From humble beginnings when the first car landed in Australia late in 2015, the TA2 Muscle Car Series has blossomed into one of Australia’s most successful motorsport categories and a cornerstone of the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series program.
Since 2018, the TA2 Series has been managed by experienced motorsport administrator Craig Denyer, a man with decades of experience in motorsport administration and one of the driving forces behind the success of the V8 Ute Racing Series in its heyday.
We chatted to Craig about how far TA2 has come, and where it is heading.
Q: Since you took over category management of TA2 in 2018, what have you most enjoyed?
A: The most enjoyable aspect of TA2 has been its family-friendly atmosphere. When Peter Robinson launched the TA2 category in Australia, his vision was to create a category that would enable competitors to race in a class with excellent bang for buck and a friendly off-track environment.
In other categories I’ve been involved in, such as the V8 Utes, the competition could become so cut-throat that some of the enjoyment and camaraderie in the paddock was lost, which is something we want to avoid in TA2.
TA2 attracts all different types of drivers. There are the young guns who are aiming to forge a professional career,
there are retired professional drivers who are looking for a lower-pressure environment to get their racing fix, and there are recreational racers who have never aspired to compete professionally, and want to have fun while improving their driving skills.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the 2023 season?
A: The change in media platform for the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series, with live TV coverage on SBS and Fox Sports, is a big coup for the series and takes the exposure offering for our competitors and partners to a new level.
Q: Which drivers are you expecting to be strong in 2023?
A: I’m expecting the series to be significantly more competitive this season. Over the last few years, there has generally been one driver who has ended up winning the series fairly comfortably – last year, it was Jett Johnson, and before him Aaron Seton.
Heading into this year, there are at least half a dozen people who you could describe as title contenders. Josh Haynes was very fast last year but had some reliability issues which cost him points at a few rounds. Brad Gartner from South Australia joined the series last year and was very fast from the outset, while Kyle Gurton and Jackson Rice are the other young guns I would expect to be fighting at the front of the field.
Zac Loscialpo is another one who was at the pointy end at most rounds last year, while Graham Cheney was ultra-consistent and ended up finishing runner-up in the points.
Nicholas Bates had an outstanding season last year, Dylan Thomas has a wealth of experience in all different types of cars, while Mark Crutcher is an absolute larrikin in the paddock but always improving on the track. With all those drivers in the mix, the contest for the title will be absolutely wide open.
Q: Are there any changes to the category for 2023?
A: The most exciting thing we have planned this year is a two-driver event in Darwin – it will be the first twin-driver TA2 race anywhere in the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to do something a bit different and it’s an opportunity for some new drivers to co-drive with the series regulars and have a taste of the TA2 experience.
For the other rounds, we’re looking at some minor tweaks to the race grid format and points system, which we’ll announce ahead of Round 1 at Winton.
The other major change is the introduction of control shock absorbers. In the past, teams have been able to modify the internals of the Penske shocks and spent lots of money on research and development. We’ve identified it as an area where costs can be saved, so there will be a standard shock absorber that teams can source from eight authorised agents around Australia, and the units will be sealed.
Q: What are the benefits of TA2 running on the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series program?
A: Apart from the improved media package for 2023, we find the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series to be a platform that balances professionalism with fun and friendliness. It’s a very relaxed, competitor-friendly environment.