The Mountain might be well used to reverberating around the battling Aussie giants of Holden and Ford but next month’s Liqui Moly 12 Hours will see an altogether different sort of Ford competing – But with every bit as much Aussie pride invested.
Three aggressive looking MARC Focus racers have been entered in a project headed up by engineer and driver, Ryan McLeod. The cars will be steered by their respective owners – Keith Kassulke, Mick Benton and Jake Camilleri – plus a squad of yet-to-be announced drivers. The first two cars have been completed at the outfit’s Gold Coast base, with the third not far from race ready status. Glenn Seton and Russell Ingall tested the cars in Queensland last week.
The MARC Focus’ racers have been designed around a Global Touring Car concept with a purpose-built chassis and suspension platform and an adaptable body that can take any mid-sized vehicle’s form – in this case, the team has elected to use the popular Ford Focus shape.
“We chose this body because it is perhaps one of the most successful “world car” designs, and is available affordably in almost every corner of the globe,” McLeod said.
Construction of the cars has taken more than eight months but includes some of the best all-Aussie engineering available, with a large percentage of each cars construction and technology having been designed and developed in Australia – and much of that on the Gold Coast and its surrounding areas.
“The South-East Queensland corner, in particular the Gold Coast, really is the motorsport capital of the Southern Hemisphere,” McLeod confirms.
“I’ve spent the last ten years travelling the world trading in motorsport parts and dealing with many of the top international teams and I can say with certainty that there are few places in the world where you can achieve the sort of industry leading productivity you can on the Gold Coast.
“Quite literally all of the suppliers of the major components are at arm’s reach and all are producing industry leading parts.” The list of Australian supplied or engineered components is significant and shows the strength of the Australian motorsport industry.” (full list below).
Following the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour, McLeod plans to take the cars to Europe where they will tackle a series of endurance races at circuits in Belgium (Spa Francorchamps), Spain (Barcelona), and Hungary, before returning home to Australia in early 2015, via the Dubai 24 hour.
Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour Event Director James O’Brien says the addition of the MARC Focus racers adds another dimension to the already exciting field:
“The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is geared towards the GT vehicles that make up an increasingly large portion of the field, but one of the great strengths of the Race is the broad spectrum of vehicles competing. “We added an invitational class to cater for these new cars as they fit the existing philosophy of the Event and should add something to the Race. The Bathurst 12 Hour showcases the massively popular GT vehicles, alongside invitational vehicles at one of the iconic circuits in the world.
“Bathurst was born on class racing and independent teams innovating at the toughest proving ground available to them. We are pleased to be able accommodate the international debut of this ambitious Australian product.”
The MARC Focuses are entered in the third Invitational class and will run to a ‘benchmark’ lap time that the cars will not be permitted to exceed during qualifying or the Race.
Australian Suppliers To The MARC Focus Project
Chassis Design and Construction – Pace Innovations, Ormeau, Queensland
Suspension Design and Construction – Pace Innovations, Ormeau
Shock Absorbers – MCA suspensions – Sunshine Coast
Wiring and Electrical – Custom Wiring – Hope Island
Engine Development and Preparation – Paul Morris Motorsport, Norwell
CNC machining – APEX Machining Ormeau, Queensland
Carbon Fibre Aerodynamic Kit – CD composites, Norwell
Composite bodywork – Southern Down Composites, Warwick
Laser Cutting and CNC sheet metal Work – All Plates, Ormeau
Vehicle Assembly, Painting and Testing – Performance Driving Centre, Norwell
Radiator and Cooling – PWR Ormeau
Suspension Uprights, PMM Machining, Norwell
Oil Lubrication System – Noonan Race Engines, Yatala
Cylinder Head Development – Performance Wholesale, Slacks Creek
Custom Metal Fabrication – Mod Concepts, Ormeau
Transaxle and driveline – Albins Manufacturing, Ballarat, Victoria
Engine Management, Data Logging and Power Management – MoTeC, Melbourne, Victoria