Clipsal 500 2013 – The Race Days

DSC_0540After what felt like a week of waiting, Saturday was finally race day for Australian GT and the Koala Motorsport team.

However the first race wasn’t until 530pm on Saturday, which left a little time in the morning to get out and do some spectating.

DSC_0294Everyone seems to have their favorite spots to watch from around the track, and mine is the tight series of corners from Turn 4 to Turn 7. The only real downside is the lack of big screens, however free grandstand seating, lovely shade trees, nice surrounding houses and for some reason fewer bogans than other parts of the circuit make it top of my pick.

DSC_0295The slow corners also give you time to get a good look at the cars.

DSC_0377It also gives you the opportunity to have the most interesting conversations with other punters. I met one guy, drinking a beer at 930am, who told me he’s going to buy an Aussie Racing Car as soon as his work compo payout comes through, and another chap who informed me that some of the V8 Supercars have CD players so the drivers can listen to music to ‘get them in the mood for racing’. DSC_0420DSC_0421At Turn 7 you can stand practically right on the apex of the corner. As a normal spectator, it’s about as close to the action as you can get.

DSC_0615The Saturday crowds were huge, and the majority of our morning was spent letting people look over and sit in the 360. I have a memory as a 12 year old kid of a race mechanic letting me sit in one of the Ferrari’s at Clipsal, probably in about the year 2000. This time, a 12 year old kid came up to me and started asking about the Ferrari. First thing I did was ask him if he wanted to sit in it, and he jumped at the opportunity. I see it as just paying back the favor! Continue reading

Clipsal 500 2013 – just chillin’. A relaxing day 2.

DSC_0029With no on track action, Friday of the Clipsal 500 ended up being quite a relaxing day for Koala Motorsport and most of the other Australian GT competitors. With no particular reason to be at the track, I personally had a bit of a sleep in and then arrived around mid-morning. Somehow after sitting around chatting in the shade, a long lunch, and then a stroll around to check out the off track displays, the day seemed to slip by quite quickly. But it was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the day, and an ideal way to re-charge the batteries for the racing to come.

DSC_0264It’s funny how you settle into a routine after a while, and Friday was no different. The GT Lounge employs a barista to make coffee for anyone with access to the lounge, so the day began with one of his fantastic brews.

DSC_0001The only real work that needed doing was to fix yesterdays damage. It didn’t need to be fixed from a physical point, however its always good to have the car looking as nice as possible when it goes out. First job was to remove the old, scraped sticker from the quarter. Ray Ebel from Get Marketing stopped by to help us out.

DSC_0002The paint where the door was dented was cracked and about to fall off, so Ray first applied some clear film over it to hold the cracked paint in place. Continue reading

Clipsal 500 2013 – a flaming day 1

DSC_0221After the relaxing day that was Wednesday, we approached Thursday with a great deal of excitement. Everybody was sick of waiting around, and just wanted to get out on track and get the event proper underway.

DSC_0003Yesterday’s post highlighted that we were one of the few crews who made the driver take his own tires to the Pirelli truck. This morning we even made him clean his own windscreen!

DSC_0014But before we could get out on track, we had a drivers briefing to attend. It was actually a bit of an interesting experience. The only circuit racing drivers briefings I’ve been to have been for low level club events, and they seem to feel the need to go through everything in the most minutest of detail. This one was different – the race officials assumed a basic level of competence and experience to be racing at this level, and kept the briefing short and sweet with just the points relating to this specific circuit.

DSC_0013However it was still a drivers briefing, which by default means the drivers have to show at least some level of boredom.

DSC_0019The briefing was finished by a talk from driving standards observer Steven Richards. Most of his talk focused on the notorious Turn 8, which has been responsible for more than its fair share of wrecked vehicles over the years. You can really only go single file around that corner, so it was decided that whoever has the nose in front at the 150m braking marker gets the corner, and the other has to back out. Continue reading

Clipsal 500 2013 – A wet and soggy day 0

DSC_0001As I sit here and type, the sound of rain hitting the tarpaulin roof is almost drowning out the arty folk behind me discussing tonight’s Fringe shows. There’s lots of random old wooden doors scattered around, and a rigger is climbing over a stage, just to my right, readying it for tonight’s performance. The place is almost empty, except for the odd staff member who walks past, eying me off. I am of course sitting in the Fringe artists bar, my Clipsal lanyard and Koala Motorsport shirt causing me to stand out a little more than the mo hawked gentleman to my left. The lengths we go to for free wi-fi, right? I guess it’s kind of convenient that the artists bar offers this service and is located right next to the Clipsal circuit.

DSC_0012So why the on-location upload, and the lengthy, somewhat irrelevant intro? Well, for Clipsal 2013 Any Given Reason will be trying something a little bit different for our coverage. We’re jumping on board and helping out as pit crew for Brenton Griguol, racing his Ferrari 360 Challenge in the Australian GT category.

DSC_0014And instead of solely reporting on the event at its conclusion, I’m going to (attempt) to file a report at the conclusion of each day. I’ll save a couple of juicy posts for later (there’s only so much time, and so much free wi-fi), but in these series of posts I’ll be trying to give an insight into what it’s like to race a proper Ferrari GT car on the Adelaide Street Circuit. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it should be fun!

DSC_0162This, and the Fringe artists bar, will be my office for the next 5 days!

DSC_0009As far as the team is concerned, today was a pretty simple day of setting up. Brenton (aka Goober, left) and Simon (right) have taken care of most things in the leadup. Here they’re pictured doing something important, like real a real pro race team would. Continue reading