Following on from a successful opening outing in 2020, the newly created Racing Together program has signed on three more prominent motorsport professionals.
Designed to help indigenous youths aged between 12 and 16 get an insight into motorsport and make a potential transition into a career in the sport, the program has put together a team for the 2021 Series X3 Queensland in this year’s Motorsport Australia Queensland Motor Racing Championships.
Joining Racing Together as Directors is Triple Eight Race Engineering Managing Director Roland Dane, Dick Johnson Racing Chairman Ryan Story and Paul Morris Motorsports owner Paul Morris – all of whom will help guide the indigenous teenagers through the 2021 season.
The trio will also link up with existing Directors, former RACQ Chief Executive Officer Ian Gillespie AM and Monique and Garry Connelly AM as part of the program and Connelly was thrilled to have such valuable experience as part of the team.
“These young people are just starting out but will benefit from the advice and encouragement of some of the very top names in Australian motor-racing,” Connelly said.
“We’re very grateful that Roland, Ryan and Paul have agreed to contribute their time and experience.”
With Triple Eight Racing installing the roll cage for the Racing Together Hyundai Excel, Dane was delighted to be part of the initiative, which will see 17-year-old Braeydn Cidoni take to the track later this month.
“I’m honoured and excited to have been asked to sit on the board of Racing Together. Garry and Monique are superbly positioned to bring their years of experience in the sport at an international level to bear in this great project,” Dane said.
“I’m really looking forward to helping them make a difference and open doors into motorsport at all levels for the young Indigenous community.”
Not only will the program help Cidoni as a driver, but the team of 10, shortlisted from 80 applicants, will also get to experience everything to do with a race team, including building a new race car, logistics, race-day servicing, data-logging and workshop maintenance.
Like Dane, Story was also proud to join Racing Together and give the teenagers a chance to broaden their horizons.
“Joining Racing Together's board is a great honour,” Story added.
“Garry and Monique Connelly have founded a tremendous organisation and its burgeoning team of young racers hit the track for the first time only a few weeks ago.
“The responsibility to make motorsport as inclusive as possible and creating opportunities for young First Nations people not only in motorsport, but also in STEM, is something that is at the very heart of Racing Together and the priority of myself and my fellow directors."
Having been part of the initial selection process, as well as providing Norwell Motorplex as the location for the team’s training purposes, Morris was proud of what the program was achieving.
“Racing Together has created the first proper pathway for motor-racing. Motor-racing develops tangible skills that will stay with these young people throughout their journey through life.
“I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge with this enthusiastic Racing Together team as they compete on the track and develop their race car and life skills in the workshop.”
The Racing Together team will get its first chance to compete during the Motorsport Australia Queensland Motor Racing Championships’ opening round at Morgan Park circuit on 27-28 March.