88Racing to expand to two-car team for Tasman Series
RACE-WINNING S5000 team 88Racing will expand to a two-car outfit in time for the 2021 S5000 Tasman Series this summer.
The team has big plans to take on the might of Team BRM and Garry Rogers Motorsport in the championship moving forward, all the while continuing their philosophy of developing young driving and engineering talent.
Headed by former racer Albert Callegher, the Melbourne-based team was a standout in the maiden season of the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship in just their first full season.
The team is into the early stages of a three-year ‘startup’ plan in a bid to professionally establish themselves and get on the pace, which has included investments in infrastructure, marketing and staff.
With 17-year-old talent Cooper Webster piloting the team’s ACM Finance-supported entry, 88Racing finished seventh in the inaugural championship; the first single-car team home after the four intense rounds of competition.
Webster’s season included a remarkable race win in torrentially wet conditions at Phillip Island, where he held out Thomas Randle’s Team BRM entry in a stunning performance to become the youngest Gold Star race winner in years.
He also showed impressive pace throughout the season, often lapping within tenths of the title contenders.
Callegher has confirmed that the team will run a second car, with a separate sponsor to the existing #88 entry, and will continue their philosophy of encouraging young talent and giving them a chance to show their potential in high-powered machinery.
“There is a big advantage in running two cars, simply, you get double the amount of data and track time and so many overheads can be shared across two cars, making the operation more cost-effective,” Callegher said.
“The whole task is made easy simply by the fact when the car needs a service or repairs, you can simply drop it off to GRM. That lowers the workshop infrastructure and specialist staff requirements enormously, so a ‘HAAS’ style business plan can mean the team can be quickly up and running and winning races.
“We are in the final pieces of the puzzle to put together the second car so we will expand for the Tasman Series and the 2022 and an announcement expected within the next two weeks.
“Each car will have its own distinctive livery and individual sponsors as it makes more sense for sponsors coming on board.”
After witnessing teenager Webster’s impressive debut season this year, the former Formula Holden racer-turned team owner said he enjoyed giving young drivers the opportunity to perform on the big stage – something he was unable to do after only starting his racing career when he could afford to in his mid 20s.
“It gives me a lot of pleasure selecting drivers that gives them a chance to showcase their talents,” Callegher explained.
“We have a lot of interest in our second car and the driver selected will be another strong young talent which will only add to the depth of the grid.
And while the Covid-19 pandemic has hindered international travel, the team has also cast their eyes overseas when it comes to bringing talent into the category.
“Covid has restricted our planned growth, which included the opportunity to attract European and US-based drivers given our connections over there,” he explained.
“However, they are all still there and will happen when travel becomes realistic.
“It’s important having European or US-based drivers racing here and in S5000 and that’s a goal we’re working on.
“We’re expecting to have an Italian driver in our car for selected rounds in 2022, so there is great potential to add that international flavor.
“Our team has introduced eight drivers to S5000 since 2019 and that’s something we will continue to assist in as we continue to assist in the establishment of the category.”
The two round, seven-race S5000 Tasman Series will commence at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International this November (CLICK HERE to purchase tickets) before concluding the following weekend at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.