Australian Prototype Series rookie Carmelo Bonaventura’s ideology of being a ‘small fish in a big pond’ instead of a ‘big fish in a small pond’ was the main motivation for signing up to a full season in 2019.
After competing in just two rounds last year at Queensland Raceway and Sydney Motorsport Park, Bonaventura ended the year with two class wins at the Shannons Nationals’ events.
His successful first year behind the wheel of a Radical on the national stage gave Bonaventura a basket full of confidence and the inspiration he needed to take the next step and move up the ranks.
“I normally race in Brisbane at a local level and it’s good but it’s not great, whereas when I did the Queensland and Sydney Shannons Nationals last year, I felt they were a lot more competitive,” Bonaventura said.
“I just loved how classy it was and that is why I wanted to try and do a full season this year.
“In Brisbane, it’s pretty scattered - you have really quick drivers and slower drivers. It’s a local level and full of people that are more in it for the social aspect.
“I am a competitive person and I want the challenge of the national level. When I raced in Sydney, I just felt they were 10 levels above me.
“I may have got the class wins in both Queensland and Sydney but I was situated in mid-pack for the whole race, however at the end of the day I had a ball with it, so I am hoping I can experience that again.”
This year will be Bonaventura’s fourth year in motor sport, with two years spent in Superkarts before making the switch to the Radical last year where he was able to enhance his skills as a driver.
The Queenslander has no regrets with his switch, praising both the Radical car and the Prototype Series.
“I love the Radical. The power and the handling is awesome, it’s like a go-kart on steroids,” Bonaventura added.
“When you get an understanding for the car, it does everything you want it to do. This helps because I maintain it with just my dad and cousin and I love that you can just get parts for the car off the shelf because I am pretty time poor.
“As for the series, the Prototype is Le Mans style. You can’t get a better race car in my opinion and you can’t get a better feel behind the wheel than with these things.”
Bonaventura is one of many who strongly support the category and vehicles and he will be competing against some of the best in the business at this month’s season opener in Sydney.
While he will be there to have fun, he will also use the opportunity to learn from his fellow competitors.
“To compete against guys like Chris Perini and Peter Paddon is fantastic and I am really looking forward to it,” Bonaventura revealed.
“They are serious weapons. I could not believe what I saw when I raced against them last year and how good they are.
“I am going to try and learn as much as I can from them because I am not going to stop racing anytime soon, but I am there mainly to have fun and race hard.
The Australian prototypes series 2019 season will get underway at Sydney motorsport park on 17-19 may with races spread across the weekend.
All practices, qualifying and races will be shown live and free through the live stream on thenationals.com.au.