Competing in Australia's fastest racing series - Formula 4000

Eastern Creek Nov 2003
After the year we have had this might have seemed like an anti-climax. I was a little concerned that the team would relax but that proved unfounded as we put an exclamation point on the end of our second Silver Star winning year. We had great car speed again and managed our usual reliability and a terrific result to end our year.
We had quite a bit of work to do in a short time. We hadn't used our "new" set-up at Eastern Creek and we hadn't tested so we had extrapolated our Phillip Island set-up to here and now we needed to fine-tune it. Session 1 on Friday we were the first cars out so the track was impossibly dirty and we were not able to make any progress. In the second session we had a good basis but some damper work was required to make the car stable enough on the faster parts of the track.
In spite of a number of stoppages it wasn't a bad session and 8th put us on the clean part of the track which makes a huge difference here for the start. I managed to give myself a serious scare by pushing too hard too soon through turn 1, and nearly had an off at 250km/hr which might have severely interrupted our weekend! This was due to the car bottoming while the tyre pressures were still low. We start out at 13.5 PSI and they rise to nearly 20 PSI as they get hot, so you can imagine that if the ground clearance is right at 20, then it's too low at 13.
Race 1
Got a real scorcher of a start and slotted into 6th as we entered turn 2. Up ahead there was some "action" and a couple of cars went bush. The same seemed to be happening behind and as the first lap ended we were 4th and within sight of the leaders. I spent the rest of the race keeping it clean and going just fast enough to keep Ricki Ochipinti at bay and rolled home to a lovely 4th outright and first in Silver Star. Let's just say we were very pleased.
Race 2
Another great starting position and another great start. I was outside Paul Trengove and going for third on turn 1, but decided that 4th would let me stay further ahead of the other Silver Star runners, and so fell into line. There was no way of keeping Peter Hill back and he went past. Had a good scrap with Michael Joannou and managed to carry it home with 7th overall and first in Silver Star, which gave us the Silver Star round win as well. The later part of the race I was slowed by failing front-end grip. The front tyres were getting too hot through turn 2 and pushing wildly right, down the back section of the course. For next season we need to make the front end of the car "bite" more on the turn into slow corners

On Saturday night we held our big celebration dinner at an Italian restaurant in Parramatta. We had a great, and fairly noisy evening, and presented the team with trophies for championship season. Thanks to the gorgeous models, Sheridyn and Laura, for coming along and adding some glamour to the evening and to Peter Black for taking some really memorable photographs of the night!

2003 Series Result This year we won the Silver Star series in the best way; we were quick and reliable and had the award all sewn up with one round to go. We finished with just short of 200 points. This year we also had our best Gold Star series position of 6th, which is a great starting point to step up to the next challenge and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank some very significant people in our program.

Bruce Linn of EDS has contributed an enormous amount to our team over the years. He has sponsored us as we have grown and acquired the skills and infrastructure to compete successfully at this level. Bruce has also participated as a team member at race tracks in Australia and New Zealand. It would be fair to say that without Bruce's patronage we wouldn't have been competitive at this level. EDS have sponsored our team for the last three years. The support of a major international corporation has provided our team with more than just funds. Their ongoing involvement significantly enhances our credibility and networking capability as we seek other corporate support. We have developed a reputation for reliability and straight-line speed over our five years in this series. A large part of that is due to the skill of Doug Veale, principal of Adelaide based Cantech Precision Engineering. Doug is a superb engineer and also a very pragmatic designer and has built some fantastic race engines and provided technical direction for most of the cars mechanical elements. The direct result is a vehicle that both performs well and has a remarkable finishing record. I wouldn't want to compare the number of mechanical DNFs to the number of driver mistakes, as I'm pretty sure I'd loose out. I'm certainly glad that he sees fit to make time for an automotive sideline to his high tech commercial engineering business.

In 1999 on our first trip to Canberra our team made the acquaintance of the Gerhardt family, Rebecca and Barbara having been friends and colleagues for years. It was one of those moments that take on a greater importance as time goes by. Since then Gil, Barbara and Garrett have contributed enthusiastically to the teams operations, both visibly as team members at the track but also behind the scenes. We are extremely grateful for their support, friendship, dedication and off the wall sense of humour!

My wife and best friend, Rebecca Peters, has once again organised every aspect of the team's participation, in spite of a difficult year facing all sorts of medical problems. Her professionalism and attention to detail at events ensure that we never have any problems to distract us and her tactical skills during races are a fundamental part of our team's success.

Finally to our track team, Sam Lee, Garret Gerhardt and Steve Davis; thanks not only for your dedication, resourcefulness and commitment, but also for your company and good cheer. This sport is a team game in spite of glory hound drivers and you guys are truly winners.

2004 holds much in store for us all. We will be spending the summer raising the bar again and preparing for a year that may hold some more international travel as well as our own domestic series.

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