He’s well-known for his commercial acumen and passion for motorsport, but Kevin Weeks’ determination to win his battle against Parkinson’s Disease has captured the hearts and minds of many South Australians.
Weeks’ inspirational story, which has included an epic 2,450km bike ride from Adelaide to Rockhampton to raise awareness for the disease, will reach new heights when he returns to the driver’s seat of his Ford GT race car for Round 2 of the GT-1 Australia Series as part of the Australian Motor Racing Series (AMRS) at Tailem Bend next weekend.
The successful Adelaide businessman has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in motorsport, including winning the Australian Formula 2 Championship in the early 1990s and making several starts in the Bathurst 1000. In the 2000s, Weeks was victorious in a number of tarmac rallies and was also an outright race winner in the Australian GT Championship.
Even when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2013, Weeks did not stop racing immediately.
“After I was diagnosed, my lap times were as fast as they had ever been, so it wasn’t affecting my reflexes too severely,” Weeks said.
“I didn’t stop circuit racing until my car was badly damaged in a crash at Sydney Motorsport Park in 2015, and even then I kept my eye in with some hillclimb and sprint events.”
While Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease, Weeks underwent revolutionary surgery in late 2016, during which stem cells were injected into his brain. Combined with his routine cycling, the brain procedure has seen Weeks’ condition improve.
“Normally, people with Parkinson’s Disease become progressively worse, so for my condition to actually be improving is an amazing result,” Weeks said.
“This year, I felt ready to return to circuit racing and GT-1 Australia is a series that appeals to me, as it is targeted at amateur racers.
“It’s run professionally, but the emphasis is very much on enjoyment for the participants, and I like the handicap pit stop system, which levels the playing field and gives everyone a chance.”
Weeks has undertaken some test days at The Bend in preparation for the race meeting.
“My Ford GT was fully rebuilt after the 2015 crash, so it was important for us to evaluate the car and ensure it was fully repaired, while also allowing me to learn the circuit,” he said.
Weeks will be part of a 22-car GT-1 Australia line-up that also includes The Bend owners Sam and Yasser Shahin (sharing a Lamborghini), seven Audi R8s, several Porsches and a selection of Australian-built MARC cars. The series is led by MARC II driver Keith Kassulke, who scored maximum points in the opening round of the series at Bathurst.
The race format will consist of practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and a pair of 50-minute races on Sunday.
GT-1 Australia – top 10 points after Round 1
- Keith Kassulke – 300
- Adam Hargraves – 221
- Wayne Mack – 192
- John Goodacre – 166
- John Morriss – 150
- Rod Salmon – 142
- Jake Camilleri – 130
- Rick Mensa – 118
- Bradley Neill – 110
- Matt Stoupas – 100
GT-1 Australia Round 2 entry list
6. Rod Salmon – Audi R8 LMS
7. Yasser Shahin/Sam Shahin – Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4
9. Matthew Turnbull – Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4
15. Keith Wong – Porsche GT3 Cup (997)
16. Vic Zagame – Audi R8 LMS GT4
20. Adam Hargraves – MARC II
22. Rick Mensa – Porsche GT3 Cup (997)
23. Matt Stoupas – Audi R8 LMS (2014)
24. Garry Higgon – Audi R8 LMS (2016)
34. John Morriss – Porsche 911 GT3R
54. Brett Niall – MARC I
63. Ross Lilley – Audi R8 LMS (2014)
66. John Goodacre – MARC
69. James Koundouris/Theo Koundouris – Audi R8 LMS (2015)
70. Kevin Weeks – Ford GT (2008)
73. Peter Corbett – Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4
80. Tony Groves – MARC I
91. Keith Kassulke – MARC II
92. Jason Busk – MARC I
93. Jake Camilleri – MARC I
94. Bradley Neill – MARC I
95. Geoff Taunton – MARC I