July 13: Terry & 'Godzilla' roar back into Heritage series contention
July 13: Nick's podium carge nipped in the bud
May 31: Training course demystifies car set-up tweaks
May 18: Winemaker tastes success in Super Enduro
May 4: 'Godzilla' takes a sickie
March 9: 'Godzilla' destroys the opposition at Heritage series opener!
February 6: Corse welcomes 'Godzilla'
Terry Lawlor leads Anthony Compton in race 3 at Morgan Park. [Photo by Shifting Focus]
DATE: July 11-13, 2014
EVENT: Heritage Touring Cars series, round 3
VENUE: Morgan Park - Warwick, Qld
VEHICLE (OWNER): Group A Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R (Terry Lawlor)
Terry Lawlor and his mighty Group A Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R roared back into contention for the Heritage Touring Cars series with a dominant performance in round three at Morgan Park.
It was a welcome return to form by the twin-turbo all-wheel-drive 'Godzilla', which had to sit out the previous HTC series round at Sydney Motorsport Park in May after suffering an engine problem in practice.
Terry qualified on pole position and won two of the three races for the historic Group A (1985-92) and Group C (1973-84) cars.
He led the first race, over eight laps of the 3km circuit near Warwick, 160km south-west of Brisbane, from start to finish. The third race, over 10 laps, produced another comfortable victory for Terry despite a slow start.
The only race Terry didn't win was the six-lap handicap, which he started nearly a full lap behind the first driver. Even so, he recovered 10 places to finish seventh, less than 10 seconds behind the winner, veteran Bob Holden in a Toyota Corolla.
Corse owner Mick Mitchell was satisfied with the weekend's results.
"It's always good to finish a race meeting as the fastest car, even if we didn't win everything," he said. "The standing starts were the hardest part. Usually the Heritage series race have rolling starts, and Terry hasn?t had any experience launching this thing off the line.
"After being quickest in qualifying, Terry did everything right in the first race. He was up against it in the second race with such a big handicap, but he did well to finish so close behind Bob Holden.
"Bob's amazing. He won the Bathurst 500 with Rauno Aaltonen in a Mini Cooper S back in 1966, and he still competes actively, well into his 80s!
"In the third race Terry didn't get a great start again, but he picked off the cars ahead and then drove clean and fast until the end."
Round four of the HTC series will be at the Muscle Car Masters meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park on September 5-7.
DATE: July 11-13, 2014
EVENT: Radical Australia Cup series, round 4
VENUE: Sydney Motorsport Park - Eastern Creek, NSW
VEHICLE (OWNER): Radical SR3 (Nick Kelly)
A 12-month break from racing didn't slow Nick Kelly in the fourth round of the Radical Australia Cup at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Nick was quickly back up to speed, despite business commitments keeping him away from the racetrack since the equivalent 2013 round of the multi-State series for the British-built Le Mans-style sports cars.
He qualified sixth fastest of the 13 cars in the four-cylinder SR3 class, and drove steadily to fifth place in the first 50-minute heat.
In the second heat he chased third-placed Kim Burke for lap after lap, with a chance of grabbing the final podium position as the field prepared to restart after a safety car period a few minutes from the finish.
But Nick's podium charge was nipped in the bud when his car suddenly lost drive at the beginning of the main straight.
The breakdown surprised Corse owner Mick Mitchell.
"The car had a brand new engine and gearbox installed for this round, so we weren't expecting any problems," he said. "We'll find out what happened when we pull the gearbox apart back at the workshop.
"It was a shame, because Nick had driven very well all weekend. He definitely had a shot at getting on the podium."
May 31, 2014
International race and rally engineer Dejan Ninic explains tyre technology to an attentive audience.
More than ever, technology is the key to success in motorsport. With that in mind, Corse hosted a one-day training course in May to demystify the complex process of optimising a car's handling.
The Basic Vehicle Handling course was presented by Race Engineering Academy's Dejan Ninic, who has worked with international and Australian race and rally teams.
Participants came from a variety of backgrounds, including race and rally drivers, navigators, mechanics and engineering students.
"Our Basic Vehicle Handling course is an introduction to the factors that influence a car's cornering performance," Dejan said.
