Images kindly provided by Wayne Seabrook
This week, we catch up with Wayne Seabrook to learn a little about his history in motorsport and the 1976 Porsche 911 that he’ll be running in the Summer Festival this weekend.
With thanks to Wayne Seabrook, images kindly provided by Wayne Seabrook
Growing up, my family lived in Dundas. We always had Renaults, which back then was a bit unusual – especially in a place like Dundas. My first car was actually a Renault 10.
Dad was very clever and built specials based on the Renaults. He also used to run club events in MG TCs and Austin Healey 100s, so from a young age we would go and watch motorsport, including the races at Warwick Farm, Bathurst and Amaroo Park.
That gave me a love for different types of cars, and I’d always liked the underdogs. When Porsches came into the sport I loved watching those and I loved watching the Formula 2 cars race against Formula 1 cars in the Tasman Series.
I grew up in housing commission and in my youth I didn’t have the money to race cars. My first career was actually playing cricket. I played for New South Wales as well as the national team and ended up playing professionally until I was 31. During that time I owned a few cars like Bolwells.
My first classic cars were two 100-4 Healeys. Within a few years I was going to historic meets and got the bug – I wanted to do some track stuff.
When I was about 38 and had built up a business and paid off the house, I thought ‘OK – it’s time to have a bit of a go.’ I thought a 911 would allow me to put the kids in the back and still do the track stuff. So that’s when I bought my first Porsche – a one-owner 1977 2.7.
It wasn’t quite right for me, so I bought a 3.0 SC and did my first super sprints at Wakefield Park. After going through the fishhook with the steering wheel breaking in my hands and the gear shift coming off, sliding around the car with the standard seatbelt, I bought a 3.2 and installed a harness, rollbar and a proper race seat.
After doing the super sprints for a while I decided I want to race. I wanted to follow my passion, which was Group Nc, and prove that a little 2.3 ST could match it with the Mustangs. So I built my first race car, which was a left-over project from A’Zim-Khan.
We built it up and it debuted in about 2003 or 2004 as an Appendix J car – Group Nc. I really loved Nc and drove a few cars in that era. The last of my Nc cars won outright at Winton and was very successful.
While running in Nc I started sharing with Lloyd Hughes, who had a one-owner ’73 RS. He was my gateway to Group S, getting me into my first Group S race back in 2008. He allowed me to drive with him in a 1-hour Group S enduro race. I drove the minimum amount of laps with him, then swapped and finished the race with Terry Lawlor, eventually winning the race with Terry.
After Nc I had this car I called Piglet. It was an Aussie-delivered ’68 911 that I bought from another HSRCA member, Andrew Cunningham. We restored it to Group Sb specs and the car was a giant killer in the wet. I loved it.
When I’d achieved what I wanted to with that car, I decided to go after the front runners. I’d always believed that a left-hand-drive 3.0 Carrera would be competitive on a number of the tighter, smaller tracks and it was a much cheaper car to build.
Generally accepted wisdom said that a 3.0 could not beat a 2.7-litre car, so proving that wrong became my goal.
My car was an import from Japan that Zag Automotive helped me find. It was a bitsa – a ’76 3.0 shell with a turbo motor. Zag kept the engine and running gear and I bought the shell.
Michael Newton built up a competitive 3-litre engine for it and it debuted at the Autumn meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park about two years ago.
I’ve been able to achieve my goals with that car as well. I won the one-hour two years in a row, won Rennsport twice. It holds the lap record at Eastern Creek with a 1:44.8, and gave me a great moment earlier this year when we were able to beat Geoff Morgan at the Phillip Island Classic.
I’ve met so many people and made so many friends through my involvement in the HSRCA and historic racing. All the way through from the guys in Nc and the Porsche Club to now with Group S. When I first started a lot of the competitors I ran with were fantastic. The Bargwannas, Alf and Harry, and in more recent times people like John Smith and John Bowe. They helped a lot when I first started, have taught me a lot and have been very encouraging.
It’s also been great to introduce people to motorsport and to Group S, like Douggie Barber. To help people get into motorsport and into historics is an honour, and something we really need to develop so that we can keep the sport moving and introduce the next generation to it.
I’ve always had a soft spot for open wheelers and would love to get one one day. Herb Neal, Richard Carter and Ed Hollie are all great guys. The people in the club and in the sport in general are just amazing.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to everyone who’s worked hard at the HSRCA and with the historics. People like Noel Bryan, the committee and all of the volunteers have put so much work into the sport. A lot of thankless work goes on behind the scenes and it’s easy to turn up and enjoy the events or whinge if things aren’t quite right, but making these things happen is a huge undertaking and I’m very grateful for everyone involved.
I wouldn’t have been able to have done what I’ve done without the help and friendship of the guys at Zag Automotive as well as Michael Newton, so I’d like to thank them.
I’m still learning and developing my skills and cars, and I’m looking forward to taking on a similar role with up and coming drivers and giving back to the sport in the way so many have for me.