After enjoying a solid debut season in the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC), Josh Wiedman is ready to take the next step in his development.
Having attended four events in 2023, the young Queenslander finished up his first campaign in Australia’s premier rally competition as the winner of the Shamrock Haulage ARC Junior Cup and the runner-up of the ARC 2WD Cup.
While Wiedman faced plenty of adversity during his first season, which included multiple mechanical dramas, the teenager bounced back to produce some good results throughout the year.
Outside of the unfortunate DNF in the opening event, Wiedman went on to pick up 2WD Heat wins in WA and Queensland and won 2WD for the round outright in Canberra, highlighting a close season-long battle with eventual champion, Ben Hayes.
The 18-year-old and his co-driver Nick Reid also won the Junior Cup class in all four of their appearances and fought off any challenges from other crews who took part in a round – his overall title win earning him a drive in Richie Dalton’s Toyota Yaris AP4.
“I think we had a strong season overall, and I think the battle with Ben and Cathy Hayes throughout the season was definitely one of the highlights,” Wiedman said.
“We had a lot of issues with the car this year, but even when we had problems, we tried hard and still managed to finish every heat. Considering that and this being our first season, it was a very respectable year.
“The main thing for us this year was experience and to win the Junior Class. We had the opportunity to upgrade, but that would have made us ineligible for the class, so we stuck with it, and now we get to drive that beast of a car.
“I have been told by Richie not to bin the Yaris, so I will be careful, but I am super excited to get a run in that car – it will cap off what has been an awesome year.”
As Wiedman awaits a ride in the Yaris, the teenager and his team have had a busy off-season preparing for 2024, which includes the purchasing of a new car.
For the 2024 season, Wiedman will be behind the wheel of a Subaru GC8 WRX, formerly owned by West Australian, Jack Flanagan.
As a result of the upgrade, Wiedman will now tackle the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup in an all-wheel-drive turbo car, which he believes will help him improve.
“Having come from an off-road background where I was driving all-wheel turbo cars, it was a no-brainer to make the switch to Jack’s WRX as it’s the type of car I am familiar with,” Wiedman explained.
“When we first started in rally, everyone was telling us to do front-wheel-drive and see how we go – I think after our first season, we were good enough to move up to the next category.
“The car is very much the perfect fit for us, so I am hopeful this move can help us get better, and we can start getting some good results.
“Outside of the natural progression of going up a class, there were a few other reasons we made the change.
“Firstly, making the step up into the Production Cup is good for my development as I will go up against a lot more crews, and if I want to get better, I need to push myself against harder opponents – while 2WD was good competition, there is more in the Production Cup.
“Another reason for the move was that we were competitive in the 2WD class – even with all the mechanical issues, but now that we have a capable car and experience at most events, we should move up the outright order.
“Depending on logistics, the plan is to do all six rounds and hopefully get as many class podiums as we can – an outright top 10 finish is also the goal, but we will see how we go.
“Nick will also be co-driving for me again next year, which I am happy about because he doesn’t just lighten the mood, he’s really professional and on the ball.
“We’re both excited for next year and can’t wait to get started.”
The 2024 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship season begins with the Rally of Canberra on 5-7 April.