Queensland young-gun Wayne Morton will continue the car-swap trend at this weekend’s Netier National Capital Rally when he pilots a rare Subaru WRX STi GC8.
And there will be some keen eyes watching his, and co-driver Kirra Penny’s every move – just one car behind them on the road will be the owner of the GC8 and Kirra’s Dad, Andrew Penny.
Andrew offered the young pair one of his ‘prized possessions from the stable’ for round three of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship when it was discovered that Morton’s Toyota Corolla S2000 had suffered more damage to the engine than first thought at Western Australia’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally back in April.
The S2000, nicknamed ‘Sammi’, suffered engine failure in Sunday’s heat two. Lack of time, parts and funds looked set to end Morton’s 2018 ARC campaign until Andrew made the generous offer.
With only 400 of the two-door GC8’ shells imported by Subaru Australia for the Australian market in 1999, rumour has it that only 399 made it to shore, with one dropped into the water.
“We found it [the GC8] in Yass, a guy built it, raced it once and parked it,” Andrew explained.
“It had sat for eight years so I rebuilt the car from scratch, competed at a couple of state level events in it while the red car was getting fixed.
“The car is a genuine two-door 1998 model, very few of them around. I built it for Kirra and my son to drive and Kirra will be in it this weekend so that’s close enough.”
When asked if he had any reservations about making the offer, Andrew quipped:
“You can’t replace them [GC8].”
“But Subaru designed it to be a race car, so it needs to be raced.
“Wayne has proved to be a good steerer, he just hasn’t had much luck. I don’t want to see someone fade away because he cant get parts. He’s never driven an turbo vehicle before so he’s in for a bit of a learning curve,” Andrew laughed.
Morton will have an opportunity to get comfortable in the car when he goes testing on Wednesday.
Kirra says the Netier National Capital Rally will be an interesting event for her and Morton.
“We look forward to learning, adapting and developing ourselves and the notes over the course of the weekend.”
When it came to her father offering the car, Kirra was thankful of the kind gesture.
“This really demonstrates how much of a family sport rallying is and how much someone will do to keep their competition in the championship.” Kirra said.
“This sort of thing doesn’t happen in any other sport other than rallying.”
The National Capital Rally is the third round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship and will take place on the 1 – 3 June in Canberra.