- First of all, tell me a bit about yourself and what do you do on and off the race track?
I’m a mechanic by trade, so I’ve actually got my own workshop in Kirawee, in Southern Sydney where I specialize in race vehicle preparation, so club cars. We got some good customers we look after and get them through track days, race meetings, and whatnot.
- Coming off last year’s TCR Australia campaign from 3rd in drivers’ points, how excited are you to travel to Symmons Plains Raceway with a decent track record?
I’m really excited, I really like that track (Symmons Plains Raceway) obviously, which is more quicker than last year where the cars are working well there. It’s quite an enjoyable track drive even though its’ got two long straights. It’s quite an actually pretty fizzy track. So, it’s very technical to get right as well. So, if the other car is next to your window or if it makes the setup window that makes it a lot easier and nicer to drive–very rewarding at the track.
- I see you and team-mate Aaron Cameron were in separate cars also at the same time last season, but both of you will all be racing Peugeot’s this time around. Do you see this as a fair advantage especially with defending champion Chaz Mostert moving on full-time in Supercars?
Well, we’re going to be an equal machinery in the same cars so there’s no excuses to beat with each other. I think, now, it’s going to work very well for us. Obviously, We have three Peugeots last year and now four. The driver line-up at Garry Rogers Motorsport is extremely strong as well, so the engineers that develop the cars and the mechanics that work on them do a terrific job. I think it will be very close to each other, hopefully not too close, but yeah hopefully we’ll be getting some good results out of the Peugeots.
- Looking at the seven-race schedule this season, which track is your favourite and not so favourite to race at other than Symmons Plains?
Oh, it has to be Bathurst. Bathurst is a special track. There’s nothing really quite like it. The elevation change, and to listen to the feel of the track, to be there successfully. It is extremely high and it’s a very rewarding track once you get it right. So yeah, Bathurst would have to be the best.
The hardest? I’d probably go with Winton Motor Raceway. No, we don’t have Winton on the calendar this year. Phillip Island? Actually, Queensland Raceway is probably the hardest because you’re generally separated by around a hundred of a second there, not so much tense. So, such a simple track that puts emphasis on getting such the little picks right, because everyone is getting it pretty much right, if you’re off by a few hundred there then you can be quite the closest.
- What are your thoughts on Michael Caruso who was your teammate last season before he moved on to a different team this season?
Yeah, Michael was a great addition to the team last year, he brought a wealth of experience and he also raced in the Supercars last year (Bathurst 1000 Endurance Event). We worked well together. He taught me some things that I really wasn’t aware of before I met him, things that you only really learn off someone who has so much experience.
- I know you tend to be busy overseeing the repairs while you’re in the garage, if you had some spare time watching another ARG SpeedSeries category, which type of racing support series do you enjoy and whether or not you’re willing to do double duty alongside TRC for selected races at some point?
Good question! I like the S5000 open-wheel cars. I’m just torn between the S5000 and the Trans-Am Series where it changes the field a bit. What the Trans-Am muscle cars bring and the racing category is brilliant. I drove a couple of these cars before where they’re very bright, whereas the S5000 just goes to show with those cars in general now are absolutely peach, which is extremely fast with a lot of power. I’d say that the S5000s does it for me.
I just wanted to expand my horizons with the opportunities coming up. So, I wanted to get the TCR right and push myself towards the front of the category there. I’d definitely wanted to look at other categories such as Supercars where it would be a dream come true if I ended up there one day.
- I want to talk about the new TV deal where TRC Australia will be shown on paid streaming service Stan Sport this season, plus the opening round lives and the remaining races as a one-hour highlight show for free on 9Gem. Do you emphasize the fans’ feedback when it comes to viewer access or is this new tv deal going towards supporting teams & organisers who need it most to keep afloat especially with no 2020 season due to COVID?
I definitely fully agree that some of the fan’s perspectives as well as relate that to myself where we just need to correspond more in general. I emphasize there with Pay-TV not wanting to pay, but on the flip side, the reality is any quality sport with good quality tv is generally on a paid service whether it’s an online streaming or a Pay-TV deal. The owners of the TCR wanted to be an A-class product with the drivers, competitors, and teams in order to take TCR to the next level. I think short-term, there will be an adjustment with a paid product, but TCR has the potential to be a mainstream A-class product if it’s going to help fill that gap. So, long-term, it’s really the only way forward.
- Speaking of streaming services, what do you do to keep yourself entertained while watching a tv show, movie, and even live sport?
I’m a live sports fan, I’m not really into TV shows too much. I follow the Euro skiing religiously, big fan of rugby union as I follow that as well. I’m a rugby union fan. Australian Rugby has fairly gotten off in recent years mainly because of the administration (Rugby Australia) side of things and yes, I’m also an NSW Waratahs fan.
- Did you see the resurgence of the Queensland Reds last year in the Super Rugby AU?
No, I missed that, but it’s good to see the Queensland Reds winning after a few tough seasons for them.
- Before we go back to racing, what’s your view of the All Blacks and New Zealand Super Rugby teams in general?
They’re best of the best with the All Blacks and the Highlanders are the exploiting team in the world is no drama for concern. The mentality they bring on and off the field, the way they train, the way they play for each other; simply straightforward as there’s much hurt for me to say this as we couldn’t have that in Australia. I read snippets of the book by the famous Kevin (forgot his last name), the famous All Black coach. He talked about the All Blacks way and the reason why they’re so successful. Obviously, the Crusaders are one of the most successful Super Rugby teams, and obviously, it’s all about their strengths that stand up to the All Black team, so yeah big fans.
- What was it like when you got your first go-kart then worked your way into racing across the state of New South Wales and now here you are racing nationwide in TCR Australia?
Well, I actually didn’t do go-karts. I wanted to race go-karts, but I started racing when I was 18 years old in a category called Ingram Grunch at state level. I did my grunt for a few years then my dad and I used to race Hondas and became pretty good at it. We got going before I got surrounded by the right people and ended up in one of Australia’s premier touring car categories. It’s been a fantastic journey every step of the way.
- Do you see TCR Australia as a stepping stone towards Super2 or even Supercars someday? Even though if you crown TRC Australia champion?
Yeah, absolutely. The sponsors that we surrounded ourselves with, we got very strong relationships and see potential further in that career. We’re definitely fully focused on TCR for now, but the long-term goal is we’d love to step up to the Supercars Series.