V8 SUPERCAR DEVELOPMENT WITH WPS RACING The initial glimpses of the soon to be launched Team Australia motorsport development program will be on show in Bathurst on October 6-9, when WPS Racing takes to Mount Panorama during the Super Cheap...
V8 SUPERCAR DEVELOPMENT WITH WPS RACING
The initial glimpses of the soon to be launched Team Australia motorsport development program will be on show in Bathurst on October 6-9, when WPS Racing takes to Mount Panorama during the Super Cheap Auto 1000.
Among the ranks of one of Australia's newest V8 Supercar teams and foremost among those who have yet to contest the pinnacle event on the season calendar, is regular Team Australia Champ Car competitor, Canadian driver Alex Tagliani.
But less obvious will be the grassroots talent underlying the progression of WPS Racing in the form of junior engineers Wes Harriott and Kate Millar.
Each represents the ideals of the development program in harnessing talent throughout the numerous fields of the specialised motorsport industry.
"This is one of the most significant programs in Australian motorsport history and has been created to help the careers of the nation's young motorsport talent," said WPS Racing Team Owner and Team Australia co-founder Craig Gore.
"Ultimately the program will incorporate six different categories in eight countries on four continents and will involve a total investment of more than $US20 million.
"The total program will be exposed to a live audience of 10 million fans, a TV viewing audience of more than 420 million and produce a minimum of between five and six hours of branded viewing.
"The program has been developed by Champ Car World Series entrant Team Australia to foster the careers of a passionate group of motorsport professionals including drivers, mechanics, fabricators, painters, technicians and engineers.
"It has been created in conjunction with the Wright Patton Shakespeare financial services company and Fish Liquor which sponsor our two-car V8 Supercar team based on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Millar and Harriott enjoyed their initiation into V8 Supercars when each made their hands-on debut in familiar surrounds after completing studies at the Southern Queensland Institute of Tafe in Warwick.
As is the case in most motor racing disciplines, Millar boasts an extensive family background that prompted her to set her sights on developing a career out of her sporting passion.
The 19 year-old, who is the youngest female engineer in the V8 Supercar Series, has immediately taken to the task of data analyst and despite being in a male dominated work environment feels very much at ease in the workshop and at race meetings.
Her quest for top level motorsports competition was finally achieved in her home town of Melbourne, during the recently completed Betta Electrical Sandown 500.
"When I first started out in motor racing as a 13 year-old people thought it a little strange that a young girl was so heavily involved in the mechanical side of things," said Miller.
"But this is what I've always wanted and it's so different to be working in such a professional team, it's a really big deal for me.
"Dad's a mechanic and both he and my Uncle were running a two-car team in Speedway so I helped out there.
"I was also involved in Formula 4000 and it was there that I realised data analysis was what I wanted to do.
"I've never been to Mount Panorama before so I'm very excited about my first trip to Bathurst but realise there's a big job ahead."
Twenty-five year old former Sydney-sider Harriott will approach the Bathurst assignment having enjoyed two rounds of racing (Oran Park,Sandown).
Like everyone involved in Australian motorsport, the 2005 sojourn to Bathurst for the Super Cheap Auto 1000 is one tinged with a great deal of excitement for this pair of young engineers.
"This is definitely not like a regular 9-5 job and there's a lot of expectation which can be nerve racking," said Harriott who specialises in CAD Design.
"You're performing for the boss, for the team and there's also the fans and the sponsors that are riding on a positive outcome for WPS Racing.
"My dad Tony will be working with his mates in the Historics and that's where I started as a 14 year-old running in club level stuff so it'll be great that we're both involved at Bathurst.
"Dad's more excited than I am and he's the reason I first got involved in racing."
From all accounts these aspiring young engineers have been well groomed to take to the task of helping direct a successful Bathurst campaign for the WPS Racing team.
Both have entered into the Team Australia development program intent on securing an elevation into other International categories of motor racing.
But for now the Bathurst assignment presents them, along with key International driver Tagliani the opportunity of a lifetime.
The development program is set to be officially announced by Team Australia co-owners Derrick Walker, Craig Gore and John Fish during the Lexmark Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold Coast from October 20-23.
In Australia, Wright Patton Shakespeare has developed a huge profile in a short amount of time through its motorsport partnerships.
WPS not only sponsors the two-car V8 Supercar team and Team Australia, but is also the naming rights sponsor of the V8 Supercar Safety Car program, the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship and the Aussie Racing Car series.