When Paul Trengove was last behind the wheel of a race car, Michael Schumacher had just won his sixth Formula 1 title over Williams and social media was merely a pipe dream.
The year was 2003 and Trengove had just finished equal second in the Australian Drivers’ Championship.
After budget issues made it hard for him to continue competing, the passionate motor sport fan, who had been racing karts since he was a young kid, decided he would stay in the sport on the other side of the fence.
Working his way up the administration ranks, Trengove was eventually appointed as Motor Racing Circuit Manager for The Bend Motorsport Park, where he came across Jam Motorsport who recently moved near the new world class circuit.
After seeing the race team carry out a number of test days at the South Australian track in their Australian Prototype Series (APS) cars, as well as compete as part of the Shannons Nationals, the burning desire to compete resurfaced for Trengove, who worked on a deal to secure a seat in 2019.
Finally after more than 15 years of sitting on the sidelines, Trengove will make his grand return to the sport when he lines up in the APS at Queensland Raceway.
“It’s exciting, I have been looking forward to this for a very long time. I have not too much time in the car so it’s going to be an interesting experience,” Trengove said.
“I have been trying to get as much practice as a I can and Aaron Steer, who heads up Jam Motorsport is the one I have been relying on to teach me how to drive.
“I had a test day at The Bend last week but it rained all day and I have had only one dry run so far, but now I am very keen to get into a Prototype Car and have a crack.”
With Trengove having so much experience with different categories, it wasn’t until he saw the APS cars in the flesh at Jam Motorsport’s headquarters that he knew wanted to race. And race in them alone.
“There are a number of reasons that I wanted to compete in the APS and mainly, I think they are a fast car and they do very fast lap times around The Bend,” Trengove added.
“What I love about it is the variety of cars, manufactures and all the very different styles of cars despite them looking very similar.
“I really find that quite appealing, as well as it being a category that I think is really growing. Also all my background is in open wheel racing so this is the closest I can get within a budget.
“I love the sound of them, love the way they look at the track and it’s a very professional outfit at Jam Motorsport, so all of that really appealed to me in getting the deal done.”
As Trengove gets set to make his long awaited motor sport return and APS debut, the 2002 Formula 3 Australia Trophy class champion has little expectation for his 2019 performances.
“It will take a bit of time for me to get on pace and I am not expecting to set the world on fire but if I can do the next three rounds for this season, I can have a full crack at next season,” Trengove explained.
“This year will all be about learning the car and how to get comfortable in the car and see how it drives and handles.
“If I get some results, that’s great but I am not expecting to rock up and be on the podium or anything. Although with that said – once the helmet goes on, you want to win.”
The Australian Prototype Series holds its third round of 2019 at Queensland Raceway this weekend as part of the Shannons Nationals.
All races can be watched live and free through the stream on thenationals.com.au.