12 | 11 | 2013 - TEEN STAR SNATCHES SHANNONS SUPERCAR SHOWDOWN
Ford Performance Racing has a new test driver on its books after 17-year-old South Australian Todd Hazelwood claimed victory in the finale of the 2013 Shannons Supercar Showdown by less-than one tenth of a second.
Hazelwood was crowned on Saturday night when the final episode in the eight part series aired on 7mate.
The close-fought finale was a fitting end to a record-breaking season for the program which attracted more than two million viewers ? the highest number since its inception in 2011.
In the definitive clash of youth and experience, Hazelwood overcame early nerves to defeat his older and more experienced opponent Tim Macrow in a hot lap shootout at Melbourne?s Calder Park Raceway.
Hazelwood and Macrow were each given two timed five-lap sessions on the full-length circuit, driving the Shannons V8 Supercar prepared by 2013 Bathurst 1000 winners FPR.
By recording the fastest individual lap time by a mere 0.09-seconds, Hazelwood claimed the ultimate prize ? a testing contract with FPR plus a drive in the Dunlop Series in a Shannons-sponsored V8 Supercar.
?This is absolutely phenomenal, I can?t believe I?ve won the show with the smallest of margins and to top it off, I am now connected with leading V8 Supercar team Ford Performance Racing,? said Hazelwood
In the final a clearly nervous Hazelwood struggled to match Macrow?s speed in his first session, describing it as ?pretty scrappy? but confident he could calm his nerves and improve in the final run.
Hazelwood really got his act together in the last session and put everything on the line, impressing judges Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison with his focus, discipline and speed under enormous pressure.
Hazelwood?s win cements his name on the Shannons Rookie Trophy, joining past winners Cameron Waters (2011) and Jesse Dixon (2012).
?Both Shannons and FPR have given me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I can?t wait to test their cars and experience the V8 Supercars for the first time,? Hazelwood added.
FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards heralded Hazelwood?s performance and welcomed him to the factory Ford team.
?Todd and Tim close battle in the grand final highlighted just how strong the driving talent is here in Australia and for Todd, at just 17 years old, to take out the title is a real credit to him.? Edwards said.
?Stepping into a V8 Supercar for the first time and putting everything on the line was impressive to see and ultimately he was rewarded with the big prize. We look forward to working with him as he progresses his career.?
The Media Mix Managing Director, Rohan Robertson, who co-produces Supercar Showdown with WTFN, was delighted with the series finale.
He emphasised the format has established itself as legitimate proving ground for new driver talent and provides an opportunity that had not previously existed.
?The TV series has now provided 28 drivers with the opportunity to showcase their skills across Australian television and with mentoring and guidance from some of the biggest names in Australian motorsport,? Robertson said.
?Contestants have been hand-picked from the USA, UK, NZ and right across Australia to have their chance to what has become a proven step towards a career in professional motorsport in Australia.?