On the Friday afternoon of the Expo, a trio of star Supercar steerers visited the Expo

Tickford Racing’s James Courtney and Thomas Randle were joined by Tim Slade of the CoolDrive/Blanchard Racing Team for a special panel hosted by Paul Marinelli on the Friday afternoon of the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo.
As part of the panel, the trio discussed a range of topics including James Courtney’s 500th round milestone, the outcome of the 2021 F1 Championship, the incoming Gen 3 Supercars, the return of the Adelaide 500, and racing at the Australian Grand Prix – which was being held in Melbourne that same weekend
“It has been amazing,” said James of his milestone, “there are so many amazing stories throughout that time and people have been asking me what is the one thing that stood out and for me, it is all the relationships there have been with some amazing people and opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to do or people I wouldn’t have been able to meet if I wasn’t doing what I do.
“I still wake up every morning and pinch myself. I still can’t believe I get paid to race a car; I have never had to work a day in my life really.”
Also enjoying a special milestone at the AGP was Thomas Randle, who celebrated his birthday on the Thursday by sharing his Supercar with none other than two-time World F1 Champion, Fernando Alonso.
“It was pretty cool to be driving a Supercar at the Grand Prix on my birthday, but the big highlight was that I got to have Fernando Alonso drive my car and take me for some hot laps,” Thomas said.
“It was really cool, and it was the first time he had driven a Supercar.”
On the incoming Gen 3 car, Tim Slade and James spoke about the progress and reasons behind its introduction.
“There are a number of reasons why we are going to what we are going to. Essentially one of them is to make the racing better as at the moment it is quite hard to follow close on fast tracks because you lose the aerodynamic grip you have on the front of the car when you are close to a car in front and the front tyres get hot and you drop off, so it is hard to pass. So, they have changed some things with this new spec car to try and fix that,” Tim explained.
“Cost is another big thing, to try and get the cost lower and the running cost lower too so it is more cost effective to the teams and also more road relevant as well. If you look at the current Mustang it looks quite different to the road going version so the new gen cars, the Camaro and Mustang, will basically look the same as the road car.”
“It is a lot lighter as well which will be good. It is also a bit wider and looks a bit meatier and beefier and I think it has a better look to it. It looks like the road car, so that is good for ‘racing on Sunday, selling on Monday,” added James.
Also discussed was the impending comeback of the Adelaide 500 – a topic close to Tim’s heart as a South Australian.
“South Aussie or not, I think the whole industry
is super excited to have that back on our calendar. I think it is the best event of the year, and the
State really gets behind it. It is a mega event, at its prime (it had) 270,000 people over four days,” Tim said.
“We all love going there, the track is super fun and I guess it is physically taxing as well. It will probably be a bit easier having it at the end of the year after a full year of racing rather than as the first race of the year.
“The location of the event being in the heart of the city is pretty amazing, and for me being a South Australian I have a lot of memories of gong to the track with my dad as a little whippersnapper, so it probably means a little bit more to myself and the other South Australian drivers.”

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