ASTC: Leanne Ferrier To make Debut at Bathurst

Newsgroups: Organization:, inc. Approved: From: <> Followup-To: Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 05:39:06 +1000 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10: ...

Newsgroups: Organization:, inc. Approved: From: <> Followup-To: Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 05:39:06 +1000

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10: Sydney teenager Leanne Ferrier will make her debut in ‘The Great Race’ at Bathurst next month in a Ford Mondeo.

The 19-year-old was today announced in a two-car Mondeo team entered in the 500km event on October 3 by Sydney’s Peter Hills, the Independents Cup winner in this year’s BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.

Ferrier will drive a Mondeo at Bathurst with Sydney’s Dean Canto, runner-up to Hills in the Independents Cup in the 1999 national Super Touring championship. Hills, who finished sixth in ‘The Great Race’ over 1000km in 1998, will team up in this year’s event in another Mondeo with experienced NSW driver Ron Searle.

This year Ferrier competed in the Australian Formula Ford Championship in a Van Diemen. She finished seventh in the series, and was runner-up in the final round at Oran Park in Sydney last Sunday (September 5). Ferrier, whose main sport was gymnastics before she began racing Formula Fords in 1997, drove the Mondeo for the first time in a test session at Eastern Creek in Sydney on Monday.

“I’ve always wanted to race at Bathurst so I’m very excited,” said Ferrier. “The test I did at Eastern Creek was important because it gave me a chance to become familiar with the car. It handled well, and I liked the (sequential) gearbox. Hopefully I can have do more testing before we go to Bathurst because once we get there I’ll need to concentrate on learning my way around the track.”

Ferrier said she was initially introduced to motorsport by her elder sister Belinda in 1994.

“My sister was racing karts and I was heavily into gymnastics,” said Ferrier. “When I decided to stop gymnastics I was looking for something to do so I started in karts. I liked it and kept going.”

Hills said his decision to recruit Ferrier into his team for the event on the 6.2km Mount Panorama circuit was based on her ability and his desire to provide opportunities for emerging drivers.

“This year we gave Dean (Canto) his chance in the championship and he did an exceptional job,” said Hills. “Leanne has shown her talent in Formula Fords, and this is another step up the ladder for her. You’ve got to give these young drivers experience at Bathurst. I couldn’t be happier with the drivers we’ve put together. Ron (Searle) has raced at Bathurst many times, and I’m confident we have two cars capable of finishing on the podium at the end of the day.”

Searle, 34, has made four starts in ‘The Great Race’ since 1990. In 1998 he drove in the Australian Super Touring Championship in a Toyota Camry prepared by Mick Quinn, now Hills’ team manager.

The Super Touring race lap record at Bathurst is 2-mins 16.80-secs set by Briton JASON PLATO in a Williams Renault in ‘The Great Race’ in 1997. The fastest race lap in the 1998 event was 2-mins 17.95-secs by Swede RICKARD RYDELL in a works Volvo S40. Rydell holds the qualifying lap record with his 1998 pole position-winning time of 2-mins 14.92-secs.

Newly-crowned Pirelli Porsche Cup Class B champion MIKE KILPATRICK of Queensland will make his race debut at Bathurst this year in a Toyota Camry with NSW’s JAMIE MILLER. The Camry was raced by Ron Searle in the 1998 Australian Super Touring Championship. Miller’s three previous starts in ‘The Great Race’ were in 1994 in a Mercedes-Benz, 1997 in a Peugeot, and 1998 in a Vauxhall Cavalier.

MICHAEL DOWNARD, whose Playboy BMW 318i, was badly damaged when it flipped over at Queensland Raceway on August 1, has entered Bathurst. The BMW has been repaired since the Victorian’s spectacular crash in round six of the Australian Super Touring Championship. In 1998 Victorian Rod Wilson and Rodney Forbes of NSW finished eighth in the car in ‘The Great Race’.

New Zealanders DENNIS CHAPMAN and BRIAN BRADSHAW will team up at Bathurst in a BMW 318i for the third successive year. In 1997 they finished eighth and in 1998 they were 11th. Another New Zealand team entered comprises BRUCE MILES and MURRAY CLELAND in a BMW 318i.

Mike Porter

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Series General
Drivers Dean Canto , Rodney Forbes , Rod Wilson , Peter Hill
Teams Williams