Perth P-plater youngest gun
ANY other day Alex Rullo would have to display P-plates on Mount Panorama. But not this one. Today the 17-year-old Perth schoolboy – a teen who doubles as the youngest driver in Supercars history – is set to contest his first Bathurst 1000.
Normally restricted to driving 100km/h, Australia’s fastest P-plater will instead be pushing his V8 Commodore almost three times that speed around the famed Mount Panorama circuit.
“Which all still feels a little bit surreal,’’ Rullo said. “I only got my first go-kart aged 10.
“So I guess things are happening fairly quickly for me.” Aren’t they what? Now driving for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, it was only two years ago that Rullo was sweeping the same garage floor on Bathurst weekend.
“I came up here for work experience,’’ he explained. “Was the s--t-kicker for a week.
“Passing spanners, sweeping floors, putting fans on cars when they came in . . . all those little jobs everyone else is too busy for.
“And that experience, it was great. I gelled with everyone straight away and ended up driving for them last year in the Dunlop Series.”
And now this year, Supercars. While still on his P-plates.
Which must have his rivals taking pot-shots, surely?
“Oh, for sure,’’ Rullo said with a grin. “Although things are actually a lot better now.
“For the first half of this year I was racing while still on my Learners. That was awkward.”
Meanwhile, Rullo has just finished Year 12 in Perth, meaning his mates are now gearing up for Schoolies while he prepares for Bathurst.
“And my mates, they do think this is all pretty cool,’’ he said. “Although they also give me plenty of stick whenever I put the car into a wall.”
Born in 2000, Rullo wasn’t even alive when Craig Lowndes scored his three Supercars championships and was only two when Jamie Whincup joined the series.
Yet after taking up go-karting aged 10, the West Australian was in the national championship by 12 and winning his first V8 Touring car event by 14.
And as for how the schoolboy celebrated that one?
“I think I just went school,” he said. to