McMullen proud to have wife alongside him at World Driving Championship

Chantal Turpin (right) with former racehorse Saucy Dreams and connections.

Filled with pride to be able to don the green and gold in Europe later this month, Pete McMullen is just as happy to have a smiling familiar face as a travelling companion to the World Driving Championship.

McMullen was earlier this year selected to represent Australia at the prestigious harness event on the back of his last three seasons where he has surpassed 200 victories.

He became the first Sunshine State-based reinsman to tick past the rare 300 winners milestone two campaigns ago.

In doing so, he became only the fourth driver in Australian history to surpass the triple century.

McMullen has claimed a hat-trick of Queensland drivers premierships, on top of back-to-back JD Watts awards, handed to the nation’s premier driver.

And, when ‘Leader Pete’ does drive a winner around South East Queensland, it is often for the stable of his wife Chantal Turpin.

The 31-year-old McMullen will happily bring Turpin along to the three country event through August.

“I am really excited for Chantal to be able to come and share this with me as she has worked so hard over the last few years to help me to get to where I am,” McMullen said at Albion Park between races recently.

“She deserves to be there alongside me and this achievement is part her because I wouldn’t be in this position if not for her beside me and all the work at home.

“I am very thrilled that she can come along.”

Pete McMullen at Albion Park in his green and gold colours.

The bi-annual event will be held in three countries – the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium – from August 13-18, with 10 drivers from 10 countries competing across 20 races.

First held in 1970, the World Driving Championship have not taken place since 2019 as a result of the pandemic, where Queensland-born Todd McCarthy represented Australia.

Two years prior in 2017, another Queenslander in Shane Graham was selected as the nation’s representative, competing in Canada.

McMullen will be looking to engrave Australia’s name on the trophy for the first time in 36 years, when Ted Demmler took out the series in 1987 on home soil.

All the races will be held for horses with a trotting gait, which the McMullen and Turpin team have focussed plenty of their energy towards over the last few years.

“Since bursting onto the national scene as the inaugural winner of the Australian Drivers Championship in 2014, Pete has been a model of consistency, leading the nation with back-to-back JD Watts Awards in 2021 and 2022,” Harness Racing Australia Chair Graeme Campbell OAM said.

“Pete is also a terrific driver of trotters, piloting wins aboard all of the nominees in Racing Queensland’s Trotter of the Year category last season.

“The HRA Executive were unanimous in their decision to have Pete represent Australia at the prestigious event and have no doubt he will compete with great distinction and determination. I’m sure the industry will rally behind Pete and wish him all the best.”

Shane and Darrel Graham.

With an array of quality drivers around Australia, McMullen was chuffed to be selected to represent his country.

While he will miss a few weeks of driving locally through the European sojourn, McMullen is on track to again break 200 winners in the season of 2023.

“It is a great honour and something I have dreamt of doing since I was a little kid,” McMullen said.

“To be able to represent your country, it is a huge honour and I am very humbled to be able to do it.

“Not many Australians get selected for these kind of things, so it is a rare feat to be able to be picked.

“To be amongst the guys that are considered to be picked for something like this is huge and to be picked, it is really a big thing and a huge honour.”

The multiple Group 1-winning driver was selected as an emergency for the World Driving Championship earlier in his career, which lit a fire under him to continue to work hard to hopefully represent Australia one day.

McMullen jokes that he can speak some German so he may fit in with the locals during the Germany leg of the series.

“Hopefully we can come home with a few winners,” he said.

“I am really looking forward to getting away and seeing racing in a different part of the world while also meeting new people in racing over there.

“With these kind of things, you can create friendships for a lifetime.”

Click here for more information on the World Driving Championship.


Pete McMullen at Albion Park in his green and gold colours.

By Jordan Gerrans