Phillip Island is known as a driver’s track and with good reason. This weekend the race leader didn’t always win the race with a number of incidents and penalties deciding the round result and giving the championship advantage to AGI Sport’s Nick Rowe.
The weekend proved challenging from the outset. Despite posting fast times in practice a couple of missed opportunities in qualifying relegated the AGI Sport drivers further back then usual for the opening race of the weekend.
With only four points between Nick Rowe and championship leader Liam Lawson from New Zealand every single race of the weekend was going to count in the points tally.
Nick Rowe started race one from P8 on a dry track and took every advantage he could to gain places eventually finishing just behind rival Liam Lawson.
“We come forward in the race to finish fourth and had some more battles out there with Tyler (Everingham) and a couple of moves outside of Honda and the one outside of Lukey Heights was awesome,” Nick said.
Sage Murdoch was starting to have some great pace when a fuel pressure issue put his race to rest while Zak Best was coming to grips with putting his sectors together and finished further back then he would have liked.
Race 2 on the Saturday afternoon was a reverse grid for the top five. Nick Rowe started P2 and immediately jumped to the lead and pulled out a two second advantage.
The West Australian then put his head down and was making significant gains on the rest of the field when an incident between Ryan Suhle and Cameron Shields took both drivers off the track.
The hold-up cost Nick his gap and a controversial restart saw the AGI Sport team lodge a protest.
“Unfortunately there was a safety car and there was a bit of a debacle and I’m pretty sure Liam (Lawson) passed me before the start/finish line,” said Nick.
Despite finishing third Nick managed to get enough points to jump ahead of championship leader Liam Lawson who copped a 5 second penalty for his restart misdemeanour while Ryan Suhle wore a hefty thirty second penalty for his move on Cameron Shields
The time penalties also propelled AGI Sport/Racesah driver Sage Murdoch to his best result yet with a handy fourth place.
The young driver from Newcastle was happy with his result.
“I had some pace, I needed it at the start but I had it at the end so I just tried to get as fast as I could around the track and I got it at the end. “
“Phillip Island is tough, you’ve got to really keep pace through the corners and you can’t really make a mistake because you’re either into the rubber or just slow,” Sage said.
AGI Sport drivers were picking up the pace with the cars proving first, second and fourth fastest on the track during race two with Best Industries Zakkery Best posting some of his fastest times of the weekend towards the end of the race.
Race three was marred by a huge shunt when Aaron Love slid across the grass and ended up taking Sage Murdoch off the track and shuttled him into a gravel trap.
“I thought I had passed Lovie but he just tagged me a little bit and I hit the gravel trap and I flipped,” Sage said.
“It’s just a race incident, there was nothing Lovie could do on the grass.”
‘I got a bit more experience in the car this weekend and more experience on the track and I’m finding a lot of confidence in the overtaking so I can bring that to the next one,” Sage finished.
Nick Rowe also found the grass a few times as light rain made the track super-slippery into the safety car restart.
“I got a mega- restart got up to about third straight away and then I just broke on the white line and in the wet you never break on the white line.”
‘You live and you learn but we’ll be right, we will be back again at the next round,” Nick opined.
Race winner Liam Lawson was penalised 30 seconds for overtaking under yellow flags and relegated to last place giving Nick Rowe the championship lead.
The CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 championship will now take an eight week break before returning at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich on July 28-30.
AGI Sport has announced a third driver for the 2017 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship.
Victorian Zakkary Best has joined Sage Murdoch and Harley Haber in the line-up of the Sydney-based squad having completed a season of Aussie Racing Cars last year.
At 14 years of age Zak was the youngest driver to ever compete in Aussie Racing Cars pulling out a race win at Phillip Island, finishing an impressive 12th in the championship and securing the John Bowe Rising Star Award.
Now 15, Zak brings with him a solid karting background having risen through the ranks of club championships, the Australasian Titles and the Golden Power Series.
Best tested for the team at Wakefield Park last week during his first AGI Sport Formula 4 hit-out of 2017 and quickly came to grips with the Mygale Formula 4 chassis.
“Wakefield is a technical and challenging track and I had to work hard to get a fast lap”, Zak said.
“I had to focus hard on braking and applying enough pressure and I’m still coming to terms with this, the braking point in the F4 is way later than any other race car I have driven”.
“I’m really excited about joining the team and I’m looking forward to learning this season.” Zak said.
AGI Sport team manager Adam Gotch said Best quickly came to terms with the wings and slicks.
