The V8 Sleuth’s email folder continues to bulge with the sheer volume of great messages that keep on coming through from V8 Supercar fans all over Australia – and indeed the world!
Today on Saturday Sleuthing we’ve drawn upon that big pile of emails and grabbed one from Daniel Melrose.
“I’ve been a V8 Supercar fan since 2003 and having recently re-watched some races from that season, I was wondering just what happened to the Supercheap Auto Falcon that Steven Ellery was driving when it tripped over itself and rolled over at Barbagallo that year?”
It is indeed a good question Daniel and our V8 Sleuth can answer it for you with a history of a car that is still racing to this day, 10 years after it was built.
The car in question was built new by Steve Ellery Racing in 2003 using a Peter Beehag-supplied chassis and debuted at the Albert Park non-championship event as the #31 Supercheap Auto Falcon. However, a shoulder injury forced Ellery to withdraw from the remainder of the weekend.
Ellery piloted the car for the full season, including the Barbagallo roll over as described by Daniel. Luke Youlden joined him for the endurance races and they finished a brilliant second in the Sandown 500 and strong third at Bathurst.
Ellery again drove the car in 2004 with a deeper red on the Supercheap Auto livery and again had Youlden as co-driver, though the sponsor’s colours disappeared on the Gold Coast weekend after a dispute with the team.
The car ran in a silver and blue livery for the remainder of the season before Ellery went to drive for Triple Eight the next season.
His family team continued though in the Development Series (then known as HPDC Series) in 2005 with Gary MacDonald competing in the car in Kanga Loaders colours that season.
He crashed it in testing (whoops!) and was forced to drive the older AU model in the opening round before stepping back into this car for Wakefield Park and the rest of the series.
The start of the season was offset by the fact he won the Privateer’s Cup for best Level 3, non-V8 Supercar Championship-affiliated driver in the DVS.
The car was then sold to former Formula Ford driver Brett Hobson, who raced it in the 2006 Fujitsu Series beginning at the Queensland Raceway round and rounded out the season with the final three rounds.
It then found a new home for 2007 and was sold to the Sieders Racing Team with David Sieders piloting it in that year’s Fujitsu Series with backing from Tucker Time. Despite missing the final round at Phillip Island he finished 17th in the series.
Sieders again drove the car in the 2008 DVS, though it was repainted red, before it was again re-liveried in a white and blue scheme for the final round of the 2009 Fujitsu Series in Sydney with Hayden Pullen driving with backing from the City of Wagga.
The car didn’t race in 2010 before it was purchased in 2011 by Finance Ezi’s Maurie Pickering, who had the car given a complete rebuild with bodywork and assembly undertaken at Paul Morris Motorsport and mechanicals at Dick Johnson Racing.
The car’s trademark red roll cage from its Ellery/Supercheap days was also re-sprayed before it returned to the racetrack in the V8 Touring Car Series last year with Pickering behind the wheel.
He drove it for the full season in the category catering for ex-V8 Supercars and, along the way, lent sponsorship support to eventual champion Josh Hunter and his Fernandez Motorsport entry.
Hunter now drives an ex-Dick Johnson Racing Finance Ezi Falcon in the Dunlop Series as teammate to Kiwi Andre Heimgartner, while Pickering has competed in two rounds of the V8 Touring Car Series in the ex-Ellery car this year – the most recent at Queensland Raceway in August.
So there you have it, a Bathurst podium finisher is still going strong in the V8 Touring Car category 10 years on from its time running at the front in the V8 Supercars Championship!
Next week the Wilson Security Sandown 500 revs into life as the first event of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup kicks off in Melbourne.
Saturday Sleuthing will return with a special story on a former Sandown 500-winning car next week.
Have a car you’d like the V8 Sleuth to chase down? Then drop him a line and see if you can set the Sleuth a new mission.
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