Colo Vale-based motor racing team, RaceAway Track Time, is preparing two cars for an assault on a different sort of car race – the Cheap Car Challenge at Marulan Driver Training Centre this weekend.
Far from featuring exotic sports cars or purpose-built racing machines, the Cheap Car Challenge is all about giving people the experience of racing at an affordable price. It is open to vehicles manufactured between 1986 and 2004, with a maximum engine capacity of two Litres.
The event runs for four hours – split into two, two-hour parts – and each team must have four drivers, each of whom are only allowed to drive for 15 minutes at a time. This means there are plenty of pit stops.
These regulations play right into the hands of RaceAway Track Time owner Phil Alexander, a racing veteran who has competed in some of the most prestigious events around Australia and the world, including the Bathurst 1000 and Nurburgring 24 Hour.
Having stopped racing full-time, Alexander is now passionate about giving other people the opportunity to hit the track, and his RaceAway Track Time operation is all about making the process of going racing as easy as possible. Alexander says the Cheap Car Challenge is the ideal event for beginners.
“There are lots of people out there who dream about experiencing the thrill of going motor racing, but don’t know where to start,” Alexander said.
“Often they don’t have the resources or mechanical expertise to own and prepare a race car themselves, so our team is geared around providing those services.
“This year we’ve had a busy year, running entries in the NSW Pulsar Series along with hiring out our Pulsar, Mazda RX8, Toyota 86 and BMW M3 race cars at a number of track days.
“We entered our first Cheap Car Challenge event in August and I was very impressed – it’s highly-competitive and for beginners, it teaches them basic skills like car control and how to drive in traffic, but they also have to learn how to handle pit stops and driver changes.
“The first event was a roaring success, and afterwards we had so much interest from people wanting to drive that we’ve had to run a second car.”
This Sunday, Alexander and the RaceAway Track Time team will run a Nissan Pulsar (to be driven by John Connolly, Tom Connolly, “TJ” and Phil Keegan) and a Nissan NX Coupe (to be piloted by Gavan Reynolds, Chris Manning, Graeme Manning and Adam Leacy).
“It’s a real mix of drivers, all looking for a different experience,” Alexander said.
“At one end of the scale, you have the Connollys who like to have a play in race cars on weekends for fun, but you also have someone like Gavan Reynolds, who is sharpening up his skills because he wants to step up to national-level motorsport next year.”
The Marulan Cheap Car Challenge event will be held at Marulan this Sunday, 12 November.