A CAR that helped propel Will Power to international stardom is up for auction in Australia.
Listed with Lloyds, a Dallara F301 Formula 3 car raced by the now IndyCar champion in the 2002 Australian Formula 3 Championship is up for grabs in a sale that also includes the car Marcos Ambrose raced to his first win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the last Holden Dealer Team Torana built under Harry Firth’s watch.
Powered by a two-litre Mugen-Honda engine, Dallara chassis F301-018 was imported into Australia in late 2002 by Queensland-based team Cooltemp Racing.
The car was purchased by Indonesian businessman Maher Algadri, who was looking to expand his racing exploits into the open-wheel category alongside his interests in GT racing.
The link to the Toowoomba ace comes via Cooltemp Racing who fielded Power in a shortened 2002 Australian Formula 3 campaign that only began at the third round of the championship.
Initially driving team owner Bevan Carrick’s previous-generation F397 Dallara, Power adapted instantly at his first event (at Oran Park) and won his first four races in the class.
Though ultimately too far behind series leader James Manderson to challenge for the title, Power headed to the final round on the streets of Surfers Paradise within striking distance of second in the championship, held at that point by Manderson’s Team BRM teammate Darren Palmer.
Having been introduced to Algadri during the season, Power stepped into the later specification car for the final round in a bid to break up the Team BRM championship 1-2.
The plan worked as Power dominated the weekend: qualifying on pole, winning both races and establishing a new lap record on his way to second in the championship.
In a strange quirk of the record books, results from the 2002 Gold Coast event don’t actually list Power as having driven the car – instead suggesting that he raced a Dallara F398 that weekend.
We understand that the late decision to shift to the 2001-spec car caused some paperwork issues when official entries were submitted for that weekend, the race timing and results system not updated with the different model designation in time.
However, the extensive AN1 Images archive, which includes the full collection from long-time Aussie F3 snapper Dirk Klynsmith, confirms that the car Power raced that weekend was indeed the later-specification car in question here!
Regardless, Power’s Gold Coast Formula 3 performance – coupled with a dominant season that saw him claim the 2002 Formula Holden / Australian Drivers Championship for RALT Australia – helped project the talented young driver from Toowoomba into the national limelight.
”When Will came to us in 2002 we had a 1997 car and not a lot of experience in the game,” Cooltemp Racing’s team owner Bevan Carrick told this author in 2007.
”We came to Oran Park in the third round of the Championship and probably didn’t expect to do particularly well. What happened was completely the opposite because from the moment Will got in the car he was at home and he dominated.
”We had a car down 15 horsepower on the opposition and he ended up winning by a huge amount and setting a lap record. It was a great start and it was then we knew he had it.”
While Power didn’t win the F3 title, the impression he left on Carrick and Algadri, amongst others, ensured that the first steps towards his remarkable international career were in place.
“Maher was looking for a car and we had organised him a 2001 Dallara to bring over,” explains Carrick.
”We put Will in it at the Gold Coast Indy event after only one or two days of practice and he dominated: Won both races and came from behind in one. After that we were able to raise the funds to get Will a test in British F3 and from thereon in – whilst being a massive struggle – it was only up for him.”
Following Power’s impressive performance to debut the car on Aussie soil, Algadri took over the driving duties of his own – completing a full season in 2003 and the Adelaide 500 event in 2004 before stepping out of the seat for more than two years.
Algadri only raced the car once further, at Symmons Plains in 2006, before Victorian Daniel Schulz leased the Dallara for the opening stanza of the 2007 championship and his introduction to ‘wings and slicks’ racing. He twice won the F3 National Class (for older-model cars) in the car, before stepping up to the outright category later in the season.
The car has not raced in national Formula 3 competition since then.
It is understood that the car is one of only two Mugen-Honda powered ‘F301’ generation Dallara Formula 3 cars in Australia, the category dominated by the Opel-Spiess or Sodemo Renault powerplants at the time.