Six weeks before the start of the 2022 Supercars Championship season, Peter Xiberras purchased an empty transporter and two Supercars in dire need of love and set about the mammoth task of mounting a two-car campaign in Australia’s premier touring car category.
At the same time, he and his PremiAir Racing team continued to race in the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship, successfully defending their national championship status in June before commencing a third title campaign across the latter half of the year.
“They say bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like hell – that is certainly what we did!” Xiberras reflects.
“The deal to purchase Team Sydney came together so late in the piece, that we had to just get into it and do what we could to put the team together in time for the first round, and then work all season-long to make improvements to what we were bringing to the table.
“Six weeks before we started, we had basically nothing except an empty transporter and two cars that needed a lot of work, but we got it all together and then spent the rest of the year fine-tuning our operation, welcoming new people to the team, and upgrading our equipment, all while coming to grips with what is a truly complex and highly competitive category.
“It wasn’t without its bumps of course, but I am truly proud of what we were able to achieve as a team and I am so very excited about what 2023 holds.”
PremiAir Racing’s Supercars, the (then) #76 Subway PremiAir Racing Supercar and the #22 PremiAir Coca-Cola Racing Supercar, were unveiled on February 21 and two weeks later made their race debut at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“The first half of the Supercars season was a case of just chipping away at it, and we had a number of weekends where we were racing both in Supercars and also in Top Fuel, which certainly meant things were busy,” Xiberras said.
“One of those double headers came at the mid-point of the year, where both Supercars and Top Fuel descended on Darwin.
“For Supercars, this was the half-way point of the season, but for Top Fuel, it was our 2022 season finale, and we were ecstatic to claim our second consecutive National Championship.
“This was a real highlight and marked a turning point for our team overall. Of course, it is no secret things were tough in the Supercars garage for us in Darwin, but we kept on going and in the latter half of the year with a number of changes, including a new driver in what is now the #31 Subway PremiAir Racing entry, we continued to improve.
“When all was said and done, we walked away with two Top Ten Shootout appearances for the #31 (Gold Coast and Adelaide), five top ten race finishes (#76 AusGP, #31 Sandown, #31 New Zealand, #22 Gold Coast, #31 Adelaide), brought both cars home in our Bathurst 1000 debut including a P12 finish for the #31, and the #22 finished all 34 races of the season – one of only five entries on the grid to do so.
“Our race pace is continually improving, and at the last round in Adelaide both cars were very fast all weekend long with drivers Jimmy Golding and Chris Pither along with our crew doing all they could to end our season on a high.
“Adelaide marked Chris’ final event with us, and we thank him for his efforts across the year and wish him all the best for the future.
“At the end of the day, I couldn’t be prouder of our entire team for their efforts and dedication across 2022, and with Gen 3 coming online in 2023, Jimmy continuing on with us, and Tim Slade joining the team, as well as plenty of great racing to come in the Top Fuel championship, we are very excited about what lays ahead.”
While the Supercars season concluded in early December, racing for the 2022/2023 Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship continues, with round three of a seven-round calendar to be held across January 6 and 7 at Willowbank Raceway. The first two rounds were held at Alice Springs in September and in Perth in November, with Xiberras currently fifth in the championship standings as he looks to challenge for a third straight title.
“As we look forward to an exciting 2023, I would like to take a moment to thank our valued partners for their support on and off-track throughout 2022,” Xiberras said.
“Thank you to Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Subway Australia, PremiAir Hire, Hiflex, Gearwrench, Unit, SimTech, Air-Allied, D2N, Fuchs, Muscle Car Warehouse, Havendeen, Sailor Studio, The Cover Shop, Polyflor, Fuchtardt, Machanix Wear and R&J Batteries.
“I would also like to send a big thank you to our team, for their hard work and dedication throughout the year, while wishing everyone a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.”
It is going to be an exceptionally busy January for the team, with Willowbank Raceway’s New Year Nitro event set to be quickly followed up by Sydney Dragway’s Top Fuel Slam on January 27 and 28, and the team’s Supercars also set to be on track on January 30 for pre-season testing.
For more information on PremiAir Racing, please visit www.premiairracing.com or follow the team on its social media platforms at www.facebook.com/PremiAirRacing/, www.instagram.com/premiair_racing/, www.linkedin.com/company/premiairracing/ and www.twitter.com/premiairracing