12 March 2020 | Featured

S5000 earns prestigious Gold Star award for 2020 and beyond

Drivers competing in the VHT Australian S5000 Championship will be vying to win the renowned Motorsport Australia Gold Star in 2020 and beyond.

The Motorsport Australia Board has taken the decision to award the winner of the S5000 Championship with the iconic Motorsport Australia Gold Star, also known as the Australian Drivers’ Championship, highlighting the strength of the growing open-wheel category.

The Gold Star has not been awarded since 2014, when Simon Hodge won the then Formula 3 Championship. However, the honour has significant history, with a number of talented drivers having received the award across a range of various categories. 

Dating back to 1957, the Gold Star is steeped in tradition. Past recipients include inaugural winner Lex Davison, Kevin Bartlett, John Bowe, Mark Skaife, Rick Kelly and Will Power. Having won four Gold Stars each, Alfred Costanzo and Bib Stillwell can claim the shared honour of having the most Gold Stars of any drivers.

The Championship will also have dual Gold Star winners competing in 2020, with Tim Macrow (2007, 2013) and James Winslow (2008, 2012) to line up on the grid at Albert Park for the first round of the year.

While the S5000 Championship will begin its 2020 campaign at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix this weekend, the remaining rounds will take place as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships across some of the best circuits in Australia. As part of the Shannons events, all S5000 races will be televised live on 7mate and the 7plus app.

Motorsport Australia President Andrew Papadopoulos said the time was right to allocate the Gold Star.

“We are immensely proud to reinstate the Motorsport Australia Gold Star to the S5000 Championship as our premier open-wheel category,” Papadopoulos said.

“The success of the S5000 Championship in its first year proved to the Motorsport Australia Board that it is worthy of this significant honour, that has a rich history dating back to 1957.

“The Gold Star is one of the highest honours for any driver to win here in Australia, and when you look at the calibre of names that have won in the past, there is no doubt that Gold Star recipients are clearly some of the best drivers in this country.

Papadopoulos also confirmed any international drivers competing in the S5000 Championship will be eligible to win the Gold Star.

ARG CEO Matt Braid was understandably delighted with the news.

“The Gold Star is Motorsport Australia’s most prestigious drivers award, and the Australian Racing Group is honoured to have it bestowed on our category,” Braid said.

“It was always our aim to have S5000 recognised with the Driver’s Championship and the Gold Star. It was never a given, so we are proud of the work that has been done to have this new class endorsed with the ultimate driving honour in Australia. To have former world champion Alan Jones suggest that Australia’s next Formula 1 champion will come from S5000 is an unbelievable endorsement.

“The Gold Star highlights the talent required to drive these cars, and with the field that we have seen sign up for the first season, we know the champion is going to truly deserve this award.”

The VHT Australian S5000 Championship gets underway as part of this weekend’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020, before the rest of the Championship rounds take place as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships.