IRWIN RACING - V8 SUPERCAR RACE PREVIEW - PHILLIP ISLAND GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT - L & H 500 V8 SUPERCAR SEASON OF ENDURANCE KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND AT PHILLIP ISLAND IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison will join his Stone Brothers Racing teammate Shane van...
IRWIN RACING - V8 SUPERCAR RACE PREVIEW - PHILLIP ISLAND GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT - L & H 500
V8 SUPERCAR SEASON OF ENDURANCE KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND AT PHILLIP ISLAND
IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison will join his Stone Brothers Racing teammate Shane van Gisbergen this weekend for the first of the year's endurance V8 Supercar Championship Series rounds, the L & H 500 at Phillip Island.
As well as the leading IRWIN/SP Tools Racing #9 Ford Falcon entry, a second car with the same name and colours will be in the hands of Daniel Gaunt and John McIntyre.
This weekend's format includes separate two separate sprint races for each driver on the Saturday, including individual qualifying sessions. The combined results of the Saturday races will set the grid for the 500km race on the Sunday.
Davison has been working closely with not only van Gisbergen in the lead-up to the event, but also the engineering team from the #9 car.
The longer format of the 500km race at Phillip Island requires good speed and strategy, including excellent pit stops that require driver changes.
While many drivers and teams have to take their championship hopes into calculation, the #9 IRWIN/SP Tools Racing team will focus their attention on winning the race, while the second #4 entry is aiming to be the spoiler in the pack.
WHAT ALEX DAVISON HAS TO SAY:
"A lot of people think Phillip Island is just a warm-up to Bathurst, but it carries just as many championship points, so we are taking this race very seriously. We have not had much success of late, but we believe that we have what it takes to win this weekend. In terms of Shane and I sharing a car, it has required a little bit of work in terms of getting us both comfortable in the driver's seat. Most guys I have shared with in the past have been smaller than I, so it is a bit of change for me to have to carry a seat insert. However, we are all sorted with that and importantly both comfortable. I have also driven the #9 Ford during test days and the like, so I'm very much familiar with how the car feels. The great thing about having both of us together is that we are truly a partnership in the car; there is no co-driver just two main drivers. Plus the Phillip Island format means that we really do get the same time in the car prior to the Sunday race, including the Saturday qualifying races. We will work on finding a good balance in the car and I'm sure once that is found we can really work on attacking the race. There have been plenty of times this year when we have been on the pace, but just not been able to put it together for an entire weekend. If we do get it altogether, I'm sure we can chase a podium finish, if not a victory."
WHAT DANIEL GAUNT HAS TO SAY:
"It's obviously a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to working with the entire group to score a top result. The evaluation day was very handy to get everyone working together. We have also worked back at the race shop on making sure both John and I am comfortable in the car. We like a very similar set-up in the car and do work well together. The same has to be said for the entire #4 crew who have gone out of their way to not only welcome John and I into the team, but also worked on making sure the car has the best opportunity for a strong finish. There are no plans on who will start or finish the race at this stage. We will decide on the best way to go after Saturday's qualifying races. No matter which way the team decides to go, we are both happy to work with the direction we are given. You have to think about the big picture and not be the hero in the first five laps. Our goal is to be the real surprise packet in the race."
WHAT TEAM PRINCIPAL ROSS STONE HAS TO SAY:
"We should be strong as long as we do all the simple things right. Alex and Shane have done plenty of laps, plus Daniel and John had the opportunity to drive an evaluation day last week which all went well. We have not had to make too many compromises in terms the driver's set-up in the car, which means all the boys are comfortable which can also prove critical. As Alex and Shane will be in the regular #9 Ford, we keep all the engineering and mechanical staff on that car. We have an excellent crew for that car and the same goes for the #4 Falcon. Phillip Island is a big challenge, but we really enjoy what it presents and our preparations are sure to give us a good chance. It might be 500km of racing, but it is really a sprint. There is no chance to settle in, you have to attack from the outset, and really take the opportunities when they are presented to you."