Today we’re talking about how the NSW elections will be worse for drivers, car owners and even people who look at cars; how Supercars is getting way more dramatic off course than on course; how Wakefield Park may be coming back; how others did better than your team in last Saturday’s MX-5 Cup; how our mates at Hertz (where we pay full freight) advertise cars you can’t hire; where some Melbourne readers have formed a discussion group to work out the meaning of this column (hope they tell me); how Winton competitor Rob Bryden’s wife has complained that my description of him as a celebrity lawyer was wrong and it should be ‘toothless celebrity lawyer’; how our resident ugly car judge Dave Grinston (the Ssang Yong Stavic) now says the new Mitsubishi Outlander has taken over the title; how the groundbreaking twin electric-motor EV crossover Nissan Ariya is being recalled in AlboBidenSuniNuke land because the ‘steering wheel may detach from the steering column’; is Eddie Jordan right?
Is Merc boss, Toto Wolff, not a man? Should he get the flick? Will the Hamster go to Fezzer? Who will come third and fourth in Saudi Arabia this weekend? And in the story of the century: the Haas Formula One racing team have strongly denied claims that they have been supplying important and valuable parts to Russia that are being used in weapons manufacture, even after the Russian attack on Ukraine began.
All these stories and less, in what is cunningly disguised as a motoring column in the business section.
Move over Drive to Survive! In the first episode of “Just Drive, Don’t Complain”, the show that goes behind and in front of the scenes of what used to be V8 Supercars (that used to star Ford Falcons, Holden Commodores, Nissan things and – gulp – Volvos) but now is just Supercars and just stars Ford Mustangs and Chev Camaros and looks at how officials were trying to get the costs down to $300k a car but have successfully seen them cost a mill apiece.
As predicted our hero, Shane van Gisbergen, won the first ever Gen 3 race with Broc Feeney second. Second race was Shane first and Chaz Mostert second.
Well, that’s where the drama really kicks in. In a classified Facebook posting to me and one million other fans, Shane said: “It’s not a secret I haven’t been a fan of the way the Gen3 car feels and drives, and behind closed doors I’ve been pretty critical of things and tried to make it better, firstly with feedback to the category … over the weekend I probably said a bit too much publicly on Friday about the heat of the cars, although it did prove fruitful getting extra cooling for the drivers.
“Many still struggled, including myself with the heat. Unfortunately, that upset some of the top brass and hence my adopted media strategy for Sunday ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all’. I just knuckled down and drove my arse off on track.”
OK, what this means is, Shane and some others think the new Camaros have a fair way to go before they are suitable for the best and most competitive racing of its kind in the world.
For instance, in Newcastle, Shane told the world that the heat around the pedal box was worse than hell (in many religious traditions, hell is the abode, usually beneath the earth, of the unredeemed dead or the spirits of the damned with continual fires that don’t rely on gas or electricity – and so have the all clear from TEALS and Greens).
It was crazy hot, hot enough to send 22-year-old driver Will Brown to hospital for dehydration and give other drivers some pretty serious symptoms. Officials gave teams permission to use added cooling methods.
Believing they had approval from head of motorsport Adrian Burgess, both Red Bull cars – Van Gisbergen’s and Broc Feeney’s – had dry ice placed in the drivers’ side doors. Two teams complained and Shane and Broc were disqualified.
Understandably at the press conference after his win Shane said nothing in case he “upset some of the top brass again”.
Naturally he copped even more criticism. The appeal against the disqualification will be heard next week. Who knows what the result will be but it’s hard to see anything Shane said in the lead-up to the press conference as bringing the sport into disrepute.
More likely it’s the same old problem in motorsport in Australia. Toe the party line, don’t talk about any issues and most of all don’t complain.
Good to see our friend, Steve Shelley, soft drink scion, creator of a world-leading plane washing business, creator of Deputy – an all-in-one cloud-based workplace management solution (nup, no idea either) – and the owner of Pheasant Wood Circuit, has bought Wakefield Park.
Bottom line is in NSW we can’t go on losing great or even crook racetracks. In the F1 of Australian motorsport the MX-5 cup on Saturday, it’s clear you can’t do well unless you have family all around you. The past few years it’s been the Herrings, this year it’s Robbie and Jacob Giovenco, and John and Jaxon Fraser. Can I just reprint the report from that bastion of free speech, the MX-5 Club News: “Second was John Connolly with 20 points from a win, a fourth and a second”. Don’t ask which class.
If you have $7m in the super account or under the mattress, get it out and send it in a sealed bid to RM Sotheby’s now for the 2003 Ferrari Enzo. One Japanese owner. Never registered. Mostly still wrapped in the original plastic and only one of none nine painted in Argento Nürburgring, only 227km and one of the greatest Ferrari’s of the 21st century. Go deep..