Preparing the F430 GT3 Kessel for Adelaide’s Clipsal 500

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (10)Longtime Any Given Reason readers may remember our association with Adelaide’s Koala Motorsport during the 2013 Clipsal 500, when the team campaigned their Ferrari 360 Challenge in the Australian GT category. AGR was kindly invited to shadow the team for race week, giving an insight into what it is like to race on the Adelaide Street Circuit. You can read those stories here, here and here.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preeventFor 2015 Koala Motorsport is back in Australian GT. There’s a newer, faster car, some additional corporate supporters and Any Given Reason has kindly been invited back to document the journey.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (1)The new machine is a Ferrari F430 built to international GT3 specification by Kessel Racing in Switzerland. The old Koala Motorsport Ferrari 360 was still in Challenge specification when it was raced in 2013, a spec of car built by Ferrari S.p.A for track days and competition in Ferrari’s famous Challenge one-make racing series around the world.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (15)Indeed, the F430 left Ferrari’s Maranello factory in Challenge specification, too. But this is where Kessel Racing steps in – for a vast sum of Euro’s (when new in 2007), the F430 Challenge is modified to faster FIA GT3 specification.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (12)Essentially, the GT3 pack gives more aero and less weight. There’s a big spoiler on the back to add downforce, which given the GT3 still has similar power to the F430 Challenge means a slightly lower top speed.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (5)Things that are normally made from steel or aluminium in the Challenge are made from carbon or kevlar in the GT3.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (4)I shudder to think what the featherweight carbon doors and sprouting carbon would cost to replace, but they are a pure work of art.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (6)The front track is a little wider…

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (2)… and the radiator placement has been modified. The Challenge cars have two smaller radiators that sit ahead of the front wheels but these are a little vulnerable for wheel-to-wheel racing, so in the GT3 there is a larger, centrally mounted radiator than vents through the bonnet.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (13)The minimum category weight is 1250kg, and the Kessel F430 GT3 comes in right on that limit. The F430 Challenge weighs in at a comparatively porky 1325+ kg.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (9)The GT3 has a much more extensive roll cage, as well as all the niceties you get when you buy a Ferrari racing car direct from the factory such as a red stitched suede dash and Ferrari embroidered seat. Seems trivial, but it sways the cool factor beyond belief. Driver Brenton Griguol is excited to attack the Adelaide Street Circuit in it, as he should be.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (14)This chassis has had a storied history starting off with a brief stint in British GT before ending up in Australia. It was raced twice on the Adelaide Street Circuit by Alan Simonsen in 2008 and 2009, and has been raced by the likes of John Bowe. But more on that later.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (8)Pre event testing has revealed some issues with the F1 paddle shift gear system where it fails to select gears after about eight laps of the Mallala circuit. The team suspect the issue was with the F1 actuators or the potentiometers, and whilst they are confident the problem is now solved, testing at Mallala tomorrow (Monday) will reveal all. If problems persist, there is a complete brand-new F1 system arriving into Adelaide on Monday evening and it will be swapped into the car before the event.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (7)And like a televised Top Gear challenge, the trusty old 360 Challenge from 2013 is waiting in the shadows should the 430 GT3 prove too problematic to race. It would be horrendously off the pace, but it’s still a pretty good backup car to have.

Clipsal_15_AGR_preevent (3) Just as Koala Motorsport pride themselves on being a Gentleman’s team, at the Clipsal 500 Any Given Reason prides itself on being the Gentleman’s Media. If you see AGR relaxing in the shade between the Australian GT events or the Scuderia Ferrari demonstrations, come and say hello! And if the F1 transmission falls apart during Friday qualifying, come and lend a spanner…

Words and photos by Andrew Coles

Thanks to Brenton Griguol and the Koala Motorsport team for the warm invitation to come along for the ride.

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  1. Michael Myllynen February 23, 2015 Reply

    Have fun Andrew.

    Also, the BankSA livery looks great, a real eye catcher.

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