Sunday, 5 May 2019

Supercars at the Perth SuperNight Light Up the Night

Why Pirtek Perth Supernight exceeded all expectations

With the curtain falling on the Pirtek Perth Supernight the time came to reflect on another Supercar event from one of the most longest standing tracks in Australia. I have been attending the ATCC / V8 Supercar / Supercar event at Barbagallo since 1992. I only missed 2010 when the organisation did not attend Western Australian for a myriad of reasons. After many years racing during daylight hours the Supercar category has dipped the toe in the water for night racing. 

Racing at night time is not new for Barbagallo Raceway with Night Masters series commencing in the early 90's. Here we have seen some incredible racing from the likes of Tony Ricciardello, Paul Stubber and Grant Johnson just to name a few. That said, a new level of experience was reached on the weekend with the sports administrative body exceeding most peoples expectation of what night racing could deliver.

To start with the support categories were top rate. The Historic Touring Cars had everyone on the edge of their seats. In many ways my only criticism would be to place the HTC in the hour gap after the Super 2 and prior to the Supercars. Aldo De Paoli in his 1969 Camaro had the crowd warmed up hotter than his left rear tyre as he slid his car from last to first in a reverse grid 40 second staggered start. We were also treated to a super competitive Super 2 race on both days and felt these guys held their own in the twilight part of the day. 
The Australian GT Series is always a crowd favourite and worked well in having a race prior and after the big show. I think we will see an increase in field numbers for the GT series in the coming years if FTA televising becomes a permanent fixture for this event. Surely the sound of a V10 5.2Lt Lamborghini is a welcome change after 80 minutes of 7500rpm small block V8's?

The show that everyone came for did not disappoint on both nights. With all drivers being announced on cue as they made their way to the grid, anticipation was certainly building. In Australia, sporting events seem to reach a new level of excitement and anticipation in the evening. Cricket, AFL, A-League, Drag Racing and Speedway are all good examples of this and the Perth SuperNight did not disappoint. As it would unfold, the DJR Penske Mustangs led the way but to be honest, I don't think many people cared who won. The winner was having an alternate to a night time sporting event in Perth. Given the Supercars were going head to head with the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium it was always going to be a big task. We should not compare the two but given the 31,160 over three days at Barbagallo (up 23% on last year) and the unusually poor numbers at the footy, it is hard to deny that it was a win for the internal combustion engine. 

Shows like this don't come without hard work. Pirtek chief executive Stephen Dutton came on board as major sponsor of the event and the Labor Government of WA should also be attributed in its success, in particular, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia who saw the benefit of backing this event. We should also remember the hard work from the WA Sporting Car Club and their long list of volunteers who make this event possible.

The event had a feel of a carnival and there is nothing better than watching the glow of the brakes into turn one to excite the crowd. We just need the engineers to turn up the fuel mix and get some  longer flames out of the pipes on the down shifts. Perhaps the fuel burn is of more importance and Mark Dutton and Ryan Story would suggest leaving the pyrotechnics to the fireworks on the back straight? Either way the Perth SuperNight is a major success and one we can not wait to see again.


Nick Dicembre

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Racewars 2019, debuting the BA on Radials and Podcasting for Sheep stations!

While all my good intentions are to have this blog running weekly/fortnightly the sad reality is that it has been 7 weeks since my last article. My sincere apologies as I still strongly believe that articles like this make a core part of our Torque n Power offering, so if you are still reading this then I appreciate you coming back.

The last month has been a whirlwind and it really all started the week before Simon hit the track in the BA. The week leading up to the meet on the 16th of Feb was sheer lunacy and one only our fearless driver and owner of the BA could cope with. Simon and his team put on 24 hour days....yes some days they worked around the clock and they managed to get the BA ready. If you haven't watched the video then I urge you to head on over to - BA on Radials Episode 001 and give it a view....thumbs up like and perhaps even a share? There you will see the entire lead up to that event. At the event the BA went 7.51 @ 212MPH and while the day started out with an 11 second tyre smoking pass Simon and Brenton Baxter tuned in a mid seven second pass by 9.00pm that evening!
The good news is that since that meet they returned for the Westernationals and sharpened that up with a 7.06 @ 5/10ths just by adjusting his right foot!! I could elaborate but you should probably listen to Episode 051 of the Podcast and our subsequent Westernationals follow up Podcasts to understand what I am talking about. Needless to say we are really looking forward to the 23rd of March where we will hit the track once more.

