Racing towards a dream


Racing towards a dream

words todd kuchel
PHOTOGRAPHY sam kroepsch
>> Brad Vaughan

Brad Vaughan is following his childhood dream of becoming a race-car-driver in Australia’s top level, Supercars.

Born and bred in the Barossa Valley, you’ll typically find Brad on the spanners at his family’s business, Angaston Motors.

Any spare time is devoted to his love of racing, whether it be on the simulator, chasing sponsors, watching races, or competing behind the wheel on the track.

“I can guarantee you’ll find me at a track most weekends!” says Brad.

Brad was practically born into racing.

His Dad, Steve Vaughan raced Speedway (Dirt Racing) and together their weekends were spent at the track during speedway season.

When he was nine years old, Brad began dirt go-karting, which in South Australia is extremely popular.

Dirt karts have 11 tracks across SA and 300-400 entries across the classes at some races.

Brad competed in dirt karts for 6 years, until the age of 15, during which time he accomplished many achievements, including winning events like the Riverland Championship, Adelaide Classic and standing on the podium for the SA State Championships and NT State Championships in the same year.

It was a come-and-try day at our local Barossa Go-Kart Club at Robinson Park in Nuriootpa that lured Brad into bitumen racing.

“Dad, Mum and I ventured out to the track that day and from then on I haven’t looked back,” Brad explains.

For Christmas a month or so later, Brad was surprised with a race-ready bitumen go-kart, which he raced the following year (2019).

After competing for 6-8 months, he already held lap records and achieved pole positions and race wins.

With his 16th Birthday approaching, Brad knew he would soon be old enough to enter car racing.

He considered his options early and decided to purchase a Toyota ‘86 to compete in the Toyota ‘86 Racing Series, conducted around Australia at Supercar events.

This series has gained a reputation for a start for future stars and is one of the closest and fiercely contested series in Australia.

The car was purchased when Brad was 15, preparing for his 16th Birthday.

Unfortunately, COVID struck and the series was cancelled.

“ I aspire and take notice of those who are winners and what they do to achieve their success, not just sportspeople but people who have success in their life and business.”

- Brad vaughan

“In order to keep racing, we looked at more state level competition in the Hyundai Excels,” Brad explains.

“We were glad we did this before going national, the Excels are cheap and competitive, so much so that we still race them now.”

Once our border opened, Brad raced the Toyota series in 2021 and picked up 2 x podiums, one in Townsville, Qld the other in Sydney, NSW.

“After a successful year, we were gearing up for the 2022 season, that was until I had a phone call from Michael Anderson (who I had never met but knew of within the race scene) asking if I wanted to drive his ex V8 Supercar in the Super3 Series,” Brad explains.

Super 3 is the official third tier in the supercar series, with Super 2 being the stepping stone towards driving the V8 Supercar series.

“It was an easy yes,” Brad beams, “and before I knew it, we were on a plane to Sydney for our first race.”

Having never raced a V8 Supercar before, this was Brad’s first test to see if he was any good. That day he won three out of three races.

“Going into the last race in the Adelaide 500, we were 66 points behind the leader.

“We managed to win the championship in style when our main rival found the infamous turn eight wall.

“This was enough to secure the championship and spray champagne on the podium on the stage that I have watched ever since I can remember.”

Brad has never had just one single sportsperson who has inspired him, but he has met some influential people along the way.

“I aspire and take notice of those who are winners and what they do to achieve their success, not just sports people but people who have success in their life and business.

“Mum and Dad definitely inspire me, as they are the ones who got me into the sport and have supported me through it all.”

This year, Brad will be driving for Tickford Racing in the Super2 Series.

After a strong year, Brad has been lucky enough to secure himself a drive in the tier below the ‘main-game,’ driving for a team which already runs four cars within Supercars and finished runner-up with Cam Waters in 2022.

“Effectively, I am their junior driver and hopefully next in-line to take the professional step,” Brad says with a modest smile. “But time will tell.”

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