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