motorsport Park. A total of 18 registered current spec-TCR race cars are now in the country, but as we go to print ahead of the first round there is still a team not confirmed ahead of the first round. Garth Walden Racing have two brand new Hyundai i30 N TCRs at its disposal and are working to make the grid, but the team has yet to finalised their driver line-ups.

GARRY ROGERS MOTORSPORT/ASHLEY SEWARD MOTORSPORT ALFA ROMEO GIULITTA QUADRIFOGLIO VERDE TCR Developed by Romeo Ferraris - Italy ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1742 cc Bore x stroke: 83 x 80.5 mm Max. output 254kw (340hp) @ 6800 rpm Max. torque: 440Nm @ 3500 rpm TRANSMISSION Gearbox: Sadev 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: multi-disc Differential: mechanical limited slip differential

CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: multi-link axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front: 6-piston calipers, 378 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: 2-piston calipers, 290 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4641 mm Width: 1950 mm Wheelbase: 2625 mm Minimum weight: 1265 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 102.5%

WALL RACING Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR Developed by JAS Motorsport - Italy ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1998.2 cc Bore x stroke: 86 x 86 mm Max. output 254kw (340hp) @ 6200 rpm Max. torque: 420Nm @ 3800 rpm TRANSMISSION Gearbox: Sadev or Xtrac 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: JAS twin-disc sinter-metallic Differential: mechanical limited slip differential

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CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: multi-link axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front:: 6-piston calipers, 380 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: 2-piston calipers, 260 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4549 mm Width: 1950 mm Wheelbase: 2700 mm Minimum weight: 1265 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 97.5% Ballast: 0kg Ride height: 80mm

#9 JIMMY VERNON The former Toyota 86 Racing Series winner in 2017 moves to TCR after a season in the highly competitive GT3 Cup Challenge with McElrea Racing. He took the final round last year at Sydney Motorsport Park.

#88 DYLAN O’KEEFFE Having recently stepped up to the Super2 Series with Garry Rogers Motorsport, O’Keeffe tops the rookie standings so far this year. He has previously been successful in Porsche Carrera Cup, finishing third last year.

#50 TONY D’ALBERTO The current DJR Team Penske Pirtek Enduro Cup driver joins Wall Racing after a winning year in GT racing. The former Super2 title winner returns to fulltime competition in TCR with Honda support.

#24 JOHN MARTIN An experienced openwheel and prototype driver in Europe, the Australian returned home a few years ago. He’s contested the Porsche Carrera Cup and more recently driven in the Australian Endurance Championship.

MELBOURNE PERFORMANCE CENTRE AUDI RS3 LMS seq Developed by Audi Sport Spain/Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR DSG SEQ ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1984 cc Bore x stroke: 82.5 x 92.8 mm Max. output 254kw (340hp) @ 6200 rpm Max. torque: 460Nm @ 2500 rpm TRANSMISSION Gearbox: Sadev 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: sintered multi-disc Differential: VAQ electro-hydraulic CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut,

coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: multi-link axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front: 6-piston calipers, 378 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: 2-piston calipers, 272 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4599 mm Width: 1950 mm Wheelbase: 2665 mm Minimum weight: 1230 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 102.5% Ballast: -10kg Ride height: 60mm

HMO CUSTOMER RACING Hyundai i30 N TCR Developed by Hyundai Motorsport - Germany ENGINE turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves displacement: 1998 cc bore x stroke: 86 x 86 mm max. output: 254kw (340hp) @ 6600 rpm max. torque 460Nm @ 3200 rpm TRANSMISSION gearbox: X-trac 6-speed sequential with paddle shift clutch: sintered multi disc differential: multi-plate limited slip differential with external pre-load CHASSIS front suspension: McPherson strut,

coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar rear suspension: 4-arm multi-link axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front: four-piston calipers, 380 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: twopiston calìipers, 278 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS length: 4450 mm width: 1950 mm wheelbase: 2650 mm minimum weight: 1265 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 97.5% Ballast: 0kg Ride height: 90mm

#22 RIK BREUKERS The Dutch factory Audi driver has a strong history in GT and TCR racing. Breukers currently competes with the Belgian Audi Club WRT team in the Blancpain GT Endurance Series.

#TBA AARON CAMERON The former SuperUte and Toyota 86 Race Series racer is a last minute entry and will drive the brand new MPC Golf GTI TCR. The reigning KZ2 Karting Champion has plenty of racing experiance and in fact is one of only a few drivers in the field to have raced a TCR car.

#30 WILL BROWN The current Super2 driver won two national titles in 2016, taking out both the Toyota 86 Race Series and the Australian Formula 4 Championship. Brown co-drove with Anton De Pasquale in last year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup.

#11 NATHAN MORCOM The former Super2 driver moves into TCR with strong credentials in endurance racing. Morcom has previously won the Australian Endurance Championship and is a former Bathurst 6 Hour winner.


GRID

KELLY RACING Opel Astra TCR Developed by Lubner Motorsport - Germany ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1998 cc Bore x stroke: 86 x 86 mm Max. output: 254kw (340hp) @ 6200 rpm Max. torque 420Nm @ 4400 rpm TRANSMISSION Gearbox: Sadev 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: double-disc sintered metal Differential: mechanical limited slip differential CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut,

coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: Watt’s link axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front:: four-piston calipers, 378 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: two-piston calipers, 265 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4398 mm Width: 1950 mm Wheelbase 2665 mm Minimum weight: 1265 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 100% Ballast: -10kg Ride height: 70mm

KELLY RACING Subaru WRX STi TCR Developed by Top Run Motorsport - Italy ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1994 cc Bore x stroke: 92 x 75 mm Max. output 254kw (340hp) @ 6800 rpm Max. torque: 420Nm @ 3300 rpm TRANSMISSION Gearbox: Modena Engineering 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: multi-disc oil cooled Differential: mechanical CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut, coil

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springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: double wishbone, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: hydraulic power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front:: 6-piston calipers, 378 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: 2-piston calipers, 280 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4645 mm Width: 1930 mm Wheelbase: 2650 mm Minimum weight: 1265 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 100% Ballast: -20kg Ride height: 70mm

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#62 ALEX RULLO The youngest driver to contest a Supercars Championship round was a race winner in Super2 last season. Rullo tested an NGTC car in Britain with an eye to moving to the BTCC.

#37 CHELSEA ANGELO A Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge frontrunner last season, Angelo now joins TCR. After winning a National Class title in Formula 3 she pursued a career in Super2 until budget constraints curtailed her program.

#6 MOLLY TAYLOR A whiz in the dirt, Taylor makes her tarmac racing debut in TCR. She brings with her vast European rallying experience and won the 2016 Australian Rally Championship when she returned home as a Subaru factory driver.

# 777 ANDRE HEIMGARTNER Current Kelly Racing Supercars driver will also compete with the team in TCR. Having recently placed on the podium in Supercars, the Kiwi has also been successful in Porsche Carrera Cup.

GARRY ROGERS MOTORSPORT Renault Megane RS TCR Developed by Vukovic Motorsport - Switzerland ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1798 cc Bore x stroke: 79.7 x 90.1 mm Max. output 254kw (340hp) @ 6900 rpm Max. torque: 420Nm @ 3000 rpm TRANSMISSION Front-wheel-drive Gearbox: 3MO Performance 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: SACHS double-plate Differential: multi-plate limited slip differential

CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: Torsion beam axle, coil springs, gasfilled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front:: 6-piston calipers, 380 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: 2-piston calipers, 260 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4622 mm Width: 1950 mm Wheelbase: 2681 mm Minimum weight: 1265 kg including the driver BOP Engine p erformance level: 100% Ballast: -30kg Ride height: 70mm

ALLIANCE AUTOSPORT Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR DSG SEQ Developed by Volkswagen Motorsport - Spain ENGINE Turbocharged 4-cylinder in line, transversally installed Distribution: two overhead camshafts, 16 valves Displacement: 1984 cc Bore x stroke: 82.5 x 92.8 mm Max. output 254kw (340hp) @ 6200 rpm Max. torque: 420Nm @ 2500 rpm TRANSMISSION Gearbox: DSG 6-speed sequential with paddle shift/ Sadev 6-speed sequential with paddle shift Clutch: sintered multi-disc oil cooled/ sintered multi-disc Differential: multi-plate limited slip differential

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CHASSIS Front suspension: McPherson strut, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: multi-link axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, anti-roll bar Steering: electrical power assisted rack and pinion BRAKES Front:: 6-piston calipers, 378 mm steel ventilated discs Rear: 2-piston calipers, 272 mm steel discs DIMENSIONS Length: 4555 mm Width: 1945 mm Wheelbase: 2665 mm Minimum weight: 1230 kg including the driver BOP Engine performance level: 100% Ballast: -10kg Ride height: 60mm

#34 JAMES MOFFAT A previous Supercars race winner, Moffat is an experienced hand having driven in the category for the best part of 10 years. Last year was a mixed one for Moffat, finishing fifth in the Porsche Carrera Cup title.

#33 CHRIS PITHER The reigning Super2 Series winner is a journeyman and a regular Pirtek Enduro Cup driver, finishing fourth at Bathurst in 2017. He is also a V8 Utes series winner both in Australia and in his New Zealand homeland.

#8 JASON BRIGHT The most experienced driver in the field, Bright has a large CV including Indy Lights, IndyCar and Supercars starts. The 1998 Bathurst winner contested last year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup alongside Lee Holdsworth.

# 35 ALEXANDRA WHITLEY Earlier this year, the Toowoomba-native attempted to qualify for the W-Series, making it to the final 28. Whitley has competed in New Zealand during the past five years, where she won in the NZ V8 Utes.

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New Formula, New Rules THE INAUGURAL round of TCR Australia at Sydney Motorsport Park will see action across three-days highlighted by three 30-minute races at the first round of this year’s Shannons Nationals. The first glimpse of the TCR Australia field will occur on Friday, when a pair of 30-minute practice sessions will also act as the debut for the Renault Megane RS TCRs which missed the recent test due to being delayed in freight. Two series points and a $1000 cheque from Michelin awaits the fastest driver in Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session, ahead of the opening race during the afternoon. A progressive grid structure sets the starting positions for Races 2 and 3, while as in Supercars, Parc Ferme will form part of the pre-race build up in TCR Australia. Only 30-minutes split Sunday’s two races and 10-minutes of that will be spent under Parc Ferme conditions, when no changes or repairs can be executed on the cars. Cars will be parked on a 45-degree angle on the pit apron allowing fans to get up close before repairs and adjustments are made for the final 20-minutes. There is no refueling between the two races as the tanks in the TCR cars have enough capacity to contest both events. Each entry will have access to 10 new dry Michelin hardcompound tyres at each round. A new set is required to be fitted for qualifying and at least two new tyres to be fitted during the opening two races. The winner of the opening two races will receive 40 points, but for Race 3 50 points are awarded to ensure greater emphasis is placed on the final event of the weekend.

TCR Australia’s Sporting Regulations have been devised in a joint venture with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) and the Australian Racing Group through TCR Australia’s category manager Liam Curkpatrick. “There was a lot of effort put into creating an exciting format for teams to compete under and for fans to watch,” said Curkpatrick. “One of the unique parts of the round formats is the short time between Races 2 and 3. Cars must stay in pit lane in between these races with crews only being able to work on the cars for a short window before pit exit opens for Race 3. “This brings the teams into the forefront and in public view getting the cars turned around in time. It adds another element to the show and is something very different to what we are used to. I’m confident that the fans will find this very exciting. “From the outset it was important that we make the racing entertaining for the teams, the fans at the track and those watching the live SBS TV broadcast. We are pleased with what has been put together and look forward to getting the series started in Sydney.” TCR runs under Balance of Performance regulations for all its competitions worldwide and these will be utilised by the Australian series, however as per the regulations these can change from round-to-round. Data is collated by all other TCR Series across the world to calculate any BOP movements, if necessary. There’s as $250,000 prize pool, of which $100,000 is awarded to the inaugural TCR Australia series winner, with $50,000 for second and $25,000 for third. The driver who comes out on top in the Michelin Cup for privateers will receive $26,000. DM

The man behind the scenes THE EXPERIENCED Liam Curkpatrick was announced as TCR Australia’s category manager back in February. Curkpatrick played an integral part in the Shannons Nationals, growing it into the nation’s clear second tier racing series. He has also nurtured the V8 Touring Car Series from primarily a gentleman category to the semi-professional, Supercar aligned Super3. Curkpatrick also guided the National Sports Sedan Series and Australian Prototype Series, and is now excited about the new challenge of TCR Australia. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the TCR Australia Series. It’s a brand-new category with loads of potential and I’m really keen to get it started and growing,” said Curkpatrick. “It’s a type of racing that is so positive for Australian motorsport. For me, to be involved at the ground level is an honour. “The style of car and the type of racing that it produces is a big drawcard. The fact that the championship is based on balance of performance (BOP) means that anyone can fight for the wins, regardless of the amount of budget that they bring to the table.” As part of the TCR Australia partnership with CAMS, Jamie Augustine has been confirmed as the technical and sporting manager for TCR Australia. Augustine, the national category technical regulation manager for CAMS, is a former engineer at MOTEC and race driver in his own right. Alex Davison will act as DSO for the inaugural TCR Australia Series.

Speed queen set for TCR AUSTRALIA’S FIRST female rally champion is going into TCR racing with her eyes wide open Rally star turned race rookie Molly Taylor is excited but also circumspect about her circuit racing debut in the TCR Australia Series. Taylor, 31, is extending her rallying relationship with Subaru to drive one of two WRX STi TCRs entered by Supercars outfit Kelly Racing. A very late starter in track competition, the Sydney based queen of Australian forest racing has an open mind about her temporary switch from gravel to tarmac. “It’s my first time doing something like this, so I really don’t know what to expect,” Taylor said. “We’ve had the test and had a drive of the car, but in terms of preparation, I’m missing a few years of that! “So we’ll just have to get stuck in and take everything as it comes. “You can’t go in with your eyes closed. I’m sure I’ll have to do some hard times before I get to some good times, but it’s a great opportunity and I want to have a crack at it.”

Taylor became the first female and youngest Australian rally champion in 2016 after solid international junior results, including British Ladies Rally Champion in 2009/10 and a member of the Pirelli Star Driver Program in the 2011 WRC. She is the daughter of Motor Sport Hall of Fame co-driver Coral, who has famously sat alongside Neal Bates to win four Australian rally championships. Still competing in the ARC with title-winning co-driver Malcolm Read in the Subaru do Motorsport All-WheelDrive WRX STi, Taylor concedes that she has a lot of adapting to do. “The driving style is just completely different to how you would drive on gravel and how you would get speed out of the car on gravel,” she explained. “On a circuit, it’s very different – you’re learning how much

What Is Balance Of Performance BOP? MUCH LIKE the GT categories it was based off, TCR runs Balance of Performance measures to match each of the 16 homologated models’ performance. Aerodynamic tests were undertaken at Pininfarina where each model spends an hour in a wind tunnel at the category standard ride height of 80mm and the wing inclined at three levels: 0, +5 and -5. Engine tests were also undertaken at ORAL Engineering where members of the TCR Committee place each engine in a ‘test cell’ linked to a dyno, which

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measures the power and torque curves. The engine is then connected to a data logging ECU and tested in six different configurations: 102.5 percent, 100 percent, 95 percent, 92.5 percent and 90percent. The final component of the BoP testing is the track test at Valencia for the new and updated models developed for the new season. BoP is then adjusted accordingly to the existing TCR cars, as shown here. HM

you can lean on the front tyres and how you can brake through the corner, which if you tried that in rallying, you would crash on the first corner. “So, basically, it’s trusting that grip and getting the feeling of how much you can use the grip through the corner. That’s very different. And, then obviously, driving with other cars around you is something that’s completely new to me. That will take a bit of getting used to.” Mark Fogarty


What’s it like to drive? TCR IS now here and most of what we know about these cars and the potential of the racing has come from what we have seen on the internet, TV and have read in the pages of publications such as Auto Action. From the outside, the cars look fast and TCR racing is pretty much always spectacular. But why? Are they supermodified, massively powerful, or so hightech that they need a factory-supported team to run them? What are these cars really all about, and what are they like to drive? Questions that most of us would like the answers to, so with an opportunity to sample a couple of current-spec cars, BRUCE WILLIAMS decided to find out for himself. The first thing that impressed me about the Audi RS3 LMS TCR is that it is a very well-engineered, purpose-built racecar, and while it is relatively inexpensive in motor racing terms, it has many features that you would expect to see on more expensive turn-key racecar. It is solid and it looks like it has been well thought out in every aspect. This is a good-looking racecar, and the finish of bodywork of the car is what you would expect to see when you walk into an Audi dealership. TCR regulations demand that the cars are based on a C-segment car, and that’s probably the size of car most people are driving these days if they’re not in an SUV. The car looks purposeful and has a solid feel to it. The roll cage is comprehensive, and it looks very safe. Ergonomically, it is very well laid out, with a simple and clean cockpit. The dash looks standard apart from the racing additions, and the door panels are fully moulded around the roll-cage and side intrusion bars, all adding to the factory-finished look. The car feels very comfortable straight away, with a great seating position that puts you very low in the car. However, the seat can easily be adjusted and, combined with the adjustable steering column, makes settling into a good driving position very easy. The high-mounted pedal box with the brake, clutch and accelerator pedal, works well. The car has some other nice features, like a big handbrake lever that is used to assist with starts and to help get heat into the rear tyres on the warm up laps for the race. The Audi has a fully plumbed onboard

