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’.
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!
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.
These days it is common to find wings and slicks open wheelers at the head of hill climbs and sprints in Australia. Done right such cars offer of the purity that only an open wheeler can, the chance to run up front in outright competition and the prospect of reasonable running costs.
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!
An enthusiast’s world can seem a small place, particularly the world of hill climbing, which seems insular at the best of times. I had time to consider this when friends in the UK sent me an email noting that they had seen Malcolm Oastler and Adrian Reynard at some British hill climbs, apparently looking at the technology of current cars.
Practice started with the cool, clear morning and bright sunshine that I think of as typical for country New South Wales in Spring. Standing on the top of Mount Panorama, the view to the Blue Mountains was superb and the cool air and warming sun promised early speed for the drivers on the mount.
It all started with a rather innocent message from the editor of the magazine you’re now reading…..
“We seem to have been invited to apply for a press pass to the Le Mans 24 Hour. Thought I’d ask you first, did you want it?” The answer, of course, was a resounding, “Yes.”
Patterson Win Ends AGI Sport Dominance
Wings and Slicks returned to the Eastern Creek circuit for the penultimate round of the Race Magazine 2012 NSW Formula Car Championship. Here, we saw a new winner for the round. Perfect weather for the weekend again made for fast, close action in all of the events held on the Sydney Motor Sports Park North circuit, a free flowing, high speed and challenging track.
Pittsworth Street Sprints’ fifteenth year proved to be a spectacular success and not just for the glowing brake rotors and exhaust flames on the night runs. Now the biggest street event in SE Qld with a record 198 competitors, the weekend is very well run by a small group of volunteers but with excellent backing by the local business community.