Speaking of the Westernationals I was a mix of emotions in the lead up to that week. I haven't missed a Westernationals since 1995??? or around the mid 90's. However this year I made a commitment to attend Racewars in Albany the South Coast of Western Australia. I have known Jamie Paolucci of Racewars for a long time and have viewed their event from a distance but this year I decided it was important for the Podcast to attend the event and get some new content for our viewers/listeners. Sadly the event was marred by tragedy with an incident involving a young racer by the name of Brody Ford. The incident saw his vehicle run off the end of the track and sadly young Brody passed away from his injuries. Much has been said regarding the incident and although I was present, I did not view the crash as it was over the crest of the runway and out of view. The vast majority of attendees would not have seen the incident and to be respectful to Brody's family, most commentary should be left to those with credentials, officials of the track, the WA Police, the Coroner and most importantly those closest to Brody. The only thing I can add is that I pray for the family and friends of Brody as they navigate their way through this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Days after Racewars, further commentary was published in regards to safety and the perceived lack of sanctioning from CAMS. Once again most of this commentary should be left with those of notable authority, however I will add in my personal opinion I feel that safety was treated in the most highest order. I was there in an official media capacity and was given the mandate to attend the relevant Media briefing. Here it was very clear in regards to where we were able access the track, safety procedures and also required to have a complete understanding of our limitations in regards to where we could film and shoot from. Once again my experience was merely just that, my experience, but as a member of those with Media Credentials I felt that safety was of high priority and sincerely hope that this event continues on.

The event saw a coming together of Australia's hardest hitters in runway racing. Where else would you see Steve Jones/Anthony Scali, Jose Jardim, Willall Racing and Eddy Tassone at the same event? We should quantify this to a certain extent.....Jose Jardim went 338kph in the first VMax 1000mtr pass of the day/event. Yes first cab of the rank Sunday morning he runs 338kph (in a Toyota Supra.....not a cab). Not to be out done the Willall Racing team expedited some parts over night to Albany as they had turbo difficulties on the Saturday and threw everything at their Nissan GTR. It looked fast out of the hole and never looked compromised - 351kph. This blog may seem like a Youtube viewing generator but if you wish to see these passes go to our Racewars 2019 video. So the team at Willall Racing threw down their gauntlet and waited for Eddy Tassone to come to the line. Eddy had clocked 323kph in only 800mtrs the day before. The GTO looked angry the whole weekend and did not want to play the game....on two attempts on Sunday Eddy was battling the GTO to stay straight with repeated blips of the right foot. Sadly he was unable to get the car down the track in the Sunday morning VMax session. Unfortunately the event was called off by lunch time and he was unable to get a third run in. That said I have no doubt he will be back for 2020 bigger and better.

As some of you already know we started this Podcast / Media / Content provider / Website in April of 2017. Two years on and we have met the most awesome people. Last Thursday I was privileged enough to be invited to follow Podcasters The Pod Filter Podcast 10th Episode Special. Here we would go head to head with another WA Podcast Dept of Drift in a three way battle of WA Podcasts. I won't disclose the results as the Podcast has yet to hit the airwaves......or Icloud???....I'm not sure what to call it. Anyway, that said, we had an absolute blast and thanks to our under paid fellow contributor to the Torque n Power Podcast Todd Brinkworth. It was awesome having him on board and assisting with Drift, JDM and car culture questions. We should thank Adam Ward and Simon Fryer from The Pod Filter, Jarrod Maclean (JMac Media) and DJ Johannes of the Dept of Drift, Andy White our Quiz Master and Gem C de wind our official scorer.They made the evening one hell of a blast.

Anyway I think we are all caught up? We will be racing once again on the 23rd of March at the Motorplex. We hope to squeeze that 6 second pass out of the BA. Simon seems to be comfortable in the car again (just like the old days). We have a heap of Podcasts coming your way back to our normal format with Formula 1, MotoGP, Supercars and or course drag racing as well. If you are at the Motorplex make sure you pop in and say hello. Until then stay safe.

