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Wednesday, May 22, 2024


LONG-TIME underdog privateer John Faulkner has admitted his surprise at just how easy the modern-day Supercar is to drive.

Faulkner took the Erebus Motorsport ‘Mercadore’ for a spin on Tuesday, August 16 – eight days prior to his 70th birthday – before the team’s Academy program started its second ‘Who’s Next’ day.

The New Zealander was joined by son Pieter for the occasion at Winton Motor Raceway, the pair sitting in the passenger seat for each other’s turn behind the wheel.

“He was blown away. I had to grab him several times, or put my hand up like we used to in the driving schools… I’m just a shithouse passenger,” Faulkner Sr laughed to V8 Sleuth.

Of his own time in the driver’s seat, the 18-time Bathurst 1000 starter quipped: “I was surprised by was just how easy it was, amazingly easy.

“I can understand why Russell (Ingall) jumped at the chance to have another run and Murph (Greg Murphy) is having another run. They’re just nice to drive.

“They’re light to steer. We used to pump like 1100psi into the brake pedal back in the old days and this thing is just easy.

“These new things on a soft tyre, they’re just something else – the flat shifting and the engine response, driving position,” he added.

“There’s not a lot of vision out of them though, but I felt comfortable pretty much by the end of the first lap… I was amazed at the sheer rolling speed of it, the grip, very sensitive to the wheel, very easy on the brakes.

PODCAST: John Faulkner, Part 1

PODCAST: John Faulkner, Part 2

“I only did two or three or four (laps), just at my own pace, as fast as I wanted to go. I couldn’t put a foot wrong because I had six other kids all waiting who were absolutely pissed off that I got first run!”

John and Pieter Faulkner. Pic: Supplied

The opportunity was made possible by Erebus CEO Barry Ryan, whose first Supercars boss was none other than Faulkner.

“I’m really, really proud of what he has achieved because he came to me pulling gearboxes out on a dirt floor in a workshop,” Faulkner said of Ryan.

“He fronted up and applied for a job.

“We started at absolutely the bottom but one of my questions to all the people that ever worked for me was, ‘What do you want to do? What do you want to become?’

“And several of them have ended up in prominent engineering positions, at HRT and Perkins, and he went on to probably be one of the better ones because he was just so competitive.

“I just knew that he would progress through any form of motorsport. He certainly wanted a phone and a briefcase, not just to be spanners and cars all his life.”

Faulkner was a top three championship finisher on multiple occasions in the AUSCAR scene and placed fifth at Bathurst in 1997, sharing a VS Commodore with Win Percy.

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