V8 Supercars in China: What the key people are saying The debut of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Shanghai, China, next weekend has captured the imagination of a vast array of Australians. The following are some thoughts, in no...
V8 Supercars in China: What the key people are saying
The debut of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Shanghai, China, next weekend has captured the imagination of a vast array of Australians. The following are some thoughts, in no particular order, from various drivers, team owners, team managers and those who will form "The Show" in Shanghai.
Tony Cochrane -- Chairman, AVESCO
"In the same way that the street circuit in Adelaide took the V8 Supercar Championship Series to a new level seven years ago, our expansion into the exciting market of China will yet again raise the bar and expectations of the world's greatest touring car category."
Wayne Cattach -- Chief Executive Officer, AVESCO
"It is the largest Chinese take-away in Australian history! Seriously, it is a very ambitious project but its very execution opens up the world for our sport. Now we are geared up and ready to travel to any part of the world. For the sport this is an enormous step."
Mark Skaife -- Team Owner/Driver, Holden Racing Team
"This is a brilliant opportunity for this category to showcase itself on an international stage.
"I've been to the circuit and the facilities are simply unbelievable -- it's definitely a pointer to the direction we want our series to follow. We inspected the track and the mix of high-speed straights followed by extremely tight corners is going to create great racing.
"We are going to find out which teams are the most technically skilled at setting up a racing car, because none of us has driven the track before and it will certainly be a challenge for drivers and engineers to get their heads around."
Russell Ingall -- Driver, Stone Brothers Racing
"The logistics of putting this first race together have been incredible. The language barrier, different food and traffic conditions are three of the main factors we are going to have to deal with on a daily basis -- and it won't be easy.
"If there is one thing SBR is good at, it is being prepared and I think that's why we head to China with a very good chance.
"A lot of companies are taking corporate groups, many fans have joined organised tours while other have made their own arrangements.
"I have not been to the circuit yet, but from the images I have seen and the stories I have been told, it is mind blowing.
"To win the first ever V8 Supercar race in China would be a pretty cool thing to achieve. I will be giving it a bloody good try."
Rick Kelly -- Driver, Team Buick
"Whoever adapts best to the unique corners of the Shanghai circuit is going to be up the front. Compared with what we are used to in Australia, the corners are longer and require longer power-down while turning. Our corners tend to be more sharp and violent.
"The whole week is going to be very busy for me, as I will be representing Buick both on and off the track. It is a great honour to fly the flag for GM's biggest brand in China -- I only hope we can deliver the right result for them."
Craig Gore - Team Owner, WPS Racing
"It's going to be a very tough proposition on everyone when we head to China for the first time. Just like it is in business, everyone must firstly appreciate how the Chinese people apply themselves, which really does require a thorough knowledge of the culture.
"It's a great thing for the Series and makes sense on many fronts. There's been a lot of talk of further extending the Series within Asia and that's sure to be welcome news for Ford and Holden who boast big export markets throughout the region.
"There are bound to be teething problems but we just need to hang in there. Logistically being in an overseas country presents its own set of problems, but I think what the WPS Racing team was able to achieve recently in New Zealand shows that where there's a will there's a way and as a team we're excited to be a part of that."
Marcos Ambrose -- Driver, Stone Brothers Racing (Defending Champion)
"I have been pretty excited about the China round since it was first announced. A lot of people have worked enormously hard to make this happen and hopefully it will be a great success for everyone involved.
"There is a lot at stake for a lot of people across a whole range of areas -- including myself.
China could turn out to be the real wildcard of this championship.
"I desperately want to win my third consecutive Championship this season and I don't think I will be able to do that without a bag of points from next weekend.
"The track looks very interesting and is no doubt going to be fast. The event will be an adventure for everyone at SBR, but it is going to be important to keep our eye on the ball with so many distractions."
Craig Lowndes -- Driver, Team Betta Electrical
"I can't wait to see the response we get from the Chinese when we roll out the car with 888 on it. I really hope we can uphold their traditions as the number 8 is almost sacred in Asia.
"It is always interesting when you go to a circuit that no one in the field has been to before as it comes down to driver input instead of past results."
