When the Australian Super TT Championship rolls onto the track at the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series opener at Winton, Brent Edwards’ distinctive BA Falcon will be one of the cars battling for a position somewhere near the front of the field.
Fans of AASA-sanctioned motorsport events will be familiar with Brent Edwards’ Ford, which has been a regular participant in Thunder Sports and Super TT races. But the history of the car stretches back a number of seasons, while Edwards himself has been racing since the mid-1990s.
His racing career began in Club Cars (now known as Improved Production), in which he raced a Datsun 1600, before he and some other Victorian enthusiasts founded the 2 Litre Sports Sedans, a category that continues to this day.
“The early days of the 2 Litre Sports Sedans were a lot of fun, but at that stage I had a young family and I was working day and night to afford to go racing, so in the end I took a break,” Edwards said.
However, it wasn’t too long before Edwards was bitten by the racing bug once again and he returned to competition, initially in production cars before moving into the Saloon Car National Series.
“When I first started in Saloon Cars, I bought an EA Falcon but I blew the engine at a test day before the first round,” Edwards recalled.
“Les Morrall, who was running the category at the time, suggested I needed to race an AU Falcon or VT Commodore if I wanted to be competitive, so I did a deal to run with 501 Performance with Ben Grice as my team mate.
“I qualified in the top 10 in my first round at Mallala and had some good pace throughout the season. The following year, I ran the car with my own team and finished fourth overall in the series.
“Racing Saloon Cars really brought out the best in my driving because the competition at the front of the field was super-intense; there were some excellent drivers at the front of the field like Shawn Jamieson, Gavin Ross, Travis Lindorff and Simon Tabinor – you really had to be on your game to match it with them because they were just so sharp.”
Edwards began construction of a BA Falcon Saloon Car, only to be informed the series would cease to exist as a national series at the end of 2015. With the BA race car project already well underway, Edwards elected to complete the build process and raced the car in the 2016 Victorian State Championship.
However, he longed for a return to national competition; enter the birth of the AASA-sanctioned national series (now known as the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series) in 2018.
“The Victorian Saloon Car Championship was fun and I had some great results, but I wanted to race at a wider variety of tracks,” Edwards said.
“Fortunately, the AASA-sanctioned series was starting up, and I decided to give it a crack in the Falcon, running in a combined category with a mixture of Saloon Cars, V8 Utes and IROC Porsches.
“It was a lot of fun – most of the time, I was able to race competitively with the Utes and I even managed to beat some of the Porsches.”
The next step for Edwards was into the Thunder Sports Series in 2020. After initially racing his Falcon in naturally aspirated form, Edwards fitted a turbocharger to improve its straight-line performance and give himself more of a chance against the outright front-runners.
With Thunder Sports effectively transforming into the Australian Super TT Championship in 2023, Edwards is planning to compete in that championship along with selected rounds of the New South Wales and Victorian Super TT Championships.
Up against such diverse array of cars, Edwards said the competition presents different challenges.
“Super TT is a great class for chassis-type vehicles with a few modifications, and it really emphasises the strengths and weaknesses of different cars,” he said.
“When I first came into the category, I found the Falcon was one of the better-handling cars in the field and I think that was because of the work we’d done on setting it up during the Saloon Car days. But the naturally-aspirated six-cylinder just didn’t have the grunt of the V8s or turbos.
“So I decided to put a turbo on it, but that presented some new challenges with reliability. In the early stages, we had a lot of gearbox and ECU problems, and a few crashes which didn’t help either. It’s only just now that we’ve started to get it running reliably.”
In preparation for the 2023 season, the Falcon has undergone a full refresh, with the installation of an updated turbocharger and intercooler, along with a new flywheel and clutch.
“The turbo upgrade has been a big challenge, because we’ve been the pioneers – most people with these sorts of cars are running naturally aspirated V8s, but we wanted to do something different,” Edwards said.
“The reliability issues have been frustrating at times, but it’s very satisfying to see it finally coming together.”
Edwards is now looking forward to the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series, nominating the Calder Park round as one he’s particularly excited about.
“It’s shaping up to be a fantastic series – the combination of the fun, social atmosphere at the track and the professionalism and exposure of live TV is perfect for a lot of racers.
“I can’t wait for the Calder Park round – I have raced there before, but not for many years, and I have some fond memories there. It’s going to be awesome to be back.”
Edwards’ Super TT Falcon will be sponsored by Cable Source, BNI Melbourne South Truckphones.com.au and the “It’s Okay Not to be Okay” mental health support organisation.