Saturday Sleuthing: The Barbagallo BBQ

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/05/2013
  • By V8 Sleuth

KarlReindler and Steve Owen will forever be linked by that massive start lineaccident in Perth in 2011. But what happened to the two cars involved?

Thankfully,massive accidents in the V8 Supercars Championship are few and far between butas we head back to Barbagallo Raceway in Perth this weekend for the Chill Perth360, it’s impossible not to instantly remember the 2011 event and a fireballincident that was broadcast around the world.

Thankfully,both Steve Owen and Karl Reindler survived the massive accident, which occurredon the start line at the beginning of the first Sunday race two years ago.

Starting from13th on the grid, Reindler’s Fair Dinkum Sheds Commodore was stranded on the linewith clutch problems and Owen’s VIP Petfoods Holden – which started back in 25thon the grid – ploughed into it unsighted at full throttle and approximately150km/h.

The massivehit launched Reindler’s car into the air and instantly into flames as it spundown the road, while Owen’s car came to an immediate stop and was engulfed inflames as well.

Both driversescaped the scary moment with no life-threatening injuries – Reindler sufferedsuperficial burns to his hand and face while Owen reported abdominal sorenessfrom the 37G impact.

“It happenedthat quick I barely got on the brake by the time I hit him,” said Owen at thetime.

“I was inthird gear, flat out after getting a pretty good start. I opened both doors andthere was fire. The officials were straight there and put the fire out whichallowed me to get out quickly.”

Reindler hadbeen having a strong weekend on his home track, qualifying sixthand finishing seventh in the Saturday race – and then it all went wrong.

“I loaded theclutch up and it stalled,” he said of the accident.

“I had my footall the way down; I didn’t even release the clutch. I couldn’t get it going atall. There was nothing I could do. Before I knew it I saw flames inside thecar. I guess I panicked and tried to get out as quick as I could.”

Amazingly,neither driver missed an event and Owen’s car itself was repaired in time forthe next round at Winton, while Reindler moved into a spare chassis afterseeking treatment for his burns.

So – whathappened to the cars involved in one of the most spectacular accidents in V8Supercar history?

Amazingly,Owen’s ex-VIP Petfoods car will be right under everyone’s noses this weekend atBarbagallo in the Dunlop Series.

Now run as the#38 entry in the development category by Eggleston Motorsport and MarqueManagement and driven by Daniel Gaunt, the car has had a few different liveriessince that day at Barbagallo in 2011.

Owen drove theTriple Eight-built chassis (nicknamed Mick by Paul Morris Motorsport afterformer World Motorcycle Champion Mick Doohan) for the remainder of that season,joined by Paul Morris at Phillip Island and Bathurst and American Boris Said onthe Gold Coast.

It was thensold to Tekno Autosports and run by Michael Patrizi last year in the V8Supercars Championship as the #91 entry with Jonny Reid co-driving at Sandownand Bathurst and Lucas di Grassi on the Gold Coast.

For 2013 ithas found a new home in Melbourne with the Eggleston/Marque team and Kiwi Gauntsits eighth in the series – and best-placed Holden – after the opening round inAdelaide.

In the case ofthe Reindler car, it had already had some impressive results under its beltbefore it even found its way into the Brad Jones Racing workshop.

Originallybuilt by the Holden Racing Team in 2007, the car (chassis number 005) debutedwith a special victory at Eastern Creek by Mark Skaife – the result tying himat the time with the late Peter Brock for most ATCC/V8SC round wins.

CameronMcConville drove it as the #14 WOW car for BJR in 2008 and finished third inthat year’s Clipsal 500 before Brad Jones and Max Wilson took it to fifth placein the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

McConvilleagain drove it in 2009 before Brad Jones made his final Bathurst start in italongside nephew Andrew later that year.

It becameJason Bright’s #14 Trading Post car for the first half of 2010 before becomingReindler’s car in 2011.

After themassive Barbagallo accident, the chassis was stripped with some partssalvageable and the bare shell now sits on a rack at the Brad Jones Racingworkshop in Albury – but with a future plan to restore it to Skaife/HRT firmlyin mind.

“It’s sittingup here on a rack in the workshop just waiting for us to have time to turn itback into Mark Skaife’s winning HRT car,” BJR Team Manager Chris Clark told ourV8 Sleuth this week.

“We’ve gotplenty of stuff here to rebuild that car. We run two DVS cars anyway and haveanother car here as well that is almost complete and we have the capability ofmaking whatever we want and need because we used to anyway. If there wassomething missing we could manufacturer it in-house to finish it off.

“After thecrash we were able to get a few things out of the car. The front uprights wereOK, the engine got a bit burnt but the mechanical side of the engine was allright.

“Everythinginside is gone – the looms, interior, seat and the like were all burned. There’sdamage that’s gone up into the cross (member) in the back area as well andthere was flame damage to all of the panels, which were Kevlar, so they are allgone too.

“The front endwas OK suspension-wise, but that was about it. It was quite a fairly bigshunt!”

Neither Owennor Reindler will be in the V8 Supercars Championship field this year, thoughOwen has replaced Chaz Mostert to compete in the Dunlop Series inthe Sherrin Rentals Falcon of MW Motorsport.

Owen hassigned to co-drive the #6 Pepsi Max Crew Falcon with Will Davison at Sandown,Bathurst and the Gold Coast later in the year.

Reindler hasbeen racing a Porsche in the Carrera Cup this year and was recently announcedas Rick Kelly’s co-driver at Jack Daniel’s Racing for the V8 Supercarendurances races later this year.


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