Hayek Shines in V8 Debut

RaceAway Track Time driving instructor Harry Hayek has staged an impressive debut in the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series – widely recognised as the third tier of Supercars racing in Australia –finishing in the top five overall at Queensland Raceway on the weekend.

Harry has been a long time friend of our owners Phil and Karen Alexander, having competed alongside their sons Gene and Carey in go-karts.

After a stint in the Australian Formula 4 Championship, Harry decided to pursue the international racing dream and travelled overseas, where he competed in the British F4 and F3 Championships. Sadly, a British F3 crash at Snetterton in May last year left him with a broken back, and he returned home; the weekend’s Kumho Series outing was his comeback race.

“I loved being back in a race car, I had a ton of fun!” Harry said after the weekend.

“It was my first race meeting in a tin-top rather than an open-wheeler, so it felt quite foreign – I didn’t have a lot of testing before the weekend, so I was learning as I went along.”

Harry qualified his Brad Jones Racing Commodore third outright – a fine effort considering his lack of seat time, and then finished fifth, fourth and sixth in the three races.

“It took me some time to dial myself back into a racing environment – at the start of the first race, I was racing door-to-door with other cars, and learning the perception and spatial awareness of a touring car was quite a challenge,” he said.

“I set some really good times in Race 2, but in Race 3 I overheated the clutch off the start line and lost some spots.

“With some more testing, I’m sure I can improve and be closer to the front-runners but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to attending some more RaceAway Track Time events and sharing my racing knowledge with those who want to learn more about driving on the track!”

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.

EXCELlent Addition to RaceAway Fleet

Hyundai Excel racing has exploded in popularity around Australia over the last five years, so we decided it was time to introduce an Excel race car to our line-up!

Since its modest inception at Wakefield Park in 2013, Excel racing has proliferated into other states, with the class setting a new benchmark for entry-level motorsport.

The popularity of Hyundai Excels as road cars has created an abundance of vehicles and spare parts, making it very easy and cheap for people to participate in the sport.

The category attracted a massive 55-car grid when it supported the Bathurst 6 Hour this year, and there are healthy state-level series in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

The Victorian series is particularly strong, to the point where there are often enough entries to run two separate fields.

Our Excel complies with series specifications, running a 1.5 Litre twin-cam motor. As well as being affordable, these engines are also exceptionally reliable and easy to work on.

Other components such as the control Federal tyres and price-capped coil-over suspension options are aimed at containing costs, and ensuring race results are determined by driver ability.

We will be making our Excel available for track days and race meetings, and we recommend it to anyone wanting to hit the track at an affordable price. We offer a range of options to suit different requirements – you can lease the car and look after the transport and preparation yourself, or engage our services for an “arrive-and-drive” experience.

As well as the Excel Series, our car will also comply with CAMS 3E regulations, enabling it to run in a range of production car events – perfect for drivers looking for signatures on their CAMS licence.

With its modest power output and forgiving handling, the Excel is a perfect learning vehicle for newcomers to motorsport. An increasing number of drivers are using Excel racing to learn their craft, before moving on to higher-profile categories. Maybe the RaceAway Track Time Excel will unearth a new racing star!

Slater Impresses in MX5 Cup Debut

Sydney Motorsport Park is not an easy track to learn, and it’s especially difficult if you’re in an unfamiliar car.

But these factors didn’t seem to be a problem for Brayden Slater, who climbed aboard our Mazda NC MX5 for the MX5 Cup races at the Sydney Motorsport Park MRA round on the weekend.

Brayden is based in northern New South Wales and predominantly races his Hyundai Excel in the Series X3 QLD category, at Queensland Raceway, Lakeside and Morgan Park. Brayden has also previously hired our Toyota 86 for a track day at Wakefield Park.

He might only be 18 years old, but Brayden demonstrated maturity beyond his years, with his sensible attitude and approach to the task of learning a new car and a new track.

The Sydney Motorsport Park circuit is one that demands smoothness and finesse through the constant-radius corners, and pure commitment through the high-speed sections at Turn 1 and Corporate Hill.

Before the weekend, we gave Brayden the goal of recording a 1:58 lap-time, but he did significantly better than that, punching out a 1:56 in the weekend’s final race. He also handed himself very well in the dices he had with other cars (no doubt the Excel racing experience helped there)… albeit with a minor off-track excursion while testing the limits at Turn 2!

