Brock Heydon is showing motorsports fanatics around Australia that you can give it a go no matter what your background. A professional mechanic, Heydon – in his early twenties, races in the Aussie Racing Car series and is competing in the Telstra 500. They look like small V8 Supercars and are seriously quick!
How did you get into the Aussie Racing Car series?
A friend of mine competed in the series at the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix a couple of years ago. I went down to Melbourne with him to give him a hand in the pits and loved it. I met a few people while I was down there and then made some enquiries when I came back to Sydney. I first began racing in the series at a round at Eastern Creek in 2010.
What racing experience had you had prior to joining the series?
I have competed in club motorsport with the Mini Car Club of NSW since I was 12, taking part in Motorkahanas, Khanacross’ and Super Sprints. My family is involved in racing Minis and I have grown up in this environment.
Racing is generally thought of as the domain of yacht owners and Ferrari drivers. Is it that expensive or can anyone do it?
It is expensive, however I have found that racing Aussie Cars is more affordable (and faster!) than a lot of other categories. Having the help of sponsors goes a long way to making it more affordable. If I can do it, anyone can!
You’re a professional mechanic. How does that help your racing and preparation?
Being a mechanic definitely has many advantages. I have a good understanding of the car and how it all works which really helps on the track. In terms of preparation I can do the majority of the work myself (some parts have to be done by Aussie Racing Cars as the engines are all sealed to ensure there is no tampering) and have learnt a few new skills along the way, like fibre glassing.
What’s it like to drive one of the Aussie Racing Cars? Is it like a go kart with a roll cage?
Not many things compare to an Aussie Racing Car. With a quick steering rack and only weighing 450kg you can carry a lot of speed through the corner and go through some corners two or three wide. The car has a 1200cc engine and a five-speed sequential gearbox that comes from a Yamaha motorbike so the engine can rev to over 11,000rpm. Quite noisy in the car especially when there are a few cars around you.
What speeds to you get up to and what is the acceleration like?
Down Conrod Straight at Bathurst the Aussie Cars can get up to speeds of 230km/h and at most tracks over the 200km/h mark. The acceleration is unreal.
What has your 2011 campaign been like?
Having only purchased the car in June the highlights definitely would have been my first event at the Muscle Car Masters at Eastern Creek with my Dad also competing at the same event in his historic Mini. Another highlight would have been my highest finish at Morgan Park Raceway in country Queensland where I finished the last race of the weekend in 16th, beating the driver that I purchased the car off. Not too many lowlights because it’s all a learning curve and I’m still trying to find my feet. But at my first practice session at Eastern Creek I got tapped from behind in the pouring rain at turn nine. Not fun when I had just repaired the car myself after the previous owners excursions!
What’s the hardest thing about racing around Australia and working a full-time job too?
Hardest part is probably affording it all and also travelling across Australia to the tracks. I’m pretty lucky that I have a fairly large leave accrual quota to dip into and my employer is flexible about taking time off to race. At this stage I have only done east coast events but next year I’m planning to venture to South Australia for the Clipsal 500 which will be more challenging to physically get to.
What’s the goal for the Telstra 500?
Avoid the walls! Always try to qualify well and work my way through the field. A top 20 finish would be satisfying but it is always difficult because the category is so close and competitive. Being the first time that the Aussie Racing Cars have been to the Homebush, it evens the field out a bit but I have been doing some practice laps the last week or two in my road car to get any edge that I can.
Will you be racing next year? What’s the plan?
Definitely going to be racing next year 100 per cent in an Aussie Racing Car. Would love to do the whole season but more than likely will hopefully compete in at least five out of the eight round season. Next year the Aussie Racing Cars will be competing at Bathurst on the Easter long weekend and I want to be there.
Heydon is looking for sponsors for the 2012 seasons. If you’re interested, get in touch with EFTM and we’ll put you in touch with the team.