AGI Sport has won its first race for the 2018 Australian Formula 4 season after Ryan Suhle stormed home with a five second lead in race two.
Race two is traditionally a reverse grid start with the top five of the R1 finish order flipped this weekend. Jayden Ojeda was starting P2 with team mate Ryan Suhle coming out of P4.
Both boys nailed their starts and fought out the first three laps in a close 1,2 battle until electrical issues brought Ojeda’s race to a premature end.
“There was an electrical issue of some sort. It just lost power when I shifted up to fifth gear on the third lap before the hair pin so a bit disappointing,” Ojeda said.
“I think the positive from the race was I got better start that I did in race one so we will take that into race three and see what we can do from there.”
This left Ryan Suhle out the front of the pack with top rival Cameron Shields boxed up behind a BRM teammate. By the time Shields got round for second place Suhle had built up a comfortable five second lead and was never going to be reeled in.
Suhle was delighted to be on the pace so early.
“It was an awesome feeling to win my first race, not just for AGI Sport but also for the year as well,’ Suhle said.
“We had one race win last year but it was in the middle of the season so I think it’s good to get it early and it shows we are better off this year.”
“We’ve got more pace and I’ve got more race craft, to win the second race gives me real confidence to go into the end of the year,” Suhle said.
Suhle qualified just 0.002 seconds behind pole-sitter Cameron Shields for the final race of the weekend but thinks he can turn that to his advantage.
“I really do think the inside line through (turn) one is where you want to be. In both races P2 has gotten in front of the pole-sitter and for me I’d rather start P2 and I think I’m in the ideal seat going in to the first lap,” Suhle said.
Ojeda is also hoping to put the electrical issues behind him and get his head down for race three.
“It’s my first year of Formula Four so it’s going to be quite difficult because I haven’t had the experience of say Cameron Shields and Ryan Suhle but I feel like I’m doing alright at the moment so keep plugging at it,” Ojeda said.
“We are in this for a championship so I always have the championship in the back of my mind, obviously still very early days so not over-thinking it at the moment.”
Race three to come at 15.55 AEST live on Fox Sports Channel 506 ahead of Round 2 at Phillip Island in June.
AGI Sport driver Nick Rowe realised his championship dreams in the final round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
The Western Australian driver claimed an unassailable points lead in the first race of the weekend with a third place finish after two full seasons in the series and a couple of races in the inaugural championship.
“Can’t thank the boys enough, been a lot of hard work over the past three years and now we are the Champions, looking forward to tonight,” Nick smiled.
Nick also won the round with a first place in a drenched race two and a hard fought second place in what will be his final race in Formula 4.
The rain had cleared to bright sunshine for the Sunday race and Nick was looking forward to driving without the pressure of championship points.
Saturday pacesetter Simon Fallon and Kiwi driver Liam Lawson weren’t going to make it easy for him though and the pressure was on from the start.
“I’d gone out there to really enjoy it cos the championship is over and got an alright jump had to bomb it into turn one to get past Fallon,” Nick said.
“Put my head and got a bit of a gap and then the safety car of course put them all back together. We didn’t have the best restart, they managed to stick in my tow and then I made a mistake down at turn 12 and lost the rears and that gap closed up a lot,” Nick continued.
“At the Beach Chicane I made another mistake trying to get away from Lawson and then he got past me just. Real good race… almost got him back at turn one on the final lap but he just outbraked me. Awesome race… awesome race,” Nick said.
Newcastle driver Sage Murdoch was disappointed after failing to qualify on Friday. The rookie also found the unforgiving street circuit daunting in the wet but enjoyed the experience by the final race.
“It’s a good track, very bumpy and it was hard to find time out there. Found it in the end, fifth quickest I think,” Sage said.
“The street circuit is very greasy, found a wall in the first race, second race kept it clean and I think I finished eighth.”
The young driver was also full of praise for his teammates championship win and his generosity of knowledge.
“I cant thank Nick enough, he’s basically taught me all I know , he’s been really good,” Sage said.
Best Leisure Industries driver Zak Best also found the Surfers streets challenging managing to get inside the top ten for the weekend and the championship.
“Yesterday in the wet we were battling for sixth, seventh and eighth. We ended up sixth in the second wet race and 9th in the first one,” Zak said.
The Benalla-based driver managed to keep off the walls and finish with an unscathed car and he enjoyed the street racing.
“Beach chicane is probably the most challenging part of the street circuit otherwise the track is pretty good,” Zak said.
The team finishes up the season with a championship dinner and will immediately start testing 2018 drivers next week.
To hear more about the 2018 championship or to book a test drive please email Team Principal Adam Gotch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick Rowe has secured the 2017 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship in soggy conditions at the Gold Coast.
The 19-year-old managed to qualify pole position in dry conditions on the Friday but it was a different story on the Saturday morning waking to grey skies, showers and water on the track.
Nick was fully focused though knowing he could get the job done by the end of the first race.
“As long as I beat Shields (Cameron) in the first race I’d get the championship, 52 points ahead and 25 points for a race win so just tried to focus on beating him and as long as I beat him then it was all over”.
There were a few nail biting moments at the start of the race as Nick was relegated first to second place by Simon Fallon and then to third as Liam Lawson went through the inside.
“Started pole, just trying to get a good jump. Couldn’t get the best jump, settled into third and then couldn’t really take much of a risk, boys came over the radio and said Shields was down the back, run off… so I just dropped off for the championship,” Nick said.
And then it was just head down and try and hold his place.
“For the last lap, got a bit emotional coming into the beach chicane, got it together and finished it off,” Nick continued.
The championship comes at the culmination of a difficult year with both Nick’s father and grandfather facing health issues.
Grandpa John was at the Gold Coast to watch his grandson win the championship despite suffering a cardiac arrest on the dummy grid at the previous race in Sydney. It was touch and go for a while with paramedics having to restart his heart followed by major surgery.
“This championship means everything, everything I’ve ever done I’ve never won an Australian title so yeah, for my family to be here and everything Adam’s done for me and all the AGI boys who have been in F4 since the very beginning and seen how far it’s come and what we are capable of now is a great feeling and they’ve worked so hard and I think the emotion has showed now,” Nick finished.
AGI Sport congratulates Nick Rowe on his hard work and the championship win. We are looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings for this Australia Champion.
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