Clipsal 500 2013 – just chillin’. A relaxing day 2.

DSC_0029With no on track action, Friday of the Clipsal 500 ended up being quite a relaxing day for Koala Motorsport and most of the other Australian GT competitors. With no particular reason to be at the track, I personally had a bit of a sleep in and then arrived around mid-morning. Somehow after sitting around chatting in the shade, a long lunch, and then a stroll around to check out the off track displays, the day seemed to slip by quite quickly. But it was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the day, and an ideal way to re-charge the batteries for the racing to come.

DSC_0264It’s funny how you settle into a routine after a while, and Friday was no different. The GT Lounge employs a barista to make coffee for anyone with access to the lounge, so the day began with one of his fantastic brews.

DSC_0001The only real work that needed doing was to fix yesterdays damage. It didn’t need to be fixed from a physical point, however its always good to have the car looking as nice as possible when it goes out. First job was to remove the old, scraped sticker from the quarter. Ray Ebel from Get Marketing stopped by to help us out.

DSC_0002The paint where the door was dented was cracked and about to fall off, so Ray first applied some clear film over it to hold the cracked paint in place.

DSC_0009Next step was to apply some red vinyl over the parts that had no paint…

DSC_0012… and then applied a freshly cut sticker back on. It’s not perfect by a long shot and will need to be fixed properly later, but you can hardly tell from even 5m away, so there’s no chance of picking it at 200km/h!

DSC_0046Ray then mentioned that he had some promo girls at Clipsal, and asked if he might be able to get a few photos of them with the 360. We’re a kind, friendly team and we always like to accommodate the requests of as many people as possible, plus it would have been downright rude to refuse after the fantastic sticker work he did. Yea…. that’ll do.

DSC_0051DSC_0043DSC_0081Little kid knows where it’s at. His dad was proud as punch.

DSC_0094Then things started getting just plain weird.

DSC_0005As you can tell, we had a fair amount of time on our hands. But it was good to catch up with some friends. Adelaide’s own Garry Kirk dropped by, and as it turns out he used to work on this very 360 when it was a Prancing Horse Racing car back in 2001. He pointed out all of the parts he made for it and the development work they did, which was fascinating to hear.

DSC_0018It was good to check out some of the other GT cars. This is the rear suspension of the Reiter Engineering Gallardo GT3. Just check out the sheer quality of the componentry – you can see why these cars cost the dollars they do. It’s almost a shame to race them!

DSC_0102With some spare time on my hands, I decided to go for a walk and check out the off track action.

DSC_0203DSC_0210DSC_0211There were some very busy teams, particularly in the Carrera Cup garages.

DSC_0126In days gone by it was the battle of the cigarette companies. Now, it’s the battle of the energy drink companies. And there’s a lot of similarities too – they both sell products with huge margins that possess questionable health risks, and both industries have a lot of marketing dollar to spend. Red Bull seem to be going down the competitive sporting avenue – they’ve got their Formula One team, they’re now promoting WRC and they’ve just launched their Red Bull Racing Australia V8 Supercar team.

DSC_0178Monster, on the other hand, seem to be going down the extreme sports path and their setup at Clipsal is almost beyond belief. This is a better indication than anything as to the size of their marketing budgets, and the markups you pay when you spend $5 on a can of energy drink.

DSC_0176When you buy a can of Monster you’re not really buying a product, you’re buying into a brand. It’s a lifestyle, and these guys seem to be living it.

DSC_0170The sound system they had set up had a bass line like I’d never heard before, and they actually had a mosh pit happening in front of the DJ. The DJ was playing a really cool drum & bass/dubstep combination, and there was often a live drummer there as well to play along with the music and add that live music atmosphere to the mix. These guys really know how to reinforce brand values like I’ve never seen before.

DSC_0105Which I guess is kind of a smooth way to segue into Ken Block. The poster boy for Monster Energy, Ford, GoPro, Spy, fifteen52 wheels and any other brand that can afford to jump on board, Block has been brought out to Adelaide to give some Gymkhana demo’s.

DSC_0099DSC_0100And to be honest, I think I’m not the only one who’s been a little disappointed in his demo’s. Don’t get me wrong, the Fiesta is a very cool car and the guy can definitely drive…

DSC_0111DSC_0115DSC_0116… but to be honest, so can a lot of other people.

DSC_0119And that caused me to think about it. Given I love the Gymkhana videos so much, how come seeing him in person just doesn’t do it?

DSC_0127And then I came to the conclusion that we all love the videos because they’re cool videos. The camera angles, the stunts, the huge budgets, the fact that the dude managed to close off some of San Francisco so he could drift it. That’s what we love. The actual drifting itself… that’s not really that special.

DSC_0124Still, it’s good to have him here, and the event if definitely richer for it, not poorer.

DSC_0113And people seem to like it, so that’s cool too.


DSC_0143Nissan had the new Altima mock-up car at their booth.

DSC_0141Given that they won’t be sold here until 2014, it wasn’t surprising that under that heavily tinted glass, the Altima was left hand drive.

DSC_0133DSC_0137DSC_0135They were also making rather broad claims as to the origins of their V8 Suoercar engine. I’d like to drive a Patrol that comes with a Nismo V8 race motor!

DSC_0140No ‘pack of arseholes’ mention, either. Interesting that they skip one of the most famous moments in Australian racing history!

DSC_0106DSC_0112Holden has the new VF on display. Give it 6 months and these will be everywhere, but it’s of mild interest right now. Personally, I think they’re on the money with it. Just picture it with a VW badge on the front, and it could probably pass for something European.

DSC_0114There’s more than a little bit of currently generation Lexus GS in those tail lights…

DSC_0118… and you can really see how the latest tuner trends are influencing the bodykit on the SS. This is a very much toned down version of how the currently crop of time attack and drift cars are looking – Google ‘Rocket Bunny Toyota 86’ to see what I mean.

DSC_0101In racing, you take the sponsor dollars wherever they come from! Interesting to see that this logo now has a large ‘censored’ sticker over it. Nice try!

DSC_0262There was a large display of American cars and hot rods. Sometimes it’s so bad, it’s good!

DSC_0263Tip number 1: If you try to slice your wood paneling through a band saw and it melts or sparks, it’s most likely not real wood.

DSC_0217This thing was cool! I think it’s some sort of Mercury custom, definitely on air bags.

DSC_0220One of the rules of Any Given Reason is that I don’t hate on things I don’t like online, I just simply ignore them. However, there’s always the right moment to break the rules, and this is one of them. This plate is affixed to an automatic S15 with 22″ chromies and a huge stereo. I bet the ladies come flocking.

DSC_0259Queen Street Customs called, they want their loan car back.

photo I’m type this story once again from the Fringe artists bar (bumming free wi-fi) while the Saturday Clipsal 500 race takes place. Old mate is sitting next to be tuning his mandolin, and I’ve gotta be honest it’s actually a pretty cool juxtaposition of cultures. There’s the roar of V8’s in the background, and the subtle tones of gentle music right next to me. Motor racing isn’t always like this.

Race 1 for Australian GT starts in an hour, so I’d better get back and do some proper crew work! Until next time…


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  1. Chris Matthews March 2, 2013 Reply

    Your not the only one who thinks Ken Block is a waste of money, haven't thought much of him since he sold out the Ford!

    The Nismo engine is based of the new Patrol motor (Block & Heads) and the GTR GTR3 also uses a longer stoke version.

  2. Tom Gilbert March 3, 2013 Reply

    Great work Andrew. Was sorry not to see the GT cars race on Friday and yeah Block doing Blockies? Hmmmm

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