Chris Gilmour - Australian F3 Drivers' Champion
took eight years and more starts than any other driver, but today he is a
champion after winning the Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship for the
CAMS Gold Star award.
For years the Queenslander had dreamed of winning a national title and after falling short in 2004 – when he lost to Karl Reindler by 3 points – he today fulfilled that ambition by taking yet another dramatic Gold Star title race.
Gilmour’s road to the title this weekend was a bumpy one, as season-long rival James Winslow threw every ounce of his considerable skill and experience at him, winning today’s second race and blitzing the field in the third to take the flag first – but that wasn’t the end of the story.
A large crowd stayed to watch the Gold Star finale’ following the final V8 Supercar race of the weekend, and they were rewarded with a dramatic race and title decider. A 10-second post-race penalty for rolling at the start saw Winslow relegated to second, and with Gilmour finishing fifth the title race was all over.
It was the fifth time that the Gold Star had been decided in the final round in five years as Gilmour won the title by eight points after leading by 19 entering the deciding weekend.
“For years my ambition has been to win a National title in motor racing,” Gilmour said.
“And now I’ve done it. It’s an amazing feeling. I never thought I’d get to this point after what we have been through over the past seasons. After Morgan Park (Where he won all three races) I felt I had a realistic chance to do it – and it was something I wanted so badly.
“This weekend was a case of doing exactly what we needed to do. I needed to win on Saturday because I was worried about the weather today. From there it was just doing what I had to.”
After question marks were raised about his ability to compete on raw speed, Gilmour answered the critics this season by winning six times – one more than his successful 2004 season – and by using consistency to score 15 podium finishes from the 20 races contested.
“It was good to win this weekend and win regularly this season,” he admitted.
“It showed I could take it to the best of them regularly and compete on raw speed as well as consistency and pace. I basically doubled my win tally this year which is great!”
Gilmour – who mixes his racing with his full time successful career as the owner of Brisbane-based Real Estate agency All Properties Group – attributed his success to his hard-working father Errol, who essentially single-handedly prepares the car, and his Mum, Jen.
“Mum and Dad have given so much so this is for them,” he said.
“Dad spends every night preparing the car and working on it and that’s what makes it so good. This one is for them.
“I’ll be back,” he added. “It will be strange to race without my #17 on the car, but good to race with No.1. We’ll be on the grid at Clipsal..”
Winslow finished second in the championship; just eight points behind the champion despite missing an entire round after a calendar clash saw him unable to race at Morgan Park. The R-Tek Motorsport driver still won more races than anyone else this season (8) and fought strongly all season to regain the title he won in 2008.
John Magro had a frustrating weekend but did enough to secure third in the championship. Possibly the quickest car all weekend, mistakes in races two and three this weekend saw him pass almost the entire field twice as he charged from last to third in both.