TeamVodafone are quietly confident heading into the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge at Albert Park this weekend, the Brisbane-based outfit having won four races over the past four years at the non-championship event.
Craig Lowndes took overall victory in the Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix support event in 2009 while teammate Jamie Whincup, stood on the top step of the dais at last year’s event.
Having won the Albert Park event in 2009, finished on the podium in 2010 (third), secured two of the last three pole positions and set a new lap record last year, it’s safe to say Lowndes has high expectations this weekend.
"We have had a good run at Albert Park over the past few years so I'm looking forward to returning this year,” Lowndes said
“As it is a non-championship event, it allows us to focus on different parts of the car we normally wouldn’t, which will help us later when it counts points wise.
"I love the Albert Park layout and it is always exciting to be racing on the same track as the Formula 1 cars.
“It's going to be a great spectacle and the event draws an amazing crowd,” Lowndes concluded.
Albert Park has generally not been as kind to Jamie Whincup but last year, the defending V8 Supercar Champion broke his run of bad luck, taking his first-ever V8 Supercar race win on the 5.303km track as well as the overall event victory.
"I have sweet and sour memories of the Australian Grand Prix." Whincup said.
"To win last year was great but prior to that I always had a quick car but was never able to pull it all together. Hopefully last year was a turning point.
"We are always excited heading to the Grand Prix, it's a great track to drive around and being a non-championship event, there is more flexibility to soak up the atmosphere and lap up the entertainment of the weekend.
“Most of our major sponsors will be at the Grand Prix this year so we want to put on a good show for them and show our appreciation for their support,” Whincup concluded.
This years event will see a change to the V8 Supercars race format, with the field to contest a Qualifying Race on Friday.
The V8 Supercars will take to the grid in their qualifying order from Thursday but the race won’t count towards points for the overall weekend result.
Featuring a ‘drop zone’, the last three cars on the track at the end of each lap from Laps 3 to 8 will drop out of the race, leaving the top 10 to race for victory over the final five laps.
The finishing order of the Qualifying Race will determine the grid for Race 2 on Friday afternoon.
The finishing order of Race 2 will determine the grid for Race 3 on Saturday, with the grid for the final race (Race 4) on Sunday to be determined by the combined points scored by each driver in Races 2 and 3.