Round 1, 2001 Holden Australian Drivers' Championship Phillip Island VIC. March 23-25.
March 23, 2001 - NRC Racing Formula Holden drivers Emerson Newton-John and Stewart McColl topped the Friday Practice timesheets at a wet and cold Phillip Island circuit today.
26 year old Californian Newton-John, nephew of Australian icon Olivia Newton-John, proved his Formula Holden potential by setting the fastest time of the day, 1:26.2865s - a mere 0.163s clear of his rookie team mate Stewart McColl (21) who clocked a 1:26.3028s best lap in his identical NRC Racing Reynard 95D.
The first thirty minute session was held in wet, cold and windy conditions at the 4.6km seaside circuit, with young newcomer Rick Kelly setting the pace ahead of the NRC Racing duo led by Newton-John. The second session saw the circuit mainly dry with cool and cloudy conditions remaining.
Emerson Newton-John - "The conditions today made it a tough couple of sessions and I am glad that we have proven our potential so early. The team has prepared a great car, so if the conditions worsen over the weekend, we are well prepared in terms of set up to deal with it."
Stewart McColl - "I'm happy with the two sessions today and to have gained some valuable Formula Holden wet weather experience. The car was good in the second session, so with some overnight changes we should be faster in the morning."
NRC Racing Briefs;
*NRC Racing are competing in both the Formula Holden and V8 Supercar categories during the 2001 season - with rookie drivers in all three categories! (Rookie - first season of Championship competition)
*Emerson Newton-John is the only American driver competing in Formula Holden this season and the second ever to compete in Australia's premier open wheeler series.
*Stewart McColl took third place honours in last season's Formula Ford Championship and is a former NSW Formula Ford Series Champion.
Practice Session 2 - Top Six Drivers
1. Emerson Newton-John - 1:26.2865s 2. Stewart McColl - 1:26.3028s 3. Rick Kelly - 1:26.2832s 4. Christian Murchison - 1:27.0629s 5. Peter Hill - 1:27.9978s 6. Chris Staff - 1:30.1520s