V8 Supercars – Cameron Waters to Become the Youngest Ever Driver at Bathurst 1000‏

October 5, 2011

V8 Supercars

17-year-old Cameron Waters will make history next weekend when he becomes the youngest driver to ever compete at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.

Waters will drive alongside Grant Denyer as a result of winning the Shannons Supercar Showdown reality TV series, which has screened on 7mate over the past 11 weeks.

After starting with 10 young and aspiring racing talents, Waters was the last left standing after winning the final elimination challenge aboard the #77 Shannons Mars Commodore he will race with Denyer at Bathurst next week, his V8 Supercars Championship debut.

Waters beat British driver Andrew Jordan in the final test, conducted under the watchful eye of the show’s judges and Kelly Racing co-owners Todd and Rick Kelly.

From Mildura, Victoria, Waters is regarded as a young man with a big future in Australian motorsport. After a decorated karting career he was crowned the Rookie of the Year in the 2010 Australian Formula Ford Championship and is this year dominating the 2011 championship.

Waters will break the existing record of current V8 Supercar driver Paul Dumbrell by just seven days next Sunday at Mount Panorama by becoming the youngest driver in the history of The Great Race.

CAMERON WATERS – #77 Shannons Mars Holden Commodore:

It’s a unique way to make your V8 Supercar debut. Talk about coming through this process with Shannons Supercar Showdown to get to Bathurst.

“It was new for me and everyone in the team.

“I’m stoked to have won it. It’s been pretty difficult to get here but I put in the hard yards and made it work so I’m pretty happy and excited to be going to Bathurst.”

It’s been a busy week or so preparing for Bathurst. Does that make it sink in when you are at Kelly Racing doing things like seat fittings, pre-event briefings and all the preparations?

“Yeah it does. I’ve been at the workshop for a week getting to know all the guys and it’s starting to sink in.

“Being at the workshop and helping to work on the car has made it sink in and feel very real.”

You have had a few days in a V8 Supercar to get ready for Bathurst, including the time in the car for the final two episodes. Do you feel like you are getting to know a V8 Supercar?

“I’ve had two test days now and each time I’ve improved and learned a little bit more. I’m pretty comfortable in the car now but I guess I’m never going to be 100 percent ready for Bathurst because it’s such an awesome track and pretty hard to get around. I’ll just have to go up there, be smart and give it my all.”

You are setting a record by being the youngest driver to race in the Bathurst 1000. What do you think of that stat?

“Yeah it’s a pretty cool achievement to be the youngest driver to ever race at Bathurst. It’s only by seven days so it’s pretty cool that I’ve got it. I just have to go there and try and finish and finish on the lead lap.”

Is just running a sensible race your goal?

“As long as we stay on the lead lap and don’t do anything too silly I think the results will be OK anyway.”

You are still on your L plates … so you can’t even drive a road car around Mount Panorama when you get to Bathurst this week!

“I sit for my test the Wednesday after Bathurst to get my Ps. It will be an interesting conversation with the driving instructor about what I did on the weekend (laughs).”

Although it’s your first V8 Supercar event a lot of fans will already know a bit about you from watching Shannons Supercar Showdown. Do you expect that the fans and media will be interested in your progress at Bathurst given you got there from a reality TV show?

“I think there will be some fans keeping an eye on us and some other teams looking at us just seeing how we go.

“There will be some seeing if we are just there to make up the numbers or if we are just going to put it in the wall or fall over ourselves.

“I hope the fans enjoy seeing our car out there given they’ve been able to see how I got here from Shannons Supercar Showdown.”

There have been other drivers debut at Bathurst as a teenager, Todd and Rick Kelly included. Indeed you have only beaten Paul Dumbrell’s record by seven days. What do you say when someone says ‘you are too young – you are not ready for this’?

“There are always going to be people that think I’m too young to race but it’s all happened before and just to get that first Bathurst under your belt is a pretty good thing for anyone.”

Has V8 Supercars always been your goal?

“In karting my first goal was just to get to Formula Ford. Now that has happened I did have thoughts of going overseas but it’s just hard with budgets and all that stuff. So just sticking to V8 Supercars is where I’m at.”

The people in Mildura now have a third V8 Supercar driver to cheer for – not just Todd and Rick. You enjoy a lot of support back home in Mildura and the Sunraysia Daily newspaper has referred to you as ‘Our Cam’. Is it cool to be the third V8 Supercars driver at Bathurst from Mildura?

“It’s pretty cool for Mildura to have three drivers racing a V8 Supercar at Bathurt. Hopefully there are a few Mildura fans at Bathurst and they are behind me and all of the team.”

Is it nice to make your Bathurst debut with Todd and Rick’s team?

“It’s great to be a part of Kelly Racing. They come from Mildura so to nice to have the three Mildura boys in one team is pretty awesome.”

