One of the most recognised mentors in Australian karting history, Jim Morton will be honoured with a newly struck perpetual trophy at the Gold Coast Race of Stars (October 13-15) – the Jim Morton Trophy, presented by Castrol EDGE.
The international event, which has quickly become the biggest karting event in the Southern Hemisphere, will present the Jim Morton Trophy to the highest placed Australian in the KZ2 gearbox category.
The hotly contested category will feature double and current World Champion, Paolo de Conto and five time World Champion, Davide Forè – along with Australia’s best including newly crowned Australian Champion, Joshua Fife.
Morton – who passed away in 2014 – started as the importer of the DAP brand, but rose to his iconic status with the Tony Kart brand. He was the mentor to James Courtney as he went on to win two World Championships along with a host of drivers that have achieved huge accolades in Supercars, INDYCAR, Speedway and NASCAR including Ryan Briscoe, Mark Winterbottom, Jason Bright, Michael Caruso, Warren Luff, Alan Gurr, James Gurr, Clayton Pyne, Adam Clarke and Adam Graham.
He would later establish a successful V8 Supercars operation that competed in the Development Series and then a period in the main Championship.
“Jim played a massive role in my career, especially in the early stages,” said Courtney.
“More than that he remained a terrific mate through my entire career.
“I was massively close to “Morto”. He was really one of the unsung heroes of Australian motorsport in the role he played helping so many young kids.
“He was genuinely one of the world’s best guys – a really good man and you can’t ask for
more than that.”
Castrol-backed Nissan Motorsport Virgin Australia Supercars driver, Michael Caruso received his leg up from Morton not just in karting, but into Supercars when he raced with the Sydneysider’s development team. He also was taught at high school by Morton’s wife, Janelle.
“Jim basically gave me my start, not only in karts, but particularly V8 Supercars with
the Development Series ride for a couple of seasons,” said Caruso.
“He mentored me in so many areas and really just wanted me to live my dream.
“Jim and my father (Mick) were good mates and that really formed a great relationship
between the two families.
“Jim was a guy that could read situations very well, specifically high pressure moments. He really had a good understanding of what needed to be said and when it needed to be said.
“As a kid when you wanted to me the next Michael Schumacher he always knew how to get the most out of you at the right the moments.
“I cannot tell you how grateful I am for everything he did for me.”
Initiated by Castrol EDGE to honour the relationship that the company had with Morton throughout his Tony Kart days, the Jim Morton Trophy will become one of the most sought after trophies in the sport. It also extends Castrol’s commitment to the grassroots level of racing. The company has been involved with karting for several decades – dating back to the Castrol Grand Prix events at Oran Park in the 1980s and more recently as presenting partner of the Australian Kart Championship. Castrol has relationships across the spectrum, from karting through Supercars in Australia and right up to Formula 1 with McLaren and Renault across the world.
Australians have had a tough competition in the race for the Surfboard trophy at the Race of Stars, with just Chris Hays winning the inaugural event. Kyle Ensbey is the only other Australian driver to have graced the podium and youngster Tomas Gasperak finished fourth last year.
The Jim Morton Trophy, presented by Castrol EDGE will be awarded following the Race of Stars on the Gold Coast October 13-15 at the Xtreme Karting Complex, Pimpama.
Entry throughout the weekend is free to the public. A huge contingent of international drivers across the classes more than 200 of Australia’s best will be on hand for the event.