Competing in Australia's fastest racing series - Formula Holden

Winton Motor Raceway September 2001

You can't argue with results. Peters Racing has won the Silver Star award for the 2001 series after a year of tough racing with a small budget. It is a real tribute to a great bunch of volunteers who contributed their time over three years to establish this team in the top rung of Australian motorsport. We had some real obstacles to overcome this year but with the help of our sponsors EDS, Cantech precision engineering and Tandy we were able to maintain our position all the way to the end of the season and when push came to shove we were there to grab the series. It was also a fitting reward for my wife, team manager and most ardent supporter Rebecca who endured what she still maintains was the worst moment of her life in the last race of last years series when we rolled the car and I was somewhat injured so this year we took a pretty conservative approach and kept it all together. We ran through this season with sixteen top ten finishes out of sixteen races for the season and during the year we used two wing endplates only as the only bodywork repairs. We are looking forward to securing sponsorship agreements with our existing and some new business partners in order to expand our operation to become competitive in the Gold star series.

Practise 1

Rain. You're probably as bored reading it as I am racing in it and writing about it. The weather was really cold too so tyre temperature was going to be a huge issue. We decided to run in the new engine and not take any risks with the car. We needed to keep in mind that we only needed to finish both of the races in second position to achieve the goal we had set for ourselves. Unfortunately our new engine seems to be way down on power so our gearing was too tall and we were going to have to retrim the car to achieve acceptable straight line speed and sacrifice some cornering speed by using less downforce.

Practise 2
We ran this session still with the tall gearing and looked for midcorner speed in spite of our low downforce. The tyres took quite a lot of laps to get warm and then the session was red flagged a number of times and we couldn't get enough laps to get them warm to test the changes in the few contiguous laps we had. Our used tyres from Mallala had gone off quite a lot too. The Yokohamas this year have a very poor performance at their second race meeting and it would be a considerable benefit to be able to use two sets at each race to ensure that changes made in practice were tested on representative tyres.

After much sole searching Peters Racing decided to forgo the expense of new tyres and continue this meeting on the Mallala rubber. We felt it would be advantageous to have the funds to put on new wets for Sunday. As predicted this ensured that it wouldn't rain for the rest of the weekend. We are still struggling for car speed, as an indication we are over three seconds a lap down on last years time here. The result gave us a lot of work to do on Sunday to grab the big prize as we are down in 13th position. I also managed to break both wing endplates which gave the crew some additional problems to be concerned with.

Race 1

I think these were the most difficult conditions I have ever raced in. The track had a dry line and the wind was brisk but carrying a light misty rain. We started on slicks and the rain changed a little in the first few laps and the track got wet in places and dry in others and changed every lap. The tricky conditions caught out one of our main competitors on the opening lap so I was able to take it very easy and cruise to a second in class to maintain our point's position in the championship. We now had a lead of seven points with one race to go. At least we didn't get the weather that the V8s had shortly afterwards when it hailed while they were racing.

Race 2

In 2000 we finished our last race of the season with me in an ambulance. This year our competitor Terry had the misfortune to get the ride in the big white van and fortunately he wasn't severely injured although it looked nasty. I was just behind him into the first corner and he got a little wide through turn 1 and looped it into the side of Aki's car and headed off on the grass which was as slippery as hell. The race was red flagged and we had a nervous wait on the grid while they got Terry out of the car. After the restart my team informed me over the radio that if we just nursed the car to the finish then we would clinch not only the Silver Star for the series but the Silver Star for this event as well so we just stroked the car around to the finish. It was a slightly anticlimactic end to a great season but we finished the day with the Silver Star and all the corners still on the car. In spite of our championship win it was sad to get out of the car at the end of the day. With no committed sponsor for next year this may have been my last opportunity to drive these fantastic cars. I would be sad if that is the case as we have now accumulated the knowledge and skills to effectively run in this extremely demanding series but if that is the case we have now capped the adventure with a major and irrevocable achievement.


The crew for the weekend was Team Manager Rebecca Peters and crew John Mahoney, Gil Gerhardt and Garrett Gerhardt. The conditions were mostly pretty miserable but the team stayed focussed on the job at hand and bought home the prize that counts.

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