V8SDS: Optima Sport Adelaide preview

HOME TOWN DEBUT FOR CLARK Adelaide driver David Clark will make his debut in a V8 Supercar when Optima Sport takes to the Adelaide street circuit for the first time in the opening round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship at the Clipsal 500...

HOME TOWN DEBUT FOR CLARK

Adelaide driver David Clark will make his debut in a V8 Supercar when Optima Sport takes to the Adelaide street circuit for the first time in the opening round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship at the Clipsal 500 this weekend.

Clark, who received the call from team owner David Macdougall less than a month ago, drove a V8 Supercar for the first time last week at Queensland Raceway is no stranger to success winning four National and dozens of State Karting Championship.

In 2001 the 27-year-old contested the Australian Formula Ford Championship before heading overseas the following year to contest the British Scholarship Formula Three Championship.

Clark hasn't raced competitively since his overseas sojourn but a phone call from Macdougall three weeks ago changed his outlook on a career in motorsport.

"I've known Dave (Macdougall) for many years and he has been very supportive of my career through karts, Formula Ford and Formula Three. When he phoned to tell me that he had bought a V8 Supercar team and wanted me to be the driver I had to pinch myself," said Clark.

"The last few weeks have been pretty busy getting my licence reinstated, a new helmet, driving gear and also flying to Queensland to help prepare the car. Until last week I had never driven a V8 Supercar before but after one test day I feel fairly comfortable in the car.

"I'm under no illusions, this weekend will be the first time I've raced in almost four years. Our aim is to continually improve throughout the weekend and hopefully come away with a good solid result."

Since purchasing the ex-Steve Ellery Racing prepared BA Falcon last month MacDougall has been working day and night to ensure his Optima Sport outfit is well prepared for this weekend's debut.

"There hasn't been a lot of time to think too far ahead, the main aim since purchasing the car has been to ensure we have everything in order for this weekend," said Macdougall.

"We had our first test day last week which went very well with David getting comfortable in the car. He took it pretty easy to start with as he had never driven a V8 Supercar before but it wasn't long before he came to grips with its characteristics.

"The focus for this weekend will be to learn as much as possible and improve with every session."

Clark will take to the circuit for the first time aboard his Optima Sport Falcon on Thursday morning in opening practice followed by qualifying and the opening 24-lap race of the round on Friday afternoon. The second, and final, 24-lap race for the opening round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship will be contested on Saturday morning.

INFORMATION ON OPTIMA SPORT Team Owner: David Macdougall Resides: Perth, Western Australia Driver: David Clark Resides: Greenwith, South Australia V8 Debut: Round 1 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship -- 2006 (Adelaide)

Achievements: Four-time Australian Karting Champion Ninth World Junior Karting Championships -- 1993 14-time State Karting Champion Twice contested World Senior Karting Championship (1995, 1996)

Car: 2005 Ford Falcon BA Race Number: 36

History Owned by Western Australian businessman and property owner, David Macdougall, Optima Sport contested the 2001 Australian Formula Ford Championship and 2002 British Scholarship Formula Three Championship with David Clark as the driver.

Earlier this year Optima Sport purchased the ex-Steve Ellery Racing prepared BA Falcon, driven in the 2005 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship by Mark Porter, to contest this year's championship.

Optima Sport is operated out of a purpose built race shop in Moldendinar on the Gold Coast in Queensland with Clark's father, Ken, as team manager.

What is the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship? The Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series was introduced in 2000 to provide talented young drivers with the necessary race miles to prepare them for competition in the "main game" V8 Supercar Championship.

The Fujitsu series has become a highly competitive category in its own right with exciting and spectacular racing guaranteed at every one of its seven events on its calendar.

Contested across a seven-round championship throughout South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria the Fujitsu V8 Supercars is fast-paced adrenaline filled racing watched live by over 400,000 spectators throughout the year.

Five of the seven rounds in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series are contested alongside the leading V8 Supercar Championship which consists predominantly the factory backed Ford and Holden and is Australia's third most watched sport behind cricket and AFL.

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Series CAMS
Drivers Mark Porter , David Clark