WHAT HAPPENED TO BRIGHT’S AUSSIE INDY CAR?

Jason Bright faced a tough baptism of water in practice at the 2000 Honda Indy 300. Photo: an1images.com/Dirk Klynsmith

COMPETING in the 2000 Honda Indy 300 on the Gold Coast remains one of the major achievements of Jason Bright’s motorsport career.

But what became of the Della Penna Motorsport Reynard-Toyota he drove around the streets of Surfers Paradise in mid-October 2000?

It’s a question the V8 Sleuth team has posed in an upcoming V8 Sleuth Podcast Powered by Timken episode with Bright.

And now we’ve asked the question, we’ve made it a mission to try and find Bright’s Gold Coast car!

Jason Bright heads Roberto Moreno in the 2000 Honda Indy 300. The Brazilian would later spin and set off a chain reaction that eliminated the Aussie from the race. Photo: autopics.com.au

The 1998 Bathurst 1000 winner (then aged 27) became the first Aussie to compete in the Gold Coast Indy event since Gary Brabham in 1994 when he made a one-off appearance in the race 20 years ago.

He started 24th after wet weather hampered his dry running ahead of qualifying and was sitting in a handy position in the race until taken out of the running after Max Papis slowed abruptly in front of him to avoid a spinning Roberto Moreno.

Jason Bright prepares his helmet for the Gold Coast event with Mark Roworth, who would later work with Stone Brothers Racing, PWR Racing and Ford Performance Racing. Photo: an1images.com/Dirk Klynsmith

The car Bright was driving was a 2000-model Reynard – that year’s chassis known as a 2KI – with a Toyota engine.

We have managed to confirm the exact chassis number of Bright’s Gold Coast car via industry sources in the United States.

The team lost its supply of Toyota engines at the end of the year and closed down, its final race coming a fortnight later at California Speedway where Gidley withdrew with engine problems.

An ex-Della Penna Reynard 2KI from the late John Della Penna himself was placed up for sale online in late 2018, however V8 Sleuth contacted the former team owner at the time and he confirmed it was in fact a different chassis to the Bright car.

Della Penna passed away in September last year after a battle with cancer.

We’ve already started contacting some more of our American-based racing contacts, but we’d love our readers to keep their eyes and ears peeled no matter where they are based.

Reckon you may know where we can find any old Reynard Champ Car chassis?

Contact us via the V8 Sleuth website here.

We do, however, know all about Brighty’s Falcon V8 Supercars – they are all documented in our ‘The Falcon Files’ collector’s magazine available here for just $15 plus postage.

The V8 Sleuth Podcast featuring Bright will be released on Monday May 4.

And yes, we know that Rusty’s Garage has also done a chat with Jason recently, no doubt we’ll cover some of the same ground but also plenty of other ground as well – including the story of how Bright was pulled over by police twice on the day of his first IndyCar test in 1996, a test with Walker Racing that didn’t end up happening – and not because of the police!

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.