Chelsea Angelo joins Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport – Brabham, Poulakis, Batzios return for GT World Challenge Australia campaign
The Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport team has launched ahead of this year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS Championship in a star-studded pre-Grand Prix event in Melbourne and welcomes its first female driver in Chelsea Angelo.
Ross Poulakis and Sam Brabham will be the teams’ spearheads at the opening round of the Championship at Bathurst (April 7-9) before Angelo and Chris Batzios will be in the second of the familiar Mercedes-AMG GT3 machines from round two at the Supercars event in Perth starting April 28.
The team was launched at the Harrolds luxury department store on Collins Street, Melbourne with a special fireside chat with Sam Brabham, Formula 1 World Champion, Damon Hill and Le Mans winner, David Brabham alongside his father’s World Championship winning Repco Brabham BT19.
The addition of Chelsea Angelo brings with it a great deal of excitement for both Volante Rosso and Harrolds. Angelo, who has GT experience in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge and completed seasons in Formula 3 and the Dunlop Super 2 Supercars Series. She will be the only female racer entered in the GT Challenge this year.
It will be both Poulakis and Brabham’s second year with the team, moving into the GT3 category after last year starting with victories in GT4 and Batzios returns for his second season.
Poulakis finished second in class at the Bathurst 12 Hour in February in the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 alongside team co-owner Josh Hunt and international aces, Jonathan Hui and Kevin Tse; Volante Rosso’s other entry in the 12 Hour finished in 11th position.
Chris Papadopoulos – Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Co-Owner:
“The team at Harrolds recognised Chelsea’s driving talent and the increased participation of women in motorsport is something that we fully support,” said Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport co-owner Chris Papadopoulos.
“Harrolds wants to use its brand through Chelsea to help encourage women in motorsport and to champion the FIA Girls on Track program that Motorsport Australia operates locally.
“The increased female interest in motorsport will be demonstrated this weekend at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, where female attendance is expected to be more than 50 per cent of all ticket holders. We aim to maintain that interest on the national stage.
“To have Sam Brabham returning this year backing up Ross Poulakis and Chris Batzios in a dual AMG Customer Sports GT3 program ensures that we have a strong driver lineup for this season’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Championship.”
Chelsea Angelo – Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Driver:
Angelo is thrilled to be aligned with the premium brands – Harrolds, Volante Rosso and AMG.
“When it comes to luxury, these brands are unrivalled,” said Chelsea Angelo. “Susie Wolff says ‘you have to pounce when a rare chance presents itself’ and this is an amazing opportunity that I have been presented with by Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport.
“I feel like with the drive of the team at Harrolds and the professionalism of Volante Rosso that we can make a major impact in highlighting Women in Motorsport in a way that has an incredibly broad appeal, particularly with the use of the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“I’ll be at Bathurst to be part of the team and will get behind the wheel at round two in Perth, which will be an awesome event alongside Supercars. I really can’t wait to get working with Chris and take to the track.”
Ross Poulakis – Harrolds Managing Director, Team Driver:
“What started as a childhood experience has developed into something much bigger with the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport team,” said Ross Poulakis. “With Chelsea and Sam in the driving seat, across two GT3 cars along with Chris, we are serious about where motorsport can take the brand of Harrolds and what it can bring to motorsport, especially Women in Motorsport.
“We’re endeavouring to bring luxury experiences into the sport, grow our female customer base through working with groups like FIA Girls on Track in a high profile way that hasn’t been done before. From a sponsor’s perspective, it’s such an exciting opportunity to be involved in 2023.”
Sam Brabham – Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Team Driver:
“I’m ecstatic to be back with Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport for another year, especially with the full season in the GT3.
“Ross and I had some great success last year and I think we can improve on that this year. Bathurst is a tough place to kick the season off, but with the team behind us and especially its success at the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier this year, I think that we can start strong.
“I can’t wait for it to get started.”
Chris Batzios – Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Team Driver:
“To have the opportunity to share the car with Chelsea is huge not just for me but the team,” said Batzios. “Her experience brings a whole range of depth to the team and I will be able to tap into that as I continue my development in GT racing, particularly now with the GT3 Championship ahead of us.
“The team has established a formidable outfit for the year and to get things started as we did, particularly having David Brabham and Damon Hill with us to launch it, has certainly given everyone inspiration for the season to start at Bathurst.
“Using Harrolds and the brands associated with the stores and now involving Chelsea, I think we can bring something truly different to highlighting Women in Motorsport in a premium way. That of course is offset from the vision of using the Mercedes-AMG GT3 as our racecar of choice.”
Founded in 1985, Harrolds, Australia’s luxury department store, is committed to curating an in-store (and online) experience that is like no other in Australian luxury fashion. It has three experience stores – Collins Street Melbourne and men’s and women’s stores in Westfield Sydney – as well as a strong online offering featuring the world’s premiere luxury brands.
For many years, Harrolds aligned itself with the horse racing industry through race sponsorship with Melbourne Turf Club, Australian Turf Club and the Magic Millions enterprise. The business continues to see the success of these partnerships, many years after its involvement.
About Volante Rosso:
Volante Rosso Motorsport was established by former Formula 1 engineer – Chris Papadopoulos and international racer, Josh Hunt. Papadopoulos was part of the engineering crew at the World Championship winning Renault Formula 1 team and worked with Kimi Raikkonen when he took victory in Melbourne with Lotus. Hunt has a storied international career in karting, GT and open wheel racing, being the only Australian driver to have raced karts on every continent (barring Antarctica).