Neil Roshier

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World’s First In-Car Camera Televised Footage (1979)

Australia was the first in the world in 1979 in one aspect of motorsport technology – the televised in car camera footage. Back then one Peter Williamson in a Toyota Celica was willing to carry the 70kg (yes really 70kg) of camera, battery and transmitting equipment around in his car. Of course all the fast runners with a chance of winning were NEVER going to accept the weight penalty for some TV coverage … my how times have changed!

The Learning Curve

From Top Door Slammer to Ferrari F458 GT3

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

So what does a drag racer who runs a top Doorslammer in the ANDRA series do when he wants to go circuit racing? … He buys a brand new Ferrari F458 GT3 racing car of course!

The Toybaru Twins

The sports coupe for a new generation? Already being compared with the E30 M3, the FT86/BRZ will soon hit Australia’s tracks and hills.

(First printed in Issue 31, Nov 2011) The Toyota FT86 and Subaru BRZ twins have hit the Australian sports car market like a small tornado, selling out in a very short amount of time and selling even more hype in the process. I think you would have to have been hiding under a large rock not to have been buffeted by the amount of media puffery.

Ron’s Fast Blast – The Synergy Dallara

The F3 car no more, Ron Hay’s new hill climber simply has more of everything! More rubber, more downforce and a lot more power!

Words: Neil Roshier and Ron Hay

Just like Peter Brock, Ron Hay built his first car using Austin 7 mechanicals, when he was 16 years of age. By his own admission it was not pretty and it did not work very well, but it did the job and helped Ron develop a passion for cars that continues this very day. Ron’s passion for building cars focused on making them go fast and he maintained a long interest in hillclimbs, building several very successful cars including the “Bowin Hay” for Barrie Garner, a Leyland P76 V8 engined Bowin P6 and the “R.H. Honda” using a supercharged Honda CBX 6 cylinder motor.

Commodore Late

Damien Milano’s Late Model Commodore corners flat for such a heavy car.

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

Some cars are just things, a tool for getting from one place to another. It’s difficult then to explain why some other cars are more than simple transport, why their function as a tool for transport then becomes a tool for unlocking a connection between car and owner. Damien Milano first started driving this blue HSV Commodore when it was brand new, straight from the show room floor. For the first few years it reliably roared its way from home to work until one day, as such days happen for company cars, it was time to be traded in. The Commodore must have done its job well and not just the job of transport, it must have forged some attachment or connection. When the time came to part, Damien took the plunge to buy it rather than let it go.

Commodore Early

Jason Frankhauser’s VK Commodore trades off a better power to weight ratio than the Late Models.

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

Jason Fankhauser’s VK Commodore is a iconic shape for Australian motorsport, being associated with Peter Brock and Bathurst in the heydays of both. For such a shape, Jason has chosen a paint scheme that mimics the period feel of the car. To go along with this classic feel is the alloy cage, which is a give-away as to the age of this particular Commodore as alloy cages have not been allowed in a new build for a long time. To cut a long story short, this particular Commodore is Peter Lawrence’s old car. For those unfamiliar with Peter’s name, he was the Australian Confederation of Motor Sport’s (CAMS) Technical Services Manager for quite some time employee and naturally he knew his way around a car.

Master Stroke

Derek Bennett and his Chevron cars would have been disparaged by Enzo Ferrari, who had famously referred to British F1 teams as garagista – garage owners. Of course this statement, made in Ferrari’s typical manner, blithely overlooked Ferrari’s own modest beginnings. But even so, Ferrari’s description was entirely accurate, as Derek Bennet had the most humble of beginnings in the unfashionable north of Britain, in Bolton, far away from what was rapidly becoming the UK’s ‘motorsport valley’.

The Surprise Package

Normally I would expect a Toyota Yaris to be full of young women madly texting their friends and squealing about something, or I might expect it to be driven very slowly around the local shopping centre car park as an octogenarian looks for a car park. I did not expect to see a Toyota Yaris lifting wheels as it ran the kerbs across the top of Mount Panorama!

A Faster Fiesta

What do you race when you’re the manager of V8 Race Experience running a fleet of V8 Commodores on race tracks around Australia? A Ford Fiesta of course!

The Duratec powered Ford Fiesta XR4 did not make the impact locally that Ford Australia hoped, with the hot hatch market topped by French cars and the public distracted by AWD turbocharged Japanese cars and the large performance cars in Australia, the worthy Fiesta made a small splash in a big pond.

Attacking the Mountain

Time Attack calls for massive amounts of power to push a car, dirty with downforce-creating devices, around the track for one fast lap on sticky tyres. It’s fast, it’s loud, the cars are often on a handling knife-edge and it has that element of blood-sport that keeps people on the edge of their seats. Frankly it reminds me of the mad qualifying of turbo-era Formula One!

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