Sep 15, 2014
MAKRIS ON A MISSION AS SPORTS RACER SERIES HEADS TO PHILLIP ISLAND
When the Australian Sports Racer Series hits Phillip Island this weekend (19-21 September), competitor Jason Makris will be looking to build on the work he began when he debuted with the Series at its last round, following a 13 year hiatus from the drivers’ seat.
The 33 year old commercial property developer has made strong steps since taking ownership of the #44 West Race Cars Sports Racer, and is sure to be one to watch at the Series’ penultimate round of the 2014 season.
“I went from my last race meet – a Superkart national series round 13 years ago – to the seat of a West, and it was just quite amazing,” said Markis, Deputy CEO of the Markis Group.
"I didn't feel like I had been away, it still felt natural to be on the racing track, and my times reflected that as well.
“Being in these cars is quite different to what I have raced previously, the combination of the aerodynamics and the rolling chassis was quite new, and then you throw in tracks I am unfamiliar with as well like Sydney and Phillip Island, but I am really enjoying it.
“In just a few events – a pre-purchase test, the state round, the national event at Sydney and then a post-Sydney test – I have really been able to become comfortable in the car and make great progress.”
The Sydney event was Makris’ first national event in the Sports Racer, and while one of ups and downs, allowed the Series debutant to make some significant progress with his race craft.
“At Sydney despite limited practice and then some issues with a broken gear selector in qualifying, I still managed to do a respectable lap time in the 1 minute 28 second range that surprised the others as far as how quickly I got there,” said Makris.
“However, round one saw the car without first or second gear which made me ‘bog down’ at the start and fall to last, with a little luck with one of my fellow competitors not finishing and my strong engine, I managed to overtake a couple of competitors to finish fifth.
“Overnight we switched to an older engine which wasn’t in sync with my ECU (engine control unit) and so I was actually worse off on Sunday for the final two races, but I was still able to finish fourth overall in the round points.
“Overall, I saw the Sydney event as an opportunity to learn and get myself more familiar with the car. This progress was evident when I returned to Mallala Motorsport Park three weeks later and was able to shave two seconds from my personal best on old tyres.”
While Makris has raced at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Superkarts, he says that will be of no help to him this weekend.
“I raced Superkarts at Phillip Island about 14 years ago and it was absolutely fantastic, but that experience is not going to make any difference to me as comparing superkarts and sports racers is like comparing chalk and cheese,” said Markis.
“The boys at West are going to fit me with a very similar set-up to (leading team driver) Aaron Steer, which will be different to what we had at Sydney, including some stiffer suspension on the rear so I can learn more about the grip capabilities.
“We will just have to wait and see what happens, I am super keen, I am so eager to get back in the car and just learn more – that is what this season is all about for me, learning and improving so I can give it a good shot next year.”
Markis will be on track for round four of the Australian Sports Racing Series at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 of September. Full event information including entry lists and event schedules can be found at http://www.sportsracer.com.au/schedule/phillip-island
2014 has been a year of change for the Australian Sports Racing Series, as it steps up to a truly National level for the first time. With spiritual links to the hugely popular sports car racing scene of the 70s and 80s, these LeMans prototype style sports cars offer scintillating performance, amazing dynamics and spectacularly close racing.
All cars are designed to maximise aerodynamic performance, weighing just 400kg, with various marques powered by high-tech production-based motorcycle engines revving to 13,500 RPM; allowing them to lap circuits at V8 Supercar times.
In 2014, the Australian Sports Racer Series will take in five rounds:
· Round One – Mallala Motorsport Park – 25-27 April 2014
· Round Two – Winton – 13-15 June 2014
· Round Three – Sydney Motorsport Park – 11-13 July 2014
· Round Four – Phillip Island – 19-21 September 2014
· Round Five – Wakefield Park – 17-19 October 2014
For more information on the Australian Sports Racer Series, go to www.sportsracer.com.au