When the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) reaches its third round in 2020, it will be unfamiliar territory for many of the crews who will be competing there for the first time.
As the newest event on the Championship schedule, there is a lot to look forward to when it comes to July’s Can-Am Loveday 400 for competitors and off-road fans alike.
A purpose-built off-road track, the 40km course features a number of popular characteristics inspired from other events around Australia, most notably the Tatts Finke Desert Race and the Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399.
As well as accommodating spectators with a convenient bar and tavern overlooking the start and finish line, event organiser and experienced driver Tony Whateley was proud of the course he has created.
“I am very lucky that I don’t just organise events, I race in them too so when I built the track, I made sure it was something that works for everyone in all classes,” Whateley said.
“Every track has its own highlight like the finish line at Finke or the Bakers Dozen in St George, so when building the track, I attempted to incorporate these highlights so it would be considered fun for the drivers with lots of talking points.
“I’ve been building tracks and jumps since I was young. I learnt how to build a decent jump for a vehicle, so I feel all my jumps are the right design and accommodating for everyone.
“It’s often referred to as a driving track as it goes back to the basics with drivers having to work hard and show off their skills. This will in turn be a better show for the spectators who will have a great view.
“The layout is also very spectator friendly. I am a big believer in keeping the spectators entertained so we made sure some big jumps and cool corners were inserted right where the spectators are.”
While some of the track’s features were a focus for Whateley when building it, he was also keen on adding a variety of surfaces to the 40km course with red dirt, mud, grass and clay all appearing throughout.
The format of the event will have both a similar and different feel to the other four rounds with Scrutineering to be held at the town’s football oval, allowing all the locals to get up close and personal with crews and cars.
The event will then begin the following morning with Prologue before crews complete the full 400km over 10 laps spread across two-lap segments on the Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday will see crews complete two segments, while the remaining three segments will run on Sunday - the format Whateley picked allowing crews to have regular breaks and work on their cars, giving them the best chance of completing the event.
With the Can-Am Loveday 400 to make its debut as part of the AORC in July, Whateley was excited for what’s in store and being on the national stage.
“We are super excited to be part of the AORC. We can’t wait to hold the event so competitors can come to our area and experience the course, as well as the locals being able to see all these great cars from around the country,” Whateley explained.
“It’s also fantastic that we’re third in line after St George and Finke. To be in the middle when the championship is in full swing will be great.
“With the crew I have helping me, I am confident we can put on a fantastic event which will represent the national championship and show what Loveday is all about.”
The Can-Am Loveday 400 takes place at the Loveday Adventure 4x4 Park on 10-12 July.