MARTIN NEXT KART OFF THE RANKS IN WA STA­BLE

Fremantle Gazette - - DRIVE WAY -

A NEW lap record was set and there were some in­spired drives at the WA Sport­ing Car Club's two-day meet­ing at Barbagallo Race­way, which­drew many com­peti­tors from the east coast for the na­tional round of the Im­proved Pro­duc­tion Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

In the over-2-litre fi­nal Ray­mond His­lop of Tasmania took the hon­ours in his 6.0 litre Fal­con BF, with Perth's Peter Ma­jor sec­ond in a Subaru WRX and South Aus­tralian Christo­pher Brown third in a Toy­ota AE86 Sprinter.

Ma­jor set a lap record at 1:00.64 in his Subaru WRX for this class.

Grant Gel­lan had eyes pop­ping in the un­der-2000cc cat­e­gory when he scorched from the back of the grid in his black Es­cort to pass five ri­vals on the first lap.

By lap four he was clos­ing in on Queens­lan­der David Wal­don when the race was red-flagged be­cause of an oil spill and a spin by another com­peti­tor.

The win went to Wal­don in his Mazda RX-3, with WA's Colin Harper third, in his Honda Civic.

Many fans reck­oned Gel­lan's per­for­mance was the best drive they'd seen in years. THERE must be some­thing spe­cial in the wa­ters of Western Aus­tralia.

It has pro­duced For­mula 1 star Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, and now another young Perth­ling mak­ing his mark in the world rac­ing scene is 22-yearold An­thony Martin.

He has just com­pleted a test drive with An­dretti Au­tosport in an IndyLights car and, with luck, could be in the re­spected team’s four-car line-up for the 2018 sea­son.

Like Ric­cia­rdo and many other rac­ing aces, the tall, mod­est Martin started in karts in 2008 and within a few years took the State and then the Aus­tralian ti­tles.

More than a top driver, his sport­ing tal­ents in­clude cricket and soc­cer, and he was once of­fered a US schol­ar­ship to de­velop his soc­cer skills – but he po­litely de­clined be­cause he knew his fu­ture was in the cock­pit of a sin­gle-seat race car.

With many kart­ing ti­tles to his credit, he moved on to For­mula Ford – and won the State ti­tle and Rookie of the Year in his de­but sea­son.

He has since set his sights on Indy­cars via Mazda Road to Indy, a three-step driver de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, pro­vid­ing a schol­ar­ship­funded path to the Ver­i­zon IndyCar Se­ries, in­clud­ing the fa­bled In­di­anapo­lis 500.

But it’s an ex­pen­sive busi­ness and the schol­ar­ship part only ap­plies to the win­ner of each of the three cat­e­gories that pre­cede the ul­ti­mate Indy­cars.

With help from his par­ents and Kal­go­or­lie busi­ness­man Paul Burgess, he joined the pro­gram in 2015 in the USF2000 class, won it in 2016 and used the schol­ar­ship to move up to Pro-Mazda.

There he and Brazil­ian Vic­tor Fran­zoni had a tremen­dous tus­sle through­out the year, trad­ing wins at the var­i­ous cir­cuits, with Martin run­ner-up in a con­tro­ver­sial fi­nal.

How­ever, An­dretti Au­tosport scouts had noted his tal­ent and in­vited him to test with the team at In­di­anapo­lis.

The team has so far won four IndyCar Se­ries cham­pi­onships, two Indy Lights ti­tles, one Pro Mazda cham­pi­onship, one USF2000 cham­pi­onship and has won the famed In­di­anapo­lis 500 four times. Bill Buys

One of Nis­san's Can­toe­quipped elec­tric cars.

An­thony Martin at a test­ing ses­sion with the An­dretti Au­tosport Indylights car.

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