In automotive racing, communication and teamwork is key. I’m sure we can all relate to watching our favourite racing drivers winning races like they were born with the skill, but between the car, the driver and all of the crew in the pit is a relationship that’s critical.
Communication is just as important off the racetrack. As a community, we’re stronger together and so it’s important to make sure that the people around us are okay. It only takes one conversation to change a life, and the more we talk, the more people are encouraged to seek the help that they need and deserve.
‘Connect, Communicate, Care’ was the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day 2016. It placed a focus on not only starting a conversation about suicide and mental health, but just as importantly, how to start one. After all, most, if not all of us are directly affected by someone who was taken by suicide.
That’s why for #IAMDRIVEN 2016, we teamed up with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport to help act as a reminder that suicide is everyone’s responsibility.
The event was Round 6 of the Shannons Nationals at Phillip Island. There were over 120 racing cars across eight categories competing, and each would be wearing Cars For Hope stickers in support of everyone affected by suicide.
It included racing cars from the Australian Touring Car Masters Series, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia, Australian GT Trophy Series, Australian Formula 3 Premier Series and the Superkarts Australia National Series.
The racing was fast and exciting across all categories, but more deeply was what they were racing for.
One car which caught our eye in the paddock was Leo Tobin’s 1969 Ford Boss Mustang, sporting Cars For Hope stickers on the front bumper.
The Touring Car Masters Series harks back to an era way before my time, but it’s great to see the passion behind the owners and drivers of these cars despite their age.
Plus that striking orange colour scheme on the #46 Mustang would be the perfect ambassador for #THEORANGEEFFECT, which shines a light on self-injury awareness.
There was no shortage of Ford Mustangs in the Touring Car Masters field…
…including this one from 1964 Coupe driven by Glenn Seton…
…and this 1970 Fastback driven by Rusty French.
Rusty was dicing it in numerous battles at the front of the pack throughout the whole weekend, most notably with Series leader Jim Richards in his AMC Javelin.
The front fender was a popular spot for Cars For Hope stickers in the Touring Car Masters field.
Not a bad place to wear it, if you asked me!
The Australian GT Trophy Series is another category with a great range of cars, each with their own strengths and weaknesses to make for some fast-paced action, which if I must admit, looks quite hairy at times.
The MARC Cars Australia entries are based on short wheelbase sedans from Ford and Mazda, and were designed with international endurance racing duties in mind.
Combining a RWD layout with a 5.0 Litre V8 engine up front, on paper these machines look like a definite adrenaline rush to drive!
Then there’s the supercars we so often associate with GT class racing.
The Audi R8s are popular amongst racers and spectators alike, and it’s easy to see why.
Plus, those trophies in the background are a hint at how they fare in Australian GT racing.
I did mention that GT racing was fast and exciting, but the parts are also very expensive, especially with the fibreglass and carbon fibre construction of much of each car’s exterior.
The Australian Sports Racer Series is another category with an interesting array of cars, in particular the striking prototype-looking silhouettes.
Naturally-aspirated and under 1.6 Litres in engine capacity, these machines sounded great battling hard around Phillip Island.
The open-topped and low-slung cars feature some interesting aerodynamic packages.
Plus some of the competitors rocked some pretty fancy liveries out there…
…including John-Paul Drake’s multi-coloured West WX10…
…and Aaron Steer’s West LMP4…
…who showed their support with a Cars For Hope sticker on the front fender.
Then there’s the Superkarts Australia National Series.
These things are like your local hire karts on steroids.
With a low Centre of Gravity and a huge power-to-weight ratio, they’d be some crazy fun, especially in the wet!
We also saw the Formula 3 Premier Series field sporting Cars For Hope stickers in various places across their cars.
From the front wings…
…to the side cowls…
…the Cars For Hope movement was well received.
Like a lot of open-wheel racers, there’s a big focus on the car’s aerodynamics in Formula 3.
Everything from the body work right down the control arms are engineered for optimum aerodynamic performance.
And you never know, we might even see another Mark Webber or Daniel Ricciardo coming from the field!
The Shannons Nationals continues to be one of the premier events in Australia for grassroots racing, and it amazes me time and time again the range of categories to see at the track. Most importantly though, are the faces of these events. From the organisers, to the competitors and all of the volunteers, we’d like to thank all of you for showing your support of World Suicide Prevention Day and mental health awareness. We’d also like to extend a big thank you to the team at CAMS including Graham Sattler, Loren Hazelwood, Rob James, and of course Daniel Gargaro for making #IAMDRIVEN 2016 at the Shannons Nationals possible.