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Jun 21, 2013

Top rookie to sample Swift Series

This weekend’s third round of the Australian Swift Series at Winton Raceway will feature a new face: James Spicer.

The 18 year-old Sydney driver, who was Rookie of the Year in the 2011 NSW Formula Ford Championship Kent class, is making his racing return in the budget one-make series after a 20-month layoff.

He will contest the Swift Series round with sponsorship from Spicer Consulting and Copybook Printing.

“I wanted to continue racing last year, but didn’t have enough funds,” he said.

“So I did a Certificate III Motorsport course at Wodonga TAFE, and this year I’ve started a motor mechanic apprenticeship at Castle Hill HSV to give me other career options in the motorsport industry.

“I’m also a driver coach and ‘hot laps’ driver with V8Race, which is great fun and keeps my hand in on the racetrack.”

Spicer is treating the Winton Swift Series round as a toe-in-the-water exercise, but is keen to complete the remaining rounds, funds permitting.

“I’m really looking forward to racing again, not least to gauge my competitiveness,” he said.

“Although the Swift Series is fairly new, it’s very even with good drivers at the front of the field.

“My aim this weekend is to be on the pace – within a few tenths of a second of pole position or fastest race lap.

“A podium or win would be a bonus.”


Unlike most budding racing drivers, who graduate to cars after several years and dozens of races in karts, James Spicer made the big step with just a handful of top-level kart races events under his belt.

It didn’t take him long to get up to speed, though.

Driving an ageing 1992 Van Diemen in the NSW Formula Ford Championship class for cars fitted with the older Kent engine, he qualified second and scored two second placings and an eighth.

He qualified second again in the following round at Eastern Creek (since renamed Sydney Motorsport Park), and finished second and fourth in the two races contested.

Moving up to a more recent 2007 Spirit chassis for the third round at Wakefield Park, Spicer made the Formula Ford establishment sit up and take notice when he qualified fastest on a wet track, ahead of the newer and faster Fiesta class cars.

It was only his third car race meeting!

A third placing in the Kent class, and two DNFs caused by other drivers, was character-building, but he put that disappointment behind him at the latest round by taking his first car race victory.

He finished midfield in the first race (actually the postponed third race from the previous Eastern Creek round) after copping a drive-through penalty while running third.

He made amends in the second race, first taking advantage of incidents that befell the faster Fiesta-engined cars, and then battling past two other Kent cars to take the outright victory!

Another two class wins in the remaining races capped his most successful race meeting.

“My ultimate aim is to drive professionally at the top level, such as V8 Supercars or something similar,” he said.

“That’s a long way off, of course, but I know from my kart racing and my first year racing cars that I can be competitive .

“Meanwhile I’m working hard to secure the funding to race at higher levels.”