The first leg of the The Racing Together programme has been completed in an effort to encourage a group of Indigenous youths from Logan, south of Brisbane, toward a potential career in motorsport.
The programme, run by some of the sport’s leading officials and competitors, hosted 40 would-be racers aged between 12 and 16 at an open day at the Norwell Motorplex.
Supercar drivers Paul Morris, Anton De Pasquale and Luke Youlden and senior Formula 1 official Garry Connelly evaluated candidates in a number of skill and aptitude tests, including driving on the Norwell Motorplex track.
For many of the participants it was their first time behind the wheel.
Organisers will review the test results and select which of the participants will proceed to a run-off at Norwell on October 24-25.
The run-off will decide team members, including a driver, who will undertake a fully-supported racing programme in the Hyundai Excel X3 Series in 2021.
Morris, who has become one of the most respected talent scouts and mentors in the country, said there was a lot of natural talent in the group.
“The kids did a really good job,” he said.
“Many of them had not seen a race car before, let alone had the chance to drive one.
“The more people we can introduce to all facets of motorsport the better and to be able to do it with a targeted group like this is tremendously positive.
“The kids became more enthusiastic as the day went on and I think there is certainly a bit of hidden talent there that we take into a full Hyundai Excel programme next year.”
Racing Together founder Garry Connelly said the open day had attracted an enthusiastic group of youngsters.
“We hosted 40 candidates, half of whom were girls, and some of the most successful people in Australian motorsport were able to give them an introduction to the world of motorsport and the many career opportunities it offers,” he said.
“Some of them really impressed us with their eagerness to learn and their raw potential and it’s going to be a difficult job for organisers to pick the group to progress to the run-off.”
Racing Together was launched last month by Connelly (AM) and his wife Monique, both internationally-experienced motorsport officials and competitors, and with the backing of leading members of the racing community and the Logan-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation Gunya Meta.
While the pilot programme is for Indigenous young people in the Logan area on Brisbane’s southern outskirts, organisers hope it eventually can be extended across Australia.
The ultimate prize could be a place in the Ferrari Academy (Asia Pacific), including circuit racing in an FIA Formula 4 race car.
Racing Together is supported by Motorsport Australia, which will provide permits and associated insurances for the pilot project.
Enquiries about Racing Together can be made at [email protected]