Posts Tagged ‘Will Power’

Just when i thought my pre-war Oz racing history may get a pass mark, Smailes comes along and bursts that bubble.

The last bloke to do that was John Medley, his list of early Australian international racers in ‘John Snow: Classic Motor Racer’ had me running a long list of fellas to Google.

John Smailes new book is a wonderful, skilfully crafted yarn about ‘Australia and New Zealand’s quest to win the Indy 500’. Some garnish is added to the drivers by inclusion of the likes of Barry Green and Steve Horne who joined teams as mechanics and ended up running the show.

I knew about Jack, Chris and Denny but not really the rest. Indy has not had huge appeal to me. One could argue that Indycars is the toughest of all the elite open-wheeler classes given its unique challenges of road-racing and super-speedways not least Indy.

John has become prolific in recent times with works including the history of CAMS (which is a mighty fine summary of Oz racing since day dot), the ’68 London-Sydney, Allan Moffat, Mount Panorama and now Indy with ‘Speed Kings’.

The book is an eminently readable yarn chockers with heaps of factual material including wonderful contextual stuff about the US auto industries need for, and then embracement of The Brickyard. John interviewed over 50 of his subjects or related parties in 2020. He didn’t lock down his final copy until a couple of days after this years 500 so it is right up to date.

Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Kevin Bartlett, Graham McRae, Vern Schuppan, Geoff Brabham, Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Matt Brabham and James Davison are all here together with tales of their commercial and race (or non-race) challenges interwoven with Indycar politics and evolution. There are others too but i don’t want to spoil those surprises.

Make sure the chief or the kids pop it in your Xmas stocking. It’s a ripper book.

I’ve popped it straight into my Oz Key Reference Collection which lives in my kitchen. There is little point in cook-books if boiling water is a culinary achievement, you are beyond Margie Fulton’s help right? If you can get the ankle-biters under control on the 27th, Boxing Day is a tad optimistic, you should be able to knock it over in a long but enjoyable day. Have the odd frothy after midday to assist.

Rupert Jeffkins is the dude who caused the fail on my Pre-War Oz Racing History exam paper BTW.

Rupert Jeffkins and Ralph de Palma push their wounded Mercedes towards the finish line at Indy in 1912



Will Power in the Team Penske Dallara Chev Indycar during a Sonoma test day in September 2018…

That season Indycar continued with the Dallara DW12 chassis used since 2015 but had ‘all new universal bodywork, inspired by CART’s 1990s and 2000s bodywork’- this new chassis configuration was dubbed the ‘IR18’ and is with us until at least 2022.

The usual homogenised and pasteurised process of boring mandated single-seater uniformity extended to standard F1-style LCD steering wheel display and Cosworth CCW Mk2 steering. You can have any type of engine you like as long as it is a 2.2 litre twin-turbo V6- at least the sanctioning body allows a choice of Chev or Honda units which give between 550 and 750bhp @ 12000rpm depending upon boost.

Hasn’t Mr Power carved a great career in the US- ya gotta hand it to him?

It seems like only yesterday i was admiring his Spectrum 07 Formula Ford in the Phillip Island paddock in 2000- he was second in the Oz FF Championship behind Will Davison in 2001, his third season in Formula Ford- this pair had careers which seemed in lockstep for a while, both tested a Minardi Cosworth F1 car in late 2004 after similar, under-funded cracks at the British F3 Championship.

The two Wills- Davison from Power during the 2001 Australian FF Championship, at Mallala (?) Van Diemen RF01 from Stealth Van Diemen RF95. Davison won the title from Power with Jamie Whincup a distant third (unattributed)


Will at Phillip Island in April 2002, two wins aboard his Reynard 94D Holden in the Gold Star opening round- Formula Holden (unattributed)

His route to F3 was via Formula Holden in 2002- he won the title racing for Graham Watson’s seasoned Ralt Australia outfit, his weapon though was a Reynard 94D- he won seven of the twelve races, the Gold Star Australian Drivers Championship run over six rounds.

In 2005 he ran in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series finishing seventh despite not completing the season- he decamped to Indycars, impressing Derrick Walker’s Team Australia Racing in his debut at the Surfers 300 despite being bowled out of the event by teammate Alex Tagliani.

In 2007 he took his breakthrough Indycar victory at Las Vegas- his best results since then have been a championship win in 2014- taking three wins from eighteen rounds aboard a Dallara DW12 Chev and second placings in 2010- Dallara IR05 Honda and 2011, 2012 and 2016, all achieved in Dallara DW12 Chevs run by Team Penske.

Lets not forget the Toowoomba natives 2018 Indy 500 win- see Chris Beatty’s superb cutaway of Power’s Team Penske Dallara DW12 Chev.

Carbon fibre chassis, double wishbone pushrod suspension with third spring and rollbar front and rear. Xtrac 1011 six-speed transaxle using sequential paddle shift, Brembo carbon brakes- weight between 1590 and 1630 pounds depending upon the type of circuit.



Minardi’s Paul Stoddart included the two Wills- Power (above) and Davison in an eleven driver ‘shootout’ at Misano in November 2004 in his quest to find drivers for 2005.

The car used was a Minardi PS04B Cosworth 3 litre V10.

Stoddart had plenty on his mind at the time as Ford’s sale of Jaguar F1 and Cosworth- his engine supplier meant he didn’t have certainly of motive power for his cars going forward.

In the end Cosworth continued with the team- his two drivers for 2005 were Patrick Friesacher and Robert Doornbos by the way…


In 2005 Power ran in the Renault 3.5 Series with Carlin Motorsport.

He contested seven of the nine rounds taking wins on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit and at Bilbao (above) using the mandated Dallara T05 Renault 3.5 litre V6 chassis/engine- seriously quick circa 480 bhp motorcars.

Renault 3.5 Series, Dallara T05 Valencia, Spain June 2005



Surfers Paradise 300 in October 2008.

Pole position for Will in the KV Racing Dallara IR5 Honda was a great start to the weekend- he led from pole for 17 laps before boofing the thing at the Chicane, fellow Aussie Ryan Briscoe then took the lead and the win in a Penske Racing Dallara IR5 Honda after dicing with Scott Dixon throughout.

It was a tragedy when Australia lost this event, a story in itself and in large part due to the American single-seater split between the Champ Car World Series and the IRL Indycar Series- remember that shit-fight?

Then the Queensland Government did a deal with A1 GP after failing to reach agreement with the IRL mob, they went bust…now the Taxis have the event buttoned down and the old ‘Indy’ circuit can no longer be used given the light-rail which runs along the Coast.

At it’s best this event and weekend was magic- better than the AGP…

‘As ugly as a hatful of arseholes’ is one of those crass Australian expressions which conveys rather precisely unfortunate aesthetics.

It does seem apposite in this particular instance however.

This masterpiece of aerodyanamic simplicity and elegance is Will’s 2015 spec Penske Dallara DW12 Chev, circuit unknown. Rule changes that year meant that the aerokits were specific to Chev and Honda applications…hmmmm. And yes, equally fugly, a toss of the coin really.

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, Chris Beatty,, Sutton Images,,,


Indycar rookie of the year in 2006, Will Power takes his Team Australia Lola B03/00 Ford Cosworth XFE 2.65 V8 through the Surfers Paradise Chicanes during qualifying for the Indy 300 in October 2006.

He started from pole and was knocked out of the lead on lap 29 after an over optimistic passing move by Sebastian Bourdais- Nelson Phillipe won the race, his only Indycar victory.