27 Jul FAMILY TIES DRIVING QR TILT FOR BEGG, HOOPER
Chris Begg will team up with his stepson Ashley Hooper to take on round two of the 2022 Australian Production Car season at Queensland Raceway next weekend (5-7 August), including the infamous Fight in the Night on the Saturday evening.
After some time away from racing, Begg is throwing himself back into the sport in order to race alongside both Hooper and his other son, APC regular Karl Begg.
“I am going to QR with absolutely no goals or expectations whatsoever, I am completely just there to have fun and race with my sons. The reason I got back into racing is so I could race with Karl and Ashley, and they are much better steerers than I am,” Begg laughed.
“I have raced a few production car events before but not with a lot of success as we have had a few car problems, but I like the APC because it limits what people can do to their cars which makes it more competitive in my eyes.”
Begg is looking forward in particular to the night racing, despite a less than ideal introduction to the concept in the past.
“The first time I did a night race years ago I had a very bad experience as the track wasn’t prepared and the cars weren’t prepared to do it, but it got so late in the day they ran us at half past five and it was just an absolute disaster and I swore I would never do a night race again,” said Begg, who is the Treasurer for the Queensland Production Car Club.
“However, I then raced last year in a night race with the circuit properly lit and it was just chalk and cheese and a real pleasure to drive, so I am quite happy with the idea with the current format and the current lighting and am looking forward to getting in amongst it.
“We will be racing what I call a lazy man’s car – the last of the naturally aspirated BMW M3s. It is reasonably quick but has a paddle shift, ABS Brakes, and I am still running air con in it, so it is really easy to drive and that suits me!
“Ashley and I haven’t shared a car before but he is a very good driver, a very aggressive driver, and I think as long as the car can stay reliable, he should be able to put the car reasonably high up the field. I will do the minimum number of laps I have to do and leave the rest up to him!”
Hooper will be making his APC debut, but he has plenty of QR experience following previous competition in the Queensland Production Cars and QTCC.
“I think the APC is a great category to be involved in, especially with the number of different classes in the one field allowing for competitors with a range of budgets,” said Hooper, who took out second outright for the 2018 Queensland Touring Car Championship.
“In 2019 I ran in the QPC in class A2 in a Holden Commodore R8 which Karl leant me. The entire meeting was on the Clubman Circuit which was awesome and very different to drive in the R8 compared to what I was used to.
“I unfortunately had a coming together with Jason Simes in qualifying which left me starting race one near the back of the grid, but I drove through the field to finish race one in fourth outright and first in class, race two in second outright and first in class, and race three in second outright and first in class. It was a great result and I thoroughly enjoyed that meeting and am thankful to Karl for the opportunity.
“Heading to the APC this time around, I am definitely rusty not to mention a little unfit, as I haven’t been in a race car since August 2019 – I did spin a few laps in a high-powered road car at QR at a recent test day, but I haven’t driven the car we have entered at all, let alone at QR, although we are hoping for a test day prior.
“I have never driven a night race before either so that will be all new to me. I have watched a few of the night races at QR and it is a great spectacle, so I am looking forward to it.
“Having said all that, I have put down a 1.19 at QR in my old race car and I am told the car we are running should be capable of those times on a good day, so I am aiming high.
“The overall goal for me is to win class A2 and put down some decent times. My expectations are that we will likely be in the top three in class, providing the drivers and the car perform.”
Like Begg, Hooper is looking forward to racing with family at QR.
“Chris married my mother when I was about 10 so we have been close family for the best part of 30 years. I don’t believe we have ever competed together in the same car, however Karl, Chris and myself have competed against each other on multiple occasions,” he explained.
“I do enjoy racing with my family. I race for enjoyment more so than the results, and I am usually happy if the car is straight in the trailer at the end of the weekend – if we have placed, that is a bonus.
“In saying that, I am a very competitive driver when on track, and I will defend and attack (within the rules of course) if and when required,” he grinned.
As they tend to the final preparations ahead of the August 5-7 weekend, Begg and Hooper have a list of people to thank for their support.
“We would like to thank Btuned Euro Specialist, Motorportsales.com.au and First Class Creations for their support,” Hooper said.
“We also want to thank our crew – Jordan and the race day mechanics from Btuned, as well as a close friend of mine Justin Ashwell who is flying in from New Zealand to manage the team for the weekend and be on the radio during the races.
“On a personal note, I would like to thank Chris and Karl for the opportunity and support, and also my beautiful wife Kristie Terry, my mother Vicky Begg, and my mother-in-law Dawne Terry who will be looking after our two beautiful boys, Taine (3) and Jordie (1), while I am out at the track.”
The APC is being contested over five rounds in 2022, providing a mix of endurance formats from 30-minute races to one-hour races to 300km events across the five rounds; with competitors able to compete on their choice of tyre from a nominated tyre panel featuring Hankook, Dunlop, MRF Tyres and Yokohama.
Round two of the 2022 APC will hit Queensland Raceway across August 5-7 as part of the latest event for the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships. It will feature two 30-minute races (Saturday morning and Sunday morning) and one 300km night race on Saturday evening for all APC competitors.
2022 APC DATES:
- Round one – Sydney Motorsport Park – May 27-29 – two x 30-minute races, 1 x 300km race
- Round two – Phillip Island – June 25-26 – four x one-hour races
- Round three – Queensland Raceway – August 5-7 – two x 30-minute races, 1 x 300km race
- Round four – Tailem Bend – October 21-23 – four x one-hour races
- Round five – Mount Panorama – November 11-13 – four x 30-minute races