"The course covers a range of topics, including definitions of handling terminology, suspension components, wheel alignment, tyres, vehicle dynamics, tools and testing, in a convenient one-day format. It's tailored for apprentice mechanics, undergraduate automotive engineers, amateur race and rally drivers, navigators and performance car owners.
"First I go through the theory, and then I conduct a practical workshop in which the participants solve handling problems through simulations."
REA also holds one and two-day courses covering introductory and advanced race engineering, vehicle dynamics and data acquisition, aerodynamics, race strategy and driver coaching.
Corse Motorsport owner Mick Mitchell was pleased with the outcome of the training day.
"I'm all for educating people about motorsport technology," he said. "More often than not, races and rallies are won by the fastest car, not the fastest driver. A driver who understands the basics of setting up a car has an advantage over one who doesn't.
"Drivers have to work with engineers to get maximum performance from their car. Telling an engineer that the car's handling like a pig doesn't do a lot of good!"
Mick said that Corse is an ideal location to hold technical training courses.
"We're close to the centre of Greater Sydney, we have all the facilities of a modern race workshop, and there's room to run a seminar with up to 10 participants."
For details of REA's training courses, go to www.raceengineeringacademy.com.
Graeme Shaw's Evo X RS en route to victory in the Super Enduro. [Photo by On The Redline]
DATE: May 17-18, 2014
EVENT: NSW Production Touring Cars series, round 3
VENUE: Wakefield Park ? Goulburn, NSW
VEHICLE (OWNER): Mitsubishi Evo X RS (Graeme Shaw)
Thorough preparation, consistently fast driving and slick pit work paid off for Graeme Shaw and Rick Bates in the Corsa Duo Ore* Super Enduro for production touring cars at Wakefield Park.
Graeme's Corse-prepared Shaw Vineyard Estate Mitsubishi Evo X RS ran like clockwork in the two-hour race, enabling the Murrumbateman winemaker and his experienced co-driver to win by a clear two laps!
Their only hiccup - so to speak! - during the entire weekend was when Graeme slid off the 2.2km Goulburn racetrack in Saturday's Top-10 shootout.
"I went into Fish Hook Corner too hot, and quickly realised that things could have got nasty if I tried to keep it on the track,? he said. ?So I used my past rally experience, and let the car go onto the grass run-off area."
That put Graeme in 10th starting position for Sunday?s race, but undaunted he steadily picked off the cars ahead to be in second place by his scheduled pit-stop on lap 47. Rick climbed into driver's seat while the Evo was being refuelled, and rejoined the race without losing a position.
On lap 56 he took the lead when the leading Holden HSV finally made its pit-stop. After that it was just a matter of lapping quickly and keeping out of trouble, which Rick managed superbly for the next 46 laps until the chequered flag waved.
Naturally Graeme was well pleased with the result, not least because for some time he'd wanted to Rick Bates to co-drive with him in a long-distance race.
"I?ve known Rick and his twin brother Neal, who live nearby in the ACT, since my rallying days," he said. "Neal is probably better known because of his achievements in gravel rallies, but Rick's always been very quick on the bitumen.
"I'd been looking for an opportunity for him to co-drive with me, but usually our co-driver races are only an hour, which doesn?t give either driver much seat time.
"This two-hour race was perfect, though. Our only problem was that there wasn't time to change tyres during the pit-stop, because we started with the pressures a bit too high - not that it mattered in the end."
Corse owner Mick Mitchell congratulated Graeme and Rick on their success.
"Graeme's typical of many State-level competitors who opt to look after their cars at race weekends and track days. He doesn't do a bad job at it either, considering his lack of experience!
"He brought his Evo to Corse prior to the start of the season for us to go over it. The car was fairly tired, so we gave it a thorough prep and tidy-up.
"His lap times and results have improved considerably this season, and the Wakefield two-hour race was his first win, which has been extremely pleasing for us as well as him.
"Graeme is a dedicated motorsport enthusiastic, and a pretty good driver in this type of racing, which makes our efforts worthwhile.
"He's a pleasure to deal with, and I'm confident that this win will be the first of many!"
