To say Emerson Newton-John has had an unconventional career would be an understatement.
A relative-latecomer to karting, starting at 16, the nephew of the late, great Olivia Newton-John quickly accelerated through European racing touring car and open-wheeler racing before spending a year in Australia.
In 2001 he raced in the Formula Holden Australian Drivers' Championship and made an immediate impression. He finished second on debut, behind eventual champion Rick Kelly, but three team changes and missed rounds spoiled the season. Still, he claimed three more podium positions in the second half of the season, performing with each of the three teams he raced for. And, like every young driver in Australia at the time, he parlayed that good form into a V8 Supercars test.
Since then he has tested in Spanish Formula 3, raced in the ARCA series, tested a Saleen GT1 car and ran the Indianapolis 500 Indy Lights support race, the Freedom 100.
But that last start in Indy Lights was in 2012, now, more than a decade later the passion for racing hasn't subsided and ‘Emmo' is looking to return to the track. He tested a Radical SR10 in late 2023 and after immediately hitting the pace, despite such a long break, he is planning to compete in the US series in 2024.
With such an eclectic racing resume, Newton-John has experienced all varieties of cars, so that made him an ideal candidate to select his Dream Garage.
Daily Driver: Porsche 911 Turbo
A Porsche 911 may seem like an obvious answer, but there's a good reason so many petrolheads appreciate the German sports car – because it's so good.
“To me, it's the ultimate all-rounder. Insanely fast and fun, very comfortable, has all of the tech that I'd ever want or need, looks beautiful, does brilliantly in winter weather, can be upgraded extensively if one likes, and doesn't have the embarrassing cheesiness that most supercars have,” Newton-John explains.
Something special: Porsche 911 GT2
Another 911 may feel like a lack of diversity, but once again, it's hard to argue with the appeal of the high-end versions of this iconic model. But for Emmo there's one non-negotiable for his weekend wheels.
“My ultimate ‘fun' street car is a tough choice,” he admits. “Just so many amazing options these days. Whatever it would be, it would unquestionably have to be a manual. That really limits me though on the modern choices other than a few offerings from Porsche.”
With that criteria he opts for the 911 GT2, specifcally the 997 generation, with its six-speed manual and three pedals.
“They don't sound amazing like the GT3's do, but what a car. I saw one recently at the shops and it was nuts in person. The wing is a bit ridiculous for the street, but you can't have it all.”
Track Toy: Radical SR10
His recent test of the compact prototype sportscar has got Newton-John excited to go racing again, especially in the Radical that impressed him so much.
“It's impressively quick (both in a straight line and corner speed), it's relatively easy to maintain, very reliable, not outrageously expensive to buy, parts are readily available and reasonably priced and it really looks the part.”
However, if he lets his imagination run a little wild, he admits that (like any diehard Formula 1 fan), he'd love a racer from that era.
“If money was no object and I could have a team running it, I'd go with any late '80s to early ‘90s F1 car that had an H-pattern box. Maybe a Jordan 191.”