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fire suppression system. Mounted behind the driver’s seat and inboard is an FIA FT3 100-litre fuel tank, with a dry-break refuelling system also an option. The A3 LMS TCR on test is the highest spec of the three versions that Audi offer – the TCR SEQ – and features a Sadev six-speed sequential racing gearbox, with a sintered multi-disc racing clutch. This car is fitted with unassisted non-ABS brakes featuring 378mm x 34mm rotors with monoblock four-piston AP Racing calipers on the front, with 272mm x 12mm rotors and two piston calipers on the rear. The suspension is very tuneable, with two-way adjustable shock absorbers in the Macpherson strut front suspension (and sway bars), with adjustable shocks with coil-overs controlling the multi-link rear suspension. So, what’s it like to drive? Well, I haven’t driven a left-hand-drive, front-wheel-drive race car – and it was a very different experience to driving my Touring Car Masters ACDelco Torana, which is a 600-horsepower V8, four-speed, rear-drive machine that weighs around 1450kg. A very wet and slippery Winton Raceway was not the ideal place to get a good feel for the capabilities of a genuine current-spec TCR race car, but it was an opportunity not to be missed so out I went. As the car drops down from the air jacks, I use the clutch to select ellee first gear, and it’s very light, with not a lot of feel. The clutch is only used for starting the car and to select neutral, as the gearshifts are all controlled via the ECU, which also has auto-blip for downshifts. Out on the track I discover that the power delivery is very linear, and the engine note dull, but it has no real turbo lag at all from the straight four, turbocharged and intercooled engine, which is transversally mounted over the front axle. While 243kW (330hp) at around 6200 rpm isn’t a lot of power, it keeps accelerating quickly through the gears, and there’s a very positive clunk with each upward gearchange. At no stage does the car feel slow. What I notice the most is the noise of the paddle-shifted, electronically controlled gearbox, and while the upshifts were great, I wasn’t a fan when trying to downshift. I’m not sure if this car’s gearbox is near the end of its service life, but on a couple of occasions it doesn’t shift positively and has a long delay, causing me to get a little untidy

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under brakes. Having not driven a front-wheel-drive race car before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Most front drive road cars when pushed tend to understeer badly and being on a wet track I assumed it would be even worse, but that was far from what I experienced on the track. Both the chassis and suspension are really firm, the car feels like a real race car and even with the rain falling and on full wets the Audi has fantastic turn-in when attacking a medium to fast corner. When pushed hard in the slow corners, it starts to understeer under power, but once it grips up it accelerates surprisingly quickly for a car on a wet track. The RS3 LMS works well for a car fitted with electric rack-and-pinion power steering, front-wheel drive and a mechanical limited-slip differential. It delivers great feel and feedback, and while the brake system has no ABS and is unassisted, the car stops well even on a wet track. The brakes are a feature and would be very powerful when more grip is on offer. But, as seems the case with most front-wheel drive race cars, getting any form of heat into the rear tyres is hard. On a wet track it is almost impossible, and that’s what I discovered at Winton; lift off too soon on turn-in to a corner and snap oversteer is the response. As the laps built, I started using left-foot braking to balance the car, trying not to lift off the throttle too much. This also helped with turn-in on the slow back part of the twisty Winton circuit and reduced the amount of snap oversteer. After a few laps, and with understanding of how the car responds, the pace started to build and the balance of the car improved as the tyres began to warm up. I started to see the potential in the car and I can only imagine how fast and how much fun it would be at fast, flowing tracks like Phillip Island and The Bend, with the aero working at high speed and 20 cars all at each other. It was great fun and I now have a better understanding what the fuss is all about. It was just shame it had to end. So, to answer the question of what is a TCR car like? The fact is, this is a

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great racecar and the series should work. Why? Because the package seems to be right and it is producing good, close racing around the world, based on a solid, proven set of regulations that includes a ‘Balance of Performance’ factor. With plenty of manufacturer-supported, well-built customer cars available to purchase, and with customer support on offer, there is no reason why TCR should not be a future Australian motorsport success story. A short time after I first drove the Audi TCR can on a cold and wet day at Winton I got to sample the Honda Civic TCR car, it was a different experience to the Winton test, as the fast and open flowing nature of the SMP layout suits the characteristics of the TCR package. Getting heat into the rear tyres is tricky for the first few laps he thing that I was impressed most by was just how much drive these cars get as they deliver the power to the track and, very little if any suggestion of understeer which is the normal behaviour of a front wheel drive car. This is no doubt that the fantastic big Michelin tyres on the front drive wheels help deliver the fantastic traction. The cars build up to a decent speed at the end of the long main straight and fast corners such as turn one highlight the aero package that is a part of all the TCR packages. The brakes are a major highlight and the fast drivers in the category will make their time gains in the braking area and at the point of turn in. My observation is that TCR cars are not difficult to drive fast to a point, but to find the very last limit will be a real test for most drivers not familiar with driving these cars. The racing is sure to be fast and exciting and all I can say is bring it on.

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EXPERIENCED COMMENTARY duo Greg Rust and Aaron Noonan will anchor the TCR Australia free-to-air and live stream programming. The coverage is available to Australian race fans live on free-to-air on SBS in HD, as will the livestream via both the TCR Australia and Shannons Nationals websites. Adding to their TCR Australia commitments, Rust and Noonan will also act as co-hosts for the entire Shannons Nationals livestream. Both will be joined by roving pit reporters Emma Notarfranceso and Cameron van den Dungen for the live SBS TCR coverage and the livestream. Noonan and Rust bring extensive resumes to the Shannons Nationals commentary box, having hosted and commentated a variety of motor sport events for many, many years. Rust returns to SBS having previously commentated on the Speedweek motorsport program, before moving to Channel 10 to cover V8 Supercars, Super Touring and Formula 1. Noonan commentated on support events when

Channel 7 regained the V8 Supercar rights in 2007 and has since presented the Legends of Motorsport series on 7Mate.

LIVE STREAM THE TCR RACING The Shannons Nationals livestream has been extended to cover both Saturday and Sunday, and can be found thenationals.com.au and the Shannons Nationals Facebook page.

Free Livestream www.tcraustralia.com

Five wise men THE INAUGURAL TCR entry list boasts an array of drivers that lay claim to Bathurst 1000 victories, Super2 crowns and even World Endurance Championship class wins. Jason Bright, James Moffat, Chris Pither, Tony D’Alberto and John Martin all bring knowledge of top level motor racing from both Australia and overseas, each is excited about the new era in Australian motor racing, having paid attention to the growth of TCR overseas. “I’ve paid interest to it around the world and the whole concept is pretty exciting, when I heard there was a possibility of it arriving here I was following it closely from then on,” Pither told Auto Action. After driving a front-wheel-drive race car for the first-time, Bright explained that understeer is merely just a myth in these cars.

LIVE TV Times: SBS Saturday: 2pm - 3pm (Race 1 live coverage) AEST Sunday: 1pm – 3pm (Race 2 & 3 live coverage) AEST

Tickets to SMSP www.thenationals.com.au/tickets

“I think you always used to hear how much front-wheel-drive cars understeer, I think with the technology now they are pretty good,” Bright said. “There is certainly a different knack to driving them to a rear wheel drive car and certainly to what I’ve driven before, but it’s about getting used to where they make their speed, where you need to carry speed in and how you get the turbo in action sooner rather than later.” Supercars race winner Moffat agrees with Bright about the technology and appeal of the TCR cars. “They are well built, they look racey, they drive well, they’ve got all the modern technology in a racecar that we’ve almost come to expect these days,” Moffat said. The drivers aren’t just impressed with the cars themselves,

Young upstarts A NUMBER of talented young drivers are set to shake up the established names in this year’s TCR Australia series, using it as a launch pad to a potential touring car career overseas. Some such as Nathan Morcom have had success in long distance endurance racing having won the Australian Endurance Championship in 2016 as well as the first Bathurst 6 Hour in that same year, Dylan O’Keeffe was desperately unlucky to miss out on second in last year’s Porsche Carrera Cup Australia title. The youngest ever Supercars driver Alex Rullo is also on the grid as are previous Toyota 86 Race Series winners Jimmy Vernon and Will Brown. For Vernon, watching TCR grow overseas is what made the class a viable option when pondering what to do next after a season in GT3 Cup Challenge. “Looking at TCR as a global platform and how aggressive and competitive the racing is what really attracted me towards the category in Australia.” Vernon said. “Watching what they do overseas and how tight the racing is, I thrive off the hard fought racing and it makes every win you get more worth it.” Brown, who co-drove with Anton de Pasquale in the Pirtek Enduro Cup last year, is used to

each admire strength of entrants that have joined the series and according to D’Alberto this is just the beginning. “I think going forward into next year and the year after, even a few rounds into this championship I think you’ll find more cars will get onto the grid and join the category,” he said. Bright agrees with D’Alberto, but added that the quality of racing will improve alongside the growth in entries. “When you look at everyone entered already and another half a dozen more to come, I think there will be some good racing straight out the box and then it’ll just get better,” Bright told Auto Action. Moffat highlights the television coverage as an exciting initiative for the category and is excited by the contest TCR promises to deliver. “A live free to air TV package deal, that is only positive,” he said. “I expect the racing to be close and plenty of action, lots of different cars vying for the front position, let’s just hope there is a couple of Renaults up the front as well.” DM

racing against Australia’s best, but the Queenslander has been blown away by the level of depth and quality in the TCR field. “The pedigree of drivers that have come into this category is pretty amazing,” Brown told Auto Action. “It is exciting to have people like Jason Bright, James Moffat all of those guys in it, it creates a bit of a hype around the series and I think it is going to be awesome.” Sydneysider Vernon added that he can’t wait to take the grid against such a strong field in Sydney. “Seeing some of the drivers that have signed up for the category, it‘s looking like it is going to be very competitive,” Vernon said. “I was expecting a few more young, up and coming drivers to join the series, but I think placing myself here is the best place I can put myself, because I am putting myself against the best in Australia,” Although the more experienced drivers may have more kilometres under their belt, most drivers in the series have not raced a front-wheel-drive car previously. Rullo tested the British Touring car Championship’s NGTC chassis in 2017 and explained to Auto Action the TCR car was very similar. “It’s very oversteery on entry, that was the main thing we were working on today, it is obviously completely different on the exits, the front sort of pulls you round rather than sliding out of the corners, a fair bit different, but I’m liking it,” Rullo said. Believing that series will flourish very quickly Rullo acknowledges that TCR in this country is already off to a good start.

TCR ROUND ONE - SMP RACE SCHEDULE FRIDAY - Practice 1: 1:40pm - 2:10pm Practice 2: 4:35pm - 5:05pm SATURDAY - Qualifying: 10:55am - 11:25am Race 1: 2:10pm - 2:40pm SUNDAY Race 2: 1:10pm - 1:40pm Race 3: 2:15pm - 2:45pm


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FORMULA 1

ROOKIE WRAP

DAN KNUTSON takes a look at this season’s talented crop of rookie F1 drivers FOUR OF the 20 Formula 1 drivers this year are rookies: Alexander Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, Lando Norris and George Russell. All of them except Giovinazzi have already been regularly matching or beating their experienced teammates in qualifying and/or the races themselves. Giovinazzi is no slouch either but needs a bit more time to prove his potential. The other three, meanwhile, are showing a good depth of talent. None of the four are typical “pay drivers” who bring a big chunk of sponsor dollars to their teams. Furthermore, all of them except Albon were already test/reserve drivers for F1 teams, plus did simulator work, and therefore come into their rookie seasons with F1 training. Read on for more on all four.

LANDO NORRIS Nationality: British Age: 19 Team: McLaren F1 Team Teammate: Carlos Sainz

AT AGE 19, Lando Norris – born 13 November 1999 – is the youngest of this season’s rookies. Unlike many drivers, he was more interested in motorcycles rather than karts. But after his father took him to a kart race, he decided that is what he wanted to do. At age seven he started racing them. He won the WSK Euro Series, the CIK-FIA European, the World Karting and the CIK-FIA Supercup championships in 2013. Then in 2014 he became the youngest ever driver to win British rookies Lando Norris has been the most impressive rookie so far.

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the CIK-FIA KF World Championship. He also made his car racing debut that year. Next came a string of championship wins: the MSA Formula in 2015, the Toyota Racing Series, the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, all in 2016. Norris followed that up with nine victories on his way to clinching the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship. Norris had only one victory in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship but still finished runner-up to George Russell in the points. Having been a McLaren F1 test driver in 2017 and 2018, Norris was well prepared to make his racing debut in 2019. Still, it is a steep learning curve, and it took a while for Norris to build up his confidence. “Confidence in myself – that’s the thing I probably struggled with the most going to (the season opener in) Australia,” he reveals. “It was much better going to Bahrain, much more relaxed and I enjoyed it a lot more. I enjoyed Australia but I was so tense thinking about so many things, I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. So I didn’t make Melbourne as fun as Bahrain or China.” While he has posted better race results than teammate Carlos Sainz, Norris only gives himself a six out of 10 rating for the start of his F1 career. That’s because he made a few mistakes. “Ten is perfect,” he states. “Ten is going in and not making any mistakes, nailing everything, which n is never going to happen. China didn’t go to plan from C qualifying and the race. q Bahrain on a whole I would rate B as very good and Australia, knowing there was potential kn to get points if I was more experienced or did a better job ex than tha I did. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems; there was just a couple of points here and there, there was more potential to do a bit better overall.” He was happier with the race in Azerbaijan where he finished eighth. “It’s always a bonus to make early impact,” he says of his first F1 races. “It’s good that I’ve done well for people on the outside but also for my own confidence from knowing I can do the job.”

ALEXANDER ALBON

Nationality: Thai-British Age: 23 Team: Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda Teammate: Daniil Kvyat ALEXANDER ALBON has a British father and a Thai mother. While he was born in England – on 23 March 1996 – Albon has a Thai passport and races with a Thai license. His father had raced and encouraged Alex to start in karts when he was eight. Albon competed in karting at various levels between 2005 and 2011. He won the World Karting Championship, the European Karting Championship, several British Karting Championships, and never finished lower than third in any of the kart series he participated in. He graduated to cars and Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012 and finished third in the Eurocup championship of that category in 2014. While he didn’t win any races in the FIA Formula 3 European championship in 2015, but he had four victories on his way to placing third in the 2016 GP3 series. His 2017 season in the FIA Formula 2 championship didn’t produce great results. But in 2018 he scored four victories and finished third in points after being in contention for the title. Albon was due to compete in Formula E this year. Then Daniel Ricciardo made

his surprise switch to Renault, Red Bull promoted Pierre Gasly from Toro Rosso to take his place, and so the latter team needed a driver. At the time Albon thought his chances of getting an F1 ride were over. “When I signed in Formula E it was a bit like okay, yeah, I didn’t get the opportunity, but I’m really happy to be in FE, it’s pretty much the next biggest thing there is for a single seater driver,” he recalls. “Then the call (from Red Bull) came.” So Albon’s path to F1 was a rocky one as he went from not even having an F2 ride early in 2018 to signing with Toro Rosso, in just eight months. He describes his F1 pre-season preparation as intense. “There was a lot of preparation to do,” he says. “You cannot believe how many books we’re given to read – just b the th steering wheel book was huge – and there were a lot of other things to learn.” th In pre-season testing it looked Alexander Albon was the least rated of the rookies but has thus far been very impressive.


George Russell knows it’s going to be a character building season.

nightmare to try to build back on it.” Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur also says the team is to blame. It is taking some time for Giovinazzi to get back into the groove. “After two years without racing it’s not really easy,” he says. “You lose a little bit that push lap in qualifying. I just need to take confidence. To have Kimi as a teammate is a good reference. I can watch his data, and see where I can improve. I need to just keep working like that, and all the things will come together.”

like Albon was a bit out of his depth as he had several crashes, spins and off-track excursions. It’s been a somewhat similar pattern during the early races of this season. But it actually due to his Gilles Villeneuve style approach to push the car over the limit and then dial things back one notch. Points in two of the first four races prove Albon is doing something right. And that’s important because Red Bull is notoriously impatient with its young drivers.

ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI Nationality: Italian Age: 25 Team: Alfa Romeo Racing Teammate: Kimi Räikkönen

DEPENDING ON the exact definition of “rookie,” Antonio Giovinazzi might not be in that category as he competed in two F1 races in 2017. Pascal Wehrlein was recovering from an accident in the Race of Champions, so Sauber called in its test driver Giovinazzi for the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix. However, this is his first full F1 season. Born on 14 December 1993, Giovinazzi is the oldest of the four rookies. He competed in karting from 2006 to 2012 with limited success. In 2012, however, he won the Formula Pilota China championship. He then did three seasons in Formula 3, placing second in the 2013 British and second in the 2014 European championships. In 2016 he scored five wins on his way to finishing second in the GP2 series. A Ferrari protégée, he was a test/reserve

An Antonio Giovinazzi has yet to better ha te teammate Kimi Raikkonen but he is Ra getting closer. ge

driver for Ferrari, dr Sauber and Haas in Sa 2017 20 and 2018. He is the only one of the four rookies to be consistently outclassed by his teammate this season, as he went pointless in the first four races while Kimi Räikkönen earned points in all of them. “It’s obviously not been all up to him,” Räikkönen says. “He’s had more issues in practice with reliability – small issues that are not a big issue but stop the car. So it doesn’t help him. Hopefully he gets a clean weekend, and then we can judge him much easier. It is very unfair right now to write him off. He can do fast laps, but obviously he has not that much experience. When you miss one full session in any weekend it’s going to be a

GEORGE RUSSELL Nationality: British Age: 21 Team: ROKit Williams Racing Teammate: Robert Kubica

BORN 15 February 1998, George Russell began racing karts in 2006. He became the British Open and the MSA British champion in 2009. The following season he won the Super One and Kart Stars British championships. Next he clinched the SKUSA Supernationals title. He was the CIK-FIA European champion in 2011 and 2012, but he was only 19th in points the following year. Russell then competed in Formula Renault 2.0 and in BRDC Formula 4, and took the title in the latter in 2014. After finishing third in the FIA Formula 3 championship in 2015 he had a rough time the following season. But then he earned the GP3 title in 2017 and the FIA Formula 2 crown in 2018.

