FIRST '09 SEASON ENDURO FOR VAN GISBERGEN AND THE SBR TEAM It's enduro time again for Shane van Gisbergen and the Stone Brothers Racing team, with the first of the Australilan V8 Supercar series' two endurance races - the L & H 500 - on this ...
FIRST '09 SEASON ENDURO FOR VAN GISBERGEN AND THE SBR TEAM
It's enduro time again for Shane van Gisbergen and the Stone Brothers Racing team, with the first of the Australilan V8 Supercar series' two endurance races - the L & H 500 - on this weekend at the Phillip Island circuit south of Melbourne.
Stone Brothers Racing is going all out this year for the two big enduro rounds - at Phillip Island this weekend and Bathurst in a month's time - pairing its top two drivers, 20-year-old SP Tools-backed young gun van Gisbergen and 29-year-old Irwin Tools-backed teammate Alex Davison in van Gisbergen's car and the all-Kiwi pairing of Daniel Gaunt and John McIntyre in Davison's car.
In a major mark of cooperation between the team's two main sponsors, SP Tools and Irwin Tools, both cars will run in joint livery.
This weekend's race format sees the usual practice sessions on Friday (in which each driver will get at least one chance to run in the car he will be driving over the weekend) then two separate qualifying sessions and 14-lap sprint races (one per driver) on Saturday before the big one, the 113 lap L & H 500 (km) endurance race on Sunday.
A good run from each driver is important on Saturday because the grid for Sunday's enduro is based on the combined result from the two sprint races.
Last year van Gisbergen and 2008 enduro teammate Jonathan Webb finished 10th overall in the L & H 500 and as he packed his bags and prepared to head south from his Queensland base this week van Gisbergen said that he was aiming for another good result this weekend.
"Certainly if we can get there and be quick out of the box and have two good qualilfying races on Saturday there's no reason why we can't have another good run in the main race. I know the boys have put a lot of effort into practicing our driver changes so we should be right on the money there."
Team boss Ross Stone confirmed van Gisbergen's feeling, saying; "we should be strong as long as we do all the simple things right. Alex and Shane have done plenty of laps and we have not had to make too many compromises in terms of the driver's set-up in the car which means all the boys are comfortable which can also prove critical."
For race fans this weekend is significant for another reason, the Australian Superbike championship joining the Ford Quality Parts Formula Fords and MINI Challenge on the support roster.