WE GET A SNEAK PEEK AT THE HECTIC LIFE OF ONE OF AUSTRALIA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL RACE DRIVERS
APPROACHING THE end of a very enjoyable, but pretty hectic summer break the final round of the Touring Car Masters (TCM) at Homebush on December 4 seems a long time ago.
It was special catching up with my son Niki and his family in California, especially being able to spend time with my two grandsons, Marcus and Thomas. Still managed to connect with the car scene though, with a visit to an amazing outfit there called Virtuoso Performance.
The number and quality of classic race cars and top-shelf road cars proprietor Scott Drnek has managed to assemble under their roof is stunning. Whether your tastes run to road cars from stables like Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin or even McLaren, they have them all. Race car offerings include Brabham, Lola, Cooper.
March… The list goes on… Back home again I enjoyed my time at the big Summernats event in Canberra. We had the Torana SL/R at the Rare Spares stand and I got the chance to meet a lot of fans. It’s always interesting to get in touch with a different part of the overall carenthusiast world, meeting people from outside the circle you’re familiar with.
I also enjoyed doing a stint with the Motoractive team at the Meguiars stand. I’ve come to see show cars in a new light, as a kind of automotive art. And who’d have thought you would find a lovely split-window VW Kombi among all the blown nitro-burning monsters?
Looking back on the 2016 TCM series it’s interesting to compare the Torana's 308 Holden motor with the Chev motor we fitted after the Hidden Valley meeting.
The Chev makes a bit more peak power than the 308. While it turned out to be good for an extra 5km/h on the straights, it didn’t produce improved lap times. I put that down to the mid-range torque advantage the 308 has over the Chev. It balances out the Chev's top-end power advantage when you consider the amount of time you're relying on torque to accelerate out of corners during a lap.
Anyway the TCM series is going to be great for 2017, with 7 rounds each with three races, as part of the Supercar series, and with excellent media coverage.
We’re waiting to hear what weight penalty our 5.0-litre Torana will be given for 2017 after our 2016 series win.
I have to say it was a pleasure but no real surprise to see Touring Car Masters topping the Speedcafe. com poll for the most popular domestic racing category.
I’M VERY excited and honoured to have been asked to be the Patron of the 2017 Phillip Island Classic – Festival of Motor Sport. One of the world’s finest historic motor racing meetings, it’s conducted by the Victorian Historic Racing Register. This year’s event, to be held on March 17-19, will feature more than 500 historic cars, including many overseas entries, being put through their paces on the picturesque and fast Phillip Island circuit. Up to 10 Ford Sierras are expected to compete, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Dick Johnson’s first victory in a Sierra.
I won’t be confining myself to formal duties all weekend – I’ll be competing in Joe Calleja’s lovely March 741 open wheeler. It’s an event that shouldn’t be missed.