In 2017, Mercedes added him to its junior driver programme, and he tested F1 machinery for Mercedes and Force India. When Russell signed with Williams in October 2018 he knew that he would be at the back of the pack this year. The Williams FW42 was born late and badly, and the team has been on the backfoot ever since. Russell and his teammate, veteran Robert Kubica, regularly qualify and race at the back of the field. Russell is both philosophical about the situation and determined to make the best of it. “It is not my first difficult year,” he points out. “My last year in karting was very difficult. I went to a team that was not performing at the time, so I saw it as a win/win situation for me. If I performed well it would look great on me, and if I didn’t then people would just blame the equipment. You can call that a characterbuilding season. “I also had that in F3. My two seasons in F3 were far from perfect. It made me into the driver I am today. I learned a huge amount from those moments. Sometimes if you have a perfect career path, when you do have a difficult season you don’t know how to handle it. Whereas I’ve had a number of difficult moments in my career, so I have experience with that.” His job, Russell knows, is to motivate and guide the team. “Sometimes you are disappointed or pissed off when you come in after a session,” he says. “Nobody here wants to be in that position. And everybody is doing their best to be in the best possibility of an opportunity. So it is very important from my side to keep everybody motivated.” Russell also takes heart that drivers such as Norris, Albon and Leclerc – whom he competed against in the lower categories – are doing well in F1. “The level of rookies these days is extremely high,” Russell says. “In these difficult times for me, looking at what they are doing, I wouldn’t say it fills me with pride but it looks good on me. We all raced in similar machinery last year so if they are doing a great job that reflects well on me as well.”

THE FUTURE

WILL ONE of these four rookies become the next Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel? It’s too early to say. But there’s a lot of talent there, and they certainly have started off their F1 careers on the right foot – albeit a shaky one for Giovinazzi. Add other recent rookies like Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly, and nearly one third of the F1 lineup are newcomers. There is a clear and definite changing of the guard.

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Formula One

Round Five Spain

MERCEDES DOMINATES WHILE FERRARI FLOUNDERS BY DAN KNUTSON IMAGES: LAT

MERCEDES WALTZED to its fifth consecutive one-two finish of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton took the honors ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari wasn’t even close as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were fourth and fifth, thus giving the opportunity to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to grab third. Daniel Ricciardo wound up 12th in his Renault. “An incredible day for the team,” said Hamilton, who led all 66 laps. “We brought an upgrade here obviously and everyone worked so hard to make sure they brought a decent upgrade, something that delivered on every aspect.” The Ferraris lacked pace all weekend due to poor mechanical grip, and that gave the Mercedes cars a considerable advantage in the corners around the Circuit de BarcelonaCatalunya. Bottas grabbed pole position with a lap six-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton, but Bottas had clutch problems at the start of the race. “It was the first time I’ve felt anything like that,” Bottas said. “A vibration in the clutch

44 AutoAction

and that’s why the h iinitial i i l getaway was very poor. IIt was kind of biting and releasing in a very quick frequency. So it’s really annoying. All the hard work this weekend for me went down the depths.” Bottas was in the middle of a sandwich going into the first turn with Vettel on the outside and Hamilton on the inside. “You don’t win the race at the first corner, I know,” Vettel said, “but I thought at least we can mix things up with Mercedes and have a bit more of a fight with everybody. I did Lewis a favor because I distracted Valtteri.” Hamilton shot ahead, while Bottas scrabbled into second. Vettel fumbled to fourth while Verstappen snatched third. And that’s the order they finished the race. “It was a great battle and naturally a decisive moment,” Hamilton said. “This is such a great circuit but it’s very, very hard to follow once you get through Turn 1. Once we

g got around Turn 1, I just had to get my hhead down and focus on just trying to d deliver each lap.” A safety car from laps 45 to 52 because Lance Stroll and Lando Norris tangled failed to create an opportunity for Bottas to challenge for the lead. So Hamilton went on to score his 76th career victory. Verstappen’s second podium of the season – the other was in Melbourne – lifted him back to third pla place in the points ahead of Vettel and LLeclerc. l “I knew that we could take the fight to Ferrari,” Verstappen said. “In qualifying we were already very close. My race was also decided in lap one, to overtake Seb around the outside in Turn 3. From there onwards I could just do my own pace. I was trying to follow the Mercedes cars but they were clearly a bit too quick.”

The Haas-Ferraris were best of the rest in Spain, the two teammates getting very racey at the end.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified his Renault 10th, but he had to start from the 13th spot because of the penalty he got for reversing into Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso at the previous race. It was a frustrating afternoon for Ricciardo who eventually finished 12th. He chased after Carlos Sainz, running 11th in his McLaren, and finally passed him just before their pit stops. While Sainz got the medium compound Pirellis, Renault gave Ricciardo a set of the hard tyres. “He passed me that first lap out of the pits,” Ricciardo said, when Auto Action asked him about the race strategy. “At the time the boys fitted a hard for a reason, but if that was being too cautious trying to go to the end, then we lost out for that. Maybe we should be more aggressive next time.” The safety car later in the race set up a situation where Ricciardo, now switched to the medium tyres, was 12th with three


Turn one was very messy with Valtteri Bottas getting sideways mid corner. A late race alltercation between Lando Norris and Lance Stroll brought out the safety car.

cars directly in front of him. And, to add to his frustration, Sainz was now eighth. “For sure we don’t want to be fighting for that last point,” Ricciardo said. “We want to do better than where we are. We had Carlos’ pace today. Even when I was on the hard and he was on the medium, I was able to stay with him. We were good enough for that eighth place. It is frustrating not to execute. It is definitely not a 12th place car, but that midfield is tight. We have got to do better. I’ll give the team my perspective but try to focus on the positives as well and keep everyone’s spirits up.” It had also been a frustrating weekend for Scuderia Ferrari. The faces of Vettel, Leclerc and team principal Mattia Binotto were somber but not depressed during a post-race debrief attended by Auto Action. Ferrari had been soundly beaten in Spain, but that just makes the team more determined. “The season is still long and we will never give up,” Binotto said. “There is much to learn from here. We are disappointed about the race and

the performance during the weekend. Our hope was to deliver more. We brought some aero and engine upgrades here. And we were expecting to somehow be in the fight, but it has not been the case. “The upgrades worked well, power-wise, straightline speed we are good enough, but certainly we have some weaknesses on the car that were highlighted this weekend. It is up to us to assess and to improve in the future. It can only make us stronger in the future – and that is the final story of this weekend.” And now it is on to Monaco, the “home” race for many of the F1 drivers including last year’s winner Ricciardo, plus Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen, and a real home race for Leclerc, who is a native Monégasque. Asked if they thought Mercedes would win every race this year, Leclerc and Vettel both said a resounding “no.” But Monaco is a race where Mercedes has a very good chance of making it six wins in a row.

Max Verstappen took advantage of the turn one chaos to slip past Sebastian Vettel for third but could nothing about the Mercedes pair in front.

RESULTS ROUND 5: SPANISH GRAND PRIX Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 -

Driver Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas Max Verstappen Sebastian Vettel Charles Leclerc Pierre Gasly Kevin Magnussen Carlos Sainz Jr. Daniil Kvyat Romain Grosjean Alexander Albon Daniel Ricciardo Nico Hulkenberg Kimi Raikkonen Sergio Perez Antonio Giovinazzi George Russell Robert Kubica Lance Stroll Lando Norris

Car Mercedes Mercedes Red Bull/Honda Ferrari Ferrari Red Bull/Honda Haas/Ferrari McLaren/Renault Toro Rosso/Honda Haas/Ferrari Toro Rosso/Honda Renault Renault Alfa Romeo/Ferrari Racing Point/Mercedes Alfa Romeo/Ferrari Williams/Mercedes Williams/Mercedes Racing Point/Mercedes McLaren/Renault

Laps 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 65 65 44 44

Gap 1h35m50.443s 4.074s 7.679s 9.167s 13.361s 19.576s 28.159s 32.342s 33.056s 34.641s 35.445s 36.758s 39.241s 41.803s 46.877s 47.691s 1 Lap 1 Lap Collision Collision

Points: Hamilton 112, Bottas 105, Verstappen 66, Vettel 64, 57, Gasly 21, Magnussen 14, Perez 13, Raikkonen 13, Norris 12, Sainz Jr 10, Ricciardo 6, Hulkenberg 6, Stroll 4, Albon 3, Kvyat 3, Grosjean 1. Constructors’ Points: Mercedes 217, Ferrari 121, Red Bull-Honda 87, McLaren-Renault 22, Racing Point-Mercedes 17, Haas-Ferrari 15 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 13, Renault 12, Toro Rosso-Honda 6. Danill Kvyat had an impressive run to

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

COMPILED BY DAN MCCARTHY

PAGENAUD STORMS TO VICTORY A LONG 23 race winless streak has come to an end for Simon Pagenaud, winning the IndyCar Grand Prix around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on the weekend. The Frenchman’s winless run stretched all the way back to the final race of the 2017 season but Pagenaud got the monkey off his back in spectacular fashion, overhauling Kiwi and reigning champion Scott Dixon on the penultimate lap of the 85 lap encounter. Briton Jack Harvey finished a career-best third for Meyer Shank Racing, the team running a scheduled 10 races this season as it builds toward a full-time IndyCar program in the future. The race started in the dry but by the end conditions had deteriorated. It was action aplenty in the opening lap of the race, Australian Will Power shuffled back through the pack losing a few places in the opening corners. Championship contender Alexander Rossi was hit by new Red Bull Junior driver Patricio O’Ward at

the start of the race, O’Ward receiving a drive through for the incident and Rossi fell four laps down. On lap 11, when applying pressure to the rear of Power, former Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson spun into the wall on the final turn and the safety car was deployed. On the restart Dixon flew from third to first drafting by Harvey for second and then moving by pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist, who ran wide at turn 1. Ed Jones and Colton Herta then got together. Herta spun while Canadian James Hinchcliffe hit Ryan HunterReay, spinning the American into Herta, Hinchcliff was handed a drive through and another Safety Car was called. On the following restart Rosenqvist was demoted from second to fourth, while Pagenaud gained a place to sit fifth as the rain began to fall. On lap 59 part time returning driver Helio Castroneves pitted for wets before firing off the road at turn 2 and a safety car was deployed again as a result.

INDYCAR

KESELOWSKI SPRINGS SUPRISE BRAD KESELOWSKI took his third race victory of the season, coming from nowhere to win a thrilling race at the Kansas Speedway. The race went to overtime during which Keselowski edged out Alex Bowman by 0.2s at the line, the Penske driver taking his 30th career victory. During a late race pit stop under caution on lap 241, the Ford driver had grabbed the lead off Bowman around the outside at Turns 3 and 4 with six regular laps remaining. Bowman finished second for the third race running after finishing second at Talladega and Dover. Third place went to Erik Jones who made it three different manufacturers in the top three positions, Stage 2 winner Chase Elliott came home fourth from Clint Bowyer. Pole winner Kevin Harvick dominated the first stage despite beating Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr to the line. At the end of the stage all the cars on the lead lap elected to pit, Kurt Busch coming out first but taking only two fresh tyres. This meant that on the restart he was quickly overhauled by Harvick and Elliott. At the conclusion of the green flag pit stops on lap 146 Elliott got around Harvick and held on for the remaining 14 laps to take the stage victory, Erik Jones finished third, Bowman fourth and Stenhouse fifth.

46 AutoAction

A few laps into Stage 3 Harvick pitted with what he thought was a flat right front tyre, the unscheduled stop costing him a lap, causing him to finish 13th. On lap 217 officials threw a caution for a loose wheel that made its way to the infield grass from Ryan Newman, who was penalised and had to restart from the rear of the field. Kyle Busch led after the caution pit stops but had to start from the rear of the field for driving through too many pit boxes in the lane. Another caution was thrown on lap 239 for debris after Ryan Blaney had blown a tyre. On the restart with 23 laps remaining, Elliott led Bowman and Stenhouse. On lap 245 Kyle Busch made contact with Bowyer, cutting a tyre on Busch’s Toyota forcing him to pit, and he finished 30th. Bowman and Keselowski battled nose-to-tail for the lead with 10 laps remaining, Keselowski getting around Bowman for the lead with the help of some lapped traffic. Matt DiBennedetto blew an engine which forced the race into overtime but Keselowski held on. “I just want to dedicate this win to Mike Mittler,” Keselowski said. “You know, he helped a lot of guys in their career, and I was one of them. He passed away yesterday.”

NASCAR


PEDAL DOWN. PERFORMANCE UP.

Under this Safety Car everyone who wasn’t already on wets put the grooved tyres on, though during the stops championship leader Josef Newgarden’s crew lost a wheel which rolled down the lane, narrowly missing Pagenaud’s front wing. With 18 laps remaining in the torrential wet conditions Pagenaud began the restart in sixth but the Penske driver excelled in the treacherous conditions. On the first lap after the restart he dispatched Spencer Pigot around the outside at Turn 12 and was up the inside of Ed Jones at Turn 1 the following lap. Turn 1 was a favourite overtaking spot for the Frenchman, who overtook Brazilian Matheus Leist on the outside with 11 laps to go and up the

inside of Harvey to take second, though still more than 5s behind Dixon with 6 laps to go. On the penultimate lap Dixon slid a little wide at Turn 7, Pagenaud pulled alongside and the two cars made light side-to-side contact around Turn 8 before Pagenaud snuck up the inside at Turn 9. He then pulling away to take the victory by 2s. “What a way to start May,” said Pagenaud. “The car was fantastic; the car was awesome all day. We had something for everybody.” Defending Indy 500 winner Power finished the race in seventh, can he defend his Indy 500 crown on May 27? Points: Newgarden 182, Dixon 176, Rossi 146, Pagenaud 138, Sato 132, Power 119, Rahal 113, Bourdais 111, Hunter-Reay 109, Hinchcliffe 107, etc

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Help give you engine more performance ACURA TEAM Penske has claimed its first race victory of the season, ending a 12-month victory drought, drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron taking their first victory together by just 2s. The 2h 40m race started more like a sprint between the Mazda Team Joest car of Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez, and the Acura pair of Montoya and Cameron. The two teams swapped places many times throughout the race until, after a late race safety car with just 20 minutes remaining, Montoya was able to hold back Nunez to give Acura Team Penske its second straight Mid-Ohio victory. “We had been unlucky with mechanical issues and stuff this year, but we executed today the way it needed to be,” Montoya said. It was a closely fought race in GTLM between Ford, Corvette and Porsche, with the #912 Porsche of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor triumphing, the pair finished just 2.2s ahead of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. In GTD Richard Heistand and Jack Hawksworth recorded the first victory for the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus, holding off Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman by 0.6s at the line.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

COMPILED BY DAN MCCARTHY

MATT CAMPBELL DOES IT AGAIN MATT CAMPBELL took the GTE-AM class win in horrific conditions at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The weather was very mixed, with sun, rain, hail and even snow falling at different stages of the race, which resulted in two Safety Cars and two Full Course Yellows and the race eventually being called 11 minutes early as the weather closed in one more. Campbell, Christian Ried and new teammate Riccardo Pera took victory in their Porsche 991 RSR by 5s from the #90 Aston Martin of Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Charles Eastwood, giving the #77 Porsche its third straight victory. “It’s great to get another win in the Super Season, a fantastic result. Hopefully we can really keep pushing

for Le Mans and get those points back,” Campbell said. In LMP1 the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing team of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima took their fourth win of the 2019/2020 WEC season. The pole-sitting #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez led by over 50s before Kobayashi had to make an unscheduled pit stop. This was due to a sensor problem on their hybrid system, and they lost four laps as the car was being repaired. The #7 finished the race down the order in sixth. Nathanael Berthon, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes in the #3 Rebellion finished second. With no fifth

WEC or sixth gear for the final two hours of the race the #11 SMP Racing car driven by Mikhail Aleshin Vitaly Petrov and rookie Stoffel Vandoorne nursed the car home to finish third. It was a day of celebration for the Toyota squad as they took the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance LMP1 Championship with a round to spare. This means that Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima lead by 31 points heading to

France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. In LMP2 Pastor Maldonado, Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez gave DragonSpeed its first WEC win in LMP2, courtesy of a great stint by Formula 1 race winner Maldonado. The penultimate safety car period allowed the #31 driven by Maldonado to close the gap to the leaders, picking off Gabriel Aubry in the #38 DC Racing

TANAK BEATS THE SEBASTIENS ESTONIAN OTT Tanak took victory in the inaugural Chile Rally, beating a pair of Sebastiens, Ogier holding off Loeb, on the final day of an exciting event. The victory promotes Tanak to second in the drivers’ standings behind Ogier, the pair demoting Thierry Neuville from the top of the championship after the Belgian suffered a serious crash in which his Hyundai i20 barrel rolled several times. Apart from an overshoot in the opening stage, Tanak controlled the rally taking home

48 AutoAction

maximum points after winning the Power Stage. The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver took the lead after Stage 2 and never looked back throughout the foggy and sometimes wet stages through the Chilean Forests. Day 1 was relatively incident free day. At the conclusion of the first leg Tanak led the Citroen C3 of Ogier by 22.4s with Jari-Matti Latvala a further 6.4s back in third. Neuville held fourth but his second stage was red flag due to safety concerns, and he was issued a notional time losing 6s to Tanak much to the Belgian’s frustration. On Saturday morning however things got a lot worse. Misjudging a crest, Neuville hit a bank sideways throwing the car into a series of violent rolls, with both Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul lucky to escape serious injury. It was a contrasting day for his Hyundai teammate, the nine time World Rally Champion Loeb, who closed the gap down on Ogier and Latvala throughout the day. Latvala was having a good smooth rally until he hit a rock on the final stage of the day, braking his driveshaft. Tanak finished the day with a 30.3s lead over former teammate Ogier with Loeb a further 5.1s further back.