Nick Dicembre

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Welcome to 2019

BA Baracus sporting some new Radials

Well I must apologise for the lack of articles and updates in the Blog but the silly season came upon us at the Podcast so quickly that I did not really have a chance to sit down and pen my thoughts as 2018 came to a close. Simon and his band of merry helpers have been flat out getting the BA Falcon ready for Radial Racing and we hope to have this completed in the coming months. I will touch on that a bit further on in this article. That said we are also working on some new ideas that we hope to implement during 2019. It will mean a more visual component to the Podcast as we make our way through the year.

The New Year marks a number of changes right across the world of motorsport. We will see a raft of changes come into Formula 1 and while most have not been heavily publicised there are many changes that will change the aero of an F1 car for 2019. I am a huge supporter of the changes the FIA made to reduce the dirty air influence and it's affect it had on the trailing car. There is a progressive plan for F1 in 2019 which is closely followed by more changes in the coming years.

Over in Supercar land we have had a number of driver changes. It started out with Mark Winterbottom switching over to the GM camp. It caused huge social media up roar with the Ford faithful. The media reports were reminiscent of the time when Craig Lowndes switched to Ford. To be honest I think the world of Frosty but his defect to Holden was of no surprise. The SC media machine really played on the defect and used the social media platforms to enhance the outrage but without Facebook I really don't think there was much of a story. The one change we did not see coming was the sacking of Garth Tander from Garry Rogers Motorsport. I wouldn't normally  criticise such a prominent person in the sport, but Garry's handling of this was nothing short of a public relations disaster. Given Garth left the team for the Christmas break with a clear understanding and deal settled for 2019, only to be dumped a few weeks later is poor form from Garry. In 2019 we pass off "Commercial Realities" as justification for inappropriate or ill informed decisions. Clearly Richie (Stanaway) and James (Golding) have negotiated commercial deals with their respective business partners and have bought sponsorship dollars to GRM but the team had made a commitment to Garth and should have honoured that deal.

Closer to home we have had some concerns regarding crowd attendance for Drag Racing at the Perth Motorplex. The 2018/19 season was the first test where we would not have any 400Thunder racing. This would mean Pro Slammer, Top Fuel, Pro Alcohol, Top Bike and Pro Stock would not be making an appearance in Perth for the entire season. The net result of this is yet to play out as the season is only midway however the Venues West team would have been taking a second glance at crowd figures the Monday after the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car meet on January 5. The Motorplex was packed from door to door and there was not a spare inch of grass to sit on. To be truthful it really excited me seeing thousands and thousands of spectators watching the Nitro Funny Cars. While we all understand these cars are tamed down, their colour, stance and close racing is exciting to the wider demographic. The support acts were great and the WA Doorslammers held their own in the Summer Slam Series.

It leads me to another support category - Radial Racing. In WA this is in it's infancy however the team at the Motorplex saw the value in it and gave it a go. Corey Marriott has grouped together a number of racers and has been able to pitch an exciting new product. We also see the value in it as well and as mentioned on our Podcast Simon has commenced turning his once BA Falcon Doorslammer to a Radial Car. On the outside this would appear to be an easy task - just changing rims and tyres,'s not that simple. To be frank the entire car has been stripped back to bare frame and is being re-assembled with Gonzo radial alterations along the way. Coupled with this build we have videos along the way and will make for some great content once the car hits the track.

So with that in mind I will bring this article to an end and hope everyone joins us for the ride in 2019.


Nick Dicembre

Monday, 19 November 2018

Bring Back the Biff - Is Verstappen the new Kyle Busch?

It may seem like a ridiculous question but is Formula 1 ready for NASCAR's Kyle Busch?  Can the North Americans bring WWE to the gentleman's world of F1?
Probably not......not yet, but the tensions from Sundays race in Sao Paulo makes for some great conversation and no doubt a ratings hit for the up and coming Grand Finale in Abu Dhabi.

This blog certainly does not condone violence of any sort - no way, but the spill over at the drivers weigh in after the Race has made for some great TV, dialogue and blogging!!!
The reality is that the incident on track was completely avoidable - one would question why had Estoban put himself in a position racing to unlap himself when no doubt even if he made the move on Verstappen stick he would have been swallowed up by the Red Bull Renault only a few laps later once the tyres on the Force India lost it's fresh rubber appeal.
That said he has every right to unlap himself and the young Dutchman should have just let him go and not get caught up in back-marker games. The incident had most mainstream media talking on the Monday and even made the seasoned AFL punters suddenly become experts in back-marker etiquette.

