Versa returns in strength for gold star tilt in 2023

Versa Motorsport will continue their rapid climb up the ranks of Australian open-wheel racing when they challenge for the 2023 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship this year.

The team, based in Melbourne, has signed promising Adelaide teenager Blake Purdie for a full-season Gold Star campaign, however expects to run up to three cars this year.

2022 standout Cooper Webster will compete in at least the first round, at AWC Race Tasmania this February, before heading to Europe to contest the GB4 Championship in the UK.

According to team owner Toby Pope, Versa is also in discussion with several other promising candidates in line to drive this year.

That could expand their squad to three cars this year – an impressive feat for a team only entering its second full-time season.

“We’ve got lots of irons in the fire and some really interesting drivers from other, high-profile categories, are chatting to us,” he confirmed.

“In the meantime, to have Blake locked in for the full season is great news. He showed last year just how talented he is and his performances, especially in the final event in Adelaide, were outstanding.”

Purdie starred on the streets at the VALO Adelaide 500, qualifying ninth but racing his way to a podium finish by the end of Sunday’s feature race.

“He’s a very quick very young guy and has shown a lot of pace from the first race meeting he did in S5000,” Pope explained.

To compete at Adelaide after being out of the seat for a while, no testing and one new set of tires less than everyone else was a huge weekend, so to embark on a full season with proper preparation will showcase what he is capable of.

“Cooper has big things planned in the UK this season, but Tassie will be a great way for him to get seat time and be sharp for when he heads over.

“It’s going to be a big season. As a category we have momentum and we’re looking forward to the year ahead.”

S5000 will commence the 2023 S5000 Australian Drivers Championship for the Motorsport Australia Gold Star award at AWC Race Tasmania, the opening round of the Shannons SpeedSeries, this February 24-26.

Tickets are available online now, while the weekend will be broadcast live, ad-break free and on demand by Stan Sports.

S5000 will also receive free-to-air coverage on the Nine Network on the Saturday of the event at Symmons Plains.