Defending Australian Prototype Series winner Jason Makris has sensationally called stumps on his 2019 season, with the imminent arrival of his second child ahead of this weekend’s round at Winton.
Though Makris could have made plans to race and quickly return to his Queensland home, the easier decision was to sit out the weekend and therefore the year.
“When baby wants to come, baby wants to come,” Makris said.
“I was contemplating flying in to Melbourne around 11 o’clock, but by the time I get to the track I would’ve just had time for drivers briefing and start qualifying, do the first race, drive back to Albury and then hop on a plane, be home for the night, and then hop on a plane the next morning.
“For me it was a very easy decision to opt out, it’s an emotional decision. That’s always going to supersede anything that is hobby related – which motor racing is in my life.
“I feel for racing drivers that do it for a career if they get faced with this sort of situation, it would be very tough for them.”
Victorious last time out at Queensland Raceway, Makris had regained the series lead over David Barram with a consistent weekend across a dramatic three races.
Set to return in the 2020 series, Makris will hand the keys to his Wolf Tornado to Jam Motorsport teammate John-Paul Drake for the rest of 2019.
“My offer went out to John-Paul Drake to say ‘mate, here’s a Tornado for you to come and drive’. It is the series leading car, also the successor model to what he’s currently racing. If anyone I believe in that can drive the car to its capacity is John-Paul Drake,” Makris said.
“We’ve had plenty of battles in the past, and I think he would be a strong suitor to be able to swap from his GB08-CN to a Tornado quite easily. That’s where that discussion was done, literally this morning. John-Paul was sort of scratching his head whether he was capable of it, I said ‘mate you’re more than capable’.”
Current Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge racer Harri Jones will be lending his experience to Drake now for the weekend, with plenty of practice laps on Friday for Drake to become acquainted to Makris’ machine.
“I’ll be on the phone to him to see how JP’s going, making sure that he’s having the best shot at the weekend,” Makris said.
“I’d love to see him win a race, win the round, and win the series – they’re the three things I’d love to see him do. If my car can contribute to that achievement, then fantastic.”
Makris will pop in to the Prototypes paddock again at The Bend in November, albeit as a spectator. The Queenslander will also assist the category in its growth ahead of the 2020 season.
“We’ve got some good people involved, I think the racing’s important but for the category it’s more important to make sure that parity, the numbers and making sure we can make it attractive for people that have a range of a budgets,” Makris said.
“In saying that, the silver lining from that is I will make a thorough preparation for the 2020 season – we can start from now.”
Barram heads into the Winton round as series leader on 239 points, and 10 ahead of his nearest rival Daniel Gonzalez. Drake will have his work cut out to catch up to Barram, though he will have four races at Winton to make up his 21 point deficit over Barram.