In the past, Saturday Sleuthing has taken a break when V8 Supercars Championship race weekends have come around – but such has been the interest this year we’ve kept them rolling through the events themselves and focused on cars with special connection to that weekend’s racing location.
This weekend the Winton 360 revs up for the final 60/60 Super Sprint race prior to the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, so we thought it best to go for a hunt and find what happened to a former Winton-winning car.
Only recently did v8supercars.com.au catch up with Cameron McConville to talk about his last lap pass on Rick Kelly that scored him his maiden V8 Supercars Championship win at the regional venue back in 2004.
But what happened to the actual Repco Valvoline Cummins Commodore from Garry Rogers Motorsport that McConville took to a memorable win?
Originally the car had been the first VY Commodore built by GRM in 2003 under the new ‘Project Blueprint’ rules, but it was actually also one of the first full-spec VYs (rather than VX upgraded) built by any team with the new-for-Commodore double front wishbone suspension and Holden Motorsport/’Aurora’ V8 engine.
Tander drove it for the single driver events prior to the enduros that year before it next appeared in the Eastern Creek finale with Jamie Whincup at the helm in what turned out to be his last drive with GRM.
McConville replaced Whincup in the #33 entry for 2004 and that car – GRM VY05 – became his for the season.
It was driven by McConville all season, though was crunched at the Clipsal 500 after contact with Paul Dumbrell into turn eight that triggered a multi-car smash fest.
Things obviously were much better for the car with its victory at Winton before Nathan Pretty and the late Allan Simonsen drove it in the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst, finishing in the top 10 at the latter.
McConville received a new car for the 2005 season, so this car reverted to spare status and was not raced at all during that year.
It was sold in mid-2006 to Sydney Star Racing and ran in the Fujitsu Series (now Dunlop Series), first appearing in black and red colours at Queensland Raceway with Matthew Hunt at the helm.
He ran the car for the remainder of the season before it was driven in the 2007 series by Adam Wallis (who ran his home round in Adelaide) and the late Ashley Cooper, who raced it at Queensland Raceway.
The car re-appeared in 2008 for Brett Hobson to drive at the Sandown round of the DVS after the team’s newer ex-GRM Commodore had been damaged in a multi-car wreck in the previous round at Wakefield Park.
From there it lay idle in 2009 and re-appeared on the track in 2010 in the final round of the V8 Touring Car Series for ex-V8 Supercars with Aaron Tebb (son of former Sydney Star Racing owner Robert Tebb) at the wheel.
Young Tebb again ran the car in the opening rounds of the 2011 V8 Touring Car Series at Wakefield Park and Mallala before missing the Eastern Creek round and running it for the rest of the season.
However, a tyre popped on the car in the final round at Phillip Island and sent him off the road at high speed and into the wall. This proved to be its last active race meeting before it was repaired and placed up for sale.
The car was re-stickered back to Repco Valvoline Cummins/GRM livery this year and purchased by Western Australian collector Andy Brown to add to his growing collection of V8 Supercars, which now tallies at five.
Eagle-eyed V8 Supercar fans that visited this year’s Chill Perth 360 at Barbagallo Raceway would have spotted the car in the Dunlop Series paddock over the weekend after it had been transported to the ‘West to its new owner.
Brown is a fan of the car for a range of reasons, as he explained to the V8 Sleuth this week.
“I like that it was a car that Jamie Whincup raced – although it was only once!” he says.
“It’s a bit left field for that reason. I think he’s going to be the best of the best ever though. No one will get near him, that’s my opinion. He’s got another 10 years at least of driving in him, he’s already won four titles and four Bathursts and he’s in the best team.
“Another reasons was that it was one of Garth Tander’s cars, especially being a Western Australian boy. The McConville win at Winton is another of its appealing factors because it’s one that lots of fans remember and I really like GRM as a team and Garry Rogers as a guy. He calls it how he sees it. I had great dealings with Robert Tebb too, who I bought the car off sight unseen.”
The car is one of the latest additions to Brown’s growing collection of V8 Supercars in Perth.
He’s also got an ex-Dick Johnson Racing AU Falcon (the one Paul Radisich nearly won Bathurst in back in 1999), an ex-Ford Tickford/Glenn Seton AU Falcon, the ex-Allan Moffat Cenovis Falcon EB and the first Jack Daniel’s VE Commodore built by Perkins Engineering.
No doubt we’ll find some space on Saturday Sleuthing in upcoming months to give you the full story on each of those interesting cars!
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