Bruce Henley’s Kerrick Sports Sedan Series operation has trebled in size for this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2014 season at Phillip Island (19-21 September).
There are now three Mazda RX8s in the Henley Racing garage, with Henley’s ex-Grand-Am/Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey Mazda RX8 joined by two more from its homeland, including the car which won the 2008 Daytona 24 Hour.
That car – the #42 Vereker Bros Crash/Henley Racing Mazda RX8 GT - will be piloted by Victoria's Dan Vereker this weekend in his first ever Sports Sedan race.
“It is quite a privilege to race this car with it being an ex-Daytona 24 hour winner,” said Vereker, who is an Improved Production racer and currently second in the Victorian standings with his own Mazda RX7.
“This is basically the ‘top shelf’ of rotary, so being a Mazda rotary nutter too it’s just an honour to be able to drive a professional-built race car of this calibre.
“I am certainly looking forward to the weekend, I have got no expectations - I just want to bring the car home straight for Bruce, and just really enjoy the experience.”
Vereker is a good friend of the Henley Racing outfit and in particular of Henley Racing chief mechanic John Perkins, who also competes in Improved Production in a Mazda RX7. Perkins will pilot the #43 Superior Rigging/Henley Racing Mazda RX8 GT this weekend.
“The car is really good, it has an amazing amount of mechanical grip – I can’t believe how much grip it has compared to our RX7 Improved Production cars, it is just phenomenal,” said Perkins.
“It has plenty of power and is behaving pretty well, it has got a slight oil leak at the minute that we are going to try and fix but apart from that, the car is great.
“It is an amazing car to drive and I really have to thank Bruce for letting me take the wheel. It certainly is fantastic to have these three great cars here in Australia that otherwise we would never see.
“As far as getting them ready for this weekend, from an engineering point of view the cars were pretty good mechanically. We did need to put an exhaust system on them as in the US they lease their muffler systems over there, and their noise requirements are dramatically different to ours.
“We are trying a few things down here this weekend to see if we can make our exhaust systems work better so they are still giving us the power we want but maybe not be as hard on everyone’s ears!”
The pair of impressive machines arrived from America only recently, with the team taking possession two weeks ago today to start a whirlwind preparation for this weekend, with the cars ultimately destined for the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour.
“I thought we are going to take them to the track somewhere, so we might as well come down here and put a couple more cars on the grid for Kerrick and have a bit of fun, and maybe Dan can push me into driving a bit quicker,” said Henley, who is a regular competitor of the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series in his #67 Stawell Cartage Mazda RX8.
“It should be good to get a bit more of a comparison and feedback between the three cars. We have only had them two weeks ‘off the boat’ and we have prepared them as best we can, but you only find the things that brake on the track.
“There wasn’t a lot we had to do to get them ready to transition from America to racing here, just a couple of little things to comply with CAMS regulations. We obviously did the gear ratios to suite the track, changed the oil and oil filter, bled the brakes and checked it over, and that was about it.
“As far as my own car, it should be better suited to this track than some of them being a more flowing track, but it will still lack horsepower compared to the Tony’s (Ricciardello) and Darren’s (Hossack) of the world.
“For me it I can get through a weekend and drive it on the trailer and take it home that would be good. The car could maybe go quicker with a younger, better driver in it but if I am paying the bills I am sure going to driving the thing!” laughed Henley.
“It has always been about going out there and having 15 races, 15 finishes and 15 lots of fun, so if I can get through the weekend without problems I will be happy.”
The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series were on-track at Phillip Island today for two unofficial practice sessions ahead of qualifying and the start of the start of racing tomorrow (Saturday 20 September) and Sunday (21 September). For full event schedules, entry lists and more, go to www.sportssedans.com.au
|1. April 1-3 Sandown Motor Raceway|
|2. June 10-12 Winton Motor Raceway|
|3. July 29-31 Queensland Raceway|
|4. Sep. 9-11 Phillip Island GP Circuit|
|5. Nov. 11-13 Sydney Motorsport Park|