The 2020 Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 series may be on hold, but that hasn’t stopped Erebus Academy recruit Bailey Sweeny from revealing a brand new, sky blue livery in readiness for when racing resumes.
The teenage karting whiz from Bateman’s Bay on the NSW south coast joined the Academy program after impressing at trials at Norwell in late 2019 and has been preparing ever since for the 2020 season.
Whilst he has yet to race his Toyota in 2020, other than a spin at Sydney Motorsport Park in June, he received his new livery last week and couldn’t be happier with his ride.
“It looks really cool, its similar to my sim racing design. I just want to thank Erebus and all my sponsors for backing me and giving me the opportunity,” said the 17-year-old.
Sweeny’s major sponsor, All 4 Mechanical, takes pride of place on the bonnet and both side panels, with other supporters including Onelife Gym, Deli on Perry, Hip Pocket Workwear Batemans Bay, Pit Lane Media and Diamond Helmet Designs.
“It’s been a bit disappointing not to get to drive the Toyota 86 series yet this year. We were all ready for it, but hopefully we can get on track somewhere this year, but if not, I will be ready for next year.”
Sweeny’s introduction to cars was with the Erebus first ‘’Karts to Cars’’ program. That was all he needed to whet his appetite for racing. He quickly applied for the Toyota 86 tryouts where he earned his place at the Erebus Academy.
“I’ve been racing Karts for the past four years and I was lucky enough to come across the opportunity with Erebus.
“Erebus put out for some trials and we went up to Norwell Motoplex on the Gold Coast to try out and we were selected to be a part of the Academy program. Only three people were selected out of twelve, so I was really lucky.”
With aspirations to be a Supercar driver, Sweeny was excited to spend time with Penrite Racing drivers Anton De Pasquale and David Reynolds as part of the Academy mentoring program.
“Anton and Dave were at the Academy when we were there which was really cool. I had met Anton before in Go Karts, but I hadn’t met Dave before that. They both gave me good advice, which I really appreciated, and Dave was good fun.”
Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan said Sweeny had shown a lot of talent and maturity and a willingness to learn, which is what helped him earn a place in the program.
“Bailey is a very talented young driver and the fact that he has had to deal with the disappointment and frustration in not getting a start this year when he was ready to go, is one of the challenges that many have dealt with over COVID-19,” he said.
“The fact he has secured some sponsors, got his car ready and is getting out and racing whenever he can whilst doing his schooling shows he has the commitment, which is what the Erebus Academy is all about. We look forward to mentoring Bailey and help steer him in the right direction for the start of the Toyota 86 Series when it comes around.”
On a more personal note, the roof of Sweeny’s car carries the Charlie Teo Foundation logo – the well renowned Australian neurosurgeon – as a tribute to Bailey’s grandmother who passed away from brain cancer.
“Mum passed away in 2018 from brain cancer and Charlie helped prolong her life as she had GBM, being which is the worst brain cancer possible,” said Bailey’s mother Michelle.
“Bailey’s inheritance has helped him financially pursue his racing dream, and we want to do our part to raise awareness to help other people going through this terrible disease.”
Whilst Sweeny is waiting on his Toyota 86 debut, he hasn’t been sitting around. As well as study for Year 11 exams, he has been keeping busy going to the gym and competing when he can and has raced a Hyundai Excel in Goulburn as well as Karting at the Australasian Gold Cup in Dubbo in August.