What do you think will go through your mind that first lap you drive around Bathurst in the #77 Shannons Mars Commodore?

“I’ve only ever been around the track in a road car. I’ve been watching a lot of in-car and race vision on YouTube and what the team has given me and also driven around it a lot on my simulator to learn it as much as I can.

“The first time I go out there I will just take it easy and get my head around where all the corners go and find my braking markers and stuff like that. I’ll just have to wait and see how I go in that first practice.

“There has been heaps of preparation go in. I’ve been on my rFactor simulator and looking at vision and data as much as I can but that doesn’t really do Bathurst justice.

“It’s a pretty amazing track so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when we get up there.”

– Cameron Waters will become the youngest driver to ever compete at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. On race day he will be 17 years, 2 months and 6 days old (born 3 August 1994)

– Previous record holder was Paul Dumbrell, who set the record in 1999, aged 17 years, 2 months and 13 days (born 1 September 1982). Dumbrell will continue to hold the record for the youngest driver to compete in the V8 Supercars Championship (Symmons Plains, Tasmania in 1999)

– Waters is still on his Learner’s Road Licence and will not sit for his Provisional Licence until the Wednesday after Bathurst

– Waters is in Year 11 at St Joseph’s College in his hometown of Mildura, Victoria (also the hometown and birthplace of Todd and Rick Kelly)

– Waters currently leads the 2011 Australian Formula Ford Championship. He was the 2010 Rookie of the Year in the same championship

– Denyer and Waters will drive Kelly Racing chassis PE047, the same chassis driven to a race victory and pole position by Rick Kelly at the ITM 400 in Hamilton, New Zealand in April

– This will be Denyer’s third Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 start, having finished ninth on debut with Alex Davison at Dick Johnson Racing in 2006, followed by 15th place with Michael Caruso at WPS Racing in 2007

GRANT DENYER – #77 Shannons Mars Holden Commodore:

“I spent 10 years trying to get to Bathurst, coming up through go karts, V8 Ute racing and then the Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series,” said Grant Denyer.

“After breaking my back after my second attempt at the Bathurst 1000 I thought that dream was cut too short.

“It’s taken me three years to rebuild myself to a point where I can do it again and I’m desperate to get back to this mountain and have another crack.

“I’m particularly proud that it’s alongside someone so young and gifted. It’s a bit of a win-win.”

You and Cam share something in common in that you both used Television to get to Bathurst.

“(laughs) Yeah it’s weird like that isn’t it? The only purpose for me getting into television was to find sponsors to go motor racing.

“My TV career took off. Now Cam’s used the same medium to launch his career.

“Look, it’s really good to see. Cam is the right kid to have in the car. He’s incredibly gifted. I’ve never seen someone adapt to V8 Supercars, which are a unique beast, as fast as he has and be as quick as he is and just learn and adapt.

“It might be a slow start at the beginning of the week but this kid will go well.”

Talk about the challenge of racing in the hardest race we have here in Australia when you are 17 years old and you don’t have you P plates yet.

“We can’t even put him in a road car and get him to drive around The Mountain just to eye ball the joint because he doesn’t have a road licence!

“We are kind of hamstrung in how we get him used to one of the most exciting and dangerous tracks in the world.

“Anyone that can win a Formula Ford race can nail a circuit. I’ve seen him win a Formula Ford race by eight seconds so clearly he’s got bucket loads of talent.

“It will just take him a couple of sessions to build up the confidence and then he will be able to refine his technique.

“Come race time I’m comfortable that he will be able to charge around with the field.”

He has already been through one high pressure situation already in actually winning the final elimination to get the drive at Bathurst. Do you think that shows he can cope with the pressure?

“You only need to look at how he handled himself when it came down to the shootout to win this prize. There was never a bead of sweat on his brow.

“He wasn’t at any stage biting his nails. He never made one error and that is the most intense of situations any athlete can put themselves under.

“So if he is as cool as a cucumber in that kind of situation it makes me feel comfortable that he is going to handle this kind of pressure at Bathurst really, really well.

“He just has to finish, that’s the main goal. This kid could have a career for the next 15 years.”

How have you found working with Kelly Racing over the last few months as the team has geared up to run five cars at Bathurst?

“Speaking of balls … Kelly Racing, whacking five cars on the track is a big ask, let alone trying to bring on a kid who has never raced a V8 Supercar, let alone being at Bathurst for the first time.

“It’s a mega commitment and you’ve got to commend the boys for that. They’ve got a really cool vision on how they think the sport should be run and I totally agree with them.

“They are kind of reinventing the game at a time when the sport needs a bit of a shake-up and good on them for putting their money where their mouth is and just having a go.

“That kind of attitude is what is going to keep this sport growing and it’s good to see these boys are getting behind the kids because no one else is.”

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