Team Kiwi racing boss says a decision will follow later today on whether New Zealand racing great Paul Radisich or rising Australian star Adam Macrow will carry the NZ flag in this weekend’s V8 Supercar round.
March 21, 2007, 11.45am. Team Kiwi Racing boss David Johns says he’ll decide later today whether Paul Radisich or Adam Macrow will drive the outfit’s all-black Ford Falcon in this weekend’s Australian V8 Supercar round at Perth, Western Australia.
Macrow stood in for Radisich at Round 1 in Adelaide after the NewZealander said his ankle – badly broken in a massive crash at Bathurst last October – still wasn’t strong enough to cope with the demands of the South Australian street circuit.
TKR owner John moved last week to counter criticism that he had put an Australian, Macrow, into a car that is seen as New Zealand’s ambassador in the V8 Supercar series.
That the team has been able to stay afloat this year is partly thanks to a whistle-stop fund-raising tour of New Zealand which raised around $330,000 in public donations.
In a statement last week, John said TKR “has been given a clear directive from (its) sponsors and club members that they want the best driver behind the wheel for the TKR V8 Supercar Championship regardless of nationality.”
John said that in Adelaide, Macrow – the reigning Australian Fujitsu V8 Development Series champion - had set the second fastest Ford time for the weekend.
“TKR has traditionally promoted New Zealanders into key positions in their organisation including drivers, crew and team management,” John’s statement said. “This year we need to view things differently due to the circumstances.
“We need a fit…driver who can maximise the potential of this new TKR package not someone who is only 75 percent fit...
“If Paul Radisich is fit…he’ll be in the car at Perth. If (he’s not), then the best driver available will be picked even if that driver is a driver of another nationality”.
The statement said that despite his limited time behind the wheel in Adelaide, Macrow showed that the new TKR Falcon is a competitive package.
“That increased expectation has led sponsors, in particular, to advise (me) that if Radisich isn’t recovered sufficiently to be competitive (in) Perth, then they prefer the best possible replacement,” John’s statement said.
“After years of providing opportunities for Kiwi drivers with limited loyalty shown in return from many of those drivers, our sponsors have told me they want the team to focus on results this year.
“TKR would prefer a Kiwi driver behind the wheel but if Paul (Radisich) isn’t ready and there is a better driver available, then we want that person to drive our car, whether they are a New Zealander, Australian or any other nationality.”
John said TKR’s sponsors have also made it clear as to where they stand, telling him: ‘we simply want a return on our investment (and) is we don’t get a return…through sponsorship exposure which comes as a direct result of putting the best possible driver in the TKR car, then no one will have to worry about if there’s a Kiwi driver or otherwise behind the wheel now or in the future because there simply won’t be a team.’
John quoted TKR sponsor Guy Williams as saying: “we have a brilliant package this year and we can’t waste the opportunity by putting an inexperienced, unproven or unfit driver behind the wheel just because they are a Kiwi.
“That would be irresponsible to the team, the sponsors, our club members and the New Zealand public who helped us get to this point not to mention a waste of the car’s potential.”
John said Radisich is very determined to get back behind the wheel of the TKR car.
“He’s very excited about the package this year and itching to get back out on the racetrack.
“But if he’s not 100 percent fit, he will not be provided with the drive at Perth and further discussion will be needed with doctors and his physio to see what can be done to speed up his recovery time.”