Loeb started the final day very strongly cutting the gap to fellow Sebastien down to 1.1s, before Ogier woke up and responded to the challenge. Ogier’s Power Stage was hampered when a fire extinguisher went off in his Citroen, leaving the Frenchman light-headed by the end of the 12.52km test. Despite this he was still able to hold on to second position, edging out Loeb by 7.1s. Welshman Elfyn Evans finished fourth in his Ford Fiesta to make it four different manufactures in the top four finishing positions. Nobody could stop Tanak, who took a measured and mature victory ahead of the French Sebastiens who can count 15 championships between them. “It was a very difficult and demanding weekend and I needed a lot of focus and energy to be perfect,” Tanak said. “We weren’t on the limit all the time. We’ve had two setbacks in a row before this where we lost the rally lead, but we proved we’re back in the fight.” POINTS: Ogier 122, Tanak 112, Neuville 110, Meeke 56, Evans 55, Loeb 39, Mikkelsen 36, Lappi 34, Latvala 32, Suninen 30, etc

WRC


FORMULA E

VERGNE’S FIRST IS SECOND

car and the #36 Signatech Alpine entry being driven by Nicolas Lapierre. Maldonado established a 10s lead out front but it was wiped out by the final safety car period, the Venezuelan able to keep his opponents at bay after the final restart before the race was called. GTE-PRO was won by the #97 Aston Martin, scoring its second victory of the season with Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn behind the wheel, pulling

a gap in closing stages of the race. Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado finished second in what was a tough weekend for all Ferraris, while Porsche wrapped up the manufacturers championship thanks to a third place finish from Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre. The final round of the season is next up the, the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15-16.

JEAN-ERIC VERGNE has become the first driver to take a second race victory this season. Starting from first on the grid, the DS Techeetah driver took his first Monaco e-Prix, propelling him into the championship lead. Oliver Rowland took pole position but started third after being handed a penalty for an infringement in the previous race. Despite this, the Briton finished second ahead of former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa, who stood on the Formula E rostrum for the first time. Vergne had made a good start and led Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein and the Nissan e.dams of Rowland into Turn 1. It was three wide going into the Nouvelle Hairpin for third with Sebastien Buemi on the inside, Felipe Massa on the outside, but Rowland kept third. The race settled into a rhythm before Wehrlein locked up and ran wide at Turn 1, promoting Rowland up to second as Massa also slipped through to take third, defending hard to keep Buemi behind with 36 minutes to go. Midway through the race both Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi jumped up two places within a couple of minutes, dispatching Stoffel Vandoorne and then Alex Lynn, promoting Bird and di Grassi up to eighth and ninth respectively. With 18 minutes to go Dragon Racing’s Maximilian Gunther came to a stop at the final turn and a full course yellow ensued. Shortly after the restart entering the Nouvelle Hairpin BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alex Sims turned into Lucas di Grassi, slamming the Brazilian into the barrier. Di Grassi sustained damage and came to a stop at the swimming pool. It was a difficult day for both the BMW i Andretti

Motorsport cars, with Sims and Antonio Felix da Costa struggling for pace in the back end of the top 10. Sims made heavy contact with championship leader Robin Frijns heading into Turn 1, putting Frijns out of the race with just three minutes to go. On the final lap Rowland closed the gap to reigning champion Vergne, while right behind Massa had to defend from Wehrlein. Vergne held on to take victory by 0.2s, Massa holding back Rowland to take third by even less, with Sebastien Buemi fifth. “I’ve never had a podium here in Monaco. I remember all the legends that have been on this podium and all the hard times I had in Formula One, so to be here today feels very special to me,” Vergne said. Bird was running sixth on the final lap but ground to a halt at Rascasse, this promoting Mitch Evans to sixth after da Costa was disqualified for power overuse. Vergne now leads teammate Lotterer by a solitary point as Formula E travels to Germany for the next race on May 25. POINTS: Vergne 87, Lotterer 86, Frijns 81, da Costa 70, di Grassi 70, Evans 65, d’Ambrosio 65, Rowland 59, Abt 59, Bird 54

Ott Tanak was too good for the Sebastiens, who count 15 world titles between them.

WTCR: THREE WINNERS IN THREE RACES ROUND THREE of WTCR featured three different winners over weekend at the Slovakia Ring. Frederic Vervisch made a terrific start and benefitted from a hectic opening lap to jump from ninth on the grid to find himself second at the end of lap 1. The Belgian then took the lead after Ma Qing Hua ran wide, giving Vervisch and Audi their first win of the year. After retiring from Race 1, championship leader Nestor Girolami took his third victory of the season, quickly dispatching pole sitter Rob Huff to take the lead, the Argentinian leading home Esteban Guerrieri.

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In the final race Ma scored his first victory in the World Touring Car Cup era and the first victory for the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce model. Ma withstood heavy pressure from Norbert Michelisz and Alfa Romeo teammate Kevin Ceccon, who both finished within a second of the Chinese driver. Girolami still leads the series despite only scoring points in the second race, heading teammate Guerrieri, with Michelisz moving up to third. The next round of WTCR is next weekend May 18-19 at the Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

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RACE REPORT

Perth SuperNight Races 11 & 12

NIGHT & DAYLIGHT FOR MUSTANGS Report: Heath McAlpine Photos: LAT/Insyde Media/Ross Gibb

AFTER ANOTHER significant parity adjustment, is it now reasonable to say that the Ford Mustangs’ domination is down to the DJR Team Penske’s hard work behind the scenes and the drivers’ behind the wheel, rather than any aerodynamic and centre of gravity advantages the pony cars had. Perth at night proved spectacular just like Sydney Motorsport Park had been close to nine months earlier. It was still a happy hunting ground for the Mustangs, particularly if they wore the red, white and yellow corporate colours of Shell. It was a near-faultless performance from Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard in front of not only Ford heavy Mark Rushbrook, but ‘The Captain’ Roger Penske was also in attendance at Barbagallo, a trip that has become an annual visit. The trip out west also signified a change of fortune for the Holden side of the ledger. Although wins weren’t forthcoming it appears that finally the Red Bull Holden Racing Team has found the right direction when it comes to the single-spring set-up. Both Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen showed improved form, which was also aided by a lack of mistakes that have hampered the team in previous rounds. RBHRT weren’t the only Holden team to be competitive. Erebus Motorsport continued its solid form although qualifying pace left a little to be desired, but during the races it was the opposite. Another to shine in the dark was Andre Heimgartner. The Kiwi impressing particularly on Saturday to be the leading Nissan contender by far, however an incident during the race curtailed a strong result. The newly resurfaced Barbagallo circuit promised plenty and it delivered in spades, with the opening practice session demonstrating the increased pace of the new black top as McLaughlin set a lap time 1.1s faster than the previous practice lap record. Qualifying continued that trend as McLaughlin became the first driver to lap a Supercar in the 52s bracket, completing a Penske 1-2 clean-sweep of the front row. Whincup finished the

Fabian Coulthard took a timely win in front of the boss in Race 11 in an all-Mustang podium.

session third in amongst a pack of Mustangs, the next Holden being van Gisbergen in sixth. The weekend had been McLaughlin’s up to that point, but then a rare blemish appeared. The polesitter was left behind at the start of race one, so much in fact that he was battling for fourth heading into Turn 1, while teammate Coulthard Night racing at Barbagallo was a winner with drivers and fans alike.

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made a textbook start and then had to defend almost immediately from the driver who made the best start of all, Whincup. The initial stages were frantic as McLaughlin’s Mustang came up to temperature and he set about challenging Chaz Mostert for third, a move he successfully completed at Turn There were early fisticuffs between Will Davison and David Reynolds.

7 on lap 3 leaving him in pursuit of Whincup. Tasmania seemed a long time ago for Mark Winterbottom, despite having raised expectations after a disappointing Phillip Island. The Team18 driver ran wide on the first lap and into the sand beside Todd Hazelwood, ending any chance of a strong result from either. Eighth was the best David Reynolds could muster in qualifying and it nearly proved disasterous as he dropped places off the start, leaving him vulnerable to Will Davison’s 23Red Mustang. The pair were duking it out along the front straight with Reynolds oh-so close to hitting the grass as Davison crowded him out. Both Erebus drivers were in the wars, with Anton De Pasquale also fighting tooth and nail to forge a way through on Rick Kelly, which he did at Turn 7 after a hip and shoulder, however to avoid penalty the Phillip island podium finisher handed back the position. The next lap he tried the same move, but this time it was clean. It didn’t take long for McLaughlin to latch onto the back of Whincup up front, but he was unable to do anything about passing the RBHRT Commodore. So Ludo Lacroix brought his charger in to execute the undercut and get the title leader into fresh air. Cam Waters was the next of the leaders to pit, two laps later on the 17th tour, this was then followed by Whincup and Mostert. McLaughlin’s undercut proved successful and he oh so nearly grabbed his teammate in the process. Jamie Whincup had to deal with his teammate during the closiing stages of Race 11.


It was another successful showing for Supercar’s SuperNight format under lights, this time in Perth.

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Whincup’s pace was strong and he was soon pressuring McLaughlin for second, making a concerted effort on lap 22 to pass the championship leader at Kolb Corner, however despite a small tap it was unsuccessful. It proved crucial, as Mostert began to zero in on the rear of the ZB Commodore. Meanwhile, van Gisbergen had work to do in the closing stages. Pitting late, he dropped to 10th, but with newer tyres he charged through to fifth and was soon within striking distance of the battle for third. Mostert put pressure on Whincup and executed a solid pass at Kolb Corner, replicating the unsuccessful move that Whincup had attempted on McLaughlin. Mostert continued his charge, leaving his title rival behind, which proved interesting as van Gisbergen was now applying the blowtorch to the rear of his teammate. This lasted until the race’s conclusion with Whincup just edging his Kiwi teammate. Up front, Coulthard made it two wins on the trot, comfortable taking a 2.225s victory with Mostert completing a Mustang 1-2-3. McLaughlin had sealed another pole position for the second race, but again was unable to use it effectively as he was beaten off the line by fellow front row starter Whincup, who easily led into Turn 1 ahead of Mostert. Waters was also in the mix, but he was tapped by his teammate and was lucky to hold on ahead of Heimgartner. Once again, the Kiwi was impressive in qualifying and edged into the top five

DJR team Penske won both races in Perth (top and above), while Mark Winterbottom and Todd Hazelwood tangled at the start of Race 11 (left) ahead of Coulthard, who had struggled during Saturday’s running as the possibility of a hattrick of wins began to dwindle. The gap at the front was tight, 0.2s to be exact, though McLaughlin was further aided by the re-joining Garry Jacobson, who unintentionally baulked Whincup after taking his pit stop heading through Turns 4 and 5. Coulthard was the first of the leaders to pit, dropping in 42-litres of fuel, then was quickly Engine issues left Mostert on the sidelines for Race 12.

Andre Heimgartner was impressive until he tangled with Scott Pye.

The Safety Car restart was chaos as Rick Kelly and Shane van Gisbergen tangled.

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RACE REPORT

Perth SuperNight Races 11 & 12

Scott Pye had an altercation with Andre Heimgartner in race 12, putting the WAU Commodore out (above). Cam Waters was third (top right), while Anton De Pasquale was seventh (middle right). followed by his teammate. Green tyres and 49-litres of fuel were on board the 17 Mustang as the undercut again was on the cards. While the two DJR Team Penske Mustangs were travelling well, the best Tickford example was struggling, engine issues started to appear for Mostert on lap 16, but the team kept him out to try and gain valuable points. On lap 26, he entered pit lane to undertake the first of his stops, but his race was to last just one lap further. RBHRT admitted it didn’t have the car speed and had turned to its strategy to maintain the lead. Whincup emerged behind McLaughlin and just ahead of Coulthard, but had 60-litres of fuel on board in an effort to make a late-race run. The gap between the leaders was out to 5.8s as the race started to settle down, Coulthard and Waters fell away, just as Heimgartner still remained within touching distance, but was then suddenly taken out of the race. The incident, which involved Scott Pye, brought out the Safety Car after the Walkinshaw Andretti United tried to complete a pass at Turn 7 Jamie Whincup heads the field into turn 1 at the start of race 12, but could not hold off Scott McLaughlin for the win.

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RACE RESULTS RACE 11 50 LAPS

Scott McLaughlin was on top again in race 12 in Perth, flanked on the podium by an improved Jamie Whincup and the best of the Tickford crew, Cam Waters. but he locked up and tangled with Heimgartner, severely damaging his front left wheel. Heimgartner’s run came to an end too as his Altima suffered a damaged rim. The timing was great for Coulthard after pitting a lap earlier, but it didn’t have a bearing on the top two positions as both pitted a lap later under safety car, while van Gisbergen also drew the short straw and had to double-stack. As the RBHRT and Penske pit crews executed stops like swiss watches, Brad Jones racing weren’t as crisp. Nick Percat surprised his squad with

the team literally jumping into action as he entered the bay, an awkward situation, but an ultimate 10th continued a consistent run from BJR this season. The safety car restart on lap 54 provided further action. A late jump from race leader McLaughlin led to a crush for the rest of the field, especially for Kelly and van Gisbergen. The Kiwi had an overlap at the exit of the final corner and as Kelly moved across, he was tipped out towards the pit wall on the grass, making an incredible save before re-joining well down. The next few laps, Kelly struggled with a foam board lodged in the air intake until a collision with James Courtney removed it, however Kelly then had to pit anyway as a piece lodged in a brake duct. The challenge was on for Whincup as Waters and Coulthard mounted a effort for another Mustang podium clean-sweep, while McLaughlin raced to a comfortable eighth win of the season 1.9s clear of Whincup and Waters. Behind Coulthard, were a brace of Holdens in a show of what potentially is a changing point for The Lion’s title chances.

1 Fabian Coulthard 50 laps 2 Scott McLaughlin +2.225 3 Chaz Mostert +7.925s 4 Jamie Whincup +12.665s 5 Shane van Gisbergen +13.339s 6 Will Davison +16.476s 7 Nick Percat +19.450s 8 Cameron Waters +20.249s 9 Lee Holdsworth +20.555s 10 David Reynolds +21.741s 11 Tim Slade +22.241s 12 Simona De Silvestro +34.622s 13 Anton De Pasquale +36.565s 14 James Golding +38.047s 15 Rick Kelly +38.926s 16 Scott Pye +39.519s 17 Andre Heimgartner +40.878s 18 Mark Winterbottom +42.161s 19 Garry Jacobson +50.227s 20 Jack Le Brocq +50.804s 21 Tim Blanchard +52.261s 22 Richie Stanaway +52.600s 23 Todd Hazelwood 49 laps 24 Macauley Jones 49 laps 25 James Courtney 49 laps FASTEST LAP James Courtney 53.7293s

▲1 ▼1 ▲1 ▼1 ▲1 ▲4 0 ▲3 ▲3 ▼2 ▼2 ▲5 ▼2 ▲4 ▼1 ▲6 ▼4 ▲3 ▼3 ▲4 ▲4 ▼7 ▼4 ▼1 ▼5

RACE RESULTS RACE 12 84 LAPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 NC NC

Scott McLaughlin Jamie Whincup Cameron Waters Fabian Coulthard Shane van Gisbergen David Reynolds Anton De Pasquale Will Davison Lee Holdsworth Nick Percat Tim Slade Simona De Silvestro James Golding Todd Hazelwood Mark Winterbottom James Courtney Macauley Jones Tim Blanchard Garry Jacobson Rick Kelly Richie Stanaway Jack Le Brocq Andre Heimgartner Scott Pye Chaz Mostert

84 laps +1.928s +4.332s +5.139s +6.863s +11.282s +12.949s +13.440s +15.128s +18.105s +19.829s +23.084s +23.678s +24.104s +28.391s +31.449s +33.540s +34.025s +40.073s +52.162s 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 46 laps 27 laps

0 0 ▲1 ▲1 ▲2 ▲6 ▲7 0 ▲ 13 ▼1 0 ▲4 ▲8 ▲5 0 ▲4 0 ▲6 ▲4 ▼7 ▼4 ▲3 ▼ 17 ▼ 14 ▼ 22

FASTEST LAP Scott McLaughlin 53.7958s Points: McLaughlin 1346, Coulthard 1204, van Gisbergen 1024, Reynolds 971, Mostert 944, Whincup 937, Davison 914, Percat 877, Slade 837, Waters 811, Winterbottom 763, De Pasquale 741, Holdsworth 708, Courtney 658, Heimgartner 656, Kelly 609, Hazelwood 595, Pye 577, Golding 563, De Silvestro 547, Stanaway 452, Le Brocq 436, Jacobson 401, Jones 381, Blanchard 93, Smith 69, etc


Super 2 Barbagallo Round 2

WALSH CONQUERS THE WEST ASH WALSH took his first Super2 win in five years to cap off his return to full-time competition after his testing accident at Phillip Island just over 18 months ago. An elated Walsh won the round after a disastrous Race 2 qualifying session proved costly for Will Brown. The winner of the opening race was baulked during his hot lap, meaning he started the race in ninth, though he still managed to take third for the round and seal a maiden victory in Super2, one that was a long time coming. Second for the round was series leader Bryce Fullwood. The Territorian may not have taken a win but continued his consistent run and stretched his margin to 64-points ahead of Altima teammate Zane Goddard, with Walsh now a further 27-points back. To highlight the openness of the Super2 field, it was Goddard who snatched pole for the opening 26-lap race, ahead of Brown. But it was the latter who won the start and managed to establish a gap as Goddard and Fullwood began to battle. A healthy 1.5s margin by lap 5 did the trick as the pair of Nissans started fall into the clutches of a

recovering Walsh. It had been a disappointing qualifying session for Matt Stone Racing’s leading contender, but he recovered to be well placed for a podium. This was enhanced when Fullwood’s attack on his teammate at Kolb Corner failed to pay off, Walsh being there to attack at the exit and successfully slid up the inside at Turn 7. But this exchange gave Goddard the opportunity to break away and begin the fruitless task of catching Brown. Title contender Brodie Kostecki was having a disaster of a race, having spent most of the qualifying session in the pits as a damper and spring change took longer than expected, placing him 17th. It was expected that Kostecki would scythe through the field but that wasn’t the case, he had only moved up three positions before he pitted on lap 9 with engine temperature issues. While Walsh and Fullwood still continued to duel, Goddard had slightly closed the gap to Brown to 1.4s. He continued to eat into the lead before Brown steadied and pushed the margin back beyond 1.5s. Walsh and Fullwood were falling back into the clutches of Thomas Randle, but

Ash Walsh took his first win since his big testing accident 18 months ago, while Zane Goddard (left) showed some strong pace in the second

his attack was scuppered by the re-joining Kostecki – now a lap down – holding up the Tickford driver considerably for just on a lap. This didn’t affect Brown as he held his nerve to greet the ch chequered flag for the first time wi with 1.5s back to Goddard and W Walsh. TThere was drama further down the fie field as Adam Marjoram hit the tyre ba barrier at Kolb Corner due to brake fai failure, while running seventh. Goddard again took pole for G the weekend’s second race, but pr preceded to wheelspin off the line, lea leaving Walsh to lead from the ou outside of the front-row. Goddard dr dropped to fourth, then fifth as Ko Kostecki made a move at the end

of the opening circuit, which ran the Altima wide and also gave Marjoram an opportunity. Goddard and Marjoram ran sideby-side heading through the Turn 3 and 4 sequence, but the former ran wide, taking the Image Racing Commodore with it and dropping both down the order. Qualifying poorly was Randle, but it set-up a strong recovery drive as he took advantage of mistakes by Brown and Goddard to move into seventh and at least take valuable points away from a disappointing weekend. The battle for the lead was stagnant between Walsh and Fullwood, until a safety car was called after Matt Chahda was tapped into the sand trap by fellow

Ford driver Joel Heinrich at Kolb Corner. The safety car returned to pit lane on lap 18, but Walsh was able to hold a 0.5s lead until the end, Fullwood banked further points in second ahead of Kurt Kostecki, with his best finish in the series to date. It was a surprised Walsh who took the MSR’s first round victory since Newcastle 2017. "I'm really pleased to be back [up] here, obviously a little bit unexpected with not qualifying too well," Walsh said. "I managed to race a little better than we qualified [on Friday] and turned it around in the qualifying [on Saturday]. "We just need to keep doing what we're doing, working on the car, we're getting a little better each round.” The next Super2 round is in Townsville on July 5-7. Points: Fullwood 550, Goddard 486, Walsh 459, B. Kostecki 434, J. Kostecki, Brown 366, Barbera 362, Randle 343, Fiore 310, O’Keeffe 302, etc HM

Ash Walsh leads points leader Bryce Fullwood (below), while Will Brown blasts away into a lead he would never lose in race 1 (left). Images: Ross Gibb and Insyde Media.


