Paul Weel joins SST for racing return

by Justin Nguyen

Paul Weel is back in a race car. On Thursday, Speedcafe.com’s Brett Murray reported the former Supercars Championship driver will join the Boost Mobile Super Trucks for the 2020 season.

“Former Supercars driver Paul Weel will make a major return to motorsport after a 12-year lay-off in this year’s Boost Mobile Stadium Super Trucks Series beginning with the Superloop Adelaide 500 this month,” the series posted on Facebook.

In 2008, Weel, who had raced in Supercars since 1998, was involved in a massive wreck during practice for the Bathurst 1000. After his stopped car was impacted from the side by Chris Pither, Weel suffered back fractures, a split spleen, and a punctured lung.

Although Weel remained in motorsport, he stepped away from driving to focus on growing his PWR Performance Products business. Founded in 1997 by Weel and his father Kees, the company provides cooling equipment for various race teams in series like NASCAR and Formula One. In November 2015, PWR was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

During his Supercars career, he recorded a best finish of third in the 2003 Adelaide 500. Weel had finished the race fourth, but a penalty to third-placed Russell Ingall promoted Weel onto the podium. Coincidentally, Ingall is also an SST driver, with four career starts in 2018 and 2019, the latter of which included the series’ return to Australia.

While Weel has never raced in SST, the series is not his first foray into the discipline. In the 1990s, he spent his pre-Supercars career in stadium trucks, and won the Australian Stadium Off Road Championship in 1997–98. To prepare for his racing return, he and various other drivers conducted a test session at Queensland Raceway under 2017 SST champion Paul Morris.

“I really learned my trade in stadium off-road racing which is obviously quite similar to SST,” Weel stated in the Speedcafe article. “I have driven one of the new trucks at Norwell (Motorplex) and they are good fun. I am looking forward to racing guys like Robby (Gordon) and competing without the pressure of something like Supercars.”

In addition to SST, Weel will dabble in other forms of off-road racing, including the Mint 400 in Las Vegas and the Tatts Finke Desert Race in June. For the effort, he purchased a Geiser Brothers vehicle from Dakar Rally winner and SST veteran Toby Price.

Weel’s racing return is scheduled for the season opener at Adelaide in late February. The weekend will mark the first for the Boost Mobile Super Trucks as its own championship, while the American SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks will join them in a co-sanctioned race weekend. Further conjunction races are scheduled for the Perth SuperNight in May and the season-ending Gold Coast 600 in October.

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