The Contenders: Tim Macrow
THE VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship will go down to the wire at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 1-2, with Australia’s Champion Driver to be awarded the Gold Star for the 59th time.
While three drivers – Joey Mawson, Tim Macrow and Thomas Randle – are the three most realistic options to lift the title, the unpredictable nature of this year’s four-round series means there are actually six drivers still in contention.
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As we count down to the final round, here’s a rundown of the six drivers vying to become ‘Australia’s Champion Driver’ and claim the Gold Star award next weekend, instantly joining a list of Australian motor racing legends in the process.
TIM MACROW has been here before.
The two-time Gold Star winner knows a thing or two about winning championships and will look to join a particularly elite club this weekend should he claim a third in the final round of the 2021 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.
Only five drivers – John McCormack, Paul Stokell, Mark Skaife, Alfie Costanzo and Bib Stilwell – have won three or more Australian Drivers’ Championships and of those legends, only Costanzo has won in vastly different types of machinery.
The most experienced driver in the field, Macrow would dearly love to add an S5000 Gold Star title to the pair he won driving Formula 3 machinery, in 2007 and 2013.
Macrow sits 43 points behind leader Joey Mawson and just 3 behind Tom Randle following a season that has seen his UCS Group / Tim Macrow Racing entry in the mix at every round.
He will hope to draw on his own title-winning history this weekend, too; his first Gold Star title in 2007 came despite entering the final race of the season third in points. Incidentally, that race was held at Oran Park – not far from this weekend’s finale at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Macrow had an inauspicious start to his S5000 campaign at Symmons Plains, only qualifying seventh on the tight Tasmanian circuit. He gained two spots to finish the first race in fifth, but then maximized the inverted top-eight to perfection to sweep to victory in the second heat race. Those points translated into a solid starting spot for the first feature, where he trailed Randle home in a close second position to open his account.
Phillip Island quickly delivered another points boost; second on the grid became first in heat one as Macrow became the first repeat winner of the season. More points came via fifth in the second qualifier, before a solid third in the feature race secured him in second position overall in the championship.
Damage limitation was the name of the game at a frustrating Sandown weekend; fifth in qualifying wasn’t ideal while solid if unspectacular finishes of fourth, seventh and fifth across the three races, respectively, saw him drop to third in the championship as rival Mawson sprinted to the top.
Phillip Island aside, qualifying has been Macrow’s biggest struggle this year – perhaps due to the fact he is a single car team racing the multi-car BRM and GRM outfits and the data benefits that delivers. His race pace and race craft, however, remain as good as anyone.
Though 43 points behind leader Mawson, the championship remains a real possibility for the most experienced driver in the field this year. Macrow dropped 48 points to the current leader at Sandown and the unpredictable nature of this year’s short and sharp Gold Star campaign indicates that another swing is absolutely a possibility.
Should the experienced Victorian add his name to the iconic list of triple champions, not only will he have won titles in the Gold Star’s Formula 3 and S5000 era, but he’ll also set a record for the longest period between claiming Australian Drivers’ Championship titles.
It would be unwise to bet against the 32-time ADC race winner as he shoots for title number three this weekend.
TIM MACROW (UCS GROUP TMR)
POINTS: 262 (3rd)
TOP 3: 4
POLES: 0 (Best 2nd)
FRONT ROW: 1 (Best 2nd)