SUPPORTS Barbagallo Raceway

EMERY INHERITS ROUND HONOURS GEOFF EMERY won a dramatic and exciting second round of the Australian GT Championship at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth. Race 1 polesitter Peter Major dominated the early stages of the race until the compulsory pit stops, when he had to serve an extra 40 second penalty for illegal testing. After the stops Ryan How (Audi R8 GT3 LMS) led ahead of Emery, Max Twigg (Mercedes-AMG GT3) and Peter Hackett (Mercedes-AMG GT3). Emery closed in on How after setting a new lap record, but the latter caught traffic in the closing stages enabling the 17-year-old to become the youngest-ever winner in the championship and the first driver in the Trophy Class to take an outright race victory, 4.1s ahead of Emery, with Hackett rounding out the podium. After finishing fifth in Race 1, Major bounced back strongly to dominate

Geoff Emery (above) won outright after 17-year-old Ryan How (above left) created history but was unlucky; Dale Patterson (left) was victorious in the Trophy class. Images: Insyde Media.

Race 2, quickly demoting How to third at the conclusion of the opening lap. A shorter compulsory pit stop time then allowed the Lamborghini driver to jump the reigning champion in the pits. How was last of the lead trio to enter the lane and he exited alongside Major, but the West Australian wasn’t troubled as Emery battled How for

CAMARO FEST IN THE WEST CHEV CAMAROS ruled the four races for Historic Touring Cars with two different winners in Greg Freeman and Aldo De Paoli. De Paoli led throughout the first, only challenged briefly on the final lap by Freeman. Graeme Woolhouse (Ford Mustang) was second early, before Freeman hunted him down after warding off Brian Bondi (Holden Monaro). Fourth went to John Bondi (Monaro) while Ken Badger (Ford Falcon XW GT) held off Grant Johnson (Holden Torana XU-1), Tony Gilfuis (Ford Capri GT) and Ray Hepburn (Mustang). There was an early safety car in the second outing with the Jaguars of Laurie and Michael Gallagher stopped on the circuit. Race leader De Paoli retired with an electrical drama, leaving Freeman to win. Freeman finished just in front of Brian Bondi, with a gap to Woolhouse and John Bondi, originally fourth before being penalised 30s, leaving Badger ahead of Gilfuis and Johnson. From 14th, John Bondi worked through

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to fifth and De Paoli charged to sixth ahead of the Nb cars of Cono Onofaro (Morris Cooper S) and Don Behets (Ford Galaxie). Early in Race 3 Freeman and Woolhouse battled with each having a turn in front, before Freeman consolidated the victory. Brian Bondi fended off Johnson and Gilfuis to take third. Johnson wasn’t far adrift but Gilfuis was an eventual retirement. The final race was the reverse of qualifying and split in the middle by further handicapping. Starting at the rear, De Paoli charged his way through to take the win on the final lap, passing Lance Stannard (Morris Cooper S) out of Turn 6. It was his last opportunity as John Bondi had bunkered at Turn 7 the lap before. Third when to Thierry Michot (Chev Corvette) ahead of Patrick Dick (Ford Mustang), Randle Beavis (Lotus Cortina), Freeman, Johnson, Lapsley and Woolhouse (Mustang). Garry O’Brien

second. The two battled for the final 15-minutes of the race, the newer Audi of Emery taking second by 0.1s. The final race on Saturday was worthy of a Hollywood script. Major led before the first stops, but again How with the shorter compulsory pit stop time took the lead as a titanic battle ensued between the pair. On lap 34, when lapping a backmarker, Major hit a kerb causing damage to his Lamborghini’s suspension, which failed a lap later and forced him into retirement. How was set to take victory, but on

the penultimate lap the Audi driver suffered a catastrophic tyre failure, which sent him nose first into the wall at Turn 7. Emery thus took an unlikely victory ahead of Mercedes duo Twigg and Mark Griffith, which also confirmed the round win for the Audi driver. Class winners for the weekend were Dale Patterson (Chevrolet Camaro GT3) in Trophy, Trofeo Challenge was won by Nick Karnaros (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car) and Justin McMillan shared the GT4 honours with Glen Wood in the KTM X-Bow GT4. Dan McCarthy

ALEXANDER’S GREAT BREAKTHROUGH NEW ZEALANDER Tom Alexander won Round 2 of the ECB SuperUtes, his Race 3 victory the difference after drawing the weekend with Elliot Barbour. Alexander now leads the series points over Barbour and Ryal Harris. A great start allowed Alexander (Isuzu D-Max) to score an all-the-way race one win. Barbour (Mitsubishi Triton) came from the second row for a close second, while polesitter Ben Walsh (Toyota Hilux) had a poor start, falling to fourth before finishing third. Round 1 winner Harris (Mazda BT50) glimpsed third but his success ballast meant he couldn’t hold off Walsh. They were followed by Mick Sieders (Hilux), Chris Formosa (Ford Ranger) and Ben Falk (BT50). Craig Woods (Hilux) parked with a broken diff, following on from a driveshaft failure in qualifying, while Cameron Crick retired his Triton billowing smoke and Peter Major (Holden Colorado) was another retiree. The top six were reversed for the

20-lap second outing, where Harris led from Barbour. The two turned on a great stoush with Elliott getting ahead for a period before they were joined by Woods and Crick. Later Formosa joined in as well to make it a five-way scrap. Harris won from Barbour, Woods, Crick and Formosa – covered by 1.7s. After looping at turn 6, Sieders fought back to sixth. Walsh was next while Alexander limped through to eight with a holed hose turbo hose. Falk (gearbox) and Major were retirees. The grid for Race 3 went off points accumulated and it was Elliott on pole. Alexander made the better start and went straight to the front, while Elliott was second ahead of another good dice between Harris, Crick and Sieders. They finished with Crick able to sneak past Harris, after Sieders had an unsuccessful attempt and crossed the line fifth. Post-race Harris was slapped with a 5s penalty that dropped him behind Woods and Formosa. Garry O’Brien


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KYE IS KINGAROY KING

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Image: Richard Hathaway

Image: 44Photography

KYE WALTERS has been duly rewarded for his extensive race travel in the 2018-19 season and with his first Australian Modified Sedan Title at Kingaroy Speedway. The 21-year-old Torquay resident, who has been to nearly every state to compete since last October, capped off a remarkable few months with the ultimate prize in the very popular sedan class. His recent win adds to a stellar season of racing which includes five series victories in the Victorian Modified Production Association, along with the Tasmanian Modified Sedan Title crown. Walters’ campaign got off to a disastrous start when he was involved in an incident in his opening heat and with nowhere to go his AU Ford Falcon ended up with a broken suspension arm. “I thought our weekend was done for sure after the first heat, the car looked super bad but it was lucky that it looked worse than what it was,” Walters said. “I knew I had to win the heats but you can’t get desperate for it either as you usually end up in worse shape.” Of the 95 entrants he was 12th in overall points after night one and would come from eighth on the grid for the 40-lap decider.

Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters was the polesitter and defending champion and started well, until Brodie Boss took the lead on lap three, with the pair then being joined by Aidan Raymont in a three-way battle. For Waters there would be no consecutive win when he had to retire the brand new Shore Family Racing Ford Falcon AU with electrical issue and broken steering bolt late in the race. While it was all over for the Supercars star, Boss also hit trouble while leading with a spark plug lead hanging off, Raymont trying everything to pass him. A stoppage on lap 17 allowed Kye Walters to enter the picture, moving to second and then four laps later he hit the lead. Boss eventually succumbed to Raymont’s continual attempts to pass in a thrilling race and then hounded Walters throughout the final 10 laps. Walters showed why he’s one of Australia’s best Speedway competitors and crossed the line first, going one placing better than last year. “I got no words. It was awesome. I’m just speechless,” Walters said.

IT WAS a brilliant flag-to-flag drive in a near perfect night’s racing that has helped Steven Ellement win the 37th annual Bunny Burrowes Memorial for Formula 500s at Narrogin Speedway in Western Australia. The current WA champion led all 20 laps from pole position to record a comfortable win from Cody Turacchio and Luke Nardini. Image: Rock Solid Pics

Image: Gary Reid

NATHAN CAMILLERI has broken through to win his biggest race with an easy victory in the 2018/2019 Australian Legend Car Championship. Camilleri, 32, has been the form driver of the class this season and withstood the many challenges and race stoppages to lead all 25 laps, taking the win from Rob Rawlings in second place and Glenn Mitchell filling the final spot on the podium. The Sydneysider recently also wrapped up the Race to the USA Championship point standings and improved on his previous best Australian Title finish of third in the inaugural running of the event back in 2017. TODD MOULE rounded out a strong season with victory in the 2019 Victorian Junior Sedan Title at Western Speedway in Hamilton. Moule led the points during the two nights and grabbed pole position for the 25-lap final. He proved too good and won from Kasey Garlick, who started ninth, and finished second ahead of Mitch Glynn, Ben Micallef and Darcy Micallef.

Image: Gary Reid

Image: Gary Reid

SPEEDCAR HISTORY IN SYDNEY

PYNE CLAIMS EASTERNAPOLIS

KAIDON BROWN has followed in the tyre tracks of his famous father and created a significant slice of family history in winning the 2019 NSW Speedcar Championship. With this $5000 victory he replicates the success of father Mark, who won the NSW title in 2007 and 2009. It is the first time in the 77-year history of the race that a father and son have their names on the state title Roll of Honour as winners. The only other occasion there has been a family connection was when Glenn Revell won in 1994 at the Newcastle Motordrome, emulating his illustrious grandfather Ray Revell, the 1947, ‘49 and ‘50 NSW title winner. Brown, 18, of Glendenning in NSW raced home first from Matt Smith and an elated Troy Jenkins, to grab his fourth consecutive main event win of the season. A WEEK later at the same venue New Zealand superstar Michael Pickens and the Sirrom Racing team were jubilant in the Speedcar 50-lapper. Pickens pocketed a cool $13,200 and became the most successful driver in the event, with an unmatched six career victories. Pickens raced from 18th on the grid and took over the lead on lap 12, winning from the man who started alongside him - Newcastle’s Matt Smith - with flying Kiwi Leon Burgess in third. “What a way to finish the season,” Pickens said. “I can’t thank Brett and Chris Morris enough for the opportunity to run their car, crew chief Justin Insley and Steve Warrington for lending a hand, we had an absolute rocket ship in the A-Main tonight.”

ORGANISERS OF the richest, single-night Late Model event in Australia are keen to repeat the event in 2020 after the success of the inaugural event. The rich $25,000 Easternapolis held at Valvoline Raceway was taken out by Clayton Pyne after a tense late-race battle with 2017 Australian Champion Callum Harper. Pyne and Harper had contact in lapped traffic that saw the Tasmanian’s car out of the race. Race officials deemed the contact a ‘racing incident’ and Pyne returned to the lead position as Harper’s car was towed from the circuit with damage. In one of the busiest Late Model races seen at the venue, the 40-lap feature race would go right down to the wire in the battle for the final podium position, as Pyne managed to evade the clutches of second-placed Darryl Grimson. He tried numerous times to steer by Pyne but the advances of Ryan Fenech and Victorian Cameron Pearson in dense lapped traffic, made it a difficult proposition. Pyne had earlier in the night set quickest time in qualifying and won his heat race, starting on the front row with the equally quick Pearson. 2018 Australian Champion Darren Kane locked down a top-five finish with fourth place ahead of the vastly improved Lachlan Onley in fifth. A final corner incident saw Fenech and Grimson get together, with Pearson also running out of options and sliding into the melee. Grimson had much to play for with a narrow one point lead over Nathan Disney in the 2018/19 NSW points championship and although Grimson’s car was wrecked at the end, he had amassed enough points to win the title.

QUEENSLAND COMPACT Speedcar Club trialled a new and unique way to crown its national champion, running at two different tracks on the same weekend. The opening night at Lismore Speedway staged the first leg and Robbie Stewart triumphed. The teams then moved on to Toowoomba Speedway to combine the Queensland State Title with night two of national championship, and Bodie Smith collected two heat wins and won the final, to become the youngest driver to win the Queensland Title and the CSA championship. MULTIPLE AUSTRALIAN Formula 500 champion Liam Williams has added another major win to his decorated career with victory in the 2019 Queensland title at Maryborough Speedway. With two heat wins and a second gave Williams pole position for the feature and he was unstoppable in the Jim Muir-owned machine, breaking the one lap record and winning from Kaydon Iverson and James Kennedy.

Image: 44Photography

MATT NELSON had a perfect night and led all 40 laps to win the Queensland Street Stock Title at Toowoomba Speedway. He won his three heats, started from pole position for the feature and was never headed, leading home fellow Victorians Lenny Bates and Jamie Lock. Travis Hutchison set a new track record of 16.391seconds, lowering the old mark by over half a second, with a total of nine drivers going under the old lap record time on an extremely fast race track.

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p ra w S L NATIONA

Paul Kate PPa ul Stokell aand nd Kat te CCatford atford we were r among the leaders from the start, but powered to the front when the rains came on day four.

STOKELL TAKES MEMORABLE TARGA TASMANIA PAUL STOKELL and Kate Catford won a dramatic 2019 edition of the Targa Tasmania, held April 29- May 4. The 28th running of the classic road event featured many twists and turns over its 33 stages covered in the six days, with rain adding extra challenges for the 265 entries. The first day featured three short stages after which the field remained closely bunched at the conclusion of a trouble free leg. Steve Glenney and Dennis Sims (Lotus Exige 350) held a mere 1s advantage from the Dodge Viper driven by Jason and John White. Stokell and Catford sat equal third, with Matt Close and Cameron Reeves a further 1s behind. The second day did not run as smoothly for defending Targa Tasmania winners the Whites, who received a 10-minute penalty for arriving late into the lunch stop. This was due to a crank angle sensor melting, the penalty demoting the pair to 87th. This left Glenney and Sims 24s clear of Close and Reeves in their Porsche GT3 RS at the conclusion of Day 2, while placed third were Michael Pritchard and his co-driver Gary Mourant in another Porsche GT3 RS, a further 30s in arrears, while Stokell and Catford were just over a minute behind. Day 3 was looking relatively trouble free until the penultimate stage when leader Glenney fired off the road and into the trees, just 600m from the end of the stage. The mistake meant Glenney and Sims retired from the rally, leaving Close and Reeves with a 44s lead over Pritchard and

Mourant at the conclusion of the third day. Stokell and Catford finished Day 3 in third, 55s off the leaders, but the tables turned when rain engulfed the event on the fourth day. Stokell powered to a 57s lead with his lighter Lotus better suited to the conditions compared to the Porsche opposition. Pritchard and Mourant sat second at Matt Close and Cameron Reeves led after the third day but the rain the start of the day, but by the blunted their challenge, as did transmission woes. end of the morning leg the duo had fallen out of contention after roads that were so slippery that you could hardly sliding into a barrier. stay on them, to high grip, high speed stuff and Further on during the day, rally leaders Close you’ve got to adapt pretty quickly.” and Reeves experienced electronic glitches in the The Shannons Classic GT class was won by transmission, which dropped the pair into a distant Michael and Daniel Bray (1975 Holden Torana), who second. had a close fought battle with Mick Downey and It was wet again on Day 5, further playing into Nicholas Browne (1979 Holden Commodore VB) the hands of Stokell as he continued to extend throughout the rally. his lead to 2m 15s ahead of Angus Kennard and After the lead was shared between the two teams Ian Wheeler (Nissan GTR R35), while Close and throughout the opening four-days, Downey and Reeves fell to third. Browne extended their lead to 2m 33s heading into The final day was the least uneventful of the the final day. competition as Stokell and Catford guided their However, the Classic GT rally leaders were dealt Lotus to a 2m 51s victory over GT4 Class winners a blow when they were given a 15-minute penalty, Kennard and Wheeler, while Close and Reeves ruling them out of contention and leaving the Bray slotted onto the last place on the podium, also pair with a five-minute lead. taking second in GT2 class. Jon and Gina Siddins (1970 Datsun 240Z) pushed “I’ve always called Targa Tasmania the hardest hard and cut the gap down to 2m 49s, but the event I’ve ever done,” said Stokell. margin proved too great, while Downey and Browne “The conditions we had - we went from icy recovered to round out the podium results.

CLASS WINNERS Outright Paul Stokell/Kate Catford (Lotus Exige 350) Dutton Garage GT2 Paul Stokell/Kate Catford (Lotus Exige 350) Classic Throttle Shop GT4 Angus Kennard/Ian Wheeler (Nissan GTR R35) Shannons Classic GT Michael Bray/Daniel Bray (1975 Holden Torana) Shannons Classic Nik Prieston/Dylan Braithwaite (1975 Fiat 131 Abarth Rallye) Dutton Garage Early Modern Guy Lilleyman/John Lilleyman (2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) Country Club GT Sports Trophy Steven Sher/Fergal Murphy (Lotus Exige) Shannons Thoroughbred Trophy Tyson Cowie/Celise Cowie (Ford Escort Mk1) Budget TSD Trophy Darryl Marshall/Peter Marshall (2002 Ford Falcon Pursuit Ute) Spirit of Tasmania Rookie Rallye Kristian Downing/Richard Woodman (Subaru WRX STI)

Mick Downey and Nicholas Browne fought for the Classic GT win until a penalty on the last day.

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LLocal Lo oca ccaal Harr HHarry Ha arrrry Ba Bates ate tes tes know kn ows tth he Ca anber nbber e raa knows the Canberra st tages ages ag es llike iikke no no oother, tthher er,, stages aan nd itt sshowed howe ho owe wedd inn hhis is and dominance.

BATES CRUISES TO CANBERRA WIN

HARRY BATES and John McCarthy have extended their Australian Rally Championship lead, the Toyota Gazoo Racing pairing taking seven out of the eight stages to win the National Capital Rally in Canberra on the weekend. Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read put a difficult first round behind them to take second position in both heats and claim the other single stage victory in their Subaru. Bates took the honours in the Heat 1, claiming three of the four stage victories, Taylor’s strong fight back in the final stage not enough to catch the Toyota Yaris. Bates won the first heat by 15s from Taylor with Mick Patton and Bernie Webb rounding out the top three in their Mitsubishi Evo X. After a strong opening round of the season the local Canberra event was a bad one for Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, when they rolled out of the first heat, the Toyota team unable to repair the car in time the second heat. Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston struggled in the opening heat due to technical issues, but despite this the pair were still able to pick up vital championship points, and did so again

with the issue repaired for Heat 2. Bates won all four stages in the final heat and this gave him the extra point for taking the most stage victories during the round. Molly Taylor again drove strongly to finish second, while Clarke and Preston recovered from their Heat 1 difficulties to finish third in their Evo 9. Bates and McCarthy stood on the top step for the round, the pair happy with their day’s work.

Mick Patton was third overall after a stron pair of heats.

Molly Taylor prevented Harry Bates from a clean sweep over every stage over both heats.

“Very pleased, I don’t think you could ask for much more than that,” Bates said. “It was a tough day, this event threw a lot at us. We managed to get through and come out on top. Seven out of eight stage wins sounds pretty good on paper. Maybe next time we can go one better and get them all.” Taylor and Read finished second for the round with Patton and Webb third, after the pair finished the second heat just off the podium in fourth.

Bates and McCarthy now hold a comfortable championship lead over Taylor and Read, who jumped from fifth into second position on the ladder. The next round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship takes place in Tasmania from June 21-23. Points: H. Bates/McCarthy 142, Taylor/Read 98, Anear/Glenney 71, L. Bates/McLoughlin 68, Wilde/Kirkhouse 52, Windus/Brick 52.

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Image taken by Angryman Photography of S.Glenney & A. Sarandis at Targa Tasmania Riana 2018.

Contact Buckby Motorsport Nathan Woolley 0457 634 374 | parts@buckbymotors.com.au

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NATIONALS wrap n compiled by garry o’brie

KB SPECIAL GUEST AT HISTORICS TWICE AUSTRALIAN Driver’s Champion Kevin Bartlett was one of the special guests at this year’s Mallala Autumn Historic on 27-28 April. He was the guest speaker at the Sporting Car Club’s dinner and then reunited with fellow Formula 5000 competitor John Walker at the race circuit. There was also a tribute to the late Bruce Hartwig, constructor of a number of Group K historic racing cars, with a fly-over of historic aircraft, honouring his connection to aviation.

GROUPS O, Q & R

ANDREW MAKIN (March Formula Atlantic) proved to be fastest, winning all four encounters over Noel Clark (F2 Elfin 700). Sean Whelan (Brabham BT30) and Laurie Bennett (Elfin 600) shared thirds in their Group O cars.

Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) leads Adrian Ackhurst (Lola T332C) in F5000, while Simon Podlewski (Mercedes-Chev) heads Luigi DeLuca (Charger) in Sports Sedans.

GROUPS J, K, L & M

IN ALL encounters, Colin Haste (ex-Bartlett Brabham BT2) headed Kim Shearn (Lotus 18 Formula Junior). Richard Nitschke (Elfin Catalina FJ) completed the top three each time, having fought off Bill Hemming in a similar Elfin and Bob Schapel (Group L MG TC Special). Sunday’s first race was also the D G Fraser Memorial for Group K with Michael Shearer (Ford A Special) easily taking the win over Chris Frost (Hartwig Fargo).

FORMULA 5000s

A PERMIT mix-up meant the F5000s competed in a Supersprint format with just five on track, after Peter Brennan (Lola T330) suffered a suspected dropped valve in practice. Despite a spin in Sunday’s opener, Adrian Ackhurst (Lola T332C) was fastest in the first three outings ahead of Dean Camm (Chevron B24), with Bill

Hemming (Elfin MR8) and Jay Bondoni (Lola T332) sharing thirds. Camm went quickest in the final ahead of Ackhurst and Paul Zazryn in the Bondoni Lola, the latter having a spin coming out of the Southern Hairpin.

GROUP S PRODUCTION SPORTS

SETTING THE pace were Michael Byrne (Lotus 7 S4) and James Calvert-Jones (Porsche 911 Carrera) as they cleared out from Tom Walstab (Porsche 928) in the opener. In the second, Byrne retired with a loose balance bar before Calvert-

Image: JS Motorsport

ANOTHER BLOW FOR ARB OFF ROAD THERE HAS been more bad news for the ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship competitors, following the cancellation of the opening round with the second round also now cancelled. Around a month and a half ago the Sunraysia 400, which was scheduled to run on April 21-23, would not go ahead and now it has been announced that the Mallee Rally has also been abandoned. The Sunraysia Motorsports Club made its decision due to concerns for competitor safety and the preservation of Keera Station. The venue for the event has had just 15mm of rain in the last 12 months, whereas normally it is over 200mm. The opening round of the

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championship was thus due to be the Sea Lake Mallee Rally on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend of June 7-9, however a club statement said that they’d run out of time to make it happen. It had attempted to navigate through the complicated legislation but now owed it to the club, sponsors and competitors to make the hard call. The ARB Town and Country Tyres Stackpoole 400 will be the first of a reduced three-round ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship on July 6-7. Goondiwindi on August 16-18 follows as Round 2 and the shortened championship will culminate on September 20-22 at Millicent. GOB

Jones was black-flagged for spillage from an overfilled oil tank. Adriano Dimauro (Alfa Romeo 105) won from Walstab and Peter Hillman (Alfa Romeo GTV). Coming though from the rear of the grid on Sunday, Calvert-Jones and Byrne finished first and second as Dimauro was third – the trio completed the final in the same order.

SPORTS SEDANS

WATCHED BY the original driver, Simon Podlewski in the ex-Bryan Thomson Mercedes Benz 450 SLC was fastest in the first outing,

COOPER’S CREATION REMEMBERED THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY of South Australian racing car manufacturer Elfin was celebrated in its home state on April 29-30, following the Mallala Autumn Historic. A dinner in the Skyline Room at Rydges Pit Lane Hotel at The Bend Motorsport Park on Monday attracted over 90 Elfin enthusiasts and owners, as well as current and former drivers. The late Garrie Cooper built a total of 248 racing cars over 27 models in his small Edwardstown factory before he passed away, aged only 46, in 1983. Elfin was the second-largest manufacturer of racing cars in the world in the late 60s to early 70s, the cars winning a total of 22 Australian and seven overseas titles, four of them by Cooper himself. His widow Lorraine, who had been the patron of the Elfin Owners and Drivers Club, unfortunately also passed away three years ago. However, their daughter Julie and son Steve were in attendance at the function. Former and current Elfin racers Kevin Bartlett, Bryan

with Simon Pfitzner (Datsun Stanza) and Luigi DeLuca (ex-Clem Smith Valiant Charger) second and third. Podlewski repeated the feat in the second, with DeLuca second again ahead of Bruce Combe (triple-rotor Mazda RX7). Pfitzner then went fastest in the third, from Miles Bond (ex-Mick Monterosso Ford Escort) and Combe. Bradley DeLuca (Ford Anglia Rotary) took the final, ahead of uncle Luigi (the Anglia’s original pilot) with Podlewski third.

GROUP N HISTORIC TOURING CARS

IT WAS Toranas all the way between XU-1s driven by Brett Munns and Greg Pfitzner, with the latter slipping through late for a narrow race one win. Kym Burton (Ford Falcon GT) finished third ahead of Tasmanian Lachlan Thomas (Ford Escort).

Image: John Lemm

Thomson, Vern Schuppan, Bill Hemming, Stuart Kostera, Ron Guppy, Phil Moore, Henry Michell, Laurie Bennett, Malcolm Ramsay and Peter Ffrench, along with others with a connection to the marque, were interviewed by Graham Boulter. A track day on the International Circuit followed the next morning, with 19 Elfins joined by club members Max Brunninghausen (Chevron), Nigel Tait (Lolita) and Max Pegram (Gemini FJ). Malcolm Ramsay was reunited with his first Elfin 300, now owned by Richard Nitschke. Circuit owner Sam Shahin, in an Elfin MR8 Formula 5000 which was raced by Cooper, Larry Perkins and Frenchman Didier Pironi, set the fastest open-wheeler and outright time of 2mins 3.607s, ahead of Bennett (Elfin 600B). Trevor Lambert (Elfin ME5) was the fastest Sports Car with a 2mins 17.373s lap ahead of Mark Goldsmith (Elfin 400 Cobra). John Lemm


Image: Track Action Photography

THE WRAITH OF DEAN TIGHE

Brett Munns fought a lively battle with Greg Pfitzner for Group N honours. Images: David Batchelor & John Lemm. Pfitzner led initially in the second encounter until a diff failure which left Munns well clear of Burton and Thomas. Pfitzner was back for Sunday, slicing through to finish a close second to Munns in race three. Burton was third ahead of Adam Smith (Falcon). Munns and Pfitzner fought all the way in the final, finishing in that order ahead of Burton.

FORMULA FORDS

A SPIN at the Northern Hairpin on the second lap didn’t prevent Neil Richardson (Van Diemen RF89) from winning the opening race. Phil Oakes (Elfin 600) led before gear selector problems. Richardson came back to beat Robert Surman (RF87) with David Brennan (Swift SE88) third. Richardson went on to untroubled wins in the following races, from Surman and Oakes in the next, then Sean Mullins (RF86) and Brennan in the third and Mullins and Surman in the final.

SUPERSPRINTS

THREE WINS went to Brett Sunstrom (Porsche 911 RSR) and one for Max Brunninghausen (Chevron B8), with Richard Wright (Elfin Clubman) and Michael Henderson (Mawer Clubman) sharing thirds. John Lemm

300 CAME DOWN TO STOPS PITSTOP TIMING proved crucial in the Wakefield 300, where Brendon Scotter and Greg Boyle gambled and won by over a lap on May 5. In their Class B Mazda RX7 they were over a lap ahead of Jimmy Tran and Drew Hall (Honda Civic), while a further lap away was Terry Denovan who drove his Holden Commodore solo. The 13th running of the Wakefield Park 137-lap event was completed in a record time of 2hrs 43min 20.35s and had just the one safety car. It was that period that really determined the race. The Class A cars had set the pace but had to undertake two compulsory pitstops of 5mins and 2.5 mins – the other classes had just the one 5min stop. The Adam Hargraves/Daniel Jilesen Lotus Exige led from lap two to 11 and then retired with a broken tie rod. After leading the opening lap, the Matt Longhurst/Benny Tran Honda Integra took over on lap 12. But handling issues meant it was never going to gain enough of a gap to compensate for their second stop. Plus a late rear wheel drama put it right out of calculations. The Tran/Hall Honda Civic, along with many others, elected to pit when the

Image: Sportzfotos

FIRSTS FOR FERN THREE DIFFERENT race winners have ensured that the 2919 Super Truck Racing National Series is going to be a tight one. Out of the May 4-5 weekend at Wakefield Park, Robert Fern not only nabbed his first championship race win but also the round overall. Shannon Smith (Kenworth T900) started off by getting past six-time title holder Steven Zammit (Kenworth T401) on the last lap for a first-up win. Fern (Volvo White) was third while Barry Butwell (Mack Superliner) had a race plagued with spins from a fractured fuel line putting diesel on the rear wheels. Marcus Prillwitz (Mack) was fifth while Anthony Tringali (International Transtar) was a non-finisher. The Isuzu SBR of Lachlan Fern was a pre-race casualty where a broken fuel rack caused a big rev and smashed the rocker gear and valves. Smith won race two, barely holding out Robert Fern. Third went to Brett Dalglish who

took over from Zammit, who was otherwise committed for the rest of the meeting. Prillwitz and Tringali were next while Butwell’s Mack had a broken accelerator return spring, meaning he had to drive it on the brakes for as long as possible belching metre-long flames. Race three went to Prillwitz who overcame the challenge from Fern. Butwell jumped to third from the back before again striking problems and retiring. Try as he might Smith couldn’t get past Tringali and had to settle for fifth. In the last race, Prillwitz led lap one and then Fern went onto victory. Prillwitz and Smith indulged in a battle for second until a clash at turn 9 caused Smith to spin. Prillwitz continued in second until pipped on the line by Dalglish. Smith recovered for fourth and finished second for the round, also taking the overall points in the Teams’ races. GOB

Image: Sportzfotos

safety car appeared for the stranded Paul Stanbrook/Jeff Barnes BMW. It was well short of half distance and Scotter and Boyle elected to stay out until lap 68, to alleviate fuel concerns. The Tran/Hall Civic made a second stop for fuel and had a tyre delamination later. Fourth went to Nick Cox and Adam Gosling, their BMW M3 also the winner of Class C, while Class D went to father and son Trevor and James Keene (BMW Cooper S) as they crossed the line eighth. Class E was taken out by Matt Shylan and Adam Hughes (BMW 318is).

SERIES X3

WITH TWO race wins and a second, Wil Longmore won the second round and extended his series lead. Jackson Noakes was second overall with a fourth, third and second to maintain his second in the points.

Noakes was the fastest in qualifying but it was Paul Quinn who led race one until passed by Longmore. In a tight battle for third, Noakes was fourth behind Jessica Martin as behind Ben Crossland, Dean O’Neill edged out Chad Nicholson. Quinn tore away to easily take race two ahead of Longmore and Noakes. Crossland was fourth from Martin, Adam Bryant and O’Neill. Quinn also looked to have race three in his keeping until spearing off at turn four on oil left when Bryant went off there earlier. Later Brian Sciberras lost his engine at turn eight which caught out Martin and Crossland, who were second and fourth at the time. Longmore finished well clear as Noakes and O’Neill filled the minors. Lachlan Ward was next ahead of Martin and Crossland.

FORMULA VEES

IT APPEARED to be a formality to begin with after Mathew Pearce easily won the

first race from Simon Duffy, Leigh Porter and Keith Brough – all racing Jacers – Geoff Bassingthwaigh (Thomsen) and Tom Charlton (Mako). Pearce was beaten away in race two by Duffy but soon regathered the lead as the two diced over the ensuing laps. Later Porter took over the challenge, leading briefly before taking second behind Pearce and ahead of Duffy, Charlton, William Pym (Evolution) and Bassingthwaigh. In the third race, there were several leaders, Porter initially before Pearce and Duffy had turns. From well back Angus McDonald (Jacer) brought himself into the scrap, but had a hiccup at turn two on the final lap, finishing seventh as Pearce won ahead of Duffy, Porter, Brough and Bassingthwaigh.

LEGEND CARS

OVER THE three races of round two, James Burge was unbeaten. He led the first all way with Ben Jagger just behind while Rick Christy was a lonely third. Reagan Angel was fourth until the final lap where he slipped to ninth, allowing Lachlan Ward to edge out Brendan Hourigan and Stephen Chilby. Angel led the reverse grid second race until passed by Burge. Jagger also got by to secure second as Ward came in ahead of Christy and Chilby. Burge’s task was made easier in the last when Jagger spun on the opening lap. The latter did fight back to finish a distant second ahead of Angel, Christy and Ward. GOB

IN A bid to win an Australian Hillclimb Championship and topple current kingpin Malcolm Oastler, Dean Tighe has looked to England to source a car that will do the job. Tighe currently campaigns an ex-Formula 3 Dallara fitted with a Formula 1 Judd V8 and has now negotiated with Empire Racing Cars to purchase and compete in one of its creations. Oastler and his turbocharged Hayabusa-powered OMS 28, have netted four national and numerous state titles. Tighe has now ordered one of Empire’s flagship models, the Wraith, in which he will compete in at events in his home state of Queensland and NSW. But first he will take in a couple of British Hillclimb Championship rounds later in the European summer to acclimatise himself with the car. Then Tighe will bring the car back to Australia, in the hope of tackling the Australian Hillclimb Championship at Mt Panorama on the first weekend of November. Depending on the powertrain chosen, the Wraith can weigh as little as 300kg, is a full carbon fibre monocoque chassis with a carbon nose cone, aerofoils, undertray and bodywork. The suspension features steel wishbones, pushrods and track arms with aluminium uprights, hubs, mono shock technology and Brembo monoblock brakes. The rules in Australia differ slightly to those in the UK, so more aero testing will be undertaken in order to make the most of any aerodynamic advantage possible. Empire has experienced motorsport aerodynamicist Willem Toet as a consultant. “Willem worked under Malcolm in Formula 1 and has been really helpful through this process. He would love nothing better than getting one up on Malcolm,” Tighe added. Coming out of a small countryside village in Somerset, Tighe’s Empire Wraith will be powered by a 330kW (440hp) supercharged 1600cc Hayabusa engine. GOB

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NATIONALS wrap n compiled by garry o’brie

ACTION AT THE ISLAND THE SECOND round of the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships hosted record entries at Phillip Island on May 4-5.

