When Garth Walden and Tony D’Alberto rang me to ask if I would come to Phillip Island to help them sharpen up their lap times in a Radical, I jumped at the opportunity.
Garth and Tony have had some serious runs in V8 Supercars, and just about every other race car as well. Garth owns the top motorsport services company in Australia and now focuses on being the World Time Attack champion.
Time Attack racing is utterly bizarre. Basically, you spend a million dollars building a car with slightly less than one million kilowatts of power and you see how fast you can go around a racetrack — ONCE!
That’s right, the whole thing is over in one lap. Great television.
Meanwhile, Tony D’Alberto was less affected by the petrol vapours from his time in V8s and last month partnered media nice guy and top racer Grant Denyer in hooning the Maranello Motorsports Ferrari 458 around the island in the Australian GT Championships.
Another reason to go to Phillip Island is that it is owned by former Labor voter and truckie Lindsay Fox.
Foxie should own every racetrack in the universe. Apart from the best curves and the best scenery, Phillip Island is the best run, best maintained course there is. And the ham and cheese sambos at the cafe are top class.
Even if you aren’t that fond of cars, the National Vietnam Veterans Museum on the way is nearly as good. Founded and staffed by vets, it not only has really neat planes, tanks and guns, but it sets out the history and stories of Australian and New Zealand men and women in what became our most unpopular war. Despite ongoing valiant attempts by government propaganda merchants, there is still a large gap between how we think our vets and their families have been treated and the reality. I paid $15 for a ticket and audio guide.
Anyway, the other attraction was that I could test-drive the Porsche Cayman on the way. Naturally I went to the international supplier of all my test drives, Hertz, this time the Melbourne airport branch, where for less than $900 a day I could compare the mini-me 911 to the real thing. Look, having owned about eight 911s I have been very dismissive of the Cayman. But after a few days in one I became a convert on the road to Phillip.
Put simply, if you don’t have young kids and don’t want to do track days, then buy a Cayman. It will cost you a lot more than the $120,000 Porsche shows you on its website, but there is nothing like it for the money. This is a sophisticated 2015 sports car.
For those times when you need to let people know you are on the way, there is a transformative sports mode lurking behind a button on the centre console that not only changes the performance, it gives the single exhaust pipe a much sexier note. Best of all the sat nav system actually knows where it is going.
Read the rest at the Australian