Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Automotive Aftermarket e-Zine - Perf 18 Contents PERFORMANCE
SUPERCAR DRIVERS MEET STEEL
Late last year Todd Kelly, Dave Reynolds
and Michael Caruso met the workers
making the steel that plays such a crucial
role in the King Springs used by many
Just prior to the start of racing for the Coates Hire
Newcastle 500, the three Supercars drivers
swapped their racing overalls and helmets for hi-
vis vests and hardhats to take a tour of Liberty
OneSteel’s Newcastle Rod Mill to see where the
steel comes from that makes up their high-
performance Supercars springs.
Drivers Todd Kelly and Michael Caruso of factory
Nissan Motorsport, David Reynolds of Erebus
Motorsport, and Fox Sports’ Russell Ingall all
toured the facility with King Springs Managing
Director Mark King.
There the drivers pressed the flesh with
Newcastle Rod Mill employees and watched as
steel billets were rolled to make high-quality rod
coil. That rod coil is then supplied to King
Springs for making into race-ready coil springs.
The visit to the Mill gave the Supercars drivers a
fascinating glimpse into how the coil springs are
made that keep their cars planted and capable of
turning in and out of corners all day long.
Driver Michael Caruso joked that conditions in
the Mill were “hot, sweaty and loud,” but he
could just as easily have been referring to
conditions in the cabin of his own Nissan Nismo
Supercar in the heat of battle.
As many as 60-70 percent of the Supercars
teams use the high-performance springs
produced by Kings Springs. The company’s
requirements for lighter weight springs with more
travel for the V8 Supercars led Liberty OneSteel
to develop X5K: a specialist higher-stress, high-
quality steel 12 years ago.
Liberty OneSteel now supplies King Springs with
300 tonnes of X5K per month, specifically for the
performance suspension industry. The springs
have proved their worth in competition too with
nineteen of the past 30 Bathurst 1000s and 17
of the past 30 V8 Supercar Championships won
using King Springs.
Staff at the Rod Mill were all too happy to show
the visiting Supercars drivers how high-quality
steel is made, not just for King Springs, but for
other customers, too. As well as manufacturing
steel for the automotive sector, steel produced at
the Rod Mill is used by the construction industry
and in a wide range of rural and manufacturing
After the site inspection was complete, many of
the staff queued to chat with the drivers, request
an autograph and nab a selfie. Many of them were
no doubt trackside in the days that followed to
cheer the drivers on around the streets of
Mark King said he was excited that the King
Springs-sponsored drivers were able to experience
first-hand the process of rolling the steel that
goes into the making of his company’s distinctive
bright-yellow, high-performance springs – and in
the same city hosting the Supercars event.
Steel has played a key role in the development of
the city of Newcastle and continues to be a major
source of employment in the region. There are
137 people employed at the Newcastle Rod Mill
and over 1000 people employed by Liberty
OneSteel in Newcastle alone.
“It was great to tour the site and see how the
product is manufactured to the exacting
standards required to create the steel needed for
the King Springs used in today’s high-
performance race cars,” Mark said.
“Liberty OneSteel is the only company in
Australia able to meet these requirements.”
For Todd Kelly, whose Nissan Motorsports team is
sponsored by Liberty OneSteel, the first running
of the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 race marked
his final race in the Supercars series. Nissan
Motorsport paid tribute to Kelly’s long and
successful career with a special livery for his
Nissan Altima Supercar highlighting his
impressive achievements in his 20-year career.
The association between Liberty OneSteel and
the Kelly brothers’ Supercars racing team extends
back to 2010, when Liberty OneSteel
Metalcentre supplied steel for the extension of
the team’s racing headquarters and factory.
However, Liberty OneSteel’s relationship with the
Kelly family goes back many years, as the racing
brothers’ father John Kelly’s business Malidot is
a long-term Liberty OneSteel customer in
For more from King Springs, visit
Reproduced with permission of Liberty OneSteel
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AAAM FEB 2018 - PERFORMANCE:AM MAGAZINE SHELL 6/2/18 11:27 AM Page 28
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