Queenslander Michael Simpson will have plenty of ammunition in his pit bay when the first shots are fired in the 2001 Konica V8 Supercar Series at Wakefield Park near Goulburn, NSW this weekend. Simpson's cause will not only be aided by a ...
Queenslander Michael Simpson will have plenty of ammunition in his pit bay when the first shots are fired in the 2001 Konica V8 Supercar Series at Wakefield Park near Goulburn, NSW this weekend.
Simpson's cause will not only be aided by a race-winning EL Ford Falcon, but by who is standing back in pit lane. Bathurst-winning team owner and engineer, Ross Stone, will be making the trip to Goulburn to oversee Simpson's first V8 Supercar race and to guide the new and enthusiastic Gold Coast team in the right direction. Stone recently sold Simpson his Ford and has been working behind the scenes to ensure the young Queenslander takes his vital first V8 Supercar steps in the right direction.
"Ross Stone and his team have been a tremendous support to us in the last couple of months," said Simpson. "We bought the car off the team, but Ross and gone the extra yards by helping us in test sessions and coming down to Wakefield Park this weekend. There will not be too many drivers who will have Bathurst-winning team owner helping call the shots. "I have been pleased with progress we have made and cannot wait to get out there this weekend."
Stone has a lot of confidence in Simpson, who he has taken on as a "pet project", aside from his own team which will campaign Fords for David Besnard and Marcus Ambrose in the Shell Championship Series this year.
"I think Michael has taken to it (the V8 Supercar) very well," said Stone. "He looks like he is doing it easy when he is out there and the data shows he is pretty smooth in the car. His times have been very good considering the tyres he has had to work with and I am sure he will get straight into the thick of things this weekend."
Simpson makes his debut in the V8 Supercar ranks after learning his craft in a HQ Holden and progressing through the Suzuki Cup, national Formula Ford and GT production car championships.
His Ford was built by Stone Brothers Racing in 1997 for Mark Larkham and was later sold to Steve Ellery Racing. It was sold back to SBR and was totally re-built for Besnard's dramatic debut in the Konica Series last year in which he finished with four wins and two thirds from just six starts.
Simpson is still chasing a major sponsor for the season, but has had great local support from Queensland Vehicle Warranty Network, MA Howard Constructions and Nerang Diffs. One of his major supporters has been the Bruce Lynton Group, which has supplied the team with a workshop and team transporter. The group is also Simpson's employer and allowances have been made so he can compete for the entire season.
"There is no doubt that Bruce and Beric Lynton have been tremendous supporters of mine for a long time and I hope we can reward them with a few trophies during the year," said Simpson.
The Konica V8 Supercar series consists of six rounds in the Eastern states of Australia and has been designed as a breeding ground for the Shell Championship Series, which starts at Phillip Island in Victoria on March 24-25.
- Brett "Crusher" Murray