While the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be basking in the spotlight this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park, one budding Kiwi racer will get her chance to steal some glory of her own as Madeline Stewart gears up for Super3’s return to action.
The 19-year-old originally from Wellington will contest her sophomore year in the class in a Brad Jones Racing-prepared Holden Commodore VE II and will be looking to make an impression on the championship after a quiet debut year saw her finish 14th in the standings.
Stewart has raced karts on either side of the Tasman with highlights being finishing runners-up in the 2018 Kartsport NZ National Sprint Championship in the KZ2 class and claiming the South Australian Rotax 125 Light State title the year before.
The forthcoming weekend marks the season-opening round in the third-tier category after the coronavirus pandemic saw the original calendar shelved.
Eleven Super3 entries have been confirmed for the season-opener and will be joined by a 14-strong Super2 grid as the two junior categories merge for the remainder of the season.
There remains plenty of uncertainty concerning the Super3 calendar as border closures in Victoria has meant some teams have either had to pull out of the round or make a hasty dash to Sydney and set up permanent base.
That predicament fortunately did not hinder BJR nor Stewart with both parties residing outside of Victoria, but the pandemic and subsequent lockdown periods have disrupted their unusual pre-season training regime.
“COVID-19 has definitely made it hard to have a solid routine,” admitted Stewart. “But I have been able to do plenty of sim racing and I have been watching old races and reading lots of notes so it hasn’t been too bad.
“Nothing beats actually racing though so I’m looking forward to getting in track on Saturday.”
“I’m really looking forward to racing this weekend at SMP. We had a really successful test day there last week so I feel well prepared ahead of the weekend.
“It’s crazy that to think my first race of the year is in July but I’m really excited to show my 2020 livery as I am supported by Boss Air Suspension and I’ll also be carrying the Silver Fern on my roof this year which I’m really proud to show off.”
Stewart will have two races over the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park, with Saturday’s event being staged at dusk as a precursor for Race 10 of the Supercars championship held under lights.