Motorsports has been a passion of mine for longer than I can remember. As a kid, I’d watch the Bathurst 1000 religiously every October, cheering on champions like Larry Perkins and Brocky, and sneaking away from the TV on occasion to hop in my old man’s car and pretend to be the one screaming down Conrod Straight. I’d do lap after lap of Monaco in an F1 car in the old Microprose Formula 1 game in the 90s (graphics DO NOT hold up, believe me) and a bit later, blow the field away at Talladega in the old classic NASCAR Racing game.
In my teens, my dad occasionally took me go karting in hire karts when money would permit. Like a lot of families growing up in the 80s and 90s, money was tight, which meant that the dream of getting my own Kart and getting into proper racing remained just that – a dream. My uncle was an accomplished Rally driver, competing in both the NSWRC and ARC on occasion, and I can remember heading to a number of rally’s to watch him compete.
Over the years, the passion lessened, but never really went away. The Bathurst 1000 was still a yearly ritual, even if through the rigors of adult life and the raising of a family my following of other categories fell to the wayside. But when I got the opportunity to do some filming work for Dan and Blend Line TV, I quickly found the passion building in its intensity once again. But this time it was a newfound passion that included a love and understanding of a whole range of grassroots racing categories, from the ever-spectacular TA2 Trans Ams to the speed and craziness of Sports Sedans and the often-wild door-to-door racing of APRA, along with a whole range of others.
Dan and I would spend the long hours travelling down the Hume to Wakefield or Winton for another weekend of filming by talking about the plans we had to get into racing ourselves. We had big plans, of course, as any racer (or wannabe racer) always does. But there often seemed to be so many barriers to reaching that goal of owning a race car and competing on track – money, licencing, mechanical knowledge, time, just to name a few. But still, the conversations persisted, and we ultimately decided that one day it WOULD happen.
We’d MAKE it happen.
My racing experience was extremely limited. I held no licence and had only ever really raced hire Karts with mates. Oh, and I’d completed one 6-lap outing in a V8 hotlaps car at Wakefield as a birthday gift. So, I guess you could say I was as inexperienced as they come. After the absolute chaos caused by COVID in 2020, Dan and I finally found ourselves in the position to really start looking at purchasing a (cheap) track car or race car. We’d only spent a week or so really looking before a little mostly built APRA-spec Pulsar popped up. We unanimously decided that it was “the one”.
Getting the car was a story in and of itself (COVID… the gift that keeps on giving), but after the help from a few mates including Jono from Oztrack and Tim from South Gundagai Automotive Dan and I had ourselves our very own race car.
Before we could book a track day and get behind the wheel, there were a few things we needed to take care of. Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, neither Dan nor I held race licences. Indeed, it was one of those things that I always saw as a barrier to getting into racing, but in reality it was just my own ignorance to the licencing process that was the barrier rather than the process itself. Indeed, getting a Motorsport Australia Speed Licence was an easy and painless online experience. All we needed was to be a member of an MA recognised club (We became APRA members for this purpose) and pay the relatively small fee for the licence, and we were good to go. And while a speed licence isn’t a circuit racing licence, for us it was a good first step, as it would allow us to attend track days as well as some more competitive events such as Hill Climbs and Super Sprints to help develop our skills. A circuit racing licence will certainly be something we seek to attain… but that’s down the track.
The other thing that needed to be completed before we could hit the track was to get the car’s readiness up that extra 10%. A bit of time spent in the Oztrack workshop bringing the car to a track ready state ensued – a new seat (both of us a little too portly for the slimline one that came with the Pulsar) some new wheels and tyres, an alternator replacement after the old one went bang and a few last-minute fixes were everything the mechanic ordered.
And with that, we were ready to hit the track!
Watch Episode 1 of Project Race Car Below: