Off the back of a successful 2016-17 season, leading Lightning Sprint racer Kurt Wilson is trying his hand at Formula 500s this season, aboard the Tony Cochrane-owned SQ # 5 John Titman Racing supported R6 Yamaha-powered PMP car.
Having so far this season contested three race meetings in a Formula 500, two at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway and one at Maryborough Speedway, with the competitive Cochrane team, who took out the 2015-16 season KRE F500 Championship Series and placed runner-up in the Australian Title with Kaydon Iverson at the helm, Wilson, who is the current Australian, Queensland and NSW Champion in Lightning Sprints, has certainly had to adjust to the class.
“While the top speed is pretty much the same, the Formula 500s are completely different to Lightning Sprints in terms of handling and even the way you sit in the car, which is similar to a go kart, with your legs stretched out in front of you,” admitted Wilson, who has shown plenty of promise despite mixed fortunes in his opening three race meetings.
“I raced go karts for around six years before stepping into speedway, so I definitely think that’s helped me adjust to Formula 500s. I’m learning that I need to change my driving style for each class, with Lightning Sprints being more aggressive and Formula 500s being smoother.”
Running double duties this season, the Lismore, NSW-based racer is focused on improving his transition between the cars and gaining as much track time as possible, so that he can keep up his momentum across both classes.
“The aim moving forward is to improve on our performance throughout qualifying to give us the best chance of running at the pointy end of the field,” enthused Wilson.
“I’m having an absolute ball in the class so far. There are a lot of competitive drivers who are definitely going to make me work for my results, which I think is going to make me a better driver in the long run.
“I have to say a huge thanks to Tony for giving me the opportunity to run his car, as well as Ben (Tony’s son), Tyler (Tony’s Daughter and Wilson’s girlfriend) and Cam for their help at the track and away from it.”
After Wilson expressed an interest in running a Formula 500, the decision to have him join the team was an obvious one for Cochrane, who assembled an engine for the car prior to the start of the season.
“We didn’t have anyone in our car this season, so it just made sense for Kurt to fill the driver’s seat and he’s welcome in it for as long as he wants to be,” said Cochrane, who will be on the road with the World Series Sprintcar Championship trail assisting Queensland-based racer Kevin Titman this season.
“Kurt has a really great head on his shoulders and he knows exactly what he wants the car to feel like, so I’m sure we’ll be able to achieve some strong results this season.
“With me being on the road for the World Series Sprintcars, I won’t be able to be at the track with Kurt initially, so hopefully I’ll be able to go along to some blue-ribbon events later in the season.”
For his next appearance, Wilson will be travelling to Archerfield Speedway on Boxing Night (December 26), followed by an appearance in his Lightning Sprint on December 30 at the same track, before completing two more shows at the Brisbane venue on January 1 and January 6. Later in the season, Wilson and the Cochrane team plan to contest a number of blue-ribbon events.
Cochrane and Wilson would like to thank the following 2017-18 season sponsors: John Titman Racing, RHK Performance, Millers Powder Coating, and Mainstreme Automotive.
To find out more about Wilson and his Formula 500s campaign, LIKE him on Facebook by searching Wilspeed Racing.Photo credit: The Carrells