* Italian for 'Two-Hour Race'
With a rebuilt engine, 'Godzilla' should be back to its terrifying best in round 3 of the Heritage Touring Cars Series.
[Photo by Good Publicity]
DATE: May 3-4, 2014
EVENT: Heritage Touring Cars series, round 2
VENUE: Sydney Motorsport Park 'Grand Prix' circuit - Eastern Creek, NSW
VEHICLE (OWNER): Group A Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R (Terry Lawlor)
Any thoughts about Terry Lawlor and his GIO Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R making a clean-sweep of this year's Heritage Touring Cars series were dispelled in the second round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The car, nicknamed 'Godzilla' during the model's domination of early-1990s Group A touring car racing, was withdrawn from the race meeting after experiencing engine overheating during Friday practice.
Corse owner Mick Mitchell first noticed the problem in the last race at the opening Heritage series round at Phillip Island.
"After reviewing the data we did some initial tests, which all came up okay," Mick said. "We then took the car to Sydney Motorsport Park, and after 10 or so laps of full throttle runs down the main straight, the problem re-occurred.
"Unfortunately there wasn't time for a full engine rebuild before the second Heritage round, so we tried a few bandaid repairs, but they weren't successful. When the problem was still there in the first practice session, we parked the car rather than risk major damage."
Subsequent inspection at Corse's Wetherill Park workshop confirmed Mick's suspicions that there was a problem with the cylinder sealing rings.
"The same problem plagued the GT-R last year before Terry bought it, and obviously it still wasn't sorted," he said.
"Since the car arrived at Corse we've changed the suspension set-up to suit Terry's driving style, and replaced electrical components such as coils, coil harnesses, ignition and isolator switches, many of which dated back to 1992. But we haven't made any other changes."
The engine has been sent for refurbishment to Gibson Motorsport, which retains key personnel from the team that originally built and prepared the GIO GT-R as well as the Nissan factory cars for the Australian Touring Car Championship and long-distance races.
Mick expects 'Godzilla' to be back to its terrifying best at the next Heritage series round, to be held at Morgan Park in Queensland on July 12-13.
"Terry's a bit behind in the series now after skipping the second round, but I'm sure that he's up to the challenge," he said.
Terry Lawlor battled with touring car legend Jim Richards, driving an ex-Nissan factory team Skyline HR31, in race 3.
DATE: March 7-9, 2014
VENUE: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit ? Cowes, Victoria
EVENT: Heritage Touring Cars series, round 1
VEHICLE (OWNER): Group A Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R (Terry Lawlor)
Terry Lawlor is off to a flying start in this year's Heritage Touring Car Series, with four wins from four starts in the first round at Phillip Island.
It was Terry's first clean sweep of a Heritage round, and all the more impressive considering it was his first race meeting driving his Corse-prepared Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R.
Last year he drove a Corse-restored and prepared Caltex Ford Sierra RS500 in the series, which showcases actual cars that raced in the Group C (1973-'84) and Group A (1985-'92) eras.
But in an unusual deal, he traded the Sierra for Rod Markland's GT-R that he raced in the 2013 Heritage series! The swap took place in February, leaving little time for preparation or testing the 450kW turbocharged all-wheel drive Nissan before the start of the 2014 series.
Terry started Saturday's first race from a modest fifth position, due to oil leaking onto the tyres in the first qualifying session. But he picked off the cars ahead one-by-one to hit the lead on the second-last lap of the six-lap race.
In a memorable debut with the 'Godzilla', Terry crossed the finish line two seconds clear of Bryan Sala in a Ford Sierra RS500.
The second race featured a race-long battle between Terry and touring car legend Jim Richards, driving an ex-Nissan factory team Skyline HR31 GT-S. Terry shadowed Jim for the first four laps, then swept into the lead down the main straight.
Richards kept up the pressure for the remaining two laps, but Terry held on to win by just over a second. In the process he set the fastest lap for the Heritage round at 1min. 40.6818sec.
The third race on Sunday morning was another duel between the two Nissan drivers from start to finish. This time Terry scraped home by less than a second after leading Jim for all six laps.
