‘ENORMOUS EFFORT’, BORROWED CAR GETS KING ON TRACK IN DARWIN
Jun 15, 2017
HUGE commitment from his team has ensured Mark King will have a chance to challenge for Touring Car Masters success this weekend at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin.
Caught up in the unfortunate accident at Winton a month ago, King’s King Springs / Whiteline Racing Chevrolet Camaro was badly damaged in the crash, forcing the Adelaide-based team to source a replacement for the Darwin event this weekend.
The team agreed to a deal to lease fellow South Australian Nigel Benson’s HQ Monaro for the round and in a frantic two-week turnaround, has essentially rebuilt the car ahead of this weekend while at the same time completing repairs on the Camaro.
“We got to a point two weeks ago where it looked like we wouldn’t get the Camaro fixed for Darwin, and we decided to lease a car for Kingy to drive in Darwin,” Team boss Bob Middleton – who also drove the team’s transporter the 3,000km up the Stuart Highway – said.
“Nigel offered his HQ and we accepted, but decided to run our driveline and componentry in the car.
“So we put our engine, gearbox, differential, suspension and shock absorbers – even brake pads – in it to get it ready.
“We had a fresh engine for the Camaro at the start of the season so we wanted to run that and it made sense to put the rest of the gear in too.
“It was a big job but worth doing to make sure Mark was comfortable in the car and it was our components doing the work. It’s been a big two weeks with a lot of nine or ten PM finishes in the workshop but it’s worth it.
“Mark is in a strong position in the championship so it was worth it to make sure he can get out, circulate and have a good weekend to get some points.”
Middleton said the team will finalise the car when their Queensland-based driver arrives at the circuit this afternoon.
“Mark hasn’t sat in it yet so there’s still work to do in getting his seating position right, pedals, steering column adjusted to make sure he’s comfortable.
“There’s still a bit to do but we’ll be ready for practice one and send him out to get a feel for it.”
King’s existing 1970 Camaro was stripped within days of returning home from Winton and will ultimately turn out to be an essentially brand-new car by the time that it returns to the circuit – hopefully at Queensland Raceway in late July.
“When it gets back on track (the Camaro) will be a brand-new car,” Middleton explained.
“We’ve gone right back to the floor, roof and roll cage and everything else will be brand new. Every panel will be replaced and there’s new front and rear chassis’ sub frames going in. It’s a big job but it will be really nice when it’s finished.”
The Whiteline Racing outfit have been long-term contenders in the Touring Car Masters and are currently enjoying a strong season with King and Adam Bressington, who drives the team’s 1969 Fabre / Whiteline Racing Camaro.
King trails only John Bowe in the ProMasters standings, while Bressington leads Andrew Fisher and Ryan Hansford in the ProAm class after two rounds.
“We put the commitment in because it’s good for the category to keep the numbers up,” Middleton explained.
“We also had all of our bookings for the event and everything sorted to be here.
“We’re not the kind of people to give up so we just knuckle in, heads down and bum up and do the job to get back on track.
“We’ll see what happens from there when we get on track tomorrow.”
The Touring Car Masters cars hit the Hidden Valley Raceway circuit for their first practice session at 9:30am local time on Friday morning.Return