The Stephenson Motorsport Hyundai Excel Cup Car may be the only one of its kind in the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour -which doubles as round one of the 2017 APC – but it has plenty of heart behind it.
The outfit is headed up by 21 year old team owner and driver Scott Stephenson, who will be joined by Chris Cotton and Tyson Harvey in the driving duties this weekend.
While Stephenson and Cotton both took the wheel today, Harvey will have to wait until tomorrow – his 16th birthday – before he can take the wheel as the youngest driver in the field. While he will be the youngest, he has plenty of experience under his belt – with more than 400 starts in karting backing up strong form in the South Australian Excel Cup series lately.
“Tyson is absolutely itching to get in the car, especially after watching the in-car footage from practice,” laughed Stephenson, an experienced Formula Ford, Hyundai Excel and Aussie Racing Cars driver.
“He told me he wishes he didn’t watch it now as now he really wants to get in it right now.
“We will leave him in for the full 40 minutes tomorrow for practice and hopefully he can come to terms with the track and the car pretty quickly. He is certainly excited.”
The Stephenson Motorsport Excel is entered in the Invitational Class, and supported by Webbers Davies Conveyancers, Goanna Energy, Penrite Oils, GSL Rallysport and Brakes Direct. For Stephenson, the weekend is off to a good if overwhelming start.
“This is the biggest event we have entered,” Stephenson, who has been balancing the team prep with uni assignments and the final year of a mechanical engineering degree, explained.
“With the new tyres being completely different to anything else we have run on the Excel before we are having to get used to that, but it is all going well.
“We are also having to learn the new track as well as we have never run here – it is certainly more daunting here than we anticipated!”
With the Excel usually found in the Excel Cup, the diversity of the field is another element the team is having to adjust too while on-track.
“It is absolutely different to be the only Excel out there – the closing speeds between us and anyone really is just crazy, specially the AMG Mercedes and the VE Commodores which are just so quick in a straight line,” Stephenson said.
“In class, there isn’t anyone we are particularly focusing on. They are all Saloon Cars generally and are running roughly 2m 40s laps currently so they are around 12 seconds of a lap quicker thanus at the moment so there is no real competition there (in speed).
“We will just go out there and run our own race, we are just trucking along and hoping that reliability will do us well at the end of Sunday.”
With the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour doubling as round one of the 2017 APC, there are fledging plans in place to compete at future APC rounds across 2017.
“We are keen to look into a couple of rounds of the APC. We just want to do more of it, it is fun having a full team and two drivers, it is entertaining and we are enjoying it so far.
“A major thank you has to go to our team for coming along, almost all of us are South Australian so we have all come a fair way and dropped our jobs and families and holidays to be here. It is awesome to have our close friends and family supporting us.”
Words with thanks to productioncars.com.au