Brad Jones Racing gives open wheeler ace Kumho Series start …
STORY: DYLAN GULSON
IMAGES: AN1 IMAGES/SUPPLIED
YOUNG gun Harry Hayek will line up for his first race aboard V8 Supercar machinery when the Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series roars back into life this weekend at Queensland Raceway.
Hayek will make his first touring car start with Brad Jones Racing, taking over the seat vacated by the team’s current Super2 driver Jack Smith.
He will drive the #21 Laing + Simmons – Potts Point-backed Commodore this weekend in a striking navy blue and yellow livery.
Smith campaigned the ex-Jason Bright VE II Commodore during the opening two rounds of the 2018 Kumho Series, notching up four wins in six races for the Albury-based squad.
Hayek’s start at Queensland Raceway will be something of a comeback for the youngster, who was sidelined for several months after a massive accident during a British F3 race at Snetterton in May 2017.
He suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebrae, which saw his T12 to L2 fused together with metal rods, sidelining him for months.
“It’s been quite a journey the past 15 months, very testing at times but the thing that kept me going was my desire to return to racing,” says Hayek.
“It’s all I have ever thought about since the crash. I can’t thank my family and close friends enough who have helped me in many different ways.
“A couple of months ago I got the all clear to resume normal activities from my back specialist, so we got in touch with Mark Rundle from BRM who agreed to assist me in my comeback. Mark organized a half day test with Terry Wyhoon down at Winton so we could ascertain whether the back could handle the pressure, and all went well.
“By chance the opportunity came to race with Brad Jones Racing at Queensland Raceway and Mark quickly organized the drive. I get to jump into the car tomorrow for the first time and can’t express in words how excited I am to drive again and especially with such a successful team.”
Hayek is no newcomer to BJR given he sampled one of the team’s VF Commodores at a driver evaluation day late in 2016 at Winton.
The 20-year-old has a wealth of experience in open-wheel competition having paced fourth in the Australian Formula 4 championship in 2015 and 2016 before going on to compete overseas in a mixture of European Formula 4 and Formula 3 competition.
The Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series continues from July 20-22 as part of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship event at Queensland Raceway.