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Aug 3, 2012

SN CHAT: GRANT PHILLIPS & ANDREW TURPIE

WITH the rapidly approaching Hydraulink 400 at Queensland Raceway’s Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils round next week, thenationals.com.au continues our look behind the scenes of the drivers and teams of the Shannons Nationals.

And with the big production car race a week away, we thought we’d check in with one of those preparing to tackle the big race.

Class racing plays a major part in the AMC – so we thought we’d head to the baby car battle in Class E and find out what the boys from the Pedders Suspension-sponsored Proton Satria team are thinking.

Driver and team boss Grant Phillips and co-driver Andrew Turpie put their fingers to keys this week in the second edition of our SN Chat series – every Friday on thenationals.com.au.

Grant Phillips: “Class E of the AMC is the Compact Touring class and is also known as the Baby Class. It is the perfect launching point to get into the Australian Manufacturers Championship and for myself personally, it has been the realisation of a long held dream to be racing at this level. The other teams from Class A to the Class I entries have all been amazingly welcoming of our little team and our little car.

We have an awesome group of support people in our team who all bring something unique to the table, not only for our race team but also for the category. We were blown away with the accolades last year, to be announced as the Best Presented Team in 2011 was humbling and exciting all in one. It has driven our team to strive for bigger and better this year and into the future, the Pedders Racing Team is here for the long haul and are proud members of the Australian Manufacturers Championship.”

Andrew Turpie: “The AMC is a fantastic series, we are privileged to be able to race at this level and amongst the amazing talent that makes up the category but we wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the efforts of Aaron McGill to get us across the line.

We have had some amazing races over the last year and a half, the likes of Maddison Gray and the guys from the Suzuki Swift Series have pushed us to our limits and made us work hard for every lap. It would be fantastic to see more of the Suzuki’s in our class, their cars are really well presented and the drivers are of the highest quality. Last year’s Eastern Creek endurance round was by far the most amazing race I have ever been involved in and I would love to see much more of that in the future.

We race in what is essentially the slowest class of the category and you would expect that those in the high end cars, like the Evo 10’s, the BMW’s and the Subaru’s would be annoyed by us being so slow and in their way all too often but amazingly they aren’t. There is a mutual respect amongst all of the entries at this level and I guess the qualities of these teams really came through for us when one of our mechanics de-gloved a finger whilst working on our car. He was raced of to hospital and into the operating rooms which left the team minus our mechanic. Every team came to us and offered their assistance throughout the weekend; I was gob-smacked and proud to be a part of this close knit category.

The future for the team is bright, very bright indeed. We expect to be on target to enter next year’s series in a brand new car thanks to the support of a local manufacturer, I would love to share all the details here but we are waiting for this manufacturer to be ready to make the announcement. Suffice to say that 2013 will see the team racing in class D in a very competitive package and we are aiming to be at the front straight out of the box. The reality is that class D is one of the most competitive classes within the series and to be racing against the likes of François Jouy and Richard Gartner, we are really going to have to step up to even get close to their level.

Both Grant, myself and our amazing team are always excited about racing in the Shannon’s Nationals events but this one in Queensland next weekend is something very special indeed. We have gone for the wow factor with our little Proton for the night race ... so keep an eye out and please, come over and say g’day.”

SN CHAT SERIES: Previous articles:

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