26 August 2021 | General

Volante Rosso targets S5000 expansion

Volante Rosso Racing has taken delivery of their first S5000 chassis with a view to an expansion into Australia’s top open wheel category in the near future.

The experienced Porsche Carrera Cup squad, headed up by former Formula One Engineer Chris Papadopoulos and racer Josh Hunt, is working towards a Tasman Series debut this November – but also has eyes on a full-time tilt at the 2022 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.

The team has already proved competitive in the tough one-make Porsche championship but has plans to expand their growing team into open-wheel racing – a passion shared by both the team’s directors.

“There’s no doubt S5000 is right up our alley, given the open wheel backgrounds both Chris and I have,” Hunt explained.

“We got involved when one of our drivers came to us and showed some interest in racing one of the cars. We investigated it and ultimately got a car in the workshop.

“We completed a handover with Garry Rogers Motorsport at Phillip Island earlier this year.”

Volante Rosso has since spent time getting to know the Rogers AF01/V8 chassis and Ford Coyote engine package, including Hunt spending time behind the wheel in a Sydney Motorsport Park test session.

“We’ve spent a bit of time with the car in the workshop and Chris and I have done a test, with me driving,” Hunt said.

“We made some really positive moves and actually we were quite surprised at what the car was able to achieve and that really filled us with confidence and enthusiasm.

“We’ve had interest from Europe from someone racing Historic Formula One cars and another in British F4. There’s clearly quite a lot of interest.

“I’ve had interest from some of my current sponsors to drive as well. It would be great to have two cars so I can help drive the development side of the car. We’d love to run.

“Confirmation of the extent of our involvement is based on the current restrictions – the world’s a funny old place at the moment, so we’re just gauging that like everyone else to see how it plays out.

“But we’d love to be at Bathurst and the Gold Coast, they would be amazing in these cars and it would be great to do them as a lead-in to 2022.”

After spending time behind the wheel at the fast, flowing Sydney Motorsport Park circuit, Hunt was impressed with his first S5000 taste.

“We liked a lot about the car. Chris’ background in open-wheel racing is quite extreme, in Formula One, while mine is a bit more specific having raced in the USA and their style of cars.

“Interestingly, I think the S5000 and the cars in the US share some DNA. They’re heavier than the European cars and F3 or F4 you’ve seen here but the car is quite dynamic, and the driving style is similar.

“My initial reaction was that it was a lot like a light GT car; the braking markers and gear choices are very similar to GT cars. There’s definitely still a degree of downforce, and a lot of grunt.”

The re-launched Tasman Series will be comprise seven races across two major events later this year, namely the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International (November 26-28) and the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 (December 3-5).

The Tasman Series was first contested between 1964 and 1975 with the winner receiving the ‘Tasman Cup’, a trophy co-owned by Motorsport Australia and Motorsport New Zealand.

Both organisations are supporting the return of the Tasman Series brand and the Tasman Cup trophy via S5000 this year.

Every race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network or Fox Sports in Australia and Sky Sport in New Zealand.