18 April, 2017 By: Bronwyn Wilkie
Racing young gun Alex Rullo’s career is just beginning, but already he’s making headlines across Australia. Is he our next motorsport superstar?
However this success has not happened by chance. Rullo grew up watching cars on TV but got his first taste of racing on the go-kart circuit as a 10-year-old.“I went to watch my godfather race at the end of 2010 and got hooked,” Alex says. “The very next time I went with him I got out there and raced.
“From there I competed locally, learnt how to race, then competed nationally. I moved into cars at 14, which is the earliest you can.”
Rullo adapted to the larger vehicles quickly, winning the WA Hyundai Excel Championship in 2014. He then joined the Kumho Tyre Australian V8 Touring Car Series.
In June 2015, the day before his 14th birthday, Rullo took home the third-tier V8 Touring Car Series at Victoria’s Winton Raceway. It made him the youngest driver to win a national CAMS circuit racing event.Dedication and perspiration
While he has plenty of natural talent, Rullo matches it with a strong work ethic and says the hard work is one of the things he loves most about racing.“I love the adrenaline, but also the commitment it takes – you’re putting yourself on the line and pushing yourself to your limits. It’s tough out there and you need to be able to maintain a massive amount of focus.
Rullo says he mostly undergoes a lot of heat training, including cycling in hot conditions, general endurance training and plenty of cardio.
"At the Clipsal 500 I was in the car for two to three hours in 65-degree heat. I’ve had to train my body to be comfortable being uncomfortable."
The hard work doesn’t end at the racetrack for Rullo. He’s currently in year 12 and having to divide his time between racing and study.
“On a race weekend there’s lots of media, lots of emails to engineers and lots of mental preparation to be done. But I’ve adapted my school subjects so I’m coping fine at the moment,” he says.A commitment to road safety
Just because Rullo loves racing, don’t assume he’s a risk-taking driver. Quite the opposite. His first-hand experiences behind the wheel has turned him into a strong advocate for road safety and he's keen to spread the message to others his age.
“Having spent so much time in go-karts and cars and having had accidents myself, I realised that racing cars are much safer to be in than a normal car in a crash,” he says.“And if you’ve not had the experience and training that I’ve had….”
Rullo says the crash statistics involving young drivers are confronting. He’s done a few talks at schools on the subject and hopes to educate young people on the potential dangers of driving.
“I’m really keen to do more for road safety – and the bigger the better. I went along to RAC's bstreetsmart show that they do for schoolkids in Perth, and I thought it was great. I’d like to get involved with that kind of thing to help educate my peers. I think it would be easier for them to relate to a younger person like me,” he says.
Aiming for the top
Although Rullo has enjoyed being the youngest on the track, for him the highlight of his career so far was the Clipsal 500 earlier this year, where he finished 23rd and 25th. He is determined to keep improving.“It was pretty cool to get out there and finish both 250km races without being too beaten up by the heat, but I think there’s a lot of potential and room for growth.
“I’m lucky to have such a committed team. Everyone is willing to put in the hard yards and I’m confident we can achieve better results throughout the year.”
If you're 13 years and older and still working towards getting your license, why not sign up to RAC's free Road Ready program?
As a Road Ready member you automatically get RAC membership with discounts on movie tickets and entertainment. Plus, Road Ready will help you with tips and tricks to stay safe on and around the roads, whether you're on foot, bike or learning to drive a car.
Yes parents, you can sign up your kids.