It may have started with a modest grid of just four cars participating in a combined race with Excels in 2013, but since then the Australian Pulsar Racing Association (APRA) Series has exploded in popularity to the point where it now attracts some of the largest fields of any racing category in New South Wales.
Our own Phil Alexander teamed up with Trevor Keene to win a two-hour Pulsar endurance race at Wakefield Park in November 2014, and since then RaceAway Track Time has become synonymous with APRA, hiring out Pulsar race cars for track days and making it easy for new drivers to enter the series through a combination of CAMS/AASA licence assessments and “arrive and drive” deals.
So what made Phil and RaceAway Track Time decide to become involved? We asked him some questions to find out.
First things first – what attracted you to the Pulsar Series?
When I heard about the series starting up, I was immediately interested. Back in the 1990s, I prepared and raced N14 Pulsars in the Australian Production Car Championship and Bathurst 12 Hour, and from those experiences I knew that they would be very affordable and reliable cars for a one-make series.
They tick all the boxes – they’re easy to work on, they’re cheap, and because there are so many of them around, it’s very easy to get spare parts for them.
Around the time the series was starting, my son Gene was looking for the next step from go-karts and my good friend Graeme Heath’s son Josh was as well, so the Pulsar Series presented the ideal option.
How did you end up with so many Pulsars?
It started with just a couple for myself and Gene, but then other people wanted to become involved as well, and were leaning on my experience to help them buy or build cars. I realised there was a business opportunity if I had some other cars available to lease out, and so the business started to grow from there.
What have you enjoyed most about the Pulsar Series so far?
For a low-cost, one-make series it is run very well, as demonstrated by the strong numbers it continues to attract, and the fact there is some healthy series sponsorship which allows the category management to invest in features for the competitors such as social media coverage and videos at events.
The scrutineering is also well-controlled which means the cars are very evenly-matched and the results have come down to driver ability.
From a personal perspective, I’m pleased with the number of drivers we’ve been able to introduce to motor racing through the series, be it through licence assessments, setup assistance or leasing out cars. Last year alone, we introduced eight new drivers to the series and there are more to come in 2018.
So if people want to race in the Pulsar Series, what’s the easiest way to get involved?
We have “arrive-and-drive” deals where people can just turn up at the track, race one of our cars and then go home afterwards. These deals are perfect for those who want to become involved in motorsport but don’t have the time, resources or mechanical expertise to own a car themselves.
These sorts of deals have been really popular, especially last year where we leased out a number of our cars for events, and we’re looking forward to welcoming some more racers on board in 2018.
How satisfying is it to help people get into racing and see them going well?
It’s extremely pleasing, especially someone like Josh Heath who I’ve known since he was racing karts, and watched him develop into one of the main contenders in the Pulsar Series.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed a long career in motorsport, so to be able to use some of my experience to make it easier for other people to enjoy competing on the race track is something that makes me very happy.