There is no doubt that hard core passion and rivalry with emotions over flowing  has been missing from F1 for sometime. Max has a serious amount of talent and while the greater media is demanding him to curb his emotion, I am sure the fans can't wait to see him in the lead RBH next year.

On a completely unrelated story, last week Formula E made a huge announcement that they will be live streaming in the UK via various BBC platforms including OTT and "TV Red Button" platform. This is great news for UK residents and no doubt we will see further advances from Formula E team in the coming years with expansion across the planet.

It brings me to my first Blog and my thoughts regarding F1 TV rights. Liberty media needs to move fast in some locations around the world. There is an ever increasing growing demographic which is disconnected from Formula 1. Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo has kept some engagement flourishing with the younger generation in Australia and I am sure Brendon Hartley is doing the same in New Zealand, but on a whole the disconnect when Formula 1 went behind the pay wall is growing.

While the Formula E series and premise is not everyone's cup of tea, if you are 13 years of age and it is your only form of accessible/consumable motorsport it is not hard to see Formula 1 will be soon on the decline should they not rethink their telecast platforms.


Nick Dicembre

Thursday, 11 October 2018

2018 Bathurst 1000 - The Craig Lowndes fairy tale sinks Falcons last hurrah

The 2018 running of the Bathurst 1000 was probably not the closest or tightest contest we have seen at the Mountain over the years. Yet it will probably go down as one of the most memorable for a long time to come.

For the outgoing full time racer Craig Lowndes there was only marginal consideration given to him finishing on the Podium. Over the past few years, even with the might of 888 engineering, his third car was not a real player in the Top 10 shootout and from the outside it appeared as though the younger Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup got what was perceived as the "good parts". That said this year he would qualify the car well, finish in the Top 10 on Friday and finish 9th for the Top 10 shootout.

Those that win Bathurst always preach the "to finish first, you must first finish" and when you look at previous winners of the Great Race their cars, for the main, represent the straightest and most undamaged cars left in the field. The 888 Commodore of Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards definitely reflected this and even though they were lucky to catch the ailing David Reynolds their march to the lead was bourne from clean driving and consistent pace.

My favourite scenes from the race were not shots from over the Mountain, not the helicopter shots into the Chase, but the in-car camera of the 888 Commodore. The closing stint with Lowndes at the wheel was very Peter Brock-esque. Craig had one hand on the wheel, the other plucking the gears and resting it on his lap and soaking up the closing laps atmosphere. If the modern day Supercar did not have the mandate on re-positioning driver closer to the centre of the car (and window net) he could have rested his right arm on the door and given the crowd a wave. It was classic Craig Lowndes, mentored by the greatest Touring Car driver of all time.

Speaking of "all time" the 2018 race would be the last time we would see a Falcon at the Mountain. While the road going version of the FG-X ceased production in October of 2016 the PRA and DJRPenkse Teams would keep the Falcon dream alive for another 2 years....sadly they were not able to bring home the Peter Brock Trophy.

It brings me to my last point. With the absence of the Falcon in 2019 (to be replaced with the Mustang), are we trending towards a new breed of racing rivalries? The ZB Commodore sales are falling well below Holdens expectations and it is safe to say even true Holden fans did not take much solace from the ZB win. Given it is not available in our favourite combination (rear wheel drive with a 6.2Lt V8 up front) there isn't a cult following to be had. Some of the Holden teams are looking into the homologation of the Camaro, but the costing so soon after the ZB is problematic.

For years we followed the manufacturer or race team, but Craig Lowndes broke new ground in 2001 and bought a whole lot of GM fans over to the Blue Oval. That said he no doubt bought Ford fans over to Holden many years later when 888 changed marques. While Craig Lowndes maybe winding down his career his legacy opens the door for a new culture of fans in the Supercars series.

Nick Dicembre

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Nicks 2019 F1 Driver Predictor

It's mid August of 2018 and the driver Merry Go Round has already started. Here are some of my predictions for the remaining unannounced driver/team combinations for 2019.

