Watching the 2019 Newcastle 500 as an avid fan and sponsor, Newcastle’s Michael Sherwell had a little idea - a local Newcastle race team. When Michael’s business, Nova Air and Electrical sponsored local
business owner and race driver Gavan Reynolds compete in the Toyota 86 Series races at the Newcastle 500, Michael was hooked. “I’m good friends with Gavan and the Newcastle 500 experience was just unreal. When his Toyota 86 came up for sale, I jumped at the chance.” Michael Sherwell Racing was born.
A self-confessed adrenalin junkie, Michael has been an avid fan of motorsport for as long as he can remember. “My father was a keen motorbike racer in the ‘70’s, and when I showed the same curiosity, I was told I would need to learn how to fix it before I could ride.” Michael has tried his hand at free style motocross, surfing and snowboarding. The challenge of competition driving him in very sport.
Competing in the Toyota 86 Series across 2021 and 2022 saw Michael start to build an experienced team on and off the track. However, the one driving force, to compete in the local event, wasn’t fulfilled. “First it was COVID and now, with the Supercars back in Newcastle, the 86 Series hasn’t been included in the program.” That was not going to stop Michael being involved. Step in the Aussie Cars.
“Thankfully our great partners came on board and we were able to get our hands on an Aussie Car.” Local businesses Edwards Vickerman Consulting, Access Worx, All Class Windscreens and Michael's Nova Air and Electrical all saw it as an opportunity to finally take up a grid position on their home course. “That was 6 weeks ago. 8 short weeks to learn a new car? If we want to be on the grid in Newcastle, this was the best way,” says Michael.
Learning to drive an Aussie Car started straight away, however, Sherwell Racing’s engineer Loz, was on the same learning curve. “The car was really fighting us in those first trials,” says Loz, who has been with Sherwell Racing since day 1. “It’s like an alien compared to the 86, but if anyone can learn it in 8 weeks, it’s Mick.”
With just 14 days until the Newcastle 500, Sherwell Racing hasn’t done it alone. “Cody McKay has been amazing, so too Lockie Ward, passing on their knowledge, answering all of my rookie questions,” says Michael. “The Aussie Cars team, particularly Brad, have been amazing, they want us starting at our local event.”
Sherwell Racing is super pumped to finally take on the Newcastle street course, along with 3 other Novocastrians, Shaun Martin, Cody McKay and Charlotte Ponting, there’s every chance a local will be on the podium.