New Marulan Circuit Presents Cheap Car Challenges

The RaceAway Track Time crew first started competing in Marulan Driver Training Centre’s Cheap Car Challenge events last year, but Sunday’s opening round of the 2018 Cheap Car Challenge Series was the first we had done on the recently-revamped Marulan circuit.

While the circuit – now to be known as Pheasant Wood – is still relatively low-speed and very technical, the new surface and reconfiguration of the layout has changed its character quite substantially.

Most noticeably, the corners are now significantly wider. While this makes overtaking easier, it also means each corner can be attacked with a variety of different approaches, and according to our own Phil Alexander, this presents its own challenges.

“Steve Shelley and the MDTC team have done a terrific job with the venue; it’s so much more polished and refined than it was before,” Alexander said.

“As well as being a lot less bumpy, it’s also noticeably safer – the run-off areas are a lot more well-maintained.

“It was already a good circuit for inexperienced racing drivers to learn car control, now it’s even better.

“Some of the corners allow you to take different lines, and this really allows drivers to learn how some lines are faster than others. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of taking the wrong line, and costing yourself valuable tenths of a second every lap.”

RaceAway Track Time’s Cheap Car Challenge Pulsar was driven by John Connolly and his son Tom, along with Pulsar Racing Association Series regular Shane Fowler and tarmac rally ace Michael McMichael, who flew from South Australia to be part of the event.

Out of a field of 22 cars, they finished seventh outright but according to Alexander, they could have finished even higher.

“The Cheap Car Challenge has always been a fun event, and it’s very strategic because there are strict rules about maximum driving times and minimum pit stop times.

“It’s great for endurance racing practice, because drivers have to get into the car, go onto the track and be on the pace straight away – there’s no time to build up to it.

“All four drivers did a really good job and we were challenging for a top-three position for much of the race – unfortunately, we received a few penalties which put us back a few places.

“Everyone had a lot of fun and the car ran well – we’ll be back for sure.”

RaceAway Track Time drives are available in upcoming Cheap Car Challenge events – contact us for more details:

Sunday, 29 July

Sunday, 19 August

Sunday, 9 September

Sunday, 28 October

Sunday, 18 November

Slater Makes Solid RX8 Cup Debut at Morgan Park

Following his impressive debut performance in the Mazda MX5 Cup at Sydney Motorsport Park last month, young gun Brayden Slater slotted into our Mazda RX8 for Round 2 of the Mazda RX8 Cup Series at Morgan Park on the weekend.

The Mazda RX8 Cup Series is a national category that runs as part of the Australian Motor Racing Series (AMRS) and it receives a high level of exposure, including live streaming of Sunday’s races.

Brayden qualified a fine fourth on Saturday, and despite managing some engine temperature issues he finished inside the top 10 in three of the four races, scoring ninth overall for the weekend.

We highly recommend the RX8 Cup Series for drivers looking for an affordable, one-make category with national-level coverage, and another driver to benefit from RaceAway Track Time’s driver development services, Aaron Prosser, has chosen to compete in the series for this reason.

Originally from New Zealand, Prosser has raced in speedway for the last couple of years, winning the Mod Lites national title in 2017.

 

Deciding he wanted to become involved in circuit competition, Prosser built his own car and made his debut at Morgan Park on the weekend. He finished a fine third overall, even leading the weekend’s final race for a number of laps in treacherous conditions.

The next round of the Mazda RX8 Cup Series will be held at Wakefield Park, 17-19 August and we’ll again be offering an arrive-and-drive deal for a driver who wishes to compete in the series, without the logistical exercises of preparing a car themselves.

Pulsar Rookie Colombrita Stars at SMP

RaceAway Track Time APRA Series rookie Tim Colombrita has produced a stunning performance in Round 2 of the series at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend, qualifying a sensational second outright in a 28-car field.

The qualifying session was cut short due to an incident earlier in the day, with drivers only able to complete three laps in the session. Colombrita recorded a time fast enough to secure a front-row starting position, upstaging some far more experienced drivers in the process.

At the start of Race 1, Colombrita fell back to seventh after a slow start, but staged a determined fightback to finish in third position.

The go-karting graduate was again running inside the top four in Race 2, and while he was forced into retirement by a mechanical problem, it detracted little from his fine performance.

RaceAway Track Time owner Phil Alexander was thoroughly impressed.

“Tim did a sensational job, and in particular his qualifying performance was superb,” Alexander said.

“We’ve been working closely with Tim in terms of driver development, and he’s improving at a rapid rate of knots. For him to qualify on the front row in only his third APRA meeting was very impressive.

“At Sydney Motorsport Park, Turn 1 is a very challenging corner due to the high speed and level of commitment required, but Tim was nailing it every time – it was a pleasure to watch.”

The attention of the RaceAway Track Time team now turns to this weekend’s second round of the Mazda RX8 Cup Series, where they will be running a car for another promising young driver, Brayden Slater.

Meanwhile, Colombrita and the rest of the RaceAway Pulsar fleet will be on the grid for Round 3 of the series at Wakefield Park on 29 July.