HYUNDAI EXCELS

IT WAS fireworks in the Hyundai Excels between frontrunners Ben Grice and Michael Clemente, but it was Grice who came out on top winning all three races. Grice came out on top over Clemente by 0.4s with Marcus Fraser in third in the weekend’s opener. The intensity increased for a drizzly Race 2 as Grice and Clemente entered the pit straight for the final time and had side-to-side contact, which sent both into a wobble. Grice managed to hold on, taking a 0.087s victory as Liam Gretgix completed the podium. Race 3 was almost identical to the previous event, Grice and Clemente exchanged positions many times throughout the 10-lap race, but on the final lap again Clemente blocked heading into MG, compromising his exit. Grice took full advantage to pull alongside on the pit straight once again to take a 0.027s win, with Caruso just behind in third. Despite not finishing a race in the top Michael Miceli headed a top Historic Touring Car field. Images: Rebecca Hind

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three, it was Nathan Blight who took the final step on the round podium.

HISTORIC TOURING CARS

Andrew McLeod had to fend off the advances of Andrew Magilton to complete a clean-sweep. DESPITE FINISHING Race 1 in third second in Race 1 ahead of John Kennedy, but Michael Miceli (Ford Mustang) fought up with the HSV through the corners, but he dropped to fourth in Race 2 as Kennedy and back to take the final two races of the accelerating out of the corners Grech-Cumbo weekend and round honours. Darren Collins pulled away as he took the round win ahead of Anthony Westaway followed Beller home. Watson headed home a five-car battle for second with (Chevrolet Camaro) won the first race and Robinson and Braune. Richard Howe taking the final podium spot. split the two Mustangs of Miceli and Darryl Hansen in Race 2. Collins was unable to FORMULA VEE keep up with Miceli and Hansen in Race 3 as JAKE ROWE was victorious in two races and SPORTS SEDANS the Mustangs duked it out for victory. Miceli was second in the other, taking out the round DEAN CAMM was unstoppable in all three Sports rebuffed Hansen’s attempts to take the lead to ahead of Heath Collinson and Nicholas Jones. In Sedan races, the Corvette driver cruising to victory win the finale, leaving Collins equal on points the usual flurry at the front Rowe defeated Reef in the first two races ahead of Francois Habib for the weekend with Hansen, with the latter McCarthy and Collinson with the top five covered (Holden VZ Commodore) and Terry Hamilton taking second due to a higher finishing spot in by a second, then Rowe backed it up in Race 2 (Holden VS Commodore). Habib pushed Camm the last race. as Collinson toppled McCarthy for second. In throughout the final race, before a mistake on the the final event, Collinson beat Rowe and Adam penultimate lap let Camm off the hook. IMPROVED PRODUCTION Slattery to the line. LUKE GRECH-CUMBO took a clean-sweep MG AND INVITED BRITISH SPORTS CARS in Improved Production, although he didn’t FORMULA FORD dominate the round. The HSV Senator driver FORMULA FORD was won by Spencer A CRASH for Ben Muller in Race 2 reduced the was pestered all weekend long by BMW pair Ackermann after he took two victories over the MG and Invited British Sports Cars action to two Nathan Robinson and Robert Braune, both course of the weekend, with Benjamin D’Alia races. Robin Bailey (MGB GT V8) was the victor rounded out the podium across each of the preventing a clean-sweep. Ackermann fended off in the first race ahead of Vincenzo Gucciardo three races. Robinson and Braune were able D’Alia and Matthew Holmes in the opener, before (MG C) and Philip Chester (MGB GT V8), but in to use the nimbleness of the BMWs to keep D’Alia flipped the script in the second, beating the second Chester headed home Gucciardo and Ackermann and Holmes. Ackermann recovered Bailey. to take the final victory with Holmes beating home D’Alia for second. Brendan Jones headed the SALOON CARS AND BMW E30S 1600 class all weekend. THERE WERE two categories combined for this round with the Saloon Cars and BMW HQS E30s sharing the track over the three races. IT WAS a clean-sweep for Andrew McLeod in the Travis Lindorff (Holden VY Commodore) took a HQs. Glen McDonald was second in the first, while clean-sweep ahead of Anthony Beare (Holden Raymond Jardine rounded out the podium in the Commodore) and David Wright (Holden VY first. The next race Andrew Magilton challenged Commodore) in Race 1. Wright improved to McLeod for much of the race, but was unable to second in the next event ahead of Ford Falcon make a pass as McDonald finished behind the driver Daniel Johnson, while Beare returned to pair. Magilton gave McLeod a run for his money the podium in the final fending off Johnson for in the last, finishing 0.2s behind with John Wise second. in third. Alex Jory finished the opening race of the BMW E30s in first and followed it up with two seconds. PORSCHE 944S Jeremy Payne finished the other two races as the CAMERON BELLER was dominant in the Porsche winner and was second in the first, while Cameron 944 series, taking out all three races across the Hudson finished third in the opener and Brian weekend, though the battle for second wasn’t Bourke completed the podium in the final two as clear cut. Lyndon Watson finished a distant races. Dan McCarthy


SOUTAR SECURES FF SECOND ROUND THE SECOND round of the Queensland Raceway’s QR Drivers Championship on May 4-5 featured round two of the Australian Formula Ford National Series, which went to Zac Soutar. On a wet track, Cody Hedge (Mygale) won race one by 6.1s over pole sitter Cody Burcher (Spectrum), with Thomas Sargent (Mygale), Liam McLellan (Spectrum) and Soutar (Mygale) very close behind. Race two produced an intense dice between Hedge, Soutar and Sargent over the entire distance, with Hedge victorious. Jake Donaldson (Spectrum) was fourth in front of Angelo Mouzouris (Mygale), Burcher and Lachlan Mineeff (Mygale). Soutar took an early lead to win race three, helped along by a tangle between Hedge and Sargent which put both out of winning calculations. Mouzouris and Mineeff benefitted as well, finishing second and third, just

0.28s apart. They were followed by Burcher, Donaldson, Cody Donald (Spectrum) and Courtney Prince (Mygale). Sargent finished eighth, enough to retain his series lead ahead of Hedge and Soutar tied for second.

PRODUCTION SPORTS CONTINUING DOMINANT form, Wayne Hennig (Porsche 997) pulled off wins in all four races at round two ,while Blake Ulyate (Mazda MX5) headed up the 2F class. Porsche drivers figured in the top four spots in every race aside from the opener, where Jeff Hume (Ginetta G50) finished second in front of Lachlan Harburg (997) and Joe Barbagallo (GT3 Cup Car). In race two Hume finished fourth behind the Porsche trio on a drying track, before suffering a fuel pump gremlin that put him out of Sunday’s races. Harburg picked up another two seconds,

Wayne Hennig was in dominant form at Queensland Raceway contesting Production Sports. Barry Taunton (GT3 Cup) a third and so too Barbagallo.

SPORTS CARS

AFTER MISSING the opening wet race, Dave Barram (Chiron) came through to win race two and go on to win the next three. Ash Lowe (Phantom) following him through to acquire second from race one winner Simon Cilento (Radical SR8). Close behind was Dave Rodgie (West WR1000), Grant Green (Radical SR3) who was second in race one, and Chris Purvis (West WX10). Lowe had to retire from race three with a flat battery but came back for a pair of thirds. Cilento was second in the three Sunday races while Purvis and Green were the next best placed.

FORMULA VEE

HE QUALIFIED fastest and scored a race win on Saturday, but Stephen Butcher (Stinger) didn’t race on Sunday. Garry Hook (Sabre) and Alex Hedemann (Rapier) were a close second and third and were also close in races three and four, taking a win each ahead of Scott Andrew (Rapier).

HQ HOLDENS Brandon Madden was unbeatable across the weekend in the HQs. Images: MTR Images.

POLE AND four race wins made for a perfect weekend for Brandon Madden. He saw off the challenge of Brad Schomberg as Ben Simpson filled

third. Joe Andriske and Nick McCloud were fourth and fifth, split by half a second. Madden took out the wet race two with Simpson shadowing him right up until the last lap. Scott Andriske was third ahead of Schomberg and McCloud. Schomberg took the fight up to Madden in the third with Simpson ahead of another tight tussle between Joe Andriske and McCloud. The last produced the same result.

SUPERKARTS

IN FIVE races Tim Weier (Anderson Maverick) was unbeaten. He also took out 250 National where class rivals Lachlan Crisp (Anderson Mirage), John La Spina (PVP) and Mark Maczek (PVP) each had seconds. In the end it was La Spina second overall in the National class despite a first race crash and a broken gear selector later. Crisp was third in the end after a hose clamp came adrift in race two. Brian Wild (PVP Superkart) was the best of 250 Internationals ahead of Maczek and Michael Nicholas (Stockman). Jon Bothamely (Formula 1) scored a succession of 125cc firsts ahead of Alex Hussey (Stockman) and Keith Taylor (Anderson Maverick). Peter Nuske (Woodgate Racing) and Nick Marshall (Arrow) took 125 TAG Light and Heavy respectively. Garry O’Brien

Zac Soutar led the way in the rain, picking up the round win in the National Formula Ford Series.

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OASTLER TAKES ANOTHER ROUND AT THE halfway mark of the NSW Hillclimb Championship, Malcolm Oastler maintain his perfect winning score when he took out round four at Mt Cooperabung, Kempsey on May 5. Oastler (turbocharged Hayabusa-powered OMS 28) was again surgically precise, not only taking outright but also the Formula Libre over 2.0-litre class and set a new course record of 22.313s. Also under the old outright benchmark but 0.6s slower was Dean Tighe (Dallara/Judd V8) who placed second ahead of Darren Read (Haywood 09), who nabbed the Formula Libre under 2.0-litre class win and run record. Behind fourth placed Ron Hay (Synergy Dallara) was Dave Morrow, who took his Krygger Suzuki to the Formula Libre under 1300cc class win. Best of the tin tops was sixth placed James Pearson (Mazda RX7) with a new 2B Marque Sports class record, ahead of Wane Penrose (VW Bug Sports Sedan) and David Isaacs in his Time Attack AWD Mitsubishi EVO V. Robert Bell was ninth in his Creagh Twinnie Formula Libre. Completing the top 10 was Daryl Small, but unfortunately he came to grief on the final corner on one of his runs, hit the earth-filled tyre wall and rolled his Holden VL Commodore Sports Sedan. The Fastest Lady was Karen Wilson (Ford Focus) and the Junior honours went to Riley MacQueen (Holden Commodore). Meanwhile Steve Purdy (Nota Clubman) reset the Group Q Historic Sports & Racing that was set by Morrow eight years ago in a Seco Clm. Ron Gallagher (Toyota 86) eclipsed the previous best in 2F Prod Sports over 1600cc. James Pearson

Image: Bill Pearson

MARTIN HOT IN THE COLD

Image: James Lonergan

LONERGAN BEATS BENDER AT BASKERVILLE

WHILE IT was James Lonergan who won round two of the Tasmanian Hillclimb Cup at Baskerville on April 28, Rod Bender extended his series lead with third outright. Lonergan started his season on a high with the quickest outright time of 45.406s in his Nissan Skyline on his fourth run. First-round winner Bender (VW Golf GTR) was third fastest and second in class to maintain a two-point gap over Gary Van Der Drift (Nissan 200SX) in the series. Round one runner-up Van Der Drift wasn’t able to emulate his season opening result, finishing eighth outright, but more importantly won his class, earning enough points to remain in the series second overall. The event was conducted over the circuit’s long configuration and attracted a big field of 43 starters, with the majority getting six runs. Nathan Oliver (Mazda RX8) drove superbly to finish

second outright, only 0.3s slower than Lonergan, but also finished first in class, rocketing him from 11th in the series to third overall, and only a handful of points behind Van Der Drift. Reigning outright Tasmanian champion Rob McIntyre (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) didn’t contest the opening round, but was back in action with a fourth outright and third in class. Bart Dove (BMW 335i) posted the fifth fastest time, with Sheridan Budsworth (Nissan Skyline) marginally slower in her second consecutive top 10 result and third in class, to move her into fourth overall in the series. Other class winners on the day included Frank Mezzatesa (Westfield), Richard Thimm (Mazda 3), Jordan Howlett (Toyota Corolla), Ayrton Richardson (Toyota Corolla), and Aaron Bugeja (Toyota Starlet GT). Martin Agatyn

Image: Elgee

BRAVING THE coldest and wettest hillclimb of the year, Garry Martin (Martin a16) took the lead in the Trydel Up & Go Victorian Championship, after winning the fourth round at Bryant Park on April 28. It looked like the Formula Libres would be literally left out in the cold. All were on slicks and none were in outright contention until a brief dry spell. That allowed a few to get a relatively dry run before the rain returned. Mike Barker (Hayward 06) was second outright 1.6s in arrears and dropped to second in the championship, by one point. The Minahan brothers were third and fourth in their Hayward 07, with Bruce well ahead of Peter who encountered a wetter track. Fastest of the tin tops was Tim Boyd (Mazda RX7), fifth outright, and he maintained a good lead in his class championship while Daniel Leitner

(Subaru Impreza WRX 4WD) was the fastest nonlog book entry . . . and was in the running for FTD until the track dried! Seventh place went to Jim McNiven, who showed up all the 4WDs when he took an early lead in his 1984 Toyota Corolla and this performance moved him to the lead in his class. Three of the top five drivers were in Haywards and South Australia’s Michael Bishop had hopes of joining them with his 019. But they were dashed when he just missed the dry runs and finished 16th. Georgia Hooper (Chimeara) was fastest female, the only one brave/silly enough go out in an open car in the rain, and was also slowest outright. Despite the conditions and some close calls, the only incident was when Steven Buffinton (Westfield Clubman) crashed after he had already won his class. Gary Hill

“Coming up at the nation’s action and spectator tracks” Wakefield Park

www.wakefieldpark.com.au May 18 Track Day Club May 19 Revolution Motorsport May 22 WPM Trackschool Track Day May 23 Community Event May 24 CAMS State – Test & Tune Day

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Winton

www.wintonraceway.com.au

May 17-19 Historic Winton May 24-26 Supercars Championship May 31 Test & Tune – Cars & Open Wheelers June 1 Track for Days June 2 Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia (AROCA)


HARPAS CONTINUES SUPERKART SUCCESS AT THE BEND. Image: Elgee

HISTORICS AT HISTORIC VENUE AT THE the annual Victorian Historic Racing Register Rob Roy Hillclimb on May 5, Mathew Scott was fastest Historic with a 24.44s in the Elgarem Jaguar that he shared with owner Conor Ryan The latter was over 2s slower in taking second in Group M. Ryan also competed for the first time in Jim Russell’s “Testa Piatta” Ford Special, taking the Group K class win and fourth fastest Historic. Second outright Historic went to Shane Bowden (Caterham 7) ahead of Dick O’Keefe (Lotus Photon), while Russ Mead completed the top five in his 105E Ford Anglia Competitors were treated to a cold but dry track and they had the opportunity to take seven runs up the hill. Junior drivers featured strongly with the VHRR making efforts to encourage a new generation of historic racers. Ashley Hunter took a class second in MG ZR the she shares with her father Adrian and also

won the Fastest Female trophy. Juniors Declan Foo and Josh Lowing took first and second in Invited Racing up to 1500cc in their shared Daveric Vee, with 14-year-old Lowing also collecting the VHRR Rob Roy Hillclimb Encouragement Award. Competing in the Invited Touring Cars but not included in the historic results was Col Hunter (Subaru Impreza WRX) who set a 23.62 to show what a modern 4WD can do. Mike Barker, who is currently second in the Victorian Hillclimb Vhampionship, demonstrated his Hayward 07 at 20.38s contrasting the latest hillclimb cars to the historic machines. This event was also round one of the three-round Rob Roy Triple Cup series where three clubs are awarded points for both the number of entries and class positions. The VHRR has taken a huge lead with their 19 entries scoring points in eight classes, to be 133 ahead of the MG Car Club and the Victorian Sports Car Club. Gary Hill

THE OPENING round of the 2019 Superkarts Australia National Championships took place at The Bend Motorsport Park on May 4-5.