Scuderia Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel - Confirmed for 2019
Kimi Räikkönen - Nicks Predicts a move to Sauber replacing Charles Leclerc

Force India-Mercedes
Sergio Pérez  Nicks Predicts he will stay
Esteban Ocon Nick predicts to be replaced by Lance Stroll

Romain Grosjean Nicks Predicts he will stay
Kevin Magnussen Nicks Predicts he will stay

Stoffel Vandoorne - Nicks Predicts he will stay
Fernando Alonso - Confirmed leaving in 2019. Replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr.

Mercedes AMG 
Lewis Hamilton - Confirmed for 2019
Valtteri Bottas - Confirmed for 2019

Red Bull Racing 
Daniel Ricciardo - Confirmed leaving in 2019 to replace Carlos Sainz Jr at Renault
Max Verstappen - Confirmed for 2019

Nico Hülkenberg - Confirmed for 2019
Carlos Sainz Jr. - Confirmed leaving in 2019 to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren

Marcus Ericsson Nicks Predicts he will stay
Charles Leclerc - Nicks Predicts a move to Ferrari replacing Kimi Raikkonen

Toro Rosso 
Pierre Gasly - Nicks Predicts a move to Red Bull replacing Daniel Ricciardo
Brendon Hartley  Nicks Predicts he will stay

Williams Martini Racing 
Lance Stroll  - Nicks Predicts a move to Force India replacing Esteban Ocon
Sergey Sirotkin - Nicks Predicts he will stay

Nick also Predicts In coming
Williams - Robert Kubica to replace Lance Stroll
Toro Rosso - Lando Norris to replace Pierre Gasley

Nick also Predicts Out Going
Force India-Mercedes - Esteban Ocon replaced by Lance Stroll

Nick Dicembre

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Is the World ready for EV Racing?

Courtesy of VW - photoshopped by Torque n Power Media

For the uninitiated of the blog the acronym EV stands for Electric Vehicle. EV's have been around for sometime and when I say sometime I really mean it. There is evidence of Electric Vehicles that date back to early 1800's. By the early 1900's some found their way to the production line including Studebaker. The ability to mass produce petrol engines coupled with the poor technology advances in battery technology eventually saw the end of electric vehicles in the early 1900's.

Even though EV's have made a come back via a number of manufacturers in the mid 90's it took sometime for them to make their way into a form of a sanctioned Motorsport. A Motorsport series showcasing an EV has come to the fore with the advent of Formula E in 2014. The series has served well as a category for those unable to sustain the funding required to maintain a drive in Formula 1. So the drivers are of very good stock and have talent on par with those over at F1.

The success of Formula E captured the imagination of a number of manufacturers. Outside of Formula E, Volkswagen saw fit to develop a racing prototype to take on a number of events. Pikes Peak was in the scope so they set out and built something that was truely amazing. In 2018 VW released the I.D. R which features two electric engines, which generate a system performance of 500 kW 649 Nm of torque, weighing in at under 2,500 lb (1,100 kg).

By June of 2018 they set of for Pikes Peak in California and smashed the record by 16 seconds. The I.D. R steered by Romain Dumas set a time of 7:57.148. The stats would indicate that this is not the biggest HP car to take on the mountain however it's electric drive torque delivery coupled with the fact it does not rely on Oxygen to makes its power would mean it had the odds stacked in its favour. The I.D. R sounded like Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters as it made it way up the Mountain and as history would have it they smashed the record. If you haven't seen the run check it out here.

Not to be out done the guys from VW would then take the car over to the UK and take on the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hill climb. Here Romain Dumas would set a sizzling time of 43.05s up the 1.8km Hill climb in qualifying. This would end up being a record for the fastest EV car at Goodwood and to quantify that, the all time record is held by Nick Heidfeld with a 41.60s set in his McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 Formula 1 car from 1999.

As it turned out Romain Dumas would come away from Goodwood winning the Final, with a 43.86s which topped the leaderboards. Once again if you haven't seen the Goodwood run check it out here.

Clearly the team at VW are using their non-conventional race car to aggressively target the non-mainstream Motorsport events. Arguably their profile in the mainstream disciplines is non-existent but they have achieved far better results in terms of media coverage from these two events in a car that is going to set the world on fire. 

Lets hope we can see this ride take on the Nurburgring in Germany and some of the other great tracks of the world.


Nick Dicembre