Jamie Whincup tests Pro Gearbox kart

WHINCUP RATES PRO GEARBOX DRIVE UP THERE WITH F1 Dual V8 Supercar Champion Jamie Whincup has rated his drive of a six-speed Pro Gearbox kart in Ipswich (Queensland) today right up there alongside his drive of a Formula One car from earlier in...

WHINCUP RATES PRO GEARBOX DRIVE UP THERE WITH F1

Dual V8 Supercar Champion Jamie Whincup has rated his drive of a six-speed Pro Gearbox kart in Ipswich (Queensland) today right up there alongside his drive of a Formula One car from earlier in the year.

Whincup, a two-time Champion in the CIK Stars of Karting Series, drove the Vodafone-backed Tony Kart Gearbox machine regularly piloted by Chris Hays for the first time this morning.

After reaching speeds in excess of 120 km/h and completing over 24 gear changes per lap around the 1080-metre circuit, Whincup said today's drive reminded him of his time behind the wheel of the McLaren Mercedes Formula One car in March.

"In some ways driving a Pro Gearbox kart reminds me of when I drove a Formula one car earlier this year. Things are just happening so fast, there's no time to think and the braking distances are really short," said Whincup.

"This kart makes driving a V8 Supercar feel like a breeze as everything happens a lot slower in my TeamVodafone Commodore and it is all about the flow.

"I started karting when I was seven years old when Dad bought me a go-kart, we got the bug and went around Victoria, and then Australia, racing -- pretty much like most of the guys in V8 Supercars did.

"We all started in karts and have raced against each other for years, myself, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison, we've all been at it for years and when we are out in a V8 we're all driving the same. Davo is still pulling off his shifty moves, Frosty still drives with the same style, the only difference is that the cars are just bigger, more expensive and the crowds are bigger but really we just feel like we are in our go-karts."

Whincup was joined on the circuit by fellow V8 Supercar driver Tim Slade of Wilson Security Racing, who was the champion in the Pro Junior category in the series 2002.

Like Whincup, Slade was impressed by the power provided by the 125cc gearbox kart and indicated that karting is a lot more physically demanding than driving a V8 Supercar.

"We only did ten or so laps out there but it feels like I've done 100 -- it is definitely a workout," said Slade.

"I'd forgotten how tough it is to drive a kart, especially a six-speed gearbox kart. Everything happens about 100 times faster in a gearbox kart, than what it does in a V8 Supercar. The grip level is amazing becasue you are so close to the ground it feels so fast.

"You're constantly doing something, there's no time to rest and it is very good fitness training. I think you could chuck all of the cycling and running out of the window and do this everyday -- it would certainly be a lot more fun training."

The two V8 Supercar racers kicked off proceedings for this weekends second round of the CIK Stars of Karting Series where the Pro Gearbox (KZ2) class will feature prominently with some of country's top drivers going wheel to wheel at over 120 km/h.

Heading into this weekend's round Victorian Matthew Wall, who previously competed against Whincup during his karting days, is leading the championship ahead of Bundaberg's Kel Treseder and Hays.

Also being contested this weekend will be the Pro Light (KF1) and Pro Junior (KF3) categories where Cian Fothergill from Gladstone and Sydney's Pierce Lehane lead the way after their victories at round one in Newcastle.

Practice is being held throughout the day with qualifying and heat races being contested tomorrow ahead of the Finals on Sunday.

Competitors in the Pro Light category will use the 125cc IAME KF specification engine, as used in the 2009 championship that was won by Newcastle driver Hayden McBride. The Pro Gearbox drivers will take to the track powered by a six-speed 125cc gearbox machine while the Pro Junior drivers will use a 125cc Vortex KF3 specification engine.

Approximately 100 drivers are set to take to the Ipswich Kart circuit for the second round of competition across the six categories being contested. In addition to the three Pro categories the up and coming competitors will contest the opening round of the East Coast Title for Clubman and Junior National while local competitors will battle it out in the Formula 100 category.

The Ipswich Kart Track is located on Champions Way, Willowbank (just outside of Ipswich), admission for spectators is free.

-source: kart au

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About this article
Series Supercars , Kart
Drivers Will Davison , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Slade