Defending 250 International Champion Ilya Harpas continued his run of form to seal the round victory ahead of Gary Pegoraro and Matt Bass. However it was Jordie Ford who proved quickest all weekend, setting an impressive 1m 47.249s lap time. The 250 National Class was taken out by John Dunn, who headed John Pellicano and Peter Kaye, while 14-year-old Blake Purdie was the last one standing in the 125 Gearbox Class after Lee Vella and Nick Schembri took two wins each, before failing to finish the final two races. Aaron Cogger finished second ahead of reigning champion Paul Campbell. Jim Gorman was the final class winner in the Stock Honda division. Words & images: Yiani Harpas

Image: David Batchelor

JAMES BOYS TAKE PARILLA MAKING THE journey from Dareton worthwhile, Aaron and Tanner James took top honours in the Symons-Clark Logistics Richard Bennett Memorial Enduro off road event at Parilla on May 4-5. The New South Welshmen led the SA Multi Club Off Road Series second round from start to finish in their Pro Buggy Alumi Craft/Ford, finishing 10 minutes clear of Chris and Colin Johnson (ProLite Custom/ Nissan) with a well-deserved podium after missing out on a good result at Loveday. Third went to John Smith and Trevor Snow in their Extreme 4WD Nissan Patrol convertible, just ahead of Jeff Loader and Barry Sullivan (Performance 2WD Nissan Navara/Chev). Loader missed out on third after dropping pace on the last couple of laps with an overheating transmission. Despite some minor issues, Mark Alvino and Jason Hannig (Sportslite Southern Cross/Mitsubishi) were next and well clear of sixth-placed Sam Daneile (Samco/Nissan). Super 1650 winners Nick and Alexander Burt

(Rivmasta/Toyota) finished seventh and clear of Simon and Lucy Tucker, having their first run in the ex-Tickner Motorsport Ratbagz/Toyota. Perri and Joe Guidolin (Superlite B Can-Am X3) were the last crew to make the full distance. Jack Rhodes and David Pullino (Jimco/Nissan) were out early on Saturday with turbo problems. Aaron and Liz Haby had turbo power in the back of the Element Prodigy/Ford Ecoboost V6 for the first time and turned some quick laps, before a small engine fire and then a loss of oil pressure put them out of the event. Brett Plant and Tom McKee (Southern Cross/ Nissan) were on the pace in the Prolite class but broke a CV as Brett Smith and family (Southern Cross/Nissan) struggled with clutch problems. Soft rollovers claimed Sam Vanstone/Larissa Jeffery (RIDS Joker/Toyota) and Mick Fraser/Jason King (Chenowth/Nissan), while James Anderson showed good speed in the Rivmasta/Nissan only to have the turbo let go. David Batchelor

Image: NQORA

FIRST ENDURO A TEAM EFFORT THE INAUGURAL Patos 7 Hour Enduro at the Milchester Motor Sports Complex at the end of last month was won by Dave Skinner and Chris Sollitt. The two teamed up in a pair of Sportslite Sollittco/Subarus to complete 26 laps of the 14km course, four more than Gordon Fletcher (UTV Polaris RZR XP 1000) and Sam Hancock (SXS Sport Polaris RZR Turbo) along with their codrivers Angela Walker and Brad Hancock. Tony Critchley (ProLite Sollittco) and Robert Turner/Jordan Bensemann (Pro Buggy Desert Dynamics) edged out Mark Bredden (Sportslite

Matrix Mk1) and Brian Bradford (Super 1650 Buggy Solitco) by a lap for third. The event was inspired by the Sporties 12 Hour in Alice Springs only five hours shorter to lessen the intensity of a first attempt. Teams were allowed one car on the track at a time, and each carried a Velcro coloured band which they swapped relay style, allowing the second car to continue. In taking the win Sollitt completed eight laps and Skinner 14, and they were only 10s short of reaching the targeted 27 laps. Garry O’Brien

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NATIONALS wrap n compiled by garry o’brie

Marius Swart won the opening round of the Queensland Rally, while Gerard McConkey was second on the road but withdrew. Images: CH Images.

PLAYING POLO IN THE WHITSUNDAYS THE FIRST round of the P3 Solutions Queensland Rally Championship was staged in Far North Queensland and saw Marius Swart and Alan Stean win Rally Whitsundays on May 4. In their VW Polo S2000, they took the lead on stage five and crossed the line 49s ahead of Gerard McConkey and Neill Woolley (Subaru Impreza WRX STi). The latter had suffered damage in stage two that required repair with a welder borrowed from a farmer. However that was deemed as outside assistance and McConkey/Woolley withdrew at the end. That elevated brothers Brayden and Blake Wilson, who had recently upgraded to a Mitsubishi EVO VI, to second while third and first 2WD went to

Craig Aggio and Megan Benson (Toyota KE30 Corolla). The championship opening round was located in and around Airlie Beach, Proserpine and Bowen, and was backed by Whitsunday Regional Council which also added huge input and preparation to the event. Fourth position went to Melinda Bergmann and Larisa Biggar (Mitsubishi EVO 9) ahead of father and daughter, Anthony and Chloe Tanzer (Subaru Impreza WRX). Achieving first in the Clubman category was Lee Williams and Grant Abrahams (Toyota Sprinter) and Michelle Van Der Wilk – with Brad Jones co-driving – debuted as a driver and won the Novice category.

Glen Brinkman and Harvey Smith (EVO 9) were fastest through stage one and retained the lead after the next, before being stopped with a broken rear control arm. After repairs they continued, scoring three more stage wins, but were no longer eligible. At that point Erik Johnsson and Matt Van Tuinen (WRX) were equal leaders with Wayne Morton and Kirra Penny (Toyota Corolla S2000). Then on the next stage the WRX suffered a blown engine before Morton/Penny arrived early into stage five and were penalised 10mins. GOB

Image: D&S Photography.

TWO ON THE TROT IN ORANGE FOR THE second year in a row, Jayke Skeffington and Mark Patroni have taken victory in the Rally of Orange, round two of the Pipe King AMSAG Southern Cross Rally Series on May 4. After winning the opening round, they crewed their Subaru Impreza WRX to seven stage wins and finished over six and half minutes ahead of Bryan van Eck and Lizzy Ferm (Toyota Altezza) and Simon and Jamieson (Mitsubishi EVO VII), who finished with identical times. The Midstate Freight Rally of Orange was based out of the Towac Park Racecourse, and conducted over nine stages, with four repeated, and covered around 177 competitive kilometres. Four-wheel-drive entries filled the top six positions with Chris and Kate Jaques (EVO VIII), final stage winners Andrew Maurer and Brett Kerr (EVO VI), and

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Peter Neal and Craig Whyburn (WRX). Seventh and first in the Classic class were Darkie Barr-Smith and Jono Forrest in their Datsun 200B, finishing in front of Riley Walters and Jeffrey Williamson (WRX) and 2WD winners, Kevin Ashby and Arron Topliff (Nissan Silvia). Placing 10th and second in Classic were Anthony and Paige Campbell (Holden Commodore). In their bid for a fifth consecutive podium finish, Ron Moore and Tom Flegl (EVO VI) posted two stage seconds as well as a win in stage five. But at the start of stage seven they suffered a driveline failure. Other prominent seeded teams among the 48 competitors to fall by the wayside included Nathan Quinn/Ray Winwood-Smith (Mazda RX2, engine), Dean Ridge/Hugh Taylor (EVO VII, driveshaft), and Jeff Davies/Dane Booker (Datsun 1600, engine). GOB

Image: John Doutch

PEART AND DAVISON WEATHER THE WET MASTERING THE muddy conditions, Aiden Peart and Darren Davison (Datsun 260Z) won the second round of the Victorian Club Rally Series, part of the Sheen Panel Service Ringwood Marysville Stages on May 4. Persistent rain which plagued the CAMS Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Championship (VRC) competitors earlier in the day, turned to heavy showers in the evening, setting up a challenging night for the 27 VCRS crews entered. Brian Newton and Ryan Price set the early pace in their Honda Civic, going fastest on the first stage, 12s clear of Ada River Rally winners Cody Richards/Matthew Dillon (Ford Escort), with Phillip and Damien Wilson (Toyota

Soarer) and Peart within striking distance. Peart went fastest on SS2 and SS3, but consistency gave Newton a slender 12s advantage at the midway point. Richards was in the mix too until he lost brakes and broke an axle on SS3. Newton’s great run came undone on SS4, dropping more than 10min. Peart clinched the remaining three stage wins to finish the night more than two minutes clear of Keith Cuttle and Cary Seabrook (Holden Commodore), with the Wilsons taking the final step on the podium. Aiden O’Halloran/Brian Portz (Mitsubishi EVO III) and Daryl King/Troy Hutchins (Toyota Corolla) completed the top five. Craig O’Brien


BOWERING/WEEDON TAKE SA’S VICTORIAN ROUND

Brought to you by:

www.racefuels.com.au

Image: Stuart Daddow A DOMINANT late stage gave Aaron Bowering and Heath Weedon victory in the South West Stages Rally, the first round of the South Australian Rally Championship on April 26-28 in the Victorian town of Heywood. They had an intense three-way battle with fellow Subaru Impreza WRX pilots Zayne Admiraal and Matthew Heywood, and Jamie Pohlner and Ken Moore, and came out on top after a thrilling final two stages. The event featured excellent stages, ranging from free-flowing fast sections to extremely tight, technical tests and everything in between. The small, but high quality field began

with a Friday night Super Special Stage on a purpose-built course before the teams headed out into the forests between Heywood and Hotspur. Admiraal took out the first of the 12 stages. Bowering responded with his own stage win, coming in 2s ahead of Admiraal to tie the lead. Pohlner split them to be just 2s behind. In the third stage, Bowering and Pohlner shared the spoils ahead of Admiraal. Bowering won the fourth stage, ahead of Pohlner and Admiraal, who had slipped to outright third behind Pohlner who hit back by winning the fifth stage. The sixth stage went to Admiraal. Pohlner had a poor stage but bounced back to grab the seventh stage

with Bowering second and continuing to build on his lead. A brilliant eighth stage from Admiraal saw him storm to top spot, just 1s ahead Bowering. The latter pair claimed a stage win each over the next two while Pohlner’s chances dwindled as he was more than 10s behind on both. Bowering won the event on the 11th stage, finishing 28s ahead of Admiraal. Kevin Millard and Adam Branford (Datsun 1600) were fourth overall and also netted the 2WD honours. Second in the class were Damian Reed and Dale Neighbour (Nissan Silvia S13) ahead of Michael Nixon and Jim McGough (Ford Escort MkII). Stuart Daddow

Image: John Doutch

SEAT SWITCH SECURES STAGES SUCCESS AFTER A troubled start to 2019, luck changed for Arron Windus and Daniel Brkic at the Sheen Panel Service Ringwood Marysville Stages on May 4, with the pair putting on a wet weather driving display to win both heats and the third round of the CAMS Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Championship. Changing from the Mitsubishi EVO X they ran in the opening rounds to the Subaru Impreza WRX that Darren Windus drove at the Forest Rally in WA, Arron Windus was unchallenged taking a comfortable victory, more

than 6mins clear. Wayne Stewart (Subaru) returned, having missed the Ada River Rally, to finish second overall with co-driver Joe Brkic, while Warren Lee and David Lethlean (EVO) rounded out the podium and elevated them to the top of the standings. Two-time Victorian Club Rally Series champion Cary Seabrook looked set to pull off an incredible second on his 4WD debut, but ran out of fuel on the final transport section, leaving him stranded within sight of the finish, registering a DNF.

Stephen Raymond took top honours in 2WD and the Fiesta Rally Series with co-driver Barry Sheridan. Adrian Stratford and Kain Manning continued their giant killing performance in their Daihatsu Charade to come home second in 2WD and sixth outright. In the Grant Walker Parts Excel Rally Series, L-plater Lochlan Reed again showed he’s got a bright future with another measured drive in difficult conditions alongside Will Murphy, to claim their second-round win and extend their series lead.

Ada River winners Luke Sytema/ Adam Wright (Ford Escort) had a weekend to forget, blowing the diff on SS4 while running second, Ross Stapleton/Peter Ellis (Nissan Silvia, gearbox), Dean Hubbert/ Doug Fernie (Ford Laser, electrical), Brian Newton/Ryan Price (Honda EG6, rear brakes), Ian Martin/ Shawn Urquhart (Subaru Spec0C, overheating) and Brett Ross/ Jason Hague (Holden Commodore, water pump) joined a long list of retirements. Craig O’Brien

Shannons Nationals Rd1, TCR Australia Rd1, Porsche GT3 Cup Rd2, Radical Australia Cup Rd3, Australian Formula 4 Rd2, Prototype Series Rd1, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW, May 18-19 Historic Winton, Winton Motor Raceway VIC, May 17-19 Targa South West, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Manjimup WA, May 17-19 Rally Hellyer, State Rally Champs Rd2, Circular Head TAS, May 18 SXS Championship Rd1, Cessnock MCC NSW, May 18 Multi Club Autocross & Khanacross, Deniliquin Sporting Car Club NSW, May 18 Club Autocross, Colo Park NSW, May 18 Multi Club Autocross, Ballarat Airport VIC, May 18 Ricciardo’s Racers Junior Drive Day Level 1 & 2, Multi Club Motorkhana, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW, May 18 Flying 1/5, Multi Club Single Car Sprint, Conrod Straight Mt Panorama, May 18 Multi Club Sprint, Off Road Short Course, Cambridge Moto Off Road Park, Cambridge TAS, May 18 State Off Road Series Rd2, Cambridge TAS, May 18 Ernie Hastie Memorial, State Circuit Race Meeting, Collie Motorplex WA, May 18-19 Multi Club Khanacross, Mid Murray Motorplex SA, May 18-19 Club Khanacross, Millchester Motorsport Complex QLD, May 18-19 Multi Club Hillclimb, Ringwood Park NSW, May 18-19 State Off Road Champs Rd2, Dondingalong NSW, May 18-19 State Rallysprint Champs Rd4, Sydney Dragway NSW, May 19 Multi Club Rallysprint, Sydney Dragway NSW, May 19 State (VIC) Motorkhana Championship Rd4, Deniliquin Sporting Car Club NSW, May 19 May Mountain Straight Hillclimb, Mount Panorama NSW, May 19 Club Autocross, Rollinson Reserve Kyneton VIC, May 19 State Motorkhana Championship, WSU Nirimba Quakers Hill NSW, May 19 Superkarts Races with Modern Regularity, Mallala Motorsport Park SA, May 19 Multi Club Khanacross, Geelong Motor Sports Complex VIC, May 19 Multi Club Hillclimb, Boisdale VIC, May 19 State Hillclimb Interclub Challenge Rd2, Rob Roy VIC, May 19 State Motorkhana Championship Rd1, 58 Patrick Street Bothwell TAS, May 19 State Circuit Racing Champs Rd4, Collie Motorplex WA, May 19 State Winter Cup Hillclimb Rd2, Collingrove SA, May 19 Truck Assist Winton Supersprint, Supercars Champs Races 13 & 14, Super 3 Series Rd2, Touring Car Masters Rd3, SuperUtes Rd3, Formula Ford Series Rd3, Hyundai Excels, Winton Motor Raceway VIC, May 24-26 Multi Club Khanacross, Awabawac Park NSW, May 25 CAMS Cub Challenge, Multi Club Hillclimb, Baskerville Raceway TAS, May 25 Multi Club Supersprint, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW, May 25 VW Nationals Supersprint, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW, May 25 Multi Club Khanacross & Motorkhana, Geelong Motor Sports Complex VIC, May 25 NSW Motor Race Champs Rd3, Wakefield Park NSW, May 25-26 Multi Club Supersprint, RAAF Base East Sale VIC, May 25-26 QLD-NSW Sprint Challenge Rd2 & Short Circuit Touring Car Series Rd2, Carnell Raceway QLD, May 25-26 Ventkhana 2019 Multi Club Khanacross, Private Property Midland DC WA 6936, May 25-26 Multi Club Hillclimb, Mount Stuart Townsville QLD, May 26 Club Hillclimb, Mt Gladstone Cooma NSW, May 26 State Supersprint Championship Rd3, Sydney Motorsport Park NSW, May 26 Autumn Super Sprint, Club Supersprint, Broadford Motorcycle Complex VIC, May 26 State Motorkhana Championship Rd3, Mallala Motorsport Park Skidpan SA, May 26


TICKFORD’S HOMOLOGATION SPECIAL! ALRIGHT, MAYBE Supercars has gone a little bit too far with the Mustang’s latest parity adjustment, based on this sight in Perth! Not only has the engine been severely cut, the aerodynamics completely removed and the wheels shrunk ... but at least it’s light, right?! It seems this latest Mustang homologation also has to carry passengers, maybe to enhance the centre of gravity, who knows? It looked like a lot of fun in Perth

when Tickford drivers w Cam Waters and Lee C Holdsworth went testing H tthe new Barbagallo surface on what can s only be described as a contraption of lunacy. The motorised Esky or ‘Comfy 1’ looked a ball

CROSSWORD QUIZ Across 3. An Australian won the race in 2018 but who was it? (surname only) 4. What was Nigel Mansell’s best Indy 500 finish? 7. Who was the first Monaco winner to win the Indy 500? (surname only) 9. A. J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears all share the most Indy 500 victories. How many do they each have? 11. Who is the only driver to win the race in their first two attempts? (surname only) 12. Who was the first Japanese driver to win the race? (surname only) 14. Who was the first New Zealand winner of the Indy 500? (surname only) Down 1. Who was the first Formula 1 World Champion to win the race? (surname only) 2. Who was the last tyre manufacturer other

66 AutoAction

towelling hat was falling off. This new ‘Stang appears a winner straight out of the box, with Tickford already planning the build of ‘Comfy 2’ with wa few refinements. Look for Chaz Mostert to debut it soon, perhaps with Will Davo along for the ride. HM

to drive, with Waters using the full kerbing outside of Turn 7 and collecting a strike against his name ahead of practice that night. Holdsworth held on for dear life for much of the lap but did have time to point out that photographer Ross Gibb’s terry

The 103rd Indianapolis 500 takes place on 26 May. So how much do you know about the great American race?

than Firestone to win the race? 4. How many Indy 500 wins has Juan Pablo Montoya claimed? 5. How many victories does Team Penske have in the Indy 500? 6. Who is the most recent Formula 1 champion to win the race? (surname only) 8. Who is the most recent Brazilian driver to win the race? (surname only) 10. Who is the most recent driver to win the race as a rookie? (surname only) 13. The late Dan Wheldon won the race in 2011 after leading how many laps?



 





 

Answers #1760 1-across – Two 2-down – Williams 3-down – six 4-across – Italy 5-across – Sau Paulo 6-down – Australia 7-across – Johanansson 8-across – Berger 9-down – Patrese 10-down – Toleman 11-across – Portugal 12-across – Lotus 13-across – French 14-across – Hakkinen 15-across - second














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