Why Tassie rally guns accepted GT4 challenge

Why Tassie rally guns accepted GT4 challenge

Many drivers have dabbled between rallying and circuit racing, but a Tasmanian pairing is taking on a new challenge in joining the Monochrome GT4 Australia this season.

Ben Newman and Eddie Maguire are limited in their circuit racing experience, but have contested many Targa Tasmania events as the latter is also contesting this year’s Australian Rally Championship in a Skoda Fabia R5.

A prominent dealer down in Tasmania as the General Manager of Buckby Motors out of Launceston, Newman explained the decision to join the Monochrome GT4 Series came out of the demise of Targa Tasmania.

“Eddie and I have done Targa Tasmania for years in addition to competing in gravel rallying down there, but obviously with the cancellation of the event we haven’t had the opportunity to compete in it, so with the doubts surrounding it I decided to get a new challenge before I got to old,” said Newman.

“Eddie’s actually doing the Australian Rally Championship as well and I thought GT4 was a really good category to get amongst it. I know some of the competitors, so I’ve thrown myself in the deep end.”

Maguire has contested a Supercheap Auto TCR Australia round previously, while Newman only contested his first event earlier this year in his usual rally mount.

“I don’t have any circuit racing history at all,” Newman explained. “I ran my Targa-spec Subaru in a couple of circuit events down in Tassie and I ran that at the SpeedSeries round at Symmons Plains in the Tin Tops.”

From Subaru to Mercedes-Benz is the transition Newman has made seamlessly after making his debut at Phillip Island last month.

“The car is amazing, it’s better than me,” he exclaimed. “Phillip Island was all about learning and absorbing as much about the car as possible, with the target being to just chip away at it.

“This Mercedes-AMG was owned by Roland Dane where it raced on and off in the GT4 series last year. It was crashed at Sydney Motorsport Park with Paul Morris at the wheel, but has been re-shelled and is like a new car.

There is a symmetry in the choice of model as Newman’s dealership sells a variety of brands led by Mercedes-AMG and Buckby is very much involved in motorsport in Tasmania ensuring Monochrome GT4 Australia ticks a lot of boxes.

“I was born and bred in Launceston,” Newman revealed. “We’re a Mercedes dealer down there and we love our motorsport, as do our customers, so it all works well.

“At this stage we’ll be doing the full season, there’s a lot good people in the category and I’ll be learning lap-by-lap.”

The next round of Monochrome GT4 Australia will be at The Bend Motorsport Park as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries on May 31-June 2 broadcast live on 7plus and 7mate.