A new champion in Australia’s most accessible motorsport.
2017’s Australian Pulsar Racing Association Championship has been clutched by FullGas racing's Matthew Boylan in a down-to-the-wire double-header at Wakefield Park.
A three-way title fight, series sophomore Boylan secured the points needed for a championship win in the final one-hour enduro. Battling damaged steering and a razor toothed pack, he grabbed second in the last race and secured the points needed for the overall top step after a weekend of wild weather.
“I knew I wasn’t the quickest all weekend. It was such a relief to get the car across the line and know we had the championship,” he said.
An uncomfortable mix of torrential downpours and sunshine made for a challenging weekend that brought out the best in some, and got the best of others. Josh Heath put Boylan on notice in the penultimate enduro, narrowing the leaders points lead with a win in a slippery hour of racing.
Flags flew as downpours triggered race suspensions. Only 15 of the 27 car field finished the race. It was the first time Boylan had driven the APRA car in the rain, leaning on karting experience to find grip.
“It was a complete handful, you’re driving the car on a knife edge every single lap,” he said. “You have to drive off-line to find grippy patches on the road. The Toyos were predictable, you could lean on the tyre and know when you were on the limit.”
The heat was on. After a third on the Saturday, Boylan needed a second or third for the blue ribbon on the Sunday enduro, with Heath snapping at his ankles. Starting with a slippery track, more rain washed away a layer of oil, then the track began to dry. The team's strategy went out the window. A car primed for a wet race went off quickly as the track dried.
“We pitted in and got the tyres down to a normal pressure we came out. Josh Heath pulled out in front of me a second down the road. I dragged him back in and I wanted to go for it and win. Over the radio they were saying ‘pull out, if you bin it it’s all over’. I didn’t listen to the call, but then at turn four I lost the car a bit. Then I listened.”
Finishing second to Josh Heath, the points for the 2017 championship were his.
Boylan’s season was no fairy tale. Racing three rounds with an undiagnosed suspension problem, the turnaround saw him rocket up the ladder with back to back clean sweeps.
“When we got back down to Wakefield for the fourth round with the suspension fixed, it was just a bullet,” said Boylan.
Boylan holds the APRA lap record at Wakefield Park with a 1:10.1, only a single tick of the stopwatch between him and the fastest Toyota 86 Racing Series car. His move to the series from karting came after encouragement from family and friends to get in a tin-top.
“It’s fantastic. Racing is relative, you could all be in Ferraris once you’re in there and have your helmet on."
Toyo’s road legal Proxes R888R takes the tightly controlled category to a new level, giving drivers a new level of grip, control and confidence.
“The tyres are the best... They don’t drop off,” said Boylan. “They actually get slightly faster. 90 per cent of the people I’ve spoken to say the same thing. Coming from karting where you throw tyres after tyres at your go kart, you don’t need to throw new tyres on all the time. It’s such a blessing, it keeps costs down. I ran the season with just two sets!”
Will Boylan be back for APRA in 2018?
“Racing is my life. I’m looking for another car as we speak, we might have to build another one Apart from APRA looking at other cars as well, might look at production car and do that on alternate weekends."
Learn more about Proxes R888R at http://toyotires.com.au/tyres/motorsport-tyres/item/1250-proxes-r888r