Ten students from Gunnedah High School’s Clontarf Academy were the new faces of Red Bull Ampol Racing team at the Darwin Supercars last weekend.

The Gunnedah boys were invited to the Northern Territory capital on an all-expenses-paid trip to help unveil the race car’s new indigenous design which they created.

Adding to the excitement was that nine out of the 10 boys had never flown on a plane prior to this weekend’s trip to Darwin.

The Gunnedah academy is one of 160 Clontarf Foundation academies throughout the country which operate to improve the education, life skills, self-esteem, and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men through academies in schools.

Based at the Gunnedah High School, the academy supports 95 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through the program, which encourages them to participate in education, employment and society in a positive way.

All Clontarf academies in Australia had the opportunity to enter an artwork for the Supercar competition and design it to fit the brief, which consisted of creating a story for the artwork using the colours of the Ampol and Redbull team.

But it was the Gunnedah students’ design which stood out for the racing team.

“What an incredible design this group of school mates from Gunnedah’s Clontarf Academy have put together for our Red Bull Ampol Racing cars,” Triple Eight boss Jamie Whincup told supercars.com prior the championship race.

“I’m blown away by the talent they’ve shown and the amazing story this artwork represents. I’m so thankful that all our major partners, led by Ampol, continue to support Supercars’ Indigenous round, and let us represent their brands through this unique livery.

“To have the Clontarf students travel to Darwin with the team, many of them not having been on a plane before, is really humbling. I commend Ampol for making this happen and congratulate them on their continued partnership with the Clontarf Foundation.”

Gunnedah High School teacher Alex Boulus, who accompanied students on the trip, commended all on their exemplary representation on the
national stage.

“The boys were awesome, I couldn’t more proud, of them” he said.

The educator said students relished every moment of the multi-day visit which included a Supercar “hot lap” for two members of the Gunnedah contingent.

Dan Ellis and Clayton Friend were nominated for the prized, Hidden Valley hot lap.

Other unique opportunities for the Gunnedah group included an autograph signing session with the race team, a pre-race “grid walk” as well as an invitation to join the Red Bull Ampol team and their families in the pit area during racing.

“The race team was outstanding – nothing was out of the realm of possibility,” Mr Boulus said.

He described seeing the Gunnedah art design on the Supercars as a “surreal” moment.

Red Bull Ampol Racing also sold a limited-edition collection of Darwin merchandise which featured the artwork, with 10 per cent of sales from every item sold donated to the Clontarf Foundation.

Red Bull Ampol Racing artwork explained:
Artist: Gunnedah’s Clontarf Academy
Artwork: ‘The Journey of the Driver’
The artwork on the cars is named ‘The Journey of the Driver,’ and was created by the students to describe the life of a Red Bull Ampol Racing driver. The centre circles symbolised by the U shapes are a meeting place. The U shapes are the symbol for a person, this represents the drivers and the extended crew, working together as one. The four corners with striped dots represent the many roads/tracks the driver races on throughout their career.

Related story: ‘Boys bound for V8 Supercars’

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