But the best was left to the fourth and last race, over 10 laps. Just when Terry looked to have the race in the bag after Jim slowed on lap four with mechanical problems, Carey McMahon took up the chase in another ex-Nissan factory HR31 Skyline.
Carey immediately challenged Terry, and grabbed a tenuous lead at the beginning of the final lap - only to slide off the track a few corners later! Terry duly regained the lead and took the chequered flag just under two seconds clear of Bryan Sala.
'Godzilla' had destroyed the opposition, just like its Japanese sci-fi movie monster namesake.
Terry leads the Heritage Touring Car Series field through MG Corner on the opening lap of Race 4.
Corse owner Mick Mitchell praised Terry's performance at The Island.
"Four out of four wins with an unfamiliar car was an outstanding effort," he said. "These turbocharged Group A cars aren't easy to drive fast, but last year Terry showed that he was up to the job in the Caltex Sierra.
"The GT-R is heavier than the Sierra and different to drive with AWD, and with drivers of the calibre of Jim Richards there are no easy wins. But Terry takes a steady and methodical approach to racing, and he adapted quickly to driving the GT-R.
"This was also the first time Terry had led a rolling start, which isn't as easy as it might look, but he didn't have a problem with it.
"His fastest lap was less than half a second off the fastest Group A lap at Phillip Island, set by Alan Jones in 1990. The only thing that's changed since then is the tyres, so it's mighty impressive."
Mick added that the Corse pit crew only had to make a couple of minor repairs during a mostly trouble-free weekend with 'Godzilla.
"The GT-R's a good gadget, but like any production-based racing car it's important to keep an eye out for the first signs of trouble," he said. "We changed a leaking oil seal and fixed a split driveshaft boot during qualifying, but otherwise the car ran perfectly."
Terry Lawlor and his 'Godzilla' will be in action again in round two of the Heritage Touring Car series on May 3-4 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
February 6, 2014
This is the view that Terry Lawlor hopes his rivals will see in this year's Heritage Touring Cars Series!
[photo courtesy of Craig Markland]
While a Nissan factory team GT3 R35 GT-R will race at Mt Panorama this weekend for the first time since 1992, Corse Motorsport is preparing an original Group A R32 GT-R for a season of historic touring car racing.
The turbocharged all-wheel drive 'Godzilla'* is ownded by Terry Lawlor, who will contest this year's Heritage Touring Car series for Group C (1973-'84) and Group A (1985-'92) cars.
In an unusual deal, Terry traded his Corse-restored and prepared Caltex Ford Sierra RS500 for the GT-R of HTC rival Craig Markland!
Originally owned by Bob Forbes, the GIO-sponsored GT-R was raced by Mark Gibbs in 1991-'92 alongside the two Nissan factory-backed cars of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife.
The bright red car won the 1991 Sandown 500 with dual Australian Drivers' Champion Rohan Onslow co-driving with Gibbs.
Craig Markland leads Terry Lawlor during the 2013 Heritage Touring Car Series round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
[Photo by Good Publicity]
Corse owner Mick Mitchell, who was a mechanic with Colin Bond's Caltex Sierra team when the GT-Rs came on the scene in 1990, is looking forward to preparing 'Godzilla' for this year's HTC series.
"The GTRs wiped the floor with the Sierras in the Group A days, but I've always liked them," he said.
Mick expects Terry to be highly competitive in this year?s HTC series, although he isn?t predicting a GT-R walk-over.
"The main aim of HTC is to showcase authentic cars that competed in Group C and Group A, with an emphasis on enjoyment rather than winning," he said. "There's a big variation in racing experience among the HTC drivers, so the cars don't play such a pivotal role as they did in the Group A era.
"Terry will be racing against some quick drivers in quick cars this year, but judging by his excellent drives in the Sierra last year he should be at or near the front."
* The Skyline R32 GT-R was so dominant in its day that it was nicknamed after the 1950s Japanese cult movie monster, Godzilla.
A weight handicap imposed by the Confederation of Australian Motorsport in 1992 had about the same affect as the military's futile attempts to stop the rampaging movie figurine!
CAMS' final recourse was to replace Group A in 1993 with a locally-based formula that evolved into V8 Supercars.