Burnout couple talent scouts young guns

January 06, 2018

Petrol-heads at Canberra's Summernats car festival have been urged to stay well hydrated.

For one Melbourne couple the key to a happy marriage is burning rubber together.

Peter and Debbie Gray are veterans of the Canberra's Summernats car festival burnout competitions and haven't missed a year in the event's 31-year history.

Ms Gray beat all the blokes in 2001, including her husband, to claim the overall burnout title. The following year he came first and she was second.

The couple don't have any children.

"All our kids have wheels," Mr Gray joked.

"So if they're naughty we lock them in the shed."

At the Team Gray tent, the pair mentor young teenage car enthusiasts.

One of them, 18-year-old Dan Stewten, has graduated to Mr Gray's crew chief for his 8000 horsepower Monaro which has a $100,000 engine, and is affectionately known as the "nitro ground-shaker".

"He's possibly the world's youngest crew chief," Mr Gray, adding Mr Stewten initially impressed him by building an esky motorbike at age 16 all by himself.

The experience helping out with Team Gray has helped Mr Stewten sail through the first year of his TAFE course as part of an apprenticeship with a truck mechanic.

He finished the first year curriculum in three days.

Connor McLennan, 17, from Canberra has been involved in the team behind the scenes since he was 12.

"It's a lot of responsibility, the rear wheels are turning at 250 kilometres an hour," Mr Gray said, adding he put a lot of trust into his young crew members.

Tens of thousands of petrol heads were expected to go through the gates at Summernats on Saturday.

The mercury is predicted to hit 36C and organisers were urging punters to go easy on the alcohol and drink plenty of water.

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