My earliest memory of motorsport was the blistering sound of V8 engines screaming past my Mum and I as we watched my Dad compete at the Thunder Dome back in 1992. For me it is quite a vague memory as I was only 2 years old, but my old man was owner and driver of GMC Products Racing.
Throughout my childhood we would spend countless weekends either at Sandown, Philip Island, or just in front of the TV watching the V8 Supercars roar. It was in our blood as a family, the adrenaline, and the need for speed. If we were not watching some form of racing on TV, we would be out at the Air Show, or the F1 Grand Prix, at car museums, or back when they used to have the “Car Show” at Jeff’s Shed. My Dad infused our family with a passion for cars and all things speed. He even built us a large Scalextic’s track, which my brothers and I would spend hours racing each other…mainly trying to create the world’s biggest crashes by launching the cars into the wall.
In my teenage years, my Dad finally convinced my mother (Italian women are hard to convince) to let my brother and I do Karting, and sure enough my love for motorsport became somewhat a reality. We never really progressed to racing, only ever going out for practice days either after school or on the weekends. Though we still enjoyed the thrill of racing each other, learning somewhat race craft and also the mechanics of cars. A family incident led to us having to stop karting, and at the age of 17 all hope was lost to ever getting back into a kart.
Through my 20s my passion for motorsport continued to follow me, I’d make sure to watch every F1, V8 Supercar race and get down to Sandown whenever I could. As I was studying mechanical engineering at the time, I was just a poor uni student, even getting back into karting was a long shot.
Then in 2019 my Dad and I were having a chat about some old photos I had found from his former life as a driver. I have found a bunch of old photos from his days at the Thunder Dome, but then came across a few photos of an old open wheeler. I ask, “So what is this?”…it was an old Formula Vee from the 80s, my Dad had built and ran in Formula Vee before moving off to do AUSCARS at the Thunder Dome. Underneath all these photos was an old CAMS 1st trophy from Winton. My Dad had thought that Formula Vee racing had died out as he had lost many of his contacts throughout the years. Me on the other hand, with help from old mate Google, found that Formula Vee was still alive and buzzing. So, both of us began calling and researching more into the class and how much it would cost us to get into the sport. I had managed to spark my Dad’s passion for motorsport once again, as he spoke highly of Formula Vee racing as it was all about race craft, skill and the driver. This was something I had to try.
I ended up coming along to a few Formula Vee racing in 2019, and spoke to a few of the guys, who were all so welcoming and friendly. Without trying or testing the Vees, we purchased Brian Pedersen’s Vee from South Australia. I did my OLTs at Winton about mid-year and boy did I learn the hard way about motorsport. After completing my OLT, I went out for one more session before calling it a day. Coming down the back straight, my oil pressure light blears into my eyes…an oil line had cracked over the exhaust…upon inspection, we had done a bearing. Time for an engine rebuild. I had had the car for only a few weeks and I already get the bloody thing repaired.
Because of this I then missed most of the racing throughout the year and then COVID-19 hit…which put a bit of a bummer on the whole racing thing.
Come Round 1 Sandown 2021, I entered, having only driven the car twice.
It was a weekend that I will never forget, qualifying 11th and with my best finish for the weekend being 9th, I have got a lot of things to learn and a lot of practice to do. Most of all I would like to thank everyone in the Formula Vee family for all the help and support over the weekend. It was truly an amazing weekend, thank you for all the information and even lending a hand to explain the car to me.
I hope to be able to talk to more of you over the next races, and I’m looking forward to sharing the track with you all at Winton.