“Young Zak was very impressive on his debut at the Goulburn circuit. We are very much looking forward to working with Zak in 2017”, Gotch said.
The Benalla-based driver has raced against many of the 2017 F4 alumni before having turned wheels with Harley Haber in ARC and lined up against teammate Sage Murdoch as well as Zane Morse, Tyler Everingham and Aaron Love in karts.
Zak’s hoping to make driving his career and has clear sights on his ambitions past the launch pad of Formula 4.
“My ambition in motorsport is to be a professional race driver and compete in the Super2 Series followed by the Supercars Championship’. Zak said.
“Although I’m open to competing overseas in endurance races such as Le Mans.”
The first race weekend of the 2017 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship will be a double-header round at Victoria’s Sandown Raceway on April 7-9.
AGI Sport has signed its first two drivers for the 2017 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship.
Harley Haber has spent the past two seasons in Aussie Racing Cars with a podium finish on the challenging Clipsal street circuit in Adelaide earlier this year.
The 17-year-old also spent two years in junior national light karting with an impressive 21 pole positions and 16 wins from 50 starts.
Harley’s ultimate goal is V8 Supercars, the Sydney-sider says Formula 4 provides him with the best opportunity to get there.
“Working with a team and being in a professional environment are so important. I’m looking forward to getting used to slicks and aero as well”, Haber said.
“I did the test day at Wodonga with CAMS and I love the mechanical grip the car provides along with the brakes. It really rewards smooth and precise driving and I love that.
“I don’t qualify as a rookie unfortunately but I’ve got my heart set on a Top 5 finish or at least one podium if I can”.
The promising youngster was also able to gain major backing for the season from long-term sponsor, CEJN (pronounced sane).
“I wouldn’t be in a position to make the jump to Formula 4 without the on-going support of my major sponsor CEJN which make hydraulic quick connect solutions so huge thanks to them”, Haber said.
Newcastle-based Sage Murdoch is looking forward to his first drive in the car on an upcoming test day in late November.
The 14-year-old is getting a strong jump on his driving career becoming eligible to race just one month before the start of the 2017 season.
The youngster spent 2 years in NSW Karting before graduating to Formula Vee in 2016. He says he has chosen Formula 4 because it gives him the best chance to further his career.
“It’s been my dream ever since I started karting to have a career in open wheeler racing, my ultimate goal is Formula 1’, Murdoch said.
“Having experienced most of a year in Formula Vee experiencing the excitement of open wheeler racing only reinforced my passion.
“When the opportunity came along to move into Formula 4 I decided to make a long-term commitment to make my dreams reality.
“My major sponsor for the season will be Earth Surveying so a big thanks to them and I’m looking forward to announcing more sponsors soon. I am really excited to part of the AGI team for 2017”, Sage said.
AGI Sport Team Principal Adam Gotch was pleased with the signings saying there had been many young drivers on the phone.
“There’s certainly been a huge increase in interest around Formula 4 this season particularly the last few months as we look to lock in drivers for 2017”, Gotch said.
“The 2015 F4 drivers that ventured overseas proved that they could mix it with the best in Europe and the USA which has been great to see.
“The new for 2017 Supercar license points system has also been a great initiative. It gives kids a clear pathway for a professional driving career and it really brings Australian motorsport in line with the rest of the world.
“Australian Formula 4 is really cementing itself as an outstanding opportunity to progress into a professional career as a driver while CAMS and the teams have continued their push to make the series more affordable.
“We look forward to working with some of the most promising young drivers in the country in 2017 and help them on the road to become the next Whincup or Ricciardo”, he continued.
2017 will be AGI Sports third season in Formula 4 having been a part of the series since its inception in 2015. AGI Sport won Rookie of the Year with Will Brown in 2015 and helped Nick Rowe to second place in the 2016 championship. The team plans on running a minimum of four drivers in the 2017 season and will be announcing further signings shortly.
You will have greater success if you target your sponsorship appropriately. It is so much easier to sell an idea about racing to a person who already has an interest in motorsport. This will make your job so much easier and it will mean the person you are selling yourself already has some understanding of the benefits of motorsport and what you can offer.
You need to do your legwork and network, network, network. It’s vital to seek these people out, as they will rarely come to you. Everyone you meet is a potential opportunity and if you meet them at the track then chances are they are already a motorsport fan. If you meet them outside of a racetrack then you need to find out if they are a fan.