So while we might be best-known for our Pulsar racing activities, we would recommend the MX5 Cup and also the Mazda RX8 Cup for competitors looking to step up to something a bit more powerful, and also to learn the handling characteristics of a rear-wheel-drive car – and we can put together “arrive-and-drive” packages for competitors who want to race in these categories.

Also, an honourable mention to Tim Colombrita, who contested the Super TT races in his Pulsar to learn the SMP circuit, and Greg Dufficy, who finished third in the non-championship Pulsar race meeting at Wakefield Park.

Doing Us Proud

We thought we’d give a shoutout to some of our clients, who have achieved really strong results in some prestigious motorsport events and categories this month. At the Bathurst 6 Hour, Graeme and Josh Heath drove their Toyota 86 to second in Class D after a ding-dong battle for the lead, which was only decided in the last half-hour of the race.

Meanwhile, Gavan Reynolds, Chris Manning and Declan Fraser finished fourth in Class D, also driving a Toyota 86. Gavan and Declan also raced at Phillip Island last weekend, in the opening round of the Toyota 86 Series.

Also flying our flag at Bathurst were Trevor and James Keene (VW Golf R) and Jack Winter/Zac Raddatz (Mitsubishi Evo).

We’re certainly proud to have guided a lot of these racers through the junior ranks, and assisted them with driver development and car setup.

Pulsar Podium for RaceAway Rookie

RaceAway Track Time Australian Pulsar Racing Association (APRA) rookie Tim Colombrita has continued his impressive transition from go-karts to tin-top race cars, teaming up with his brother Anthony to finish as the highest-placed APRA-spec Pulsar in the Super TT endurance race on Sunday.

Tim and Anthony were awarded the trophy for third in the Under 2 Litre Treaded Tyre Class, and finished 11th outright in a field of 25 – an impressive performance against some much more powerful machinery.

RaceAway Track Time owner Phil Alexander was thrilled with the result.

“Tim is adapting superbly to Pulsar racing, and competing in the endurance event was valuable experience for him,” Alexander said.

“Anthony did well too – he had never competed in a front-wheel-drive car before, and was doing competitive times straight away. Overall, it was a fantastic result and I’m looking forward to seeing Tim continuing his progression throughout the season.

It was a successful weekend for the RaceAway stable of drivers in Round 2 of the APRA Series as well, Josh Heath taking the early championship lead with a clean-sweep of race wins. After qualifying second, Heath made a slow start in Race 1 due to starting on the damp side of the circuit, but fought his way back to the front, completing the hat-trick with wins in Races 2 and 3.

Tim Colombrita finished 12th in the first two races before improving to eighth in the final, while RaceAway Track Time assisted with trackside operations for Mark Crutcher, Dion Pangalos, Andy Lawler, Adam Leacy and newcomer Scott Thompson.

Also in the RaceAway stable, driving the pink lease N15 Pulsar, was Shane Fowler, who survived a spectacular moment at Turn 1.

RaceAway Track Time’s attention now turns to this weekend’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, where the team will run two Toyota 86s.

APRA Series – Round 2 Preview

Sunday, 25 March marks Round 2 of the APRA Series for Pulsar race cars – the first point-scoring round of the series after the scheduled opening round was completely washed out.

The weather forecast indicates there might be some precipitation for Round 2 as well, but that won’t worry RaceAway Track Time’s main contender, Josh Heath, who was a dominant race winner in slippery conditions in the enduro round at the end of last year.

Heath will use the event as a warm-up before competing in the Bathurst 6 Hour in one of RaceAway Track Time’s two Toytoa 86s next weekend.

As has become the norm, the RaceAway crew will also oversee operations for a plethora of other Pulsars.

Following a very solid debut performance in the TA2 category at Winton, driver from Young (as opposed to Young driver) Mark Crutcher returns to the Pulsar Series, while Dion Pangalos will be behind the wheel of his #27 car, with signwriting guru Shane Fowler in car #31.

Adam Leacy is the epitome of a driver who has come through the RaceAway ranks, starting at track day events and progressing to the Cheap Car Challenge. After a solid performance in one of RaceAway Track Time’s lease Pulsars at the Sydney Motorsport Park NSW Production Touring Car round last weekend, Leacy is all set for his APRA debut.

Also under the RaceAway Track Time umbrella is former kart racer Tim Colombrita, who put in a very solid performance in his Pulsar debut in the non-championship, make-up round earlier in the month.

Colombrita is following in the footsteps of other kart racers who have progressed to the Pulsar Series as an affordable entry into circuit racing and we look forward to continuing to work with him throughout the season.