Jan 242008

Time once again for some motorsport news updates.

I’ve already covered some of the seat changes here and here but naturally in the last month there have been a few more announcements. One of the most surprising is Garry Rogers Motorsport settling on Formula Ford champion, Michael Caruso to fill the seat vacated by Dean Canto. GRM is a noted promoter of new and young talent, evidenced by the list of drivers who had their start in V8 Supercar before moving on to greater things. Current Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup, Jason Bright, Jason Bargwanna, Steven Richards, Greg Ritter and Steve Owen. How will Caruso take to the hulking V8’s after the light & nimble Formula Ford? Watching him should be interesting.
Dean Canto has had his career truncated by GRM’s decision not to continue into the third year of a three year contract. It’s sad for Dean, but obviously GRM doesn’t believe he has the goods for 2008. I dare say the disappointing run of serious prangs Dean was involved in during 2007 played a big part in deciding his fate. V8 Supercars is a demanding sport, as many drivers have, and will continue to discover.
Team Kiwi Racing – that erstwhile silver fern collective from across the ditch, will adopt a Ford chassis from Triple Eight Racing (Team Vodafone) for 2008, powered by a Stone Brothers Engine Package. No more Commodores for the Kiwis. On the opposite side of the ditch, from Albury-Wodonga, we find that Brad Jones Racing (Team BOC) has abandoned the Ford marque to take on the lion badge for 2008. I suppose one can only persist for so long before trying something else. The question which comes to my mind is will a change of make bring more joy to Team BOC? Somehow, I don’t think so.
While we’re mentioning Stone Brothers Racing, we might as well take a look at the new livery for James Courtney for 2008. It’s also interesting to note from the front of SBR’s website that no announcement has yet been made about Russell Ingalls replacement. As for Ingall, well……..I’m more than a little disgusted. He’s going back to a Holden team, and that’s fine & dandy because it’s the driver’s talent which often determines the success, not necessarily the machinery, and clearly Ingall wasn’t happy at SBR. However, he is leaving a sad relationship for one which is undoubtedly going to prove not only terminal for his racing career, but probably personally depressing as well. Ingall has chosen to accept an offer from Paul Morris Motorsport, with Supercheap Auto support. I’m dumbfounded.
And finally, from within the political / administrative side of the sport, Tomas Mezera has replaced Colin Bond as the Driving Standards Officer, who assists stewards and sport administrators at each race meeting. Tomas is a driver of long, and recently active standing, having made his last appearance in a V8 Supercar at Sandown in 2004. His reported approach to his new job?

“No bullshit, I’m not interested in a big ego,” said Mezera candidly. “I’m looking to treat everybody as equals no matter who they are. In this category they are all professionals and should know when they are right or wrong. Having said that there are always whingers and they whinge no matter whether it is black or white. It is up to V8 Supercars to make the rules, ensure everybody is aware of them and I have been appointed to provide expertise to assist in the adjudication of driving standards.”

A sound, no-nonsense approach to what has been and will no doubt continue to be a difficult and contentious responsibility. Good luck, Tomas. I reckon you’ll need it.

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