The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know applies. You might meet someone who is married to someone who is the brand manager of a company whose CEO has just been to the Bathurst 12 Hour and they are looking to launch a new product. This is a hot lead! This is someone you should get in front of and it is up to you to follow up and follow up and follow up until someone supplies you with an introduction that allows you to make contact.
Everyone you meet is or knows a potential sponsor, so develop the ability to start small talk and ask questions to get to know a person and the people they know and work with. Are any family members business owners and motorsport fans? And then don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction to that person.
Don’t give up on your contacts, follow up, follow up and follow up again. You may have a hot lead but it’s just the wrong timing. The marketing budget may be set yearly and it’s already been earmarked for something else this year. A change in management mean a new opportunity or the business owner is concerned about a huge project and can’t think of anything else until it’s done.
Develop a list of contacts and do exactly that, stay in contact. Research shows people are more inclined to spend money on things and people they know well, so let them get to know you. Send an email to your contact list every few months telling them your latest achievements and what has you excited. Keep them updated on your career. This is a great way to plant seeds for the future because a year or two down the track this person has been watching your journey and suddenly sees an opportunity that fits in with their particular goals.
So put the work into networking for contacts and then keeping those contacts informed. As your career grows you will have more people interested and they will enjoy your updates and following your progress. And one day, when the time is right, they will be able to help you.
The cold hard truth about motorsport sponsorship
Motorsport is an expensive sport and it takes a lot of time, money and dedication to make a professional career out of it. The rewards are there, top Formula 1 drivers earn millions of dollars each and every year. V8 Supercar drivers also have great pay packets but the cold hard truth is most of these drivers had to spend a lot of money to get to where they are. So unless you have parents or supporters with an endless bucket of money they are prepared to simply give to you then you need sponsorship.
If you are planning a career as a racecar driver then you will need to factor in years and years of sponsorship support. It can take 4-6 years of going through the levels before you will be in the position to have someone paying you to drive their racecar.
Successful drivers have learnt how to find and keep dedicated sponsors whilst always planting seeds and working on the future for more.
As a professional race driver – you will need $40,000 – $350,000 each year for around 4-6 years to eventually end up getting paid to drive cars.
Gaining this amount of support is possible. Generally this will take between 60-70% of your spare time if you want to do it well. It should be your goal to be presenting yourself as a sponsorship opportunity to a business each and every week.
When you get the sponsor the work doesn’t stop there – in fact you now have to work to keep your sponsor and give them so much value for money they want to come back to you and keep giving you money because they are getting so much out of it. You will need to service your sponsor as well as getting leads and scouting around for more sponsors.
It doesn’t sound easy and it’s not. But for the dedicated few that take the responsibility of sponsorship seriously it can be the difference between a not-so-talented but determined driver getting to the top of the sport or a driver that wins at the drop of a hat, but isn’t focussed enough to do the work needed to make a career out of his dream.
Our next blog post will explain who to target and how to get the sponsorship mindset!
AGI Sport driver Nathan Gotch has claimed the prestigious City of Goulburn Cup as well as securing the 2016 NSW State Formula 3 Championship with one round to spare.
Gotch won the prestigious City of Goulburn Cup in Australia’s fastest motor racing category following a gripping contest with Tim Berryman despite clutch problems relegating him back to fifth place after the start.
Some feisty driving and a well-timed safety car had Gotch back up to second with ten laps to go but the F311 Dallara Mercedes of Tim Berryman proved harder to catch.
Consecutive fastest laps and a brilliant move around the outside of turn 10 saw Nathan take the lead with seven laps left to race.
Lapped traffic in the final lap allowed Berryman to make a gutsy move to regain the lead but Gotch held him off to clinch the coveted trophy.
Gotch also leads the NSW State Formula Championship with enough points to claim the title well ahead of the final round at Sydney Motorsport Park in September.
Nick Rowe takes the round win at SMP to take second place in the 2016 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship
Jack Smith juggled two drives over the weekend and had a ripper first race in the fourth round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship.
AGI Sport have unveiled a two car livery in time for the first round of the 2016 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship underway at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains next month.
The cars are already sleek and athletic, and the full red livery of the SCT Logistics two-car team is certainly going to stand out at every racetrack around the country.
AGI Sport Team Manager Adam Gotch was delighted to have two cars running under the same banner,
“It’s exciting news that SCT Logistics have come on-board this year to support two young drivers in the Australian Formula 4 Championship. The cars look fantastic in the red livery of SCT Logistics and will certainly stand out on the grid.
