Grant Denyer will lead a reality TV show-inspired, Kelly Racing-prepared entry in the Bathurst 1000 this year.
Denyer will drive the Shannons Insurance-backed car in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 (October 6-9), partnered by one of 10 young contestants that will fight for the chance of a lifetime in Australia’s biggest motor race.
The reality TV show will be called the ‘Shannons Supercar Showdown’ and will screen on 7mate on Saturday afternoons from July 23.
The program will focus on an elimination process with the 10 drivers, plus give the viewers a ‘behind-the-sceens’ look at Kelly Racing and what makes a V8 team tick.
The car entry will be the known as Shannons-Mars Racing, with major support from Shannons Insurance and confectionary brand Mars.
The 10 drivers competing to make their V8 Supercars and Bathurst debut will be Amber Anderson, Andrew Jordan (UK), Ben Small, Cameron Waters, David Sera, Hayley Swanson, Nick Cassidy, Nick Foster, Samantha Reid and Shae Davies.
See below for a detailed look at the drivers involved.
Kelly Racing team owner/drivers Todd and Rick Kelly will be the judges.
Former Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team manager Dean Orr has taken on the running of the car from within the Kelly Racing stable.
The team has successfully applied for a ‘Wildcard’ entry for the Bathurst event only.
Rick Kelly says that bringing new talent to the sport was the team’s main motivation.
“We want to build Kelly Racing as the benchmark team on and off the track,” said former V8 Supercars champion.
“We take our role as team owners seriously and are keen to encourage the development of new talent into our sport through marketing innovation. The scale of this project has been enormous.”
“Since our birth, Kelly Racing has been a team that is very interested in bringing new talent into V8 Supercars.
“It’s very tough for youngsters to break in and not many teams are able to give young drivers the opportunity that both Todd and I had when we came into the sport.
“Shannons Supercar Showdown is a fantastic platform for us to offer this opportunity to young guys and girls from Australia and around the world.
“It gives them the opportunity to compete in one of the biggest sporting events in Australia and one of the world’s iconic motorsport events.”
The ‘Shannons Supercar Showdown’ is a joint production between WTFN, The Media Mix and Kelly Racing, and the program will be produced by Logie-awarding winning production company WTFN, creators of Bondi Vet and Coxy’s Big Break.
Shannons Supercar Showdown’s 10 contestants
AMBER ANDERSON (Female – 26 years old)
Amber Anderson is the regular leader of the pack in V8 Supercars Championship as the driver of the series Safety Car. She has degrees in Commerce and Law and is a qualified pilot and SCUBA diver. Has competed in Fujitsu V8 Supercars Development Series previously.
ANDREW JORDAN (Male – 21 years old)
All the way from Britain, Andrew Jordan adds international flavour. A three-time race winner in the British Touring Car Championship. Former rally cross and Renault Clio Cup driver who has highlighted V8 Supercars as the next step in his career.
BEN SMALL (Male – 23 years old)
Ben Small comes out of retirement for one last shot at a V8 Supercars career. After a decorated career in karting and Formula Ford he stepped away from racing several seasons ago to be a snowboard instructor in Colorado, USA. His father Les and older brother James both experienced racing engineers.
CAMERON WATERS (Male – 16 years old)
From Mildura, Victoria – also the hometown of Todd and Rick Kelly – Cameron Waters has been touted as one of the next big things in Australian motorsport. While only 16 and still in high school, he currently leads the Australian Formula Ford Championship and has already tested a V8 Supercar.
DAVID SERA (Male – 22 years old)
One of the most successful drivers in Australian karting history, David Sera has dominated karting events in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and the United States for the last decade, having starting racing at the tender age of seven. An 11-time Australian karting champion, has earned the nickname ‘Deadly’ as a result of his domination of the sport.
HAYLEY SWANSON (Female – 23 years old)
Some time race driver, some time model, Hayley Swanson has the same combination of speed and glamour that has made Danica Patrick a household name in the United States. Having raced in production cars and Aussie Racing Cars she now turns her attention to the big time with a shot at V8 Supercars.
NICK CASSIDY (Male – 16 years old)
Following in the legendary footsteps of New Zealand racing greats such as Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Scott Dixon, Nick Cassidy is flying the Kiwi flag. A race winner in Formula Ford, Formula Toyota and even Speedway competition in his homeland, Cassidy has set his sights on following countrymen Greg Murphy and Shane Van Gisbergen into V8 Supercars.
NICK FOSTER (Male – 19 years old)
The Queenslander eats and sleeps motorsport, working for a race team when not racing himself in the Australian Formula Ford Championship. Nick Foster is a multiple race winner in Formula Ford and karting and also studies Civil Engineering at university.
SAMANTHA REID (Female – 24 years old)
Samantha Reid started racing karts in her hometown of Adelaide as an eight year old and since then has tried her hand at Formula Ford, Formula 3 and was a part of an all-female production car team that raced in the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2007. Studied Mechatronic Engineering at university and is one of the youngest fully qualified driver trainers in Australia.
SHAE DAVIES (Male – 21 years old)
When he is not on the race track Shae Davies can be found working on heavy machinery such as cranes, drill rigs and excavators in his home state of Queensland. Another contestant from the highly competitive Australian Formula Ford Championship with a background in karting.