Bathurst 12hr 2014

B12hrSat_Sun 1115It’s easy to become complacent but our very own Mount Panorama circuit, just two hour’s drive from Sydney, is firmly up there in the small handful of the world’s truly great circuits. The only problem is that if you’re not a dedicated V8 Supercar fan, there isn’t really a lot of other top-class racing that happens there to attract your attention. Outside of the main game it’s mostly a calendar of club racing and corporate drive days.

B12hrSat_Sun 1100That was, however, until the arrival of the Liqui-Molly Bathurst 12hr and its rapidly growing momentum. Finally The Mountain is now graced with a sports car event exploiting the most of its undulating, twisting, climbing and dropping 6.2km of smooth, freshly laid tarmac. An event/circuit combo that attracted 13 top level international teams, building a bumper field of 44 cars.

a_B12hrSat 1204There have been endurance races for production cars at Bathurst before (notably the 12hr events of the early 90’s and a pair of excellent 24hr races in the early 00’s), but those races never really managed to gain the traction the current 12hr has. That’s probably because of a few factors, the primary of which being that we now have a solid international GT3 class which enables these cars to be raced all over the world under the same rules. That’s a big deal for manufacturers, because the likes of Nismo Japan can build an R35 GTR for Le Mans and also get race mileage (ie promotional value & return on investment) from it in other smaller events. Continue reading

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Any Given Reason Burger Meet 3

BurgerMeet3 627The concept of Burger Meet is simple – a car park meet to get as many readers of Any Given Reason and their cars in the same place as possible. The emphasis is on diversity and informality, and the vague idea of standing around a car park eating burgers is about as far as the planning goes.

BurgerMeet3 525On the evening of Saturday 28th December, the readers of Any Given Reason descended on the Hagen Arms Hotel at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills to watch the sun set with burgers, beers, and of course, cars. And what a spectacular array of cars it was – but more on that later.

BurgerMeet3 518The thing that makes organising Burger Meet such an exciting, rewarding and completely terrifying experience is that I have absolutely no idea who actually reads and follows this blog. I get traffic statistics but they’re just abstract numbers and graphs, so when I put the word out that Burger Meet 3 was happening I had exactly zero idea who and how many people would actually come. I guessed about 80 cars and thought it would be pretty cool if we could fill the car park, but when streams of cars started pouring in and it wasn’t even the 6pm start-time yet, I started to get a little nervous/overjoyed. Continue reading

Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Parade Adelaide

DSC_05391963. Kennedy was assassinated and an American Baptist minister voiced his dream in DC. A band called The Beatles were on the rise, the Great Train Robbery captivated a nation and for the first time since the end of the war the Berlin Wall opened for one day passes. It’s almost unimaginable what West Germany must have seemed like through the eyes of an Easterner, especially as that first raspy flat six Porsche 911 roared past.

DSC_0341Yes, a lot happened internationally in 1963. After the devastation of war, West Germany was getting back on its feet and proving itself to the world. The country was experiencing an economic boom for the first time and Porsche had shown, with its 356, that people once again had money to spend on sports cars. The Porsche story is one of evolution, and in 1963 the small company unveiled their next move – the 911. The same engine was in the same place (in the 912, at least), and the car had grown in size. There was now a six cylinder option for increased performance and new styling embraced postmodernism yet still remained quintessentially Porsche. I don’t know if people in 1963 knew the importance of the new 911 or maybe it was just another expensive car, but in retrospect it’s clear that an icon was born.

DSC_0635An icon that, whilst now significantly massaged to suit the tastes, demands and regulations of the age we live in, still exists in almost undiluted form some fifty years later. I can’t think of another car, product, place or even an idea that fits that description. We can wax lyrical all we like, but a 911 is still a 911. End of story. Continue reading

The Goodwood Festival of Speed

DSC_0176Sometimes in life we are blessed by experiencing something truly incredible. Be it driving a particularly fast or rare car, making no mistakes on the perfect rally stage, finally hearing a favorite song live or witnessing the sun rise over a remote mountain range, these are the rare moments that are remembered vividly, never forgotten and used as comparison for everything that comes after.

DSC_0422These moments are bittersweet, because whilst experiencing them is something of a privilege, it is tinged with the knowledge that this is probably going to be the pinnacle.

DSC_0727Sitting back now and writing this post about the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I’m coming to terms with the fact that there’s probably not a lot out there that can compare to the magic of Goodwood. The sheer quantity and quality of cars, the peaceful forest surroundings, the relaxed and open atmosphere and the diversity is something impossible to replicate. Continue reading

2013 MSCA Sprint Round 1 and why I like driving slow cars fast

DSC_0137The first track day of the year is always an exciting affair. New cars, new modifications or just simply a chance to blow the cobwebs out, the heart always skips a beat as you drive through the entry gates for the first time.

DSC_0185First there’s the nervous wait for scrutineering, and then the ugly pause before the first session begins. It’s been four or five months since some of these cars have had a decent scoot, and the mind wanders to all of the little things that need re-checking. Everybody just wants to get on with it!

DSC_0177Drivers briefing has never been a more painful affair. ‘C’mon, just let me on the track already!’.

DSC_0070It was the first time out for Garren in his new NB MX-5.

DSC_0010Garren is usually found behind the wheel of a Fiat, and was a longtime competitor for many years in his quick 124 BC. Life and family and kids etc got in the way and he was forced to give it up for a while, and this was his first event back in over 7 years. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face! Continue reading

Supersprint Round 4 & Porsche club motorkhana

Perfect weather and perfect track conditions accurately sum up Round 4 of the MSCA Supersprint series. Instead of going through each individual performance, I’ll focus on a few of the highlights of the day as well as taking a quick look at the Porsche club motorkhana which was simultaneously taking place on the skidpad.

Guy Standen had the 124 out in its final shakedown before our Targa Adelaide campaign next week. Apart from a minor gearbox issue which has since been rectified, the 124 performed faultlessly and is ready for 4 days of tarmac rally action.

This Evo 10 won the award for biggest spoiler and ended up setting a high 1.16. It probably should have been at WTAC in Sydney though, which was happening on the same weekend. Continue reading

Clipsal 500 2012 – the “support categories”

For me, the term ‘support categories’ at the Clipsal 500 is just a little ironic. I think the V8 Supercars are the support category, and that Australian GT, Carrera Cup, Formula 3 and Touring Car Masters are where it’s at. I was tempted to report on the Clipsal 500 weekend and completely ignore the V8’s, but I’ll write a separate post about them later. For now, let’s look at the good stuff…

The Touring Car Masters provided good racing, as usual. Sadly the Porsche’s didn’t end up figuring in the results although in Sundays handicap race Greg Keene started on pole and managed to hold off John Bowe and Brad Tilley to stay in the lead for more than an entire lap. Sadly Amanda Spark’s 911 was punted off into the wall here when John Nelson attempted to pass on the inside and locked a brake. The poor 911 looked heavily damaged, but a closer inspection revealed it was just mostly fibreglass damage to the front guard and bumper. I have no doubt it will be repaired and back out for the next race. Continue reading