Major changes mooted for Gold Star rebirth

The Gold Star could be opened up to non-open wheel drivers in future

The Gold Star could be opened up to non-open wheel drivers in future

A review of the CAMS Gold Star later this year could see V8 Supercars drivers become eligible for the historic honour.

CAMS last month pulled the Gold Star from the Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship due to a lack of entries.

The move ended a 57-year tradition, which sat as CAMS’ third oldest continually awarded title behind the Australian Grand Prix and Australian Hillclimb Championship.

Created to recognise the best driving talent on the domestic scene, the Gold Star has always been bestowed upon the winner of an open-wheel championship.

CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca admits that the open-wheel focus could be dropped in future in order to better uphold the original premise of the award.

The idea of creating a panel of experts to select the domestic scene’s best driver in any given year will also be discussed when the Gold Star is officially reviewed.

“We’d love to retain it as the pre-eminent award for the best driver in this country,” Arocca told Speedcafe.com.

“That’s what underpins it. It’s been specifically open-wheel focussed, but maybe there’s an opportunity to review the criteria.

“But that’s a Board matter and towards the end of the year we’ll look at how it can be resuscitated.

“Can we put together a panel that can determine the most outstanding performance or driver?

“I don’t know, but it’s something that’s up for debate at the appropriate time.

“Right now we’re just looking at what the AMRC’s (Australia Motor Racing Commission) review throws up and then follow on from that.”

Mark Skaife won the ATCC and the Gold Star in 1992

Mark Skaife won the ATCC and the Gold Star in 1992

Although the move to take the award away from F3 comes as CAMS introduces its Formula 4 Championship this year, Arocca says there are no plans to shift the Gold Star to the new class.

“I don’t know where that’s coming from, but that’s not even been mentioned or considered,” he said.

“If the conspirators think we’ve taken it off F3 to give it to F4 that’s not what’s been the basis of the decision. I categorically deny that.

“It would have to be an exceptional F4 driver to be the best driver in the country.

“We consider the Gold Star to be our Brownlow medal and it’d be like giving the Brownlow to the best Under 19s player in the country.

“In my opinion, it needs to go to the driver that exemplifies the very best of our motorsport skills.”

Rick Kelly and Jason Bright are the only two Gold Star winners currently on the V8 Supercars grid.

Kelly is one of just three drivers to have won both the Gold Star and the ATCC/V8 Supercars Championship, joining John Bowe and Mark Skaife.

Despite losing its Gold Star status, Arocca says that Formula 3 remains a part of CAMS’ junior development ‘pathway’ as the next step after karts and Formula 4.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full Cafe Chat with Arocca from earlier this week.

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