Just on one year ago, Kellyville racer Michael Ferns was an entrant in driver talent program Race Academy International’s first event. It was his first shot. He didn’t win. But he was hooked for life on the thrill that going fast in race cars can bring.
Fast forward to today, and Ferns will make his NSW Production Touring Cars racing debut at Sydney Motorsport Park when he steps behind the wheel with current RAI winner Cody McKay for round one of the Australian Production Cars Series from March 6 – 8.
Ferns was in fact RAI’s first ever entrant after a chance meeting with the program’s director Trevor Mirabito sparked his interest. He signed up straight away, and the rest is history.
“While I didn’t win, it certainly lit a fire in the belly and I knew it was something I wanted to pursue further,” Ferns laughs.
That fire let to a handful of track days at Luddenham Raceway and Wakefield Park, along with some one-on-one coaching. From there, Ferns was handed over to John Boston at Trackschool Trackdays to complete the final piece of the puzzle; his observed licence test (OLT).
The OLT is a practical test of basic competition driving skills, evaluated by a Motorsport Australia approved instructor under simulated race conditions, and is part of the requirements to obtain a multitude of Motorsport Australia licences, including national and provision circuit accreditation.
The March round will mark 12 months since Michael Ferns started his journey with RAI and moved from a spectator, watching from behind the fence, to strapping in and mixing it with some of the best production car racers in the country.
“To say I’m excited is an understatement,” he said. “I just hope I can do a good job and stay out of everyone’s way. I still have a lot to learn.”
Race Academy International has a host of achievements to its name, from podiums in NSW Production Touring Cars to finishing third in Class B at the Bathurst 6-Hour in 2019.
“We started out as a race car leasing business and over the years have moved into the competition realm,” RAI director Trevor Mirabito said. “We just love motor sport and are so happy to be able to bring people into the sport.”
If you think you have what it takes and would like to chase a motorsport dream, the RAI team can be contacted at [email protected]
Race Academy International is supported by Milton Fencing & Gates, Cooltech Industries, Cougar Powder Coating, Engenium, PB Motorsport Services, Whiteline, LA Racing Oils and Exhaust Notes Australia.