MACAULEY Jones has grown up with motor racing in his veins.
The fresh-faced, 19-year-old former Xavier High student who will make his V8 debut in round four of the Dunlop Series in Townsville this weekend, is part of the Albury-based Brad Jones Racing dynasty, team co-owners dad Brad and uncle Kim, and cousin Andrew.
His grandfather, Phil, was a well-known local car salesman who was also a long-serving president of the Albury-Wodonga Car Club during the heydays of the now-defunct Hume Weir motor racing circuit.
His great grandfather was Haydn Junghenn who, with Ted Henwood, opened the original Albury Motors in Olive Street in 1923.
Like his dad, uncle and cousin, Macauley raced Formula Fords and was a successful junior karter with the Albury-Wodonga Kart Club, but this weekend he steps out of open-wheelers and into a high-horsepower V8.
“This will be a completely different world,” Jones said.
When Jones rolls his ex-David Wall, Think Holden-sponsored Commodore onto the Townsville street circuit today for the first of two practice sessions, he will be one of the youngest drivers in the 30-car field.
But he is not daunted by either his age or his inexperience.
“There is no expectation. All I need do is stay clean and learn a lot from what is going on around me. It is all about gaining confidence and experience,” Jones said.
While stressing that it will be a challenging debut for Macauley, Brad Jones says it’s all about building for the future.
“Macauley’s only had a day of testing at Winton recently, but we think it’s better to get him into a car sooner rather than later,” Jones said.
“I’ll be more nervous than him. As a father it’s as close as it gets to me as a driver.
“We’ll have five other drivers out there racing across the weekend, but when one of them is your son — and he’s making his Supercar debut — it’s going to be a bit different.
“To make your debut on a street circuit like Townsville is going to be tough, but he needs to get a few events under his belt before Bathurst.”
After spending much of the year preparing the car himself, the third year apprentice mechanic can’t wait to get out onto the track.
“It’s going to be a pretty steep learning curve, but I’m ready for the challenge. I want to thank Holden for getting behind us. I can’t wait,” the young Jones said.
Jones came to prominence through the AMSF (CAMS Rising Star program) and is one of two drivers that have been helped pave their way forward. Even to Formula One.
Jones is no newcomer to the Townsville circuit, having raced on it in Formula Ford.
“I know the circuit pretty well, but it is going to be very different in a V8 rather than in an open-wheeler. My aim is to stay out of trouble and learn as much as I can and I am lucky I have both Andrew and Chris (Pither) in the field keeping an eye on my driving.”
After watching his son honing his skills in karting, Formula Ford and the Toyota Racing Series, dad Brad knows how significant this step will be for Macauley.
“This is an exciting time in Macauley’s life. It’s the start of a brand new challenge,” Jones said.
“He will compete in the remaining four rounds of the Dunlop Series and looks certain to compete in all rounds in 2015.”
Jones has a talented team behind him in preparing his car.