THE CARS THAT WENT STRAIGHT TO SUPER2

Daniel Jilesen ran under Greg Murphy's famous #51 in 2011 in this new Commodore in the Fujitsu Series. Murphy had joined Kelly Racing and was driving the #11 Pepsi Max car in the main championship. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

THIS year marks the 20th anniversary of the Dunlop Super2 Series, a category that has for two decades provided a pathway into the main Supercars Championship for drivers, teams, engineers, mechanics and the cars as well. 

Since it was established in 2000, initially as the ‘Konica V8 Lites Series’, the category has provided a marketplace to sell on their older race cars, thus creating a funnel system for older chassis to continue as active race cars.

There have been rules in place over the journey in order for this to proceed whereby all cars in the development category have had to have been raced in the main championship before being permitted to be used in the secondary series.

However, on more than one occasion there have been exemptions given and some brand-new cars have made their way straight into the Development Series/Super2 without gracing a ‘main game’ grid.

And in some cars, these cars have ended up making their ‘main game’ debut after they first appeared in the development class!

With the Dunlop Super2 Series revving back into life in Sydney this weekend after falling silent for four and a half months since the opening round in Adelaide, v8sleuth.com.au has trawled the files and takes a look at some of these unique cars in the history of the series.

A Pair Of New/Old VS Commodores

The 2001 Konica V8 Supercar Series saw the debut of two new VS Commodores, even though the model had been superseded by the VT Commodore in the main championship and the development category.

Long-time Mazda racer Ric Shaw joined the series in a plain white VS built by the late Bob Tindal and gave his new car its debut in the season opener in ’01 at Wakefield Park. It was built using the running gear from the ex-Alcair Airconditioning Commodore.

Mike Quinn’s Phoenix Motorsport also put together a new VS (the shell sourced from Garry Rogers Motorsport though not used by the team) for the late Ron Searle to drive; it made its debut in the non-championship Konica race at Bathurst in 2001.

The AU Falcons

Four AU Falcons spring to mind that have started in the secondary series without going via the V8 Supercar/Supercars Championship.

Prancing Horse Racing built a new AU Falcon in 2001, though its first race event was actually the final round of the Konica Series at Mallala that year. Mark Noske practiced and qualified the car, but it was withdrawn without competing in any of the three sprint races and instead made its race debut in Bud colours a few months later at Bathurst with Craig Baird co-driving.

Craig Harris’ team built a new Falcon, above left, that he raced in the 2002 Konica Series in Castrol colours after his team expanded to two cars that season and Dale Brede joined to drive its ex-DJR car in Gulf Western colours.

Craig Bastian debuted a new Falcon AU in the 2003 Konica Series in Adelaide of that year – another car to not compete in the ‘main game’ and move straight into the development series.

John Briggs Motor Sport had an uncompleted AU Falcon chassis, above right, from its time racing that model of car, eventually selling it to Rod Dawson and it finally made its racing debut with Gary Deane at the wheel under the Peters Motorsport banner in the Winton round of the Konica Minolta Series in 2004.

Matthew White at Mallala’s Fujitsu Series round in 2006. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

A Falcon BA/BFs

Matthew White has been a constant in the Super2 Series, firstly as a driver (including in the inaugural series back in 2000) and in more recent years as the owner of a multi-car team.

In 2006 he wheeled out a brand new BA Falcon at the Mallala round of what was then known as the Fujitsu Series. 

The chassis was originally tabbed to become a Larkham Motorsport car, however Larkham wound his team down at the end of 2005 and rolled it into the WPS Racing operation for ’06.

Optima Sport was another team to wheel out a new Falcon into the DVS; it put together a brand new BF Falcon in 2008 to replace the car that had been written off in the terrible accident at Bathurst in ’06 that claimed the life of Mark Porter and seriously injured Optima driver David Clark.

Rod Dawson’s Radspeed team put together a new/old Falcon BA in 2008 that went straight into the Fujitsu Series, built using an old WPS chassis that hadn’t been fully completed before the team closed its doors. It debuted in Luke Youlden’s hands at Bathurst in ’08 and was later run by Aaron Seton at Winton in the Kumho Series in 2017.

A Couple of Interesting Commodores

Robert Jones, son of former V8 privateer Bob, made his first appearance in V8 Supercars in the non-championship Konica race at Bathurst in 2001.

Robert Jones heads Ron Searle at Mallala in 2002. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

The following year he wheeled out in a brand new VX Commodore that debuted at the Mallala round of the Konica Series built by Paris Acott’s organisation.

While it had no ‘main game’ history when it debuted in the second tier series, it did eventually get some given it ran as a wildcard in the 2003 Bathurst 1000 with Jones and Peter Doulman at the helm.

Tasman Motorsport closed down at the end of 2009, however a chassis it never got to use did end up debuting in the Fujitsu Series in 2011 under the Greg Murphy Racing banner.

The VE Commodore was debuted in Adelaide 2011 with Kiwi Daniel Jilesen at the wheel and now lives on with Jim Pollicina in the Super3 Series, which runs this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park racing at the same time as Super2 in the same races.

And a few Car of the Futures as well …

The current era of Car of the Future chassis has also seen a few debut in Super2 without coming via the main championship.

Garry Rogers Motorsport built four brand new VF Commodores for 2017 in the wake of the end of the Volvo program, however two of them went straight into the Super2 Series.

Richard Muscat tackles the Senna Chicane in 2017 aboard one of GRM’s four new VF Commodores that were built for the 2017 season. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

One of them debuted in the hands of Richard Muscat as the #44 GRM car in the Super2 round in Adelaide, however it soon reverted to James Moffat’s hands in the main Supercars Championship.

The other new VF from GRM that went straight into Super2 did so in the hands of Mason Barbera in Adelaide 2017.

Brad Jones Racing has also wheeled out a new car in the Super2 Series, however it was forced to do so due to crash damage.

Macauley Jones’ involvement in an accident at Symmons Plains in the 2017 Super2 round at the Tasmanian venue meant the Albury-based team built up a new chassis for him to debut in the next Super2 round at Phillip Island.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.