With categories such as Formula 1 and Supercars being the dream destination of many of drivers, the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship is fortunate to have previous Formula 1 experience amongst one of our teams.
Adam Gotch, Team Principal of AGI Sport, was formerly of the Williams F1 Team and lead the team behind Australia’s entry in the A1GP World Cup.
During his stint as a mechanic at Williams, the team’s former World Champion driver Alan Jones enquired about Gotch’s credentials to establish Australia’s entry.
“At the time I was a Grand Prix mechanic for Williams and I read about this crazy idea about country-versus-country motor racing. I thought ‘this sounds pretty good’,” Gotch said.
“Alan Jones was there gathering an Australian team. I got the gig to be Team Manager for five years, I worked closely with ‘AJ’ for many years.”
Gotch received a glowing reference from William’s heritage mechanics, who looked after the team’s historic machinery.
“I got to deal with the latest Grand Prix cars of the time. Of a lunchtime I used to go over and help out the museum guys, train them up on the latest car,” Gotch said.
“There was an original mechanic from ‘AJ’s’ period from the early 80s, there was someone from Damon Hill’s period, so the older guys weren’t that au fait with the later cars, so I used to go help them at the time.
“It just so happened ‘AJ’ rang the museum, rang one of his original mechanics and asked about Adam Gotch. The old fella said ‘Yeah, ripper bloke’. It was a good experience.”
With the A1GP series backed by the Sheikh Maktoum of Dubai, Gotch enjoyed four seasons in the unique category. Some of Australia’s best drivers were involved with the squad, with even current Australian Formula 4 Driving Standards Advisor Karl Reindler representing Australia.
“Over five years they spent $600 million on this programme, a crazy amount of money. It was an awesome series we thought, but the GFC (global financial crisis) kicked in 2008/2009 – they’d spent all their money,” Gotch said.
“But we did four awesome seasons. It was a fantastic experience, I got to work with some great drivers such as Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Daniel Ricciardo, all those guys, it was a great time.”
Gotch soon returned to Australia to establish engineering business AGI, specialising in roll cage design and eventually preparing racing machinery.
“I’d been on the road for a long time. Eventually I came back from Europe and set up a little engineering business, I was over motor racing at the time,” Gotch said.
“CAMS announced F4 and I thought it was a great opportunity to get back into motor racing.
“I think I was the first to sign up and put some money on the table. It was a brave step for CAMS to go this direction, it’s great that they did because I think we all believe now that it’s an awesome project to be involved with.”
AGI Sport enjoyed their most successful season to date in 2017, with their founding driver Nick Rowe securing their first Drivers’ Championship. Rowe was also the squad’s first pole position and round winner in the 2016 round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Off the back of their championship success, the Sydney squad has since secured the services of 2017 Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Year Ryan Suhle.