Indigenous crew selected for 2021 Racing Together program

Monday 26 October, 2020
Motorsport Australia Director Andrew Fraser congratulates Racing Together driver winners Karlai Warner (left) and Braedyn Cidoni (right).
(Photos: Monique Connelly)
Racing Together has officially selected 11 Queensland based teenagers to form part of its program in next year’s Queensland based X3 Circuit Excel Racing Series.
 
With more than 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenage candidates completing a variety of assessments aimed at testing their driving and mechanical abilities at Norwell Motorplex Driving Centre over the weekend, the selected 11 will now develop and build a car for the series with two of the group to get behind the wheel.
 
The lucky two to be chosen with driving responsibilities were 16-year-old Braedyn Cidoni and 14-year-old Karlai Warner, however others also may get an opportunity, depending on how the year pans out. 
 

Under the guidance of Racing Together founders Garry and Monique Connelly, Norwell Motorplex operator Paul Morris and Gunya Meta Indigenous Mentor Michael Orcher, the teenagers will become the first Indigenous team to race in Australia, as well have the opportunity to progress into the sport in a professional or recreational capacity. 

Currently working as a senior international motorsport official and Formula 1 race steward, the experienced Connelly was thrilled with how the weekend panned out and was proud of all participants. 
 
“There is currently no representation of our indigenous people in motorsport in Australia,” Connelly said.
 
“A few months ago, we decided to do something about it, and we decided to sponsor a pilot program to bring kids 12 to 16, boys and girls, into motorsport.
 

“The enthusiasm of the participants was high at the start but grew by the hour as they drove a number of track activities in dry and wet conditions, plus did classroom sessions on road safety, car construction and design, first aid, personal health and conditioning and learning also about how to become an official.”

 

Running under the FIA guise and supported by Motorsport Australia, Connelly is hopeful the program can expand into a national level and one day get in line the Asia-Pacific Ferrari Academy, but for the moment, the focus remains on 2021. 
 
“We’ll see how they all develop. Some of them also have excellent mechanical abilities,” Connelly added.
 
“The next step will be to start building a Hyundai Excel to compete next year. We may use different drivers at different events. While the build is occurring, the drivers will do intensive training under Paul Morris and his team at Norwell.”
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