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Following in dads tyre tracks

Ryan Hansford is just one of the new generation of Australian racers keeping a famous surname alive, writes Ben Dillon
OTORSPORT dynasties are an Australian tradition with a younger generation of famous surnames like Johnson, Brock and Moffat taking up the racing torch laid down by forebears. Another name to add to this list is Ryan Hansford son of late racing champ Gregg Hansford. He is set to strap into a V8 ute and compete in the 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series. Queenslander Hansford cut his teeth in the state Gemini series before moving into the Fujitsu V8 Supercars via a stint in the Mini Challenge series. Ive always wanted to race. I jumped into the Gemini and kept winning so decided to keep going, says the 28-year-old Brisbanebased builder. We tried V8 Supercars next and one of the only reasons we left was budget. Despite a late start, Hansford is very keen to make up for lost time.

Its a nice little bit of Gumpert

YES, its a strange name, but the performance of the Tornante isnt to be sneezed at. The two-seat, mid-engined rocket is the proposed second road-going model from German-based Gumpert which, if you hadnt noticed, is also a strange name after its Apollo and a line of track cars. The Tornante its Italian for a hairpin bend gets a 520kW biturbo 4.2-litre V8 Audi engine and Tiptronic gearbox with paddle shifters. The body is by Touring Superleggera, which means it looks sexy, and has that firms lightweight chrome-moly-steel space frame, carbon-fibre spine and composite body panel design. Roland Gumpert previously a top executive with Audi in China retains a strong link with Audi and exclusively uses its drivetrains. Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur was started in 2004 and uses the technical assistance of Audi.

Dad was definitely an inspiration and Im sure I wouldve been into it (racing) earlier if he hadnt died, Hansford says. Hansfords decision to move to the V8 utes was precipitated by the aggravation of an ankle injury which last year forced him to withdraw from the final round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series. A young Hansford and his father had talked about joining forces to tackle the Great Race at Mt Panorama, but Gregg Hansfords untimely death while racing at Phillip Island in 1995 stole those dreams away from a 12-year-old Ryan, along with his hero. The 2011 season is set to be one of the toughest yet with V8 ute stalwarts Charlie Kovacs and Charlie OBrien and former V8 supercar drivers Cameron McConville and Nathan Pretty among a field ready to take the fight to champion Grant Johnson.

SPEED DEMON: Ryan Hansford, son of the late racing great Gregg, is steeling himself to compete in this years Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series.

Neil Dowling

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 The Courier-Mail