John Hurney has spent much of his life trackside. He recently sat down with David Gear to chat about how he helps “grease the wheels” for the student team who design, build and compete in a new race car each year.
Q: What has kept you coming back for more than 10 years?
Well, the money that I can spend on my own personal race cars is nice, but really the best thing about the job is undoubtedly the students. We always have such passionate, dedicated and hardworking students coming through the course. I learn so much from them. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something from them
Q: Where did your love of motor racing first develop?
My earliest memories are of going down to the old Sydney Speedway with my dad when I was about five years old. It’s not there anymore, but I have such fond memories of the place. Then, when I was about 10, we moved to Perth and I began attending the old Claremont Speedway and the Caversham race circuit.
Q: How did you become involved with the ECU Motorsports team?
When I heard the Bachelor of Technology Motorsports course was being established in 2006 I was serving as the President of the WA Sporting Car Club. So I phoned Head of the School of Engineering, Professor DaryoushHabibi, to see if there was anything I could do to help. A couple of weeks later he offered me a job so in a way, I am still here helping out more than a decade later.
Q: What’s your role today?
My main role is to mentor and support the students and grease the wheels of the team, so to speak. I also liaise with industry and the wider motor racing community on behalf of the team as well as supervising testing of the cars down at Barbagallo Raceway. about engineering.
Q: What is the most memorable moment for you as part of the team?
My top memory would be when we were over in the UK in 2016 to compete in the Formula Student event at Silverstone. It was in a little carpark at the University of Hertfordshire in the chilly UK twilight that we got the car running for the first time. I clearly remember reflecting on how this short test run, many thousands of kilometresfrom Perth, was the culmination of all the work put in by the students not just on that team, but all the ECU Motorsport folks who had gone before them.