Braydan Willmington’s S5000 data-gathering laps at Mount Panorama over Easter 2021, whetted many appetites with anticipation (D Kalisz)

Australia has been starved of top level single-seater racing for years.

After a difficult birth, a full-field of Ligier JS F3-S5000 Ford 5.2-litre V8s faced the starter at Sandown in September 2019. Background to that point is provided in this article; Progress… | primotipo… More here too; Tasman Cup 2021… | primotipo… Not to forget this of course; Ligier JS F3-S5000 with Matich A50 F5000 Twist… | primotipo…

Covid 19 destroyed the 2020 season, but the category owners, Australian Racing Group ran a well supported four round (Symmons Plains, Phillip Island, Sandown and Sydney Motorsport Park), 12 race Gold Star (the Australian Drivers championship) between January and May 2021.

Rubens Barrichello testing at Phillip Island in advance of his participation in the first race at Sandown Park, in early September 2019. His opinion of the cars, free of the usual PR-crap, would be interesting (D Kalisz)
James Golding in his GRM S5000 at Baskerville in January 2021. This chassis raced, or rather demo’d sans mufflers on the Saturday – the music was awesome! (D Kalisz)

The very talented Joey Mawson was a worthy and popular winner with three race victories in a Garry Rogers Motorsport entry from dual Gold Star winner, Tim Macrow’s self-engineered and prepared car. Tom Randle and James Golding were third and fourth in other GRM cars.

Plans were announced later in the year for a three round Tasman Cup, reviving a revered competition won by some of the sport’s great names, for 2.5-litre and F5000 cars, from 1964-1975.

After the Covid induced cancellation of the Gold Coast 500 on the Surfers Paradise road course, the championship was contested over two rounds, at Sydney Motorsport Park and Mount Panorama.

There were three race winners at SMP, Tim Macrow, Roberto Merhi and Aaron Cameron.

Two French-American Onroak-Ligier built Ligier JS F3-S5000 chassis about to be mated to Ford Coyote V8s at Garry Rogers Motorsport in late 2019. In recent times, three years after creation of the class, ARG decided the completed assemblage of bits shall be referred to officially as the Rogers AF01/V8 Ford. Catchy ‘innit (S5000)
The versatile and very fast Aaron Cameron dives down The Mountain during his Tattslotto/Dodgem-car Bathurst weekend (D Kalisz)

A fortnight later the teams arrived at Mount Panorama for four races from November 30 to December 4. The last time a 5-litre V8 single seater raced at Bathurst was when Niel Allen’s McLaren M10B Chev F5000 set a longstanding lap record during the Easter 1970 weekend.

Open wheeler enthusiasts relished the prospect of Australia’s fastest racing cars – with their power reduced for the weekend by 85bhp to an FIA mandated 470bhp to meet the requirements of the circuit licence – doing battle on the ultimate road racing track.

Unfortunately, the large number of driver induced high speed accidents did little but prove the sound engineering of their racing/dodgem cars. At the end of the three-race-clusterfuck – the fourth and final race was abandoned – Aaron Cameron was presented with the Tasman Cup in a Lotto-type result devoid of karma.

Tim Macrow is a fabulous blend of speed and finesse to watch in these demanding cars. Here in his self-run, Chris Lambden owned Ligier at Phillip Island in March 2021. He won a round, together with Joey Mawson and Tom Randle that weekend (D Kalisz)
Mountain Straight freight train at Bathurst 2021 (D Kalisz)

Other names etched into that cup are Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark (three wins), Jackie Stewart, Chris Amon, Graeme Lawrence, Graham McRae (three wins), Peter Gethin and Warwick Brown.

The 2022 Gold Star is being held over six rounds between February and September, the Tasman Series comprises three rounds in October-November. In 2023 a Tasman round is planned for New Zealand, this is great to justify requisition of a revered name for a race series which was contested on both sides of The-Ditch (Tasman Sea).

I was lucky enough to see these fantastic cars race at Symmons Plains and perform demonstrations at Baskerville the week later, twelve months ago. In a perfect world there would be a set of rules and a mix of chassis and engine manufacturers, but as the Covid Alchemists continually prove, the world isn’t perfect. So, a mix of 15 or so identical 5.2-litre DOHC, four-valve, fuel injected Ford V8 powered, Ligier JS F3 chassis shakes the ground quite nicely for me.

Australian international, James Davison, Albert Park 2020 before the Covid plug was pulled (D Kalisz)
Tim Macrow about to exit stage left at Sandown’s first turn, September 2019. Tim won a heat, John Martin the other, Macrow won the meeting overall. Yellow nose is James Golding’s GRM machine (D Kalisz)

ARG are to be congratulated for the media coverage, Supercar Maxi-Taxis suck the life out of all other race categories in Oz, but S5000 got a fair crack of the whip.

The media includes photography by Daniel Kalisz, a mighty-talented young ‘snapper whose work is posted onto the S5000 Facebook page. This article is a tribute to his creativity, remember that name. Buy his work. I chose shots with panoramic backdrops devoid of grubby advertisers hoardings, Kalisz proves it can still be done, at some circuits anyway!

Southern Loop at Phillip Island must be a sphincter-puckering experience in these missiles. Bass Straight is the backdrop, next stop Tasmania, or perhaps King Island (D Kalisz)

Credits…

S5000 Group Facebook page

Tailpiece…

(D Kalisz)

On man, this shot by Kalisz! The wow factor when I saw and published it early in 2021 was mega. It is a beautifully composed and executed shot of Tom Randle at Baskerville, a stunning natural amphitheater just north of Hobart, Tasmania. My Oz shot of the year…

Finito…

Comments
  1. John Ballantyne says:

    Another great article, thanks again!

  2. Claudio Navonne says:

    From Argentina, the other side of the world, I thank you for all this information. I follow you very attentively

    • markbisset says:

      Many thanks Claudio,
      Thanks for getting in touch. We’ve got quite a few readers in Argentina, my statistics page tells me it’s the 13th in the table of reader numbers by country. Maybe it’s time I did a Spanish edition!
      Stay well, appreciate your support.
      Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s