Maranello Motorsports is no stranger to GT racing in Australia. They have around for many years, competing with various Ferrari models. They have had success in the Australian GT Championship – winning the title with Allan Simonsen in 2007 and have had success previously in the Nations Cup and won the Bahrain GT festival in 2004.
They returned to the winner’s circle at Sydney Motorsports Park (nee Eastern Creek) recently as part of the Sargent Security Australian GT Championship. We caught up with Mark Coffey, Managing Director of Maranello Motorposrt after their success in Sydney.
Hi Mark, thanks for joining me, a great weekend for Maranello Motorsport at Sydney Motorsports Park
It was a great weekend. There was a lot of various things that happened throughout the weekend with some unfortunate accidents for some of our competitors – that’s motorsport I suppose. We found some real pace on Sunday after changes on Saturday night. It is not a track that I think really favours the 458 with that long straight – it is more suited to some of the 12 cylinder cars. We were rapt too. There was some great racing too – it’s always good to get a win with a good battle.
It was great watching John [Bowe] do what he does best. It shows he still has the skills.
You have been used to being at the front given your Championship win with Allan Simonsen in 2007 with the 430. How have you come to terms with the 458, the pro-am line-up and the Pirelli tyres?
There have been some changes. The format for GT racing should have always been a one-hour format. When the cars come from different manufacturers, they are homologated at a certain specification. The homologation process is really designed over a one hour or long distance racing. They were never suited for sprint racing over 20 minutes that we had in the past. As we see now, some cars have strength over time and others don’t – it is a balance for the entire category now with the one-hour race. The pro-am formula is a proven formula as well with the FIA and the British GT and so on. It is terrific – it really is.
But motor racing throws different things at you and you never know do you? There is always a lot of variation and it went our way. I don’t think there is any reason why we can’t carry the momentum forward to Phillip Island.
Your amateur drivers – at Sydney you had Peter Edwards – seem to be coming on well this year. They keep the car straight and are gaining pace. How have you seen their progress?
He is coming on very well, he has a good brain for it. He has been successful in business so he takes on the lessons and the training. John Bowe is also a great teacher – he is one of the most technical drivers and understands cars better than anyone I’ve worked with. A lot of drivers can’t interpret engineering changes to a car. They have to rely on the engineers to tell them what changes need to me made to the car from the data. John is very skilled and knows these mid-engined cars very well from back in the Challenge days and the Nations Cup – so he understands them. He has really helped Peter get up to speed really quickly.
We have seen the first announcement for the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour. Maranello has one car. In 2012 you had John Bowe, Allan Simonsen, Dominik Farnbacher and Peter Edwards – are you looking to have that same line-up again?
Yeah we are – we are looking at having the same line-up again for two reasons. I think it is a great crew – Allan and Dominik are both proven and Allan has been with me for some time now. To put those two with John and Peter is a fantastic line-up. As a team, we have got some unfinished business up at the Mountain. This year we took a brand new car up there and to have a sensor on the exhaust manifold fail was unheard of. It was a new car – manufacturer error and not something you really prepare for. It is a very unusual problem. We have some unfinished business.
Looking to the next round at Phillip Island – can you keep this momentum?
I think we can – I think Phillip Island is a lot better suited to our car than Sydney Motorsports Park. At Sydney we always thought it was going to be a struggle. We went there and thought P3 at best – and in a perfect world if Lago stayed out there and Brock was there, unfortunately he went out on the first practice – that is where I think we should have been. But motor racing throws different things at you and you never know do you? There is always a lot of variation and it went our way. I don’t think there is any reason why we can’t carry the momentum forward to Phillip Island.
Thanks very much for your time and best of luck for Phillip Island.
Interview by Sam Tickell July 2012
Photo by Christian Hartung
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