‘We tested both Nick Rowe and Jack Smith together in February and the boys both got on extremely well.
‘Nick competed in selected rounds of the F4 Championship last year so will go into this year with plenty of experience while Jack comes to us direct from a National level karting background.
Jack Smith will pilot the #68 car. The young Queenslander is looking forward to getting back on track.
“I feel really excited about running in the Australian Formula 4 Championship, after getting a feel for the car at a few test days last year.
‘I’ve been eager to get into a race for a while now and I can’t wait to see what this year holds.
‘Formula 4 is a great category as it’s compatible with the rest of the world with the use of wings and slicks, and it’ll help me prepare if I’m able to race overseas in the future”.
Nick Rowe has been announced as the second driver for the SCT Logistics team returning to the #97 car.
Nick competed in selected rounds of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship last year and managed to finish on the podium regularly including a race win at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“I’m super excited to be confirmed for the Australian Formula 4 championship, I can’t thank AGI and SCT Logistics for the amazing support, the cars look awesome. It’s pretty cool to have two cars looking identical, I’m sure throughout the year we can hopefully see both cars on the podium.
‘Hopefully we can have a great year together and win the championship. I’m raring to go and can’t wait for the first round”.
Keeping the cars all equal brings it all down to driver talent with both Nick and Jack both looking promising during pre-season testing.
AGI Sport will announce its full driver line-up for the season next week.
The teams test at Phillip Island on 21/22 March before heading down to Tasmania for the first round of the championship April 1-3, 2016.
The Gold Coast Castrol 600 is some of the most challenging driving for the young Formula 4 drivers so far this year. The track is proving unforgiving with no room for error.
IQ Option Racing driver Tom Grech was the first of the AGI Sport drivers to luck out after a huge hit into a wall left his car unsalvageable. Luckily the carbon fibre monocoque protected Grech and he managed to walk away uninjured.
Grech was pragmatic after the accident. “I just lost control of the car, not so surprising in a place like this, unfortunately we hit the wall. It’s been a massive effort from the team and CAMS to get me into this spare car for the rest of the weekend.”
The AGI Sport team worked hard to the Jayco Dealership ‘spare’ car up to scratch for qualifying. Tom then jumped into the unfamiliar car and pushed out some blistering laps to start front row of the grid in Race One.
“Its probably one of the best circuits I’ve ever been to, having a lot of fun racing around the streets of the Gold Coast.”
Championship front-runners Jordan Lloyd and Thomas Randle soon claimed the top two spots after Race 1 with AGI Sport driver Jimmy Vernon finishing well in the Toolforce Racing car.
“Race one was a really good one for us. I came home in P3, I was in P2 for a little while there but it just wasn’t meant to be.
‘We had some strong pace and I just had a ball out there it was a lot of fun and bagged a lot of points for the championship.
Jimmy was in his element around the Gold Coast streets,
“The street racing is heaps of fun, we did Townsville earlier in the year and we were fast there and we seem to have come out of the box in the top 3 or top 4 this weekend.”
Race 2 proved even more fun for the young Sydney-based driver.
“We led in Race 2 for a few laps there. I pushed really hard and I made a little bit of a gap to start with and it just wasn’t meant to be.
‘The guys behind me had a lot if pace and they caught me and there were a few little things.
‘I got passed by Luis Leeds who then cut the chicane so I think they are looking into it now but I’m not really sure on the outcome of that.”
Penalties will be applied to the final race of the weekend shaking things up into Sunday.
Car Galore driver Will Brown didn’t manage to set a qualifying lap which had a huge impact on his weekend.
“I hit a pretty hard bump down the main straight which turned the ignition off. By the time the truck got there and we worked everything out I was already getting towed in.
‘I probably could have kept going. It was sort of my fault so I let the team down a bit but we looked forward and started off ninth for Race one and got up to seventh.
‘ I didn’t get the best of starts which was a bit disappointing. In that last one we got up to fifth from ninth. Tomorrow we start of ninth and hopefully we can just push forward and get in the top five again.”
Will also had high praise for the gritty racing the street circuit provides.
“I love Surfers Paradise, it’s awesome, the kerbs – you can just smash them. Went great in practice, I think we got fourth in one session and first in the next one, a bit disappointing in qualifying. The racing is so close, its just hard to move through.”
The three AGI Sport drivers will start on track at 11.35am EDST on Sunday with all the action live on Foxsports.