If you’ve attended a circuit racing event at Barbagallo Raceway, chances are you have heard the voice of Barbagallo, Vaughn Brewer, providing insightful, yet entertaining commentary to keep everyone track side up to date on what is happening.
Vaughn is more than just a voice to racing. He has been a lecturer at TAFE for motorsport, raced in a variety of categories, driven medical cars, course cars and officiated in various roles too. He also with his students rebuilt a 1964 Mark 1 GT Cortina. As commentators come, it would be hard to find a more well rounded, knowledgeable commentator.
After an emotional tribute, which Vaughn says was his hardest day ever commentating, to retiring WA Sporting Car Club committee member Rob Janney who was a main driving force behind getting the car club and its facilities to where it is today, I caught up with Vaughn to chat and get behind the sport.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE IN MOTORSPORT?
Motorsport commentator for circuit racing at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway and the Northam and Albany “Round the Houses” events. I’m also an MC for Trophy Presentation nights and Functions.
WHAT WAS BEHIND YOUR DECISION TO GET INTO MOTORSPORT?
I’ve also been a speed freak from a very early age. I remember going to Claremont Speedway every Friday night with my father. Names such as Alf Barbagallo, Ray Geneve, Stan Stacevich, Alan Nylander, Glynn Taylor, Mick McKeown still bring back fond memories of the Longest Running Speedway in the World.
I was Western Australia’s only TAFE Motorsport Lecturer for some 10 years. It was great to introduce young people into our sport and give them experiences like the Mini Challenge, the Historic Touring car and also working alongside the V8 Ute series Teams when they came to Perth each year.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH MOTORSPORT?
I guess i was about 4 when I first attended the speedway. So that is about 47 years I’ve loved all forms of Motorsport. I’ve been an Official at the Supercars event for many years in roles such as Commentator for support events, driving the Medical car and also driving the Course Car.
HAVE YOU DONE ANY COMPETITIVE MOTORSPORT, IF SO PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT WAS AND HOW YOU WENT?
I have competed competitively in a range of Motorsport over the years. A few club championships in 2 different categories of karting, I’ve competed in the Mini Challenge finishing 8th among drivers such as Carratti, Reindler, Stokell and Grant Denyer at Barbagallo Raceway in 2009.
With the kind support of Mike Smith from MSM Racing my TAFE Motorsport Students rebuilt then competed in Historic Touring car racing whilst also competing in Regularity events. We won the Historic Regularity CAMS State Championship in 2014. Also picked up Handicap winner of the Trevor Roy Young Memorial race in the same year.
Although not competitive motorsport I’m a Driver Coach for V8 Race Experience giving people the opportunity to experience driving a race car with tuition. No better feeling than seeing the clients exit the car with a huge grin on their faces.
I raced a season of Speedway Super Sedans and have also raced in the HQ Enduro in 2018 alongside Ryan Davis. We qualified the car in P3 and was running in 3rd place when I took over the car from Ryan. Gear selector issue 2 laps into my stint put paid to a podium finish. I’ve attended the Fastlane Formula Ford driving school and won the race at the end if the day.
I race Radio Controlled nitro burning buggies. I participated in last years World Championships held at Whiteman Park among 220 of the worlds best RC drivers and Factory Teams of which I am now associated with.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING MOMENT IN YOUR CURRENT OR A PAST ROLE IN MOTORSPORT?
I live and breathe motorsport. I enjoy everything I do in and around the sport. One function that has been one of my highlights was hosting a Question and Answer with the Legend himself Dick Johnson and Team Manager for DJR Team Penske Dr Ryan Story just prior to last years Perth Supernight for the Virgin Australia Supercars held at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway. A huge audience and a true legend of our sport made for a very nervous me.
During the 2019 Supercars event I was driving the Ford Mustang Course Car and had the opportunity to take some winners of competitions for some hot laps at the event. That was another great experience.
I’ve been lucky enough to of commentated with the “on track” commentators for V8 Supercars media in 2018 calling the local support categories of Formula Ford and Saloon cars at the event.
I’ve also commentated the IP Nationals and the HQ Nationals. Nothing better than seeing and commentating the best of the best in any category.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CATEGORY OF RACING?
I don’t generally have a given favourite. They are all unique in their own way. I hold the Historic Touring cars close to my heart. Formula Vee racing is pretty exciting with the slip streaming and 3 wide finishes to races. The great days of Sports Sedan racing was very good. High horsepower cars with spaceframe chassis.
Names like Bob Tindall, Keith Carling in his amazing Rx7, our own Dick Ward, Con Montorosso in a 7lt chev mid mounted engine stuffed inside an RS2000 Escort. But the king of the Sports Sedans Perth boy Tony Ricciadello in the super quick Chev Alfetta would have to be one of my favourites.
I also enjoy speedway and power boat racing. I admire very much the tenacity of the lovable larikin Rosco McGlashin in his efforts to become the first man to exceed 1600kmph on land.
IN GENERAL, HOW HAS MOTORSPORT CHANGED SINCE YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED?
I guess the introduction of upgraded safety equipment come to mind. The introduction of the HANS device, the Halo on Formula cars, the advancement in driver suits over the years.
As far as new classes I really enjoy the hard tight racing of Excel Cup racing and one of the really new categories the TA2 Series is going gangbusters.
HOW LONG DO YOU THINK YOU’LL KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING?
I’m far from done!. I still have lots of ideas to explore and enhance the publics experience at a racetrack. We have introduced Grid Walks since I’ve been the lead Commentator at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway and also a roving microphone for driver interviews. I’ve even commentated from 30 metres above the ground at the top of the hill at the track. Now that was an experience.
DO YOU HAVE ANY GOALS WITHIN YOUR ROLE TO MOVE FORWARD OR DO OTHER THINGS IN MOTORSPORT?
Ideally I’d love to become involved in the media reporting on Motorsport from around the country and overseas. I do some special guest appearances on some podcasts and as I already stated I’ve worked with V8 Supercars media in the past.
If I can make someone’s visit to the racetrack something special and memorable then I’ve done a good job.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT MOTORSPORT RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The one thing killing prospective participants is the costs involved with our sport. If we could somehow lower the running costs i believe this would see more people get involved.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT TO CHAT VAUGHN!
Catch Vaughn on dual duties at the final WA Sporting Car Club race meet on November 16th when he jumps into Natasha Passaris’s excel in the final round of the Federal Tyres Excel cup at Barbagallo Raceway.