The very first professional race I attended in my life was in 2009. A friend bought me a ticket to my first V8 Supercars event at Barbagallo Circuit near Perth, Western Australia. This was long before I even knew it was possible to volunteer in motorsport. I had missed the Australian GP by days as I arrived Australia on my first working holiday scheme and left Melbourne for Sydney because of a job offer.
Fast forward a few years when I arrived New Zealand on my last working holiday, Australia was just a hop and skip away. And I took full advantage of the opportunity to register for the Australian GP.
I had made contacts during Singapore GP so the registration process was fairly simple and straightforward. As things generally are with Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS). I discovered their senior marshals travel around the world (mostly close to their part of the world in Asia Pacific) to train other country’s marshals the FIA standards. CAMS publishes the “Race Official” handbooks distributed in Singapore, and South Korea apparently… and Bahrain or Abu Dhabi where they were contracted to provide the training.
Yet marshaling the Australian GP in Melbourne felt quite different from what I experienced in Singapore. It was far more laid back. The registration process was as stringent. I collected my orange overalls, a hat, and a goodie bag full of posters, stickers and other souvenirs.
Early morning meetings was something new to get used to, especially since I had to travel for over an hour to Albert Park from where I was staying. The days were long. Wet at times. And often some people’s Aussie humor tended to get to me. I had made my first mistake marshaling in Melbourne when I was sent to recover a large chunk of carbon fiber debris on the second lap… and didn’t complete the task because I heard someone yelling at me. Turns out it was a spectator and I wasn’t supposed to listen to him.
I liked their GP so much I came back for the second year. Although this time since I traveled from the US, I extended the trip by marshaling about eight events in a row. Including V8 Supercars season opener at Clipsal in Adelaide as well as the Australian GT event at the world famous Mount Panorama for the 12 hours of Bathurst. The most amazing experience though was one of the two trips I made to Phillip Island working the Siberia turn for SBK Superbikes. The view was simply spectacular with the Ocean in the background.
Like the US, Australia has a number of clubs and organizations that recruit marshals for their events. But a safe bet to get started volunteering is reaching out to CAMS: https://www.cams.com.au/