Ross Stone -- Team Owner, Stone Brothers Racing
"This will be the next step for V8 Supercar racing. It has taken an extra year to get there, but a lot of people will be rewarded for all their efforts next week.
"Logistically the event has been very challenging and I am sure there is going to be plenty of things we will need to sort out when we get on the ground.
"For many of our crew, especially the younger guys, this will be their first race outside of Australia and New Zealand. For some it will be their first travel outside of those two countries period.
"This experience can only be good for them and hopefully our performance on the track will make it even more memorable."
Steven Richards -- Driver, Castrol Team Perkins Racing
"This is a great test for the V8 Supercar brand. It will be exciting to see how Chinese Motorsport fans like our dynamic brand of Motorsport.
"The fact they can come and say 'Wu an' to any of our drivers and teams and grab a signature is also going to be fantastic for the fans to feel a part of the whole event.
"I am also looking forward to seeing how the whole circus adapts to our first flyaway race meeting. I'm also excited by competing on one of the worlds most advanced Motorsport venues."
Brad Jones -- Driver, Team BOC
"Having raced in Macau back in my Super Tourer days, I've always been interested in how China would develop a motorsport industry. I've been keeping an eye on the developments there for a few years and it's rewarding to be finally competing there.
"I think all V8 Supercar drivers also feel very privileged to be racing on what has been said to be the best motorsport facility in the world."
Paul Morris -- Driver, Sirromet Wines
"The V8s going to China has opened up a lot of business opportunities for Sirromet. It's a family business so I'm involved and all of us see the potential of what can be achieved from the week in Shanghai.
"Our wines have won medals in Japan, and this trip is another way to increase Sirromet's profile and exposure in overseas markets. I'm told the Chinese like sweet, soft, easy-to-drink wines and we've created a special red blend for them to try.
"This visit to China will help grow wine sales and exports, plus get more tourists to both the winery and the (Holden Performance) Driving Centre. We've organised for various local wine and tourism people to be our guests at the track -- it's going to be something different for them, as it will be for all of us going to China.
"A lot of business gets done at major sporting events these days, and I'm sure the people we're taking to the V8s (in Shanghai) will be impressed with the whole show and the atmosphere.
"I've raced in America and Macau before, but this is a whole new ball game because most of the drivers and teams don't know what to expect.
"There will probably be some 'teething' problems, but that's to be expected with anything new -- everyone just has to roll with it and get on with the job.
"The fact none of us have raced at the track before means everyone is on a level playing field. There could be some surprise results. We've been carrying good car speed all season so we expect to be competitive."
Todd Kelly -- Driver, Holden Racing Team
"It's a pretty interesting time for V8 Supercars -- this is the big time and if we can make it work, who knows what will happen? Maybe there will be a lot more of these international rounds, maybe we will be in the Middle East as well the following year, that's what everyone seems to be talking about.
"I've just been looking at the track layout with my engineers and the nature and style of the place is completely different to anything we've ever raced in Australia. We've been looking at these long straights and fast, sweeping corners and trying to find comparable sections of track in Australia so we can get a head-start on setting up the car. We can't find too many!
"Teams that have a good handle on their cars and the ability to think outside the square are the ones that are going to do well there."
Roland Dane -- Team Owner, Team Betta Electrical
"The name Triple Eight was derived from the timely success achieved by our business operations in Asia over the past twenty years.
"It is particularly exciting for us to be returning to a region where we have enjoyed a lot of business success and is also the birthplace of the name Triple Eight."
Greg Murphy -- Driver, Super Cheap Auto Racing
"How could you not be excited by going to Shanghai, it's the new frontier and an exciting step forward for the V8 Supercar Series.
"The track looks spectacular; it has corners that were obviously not designed for V8 Supercars, so it is going to be a huge technical challenge, but that will be the same for everyone else.
"I imagine there are lots of teams that have been using their contacts around the world to get as much information as possible on the circuit, but until we actually get on-track I don't know if any of that is going to be much help. In fact, as it is so new we couldn't be on any more of a level playing field.
"I've done plenty of laps there on my Playstation, although I don't think that's going to be much help."
Mark Larkham -- Team Owner, Larkham-Orrcon Racing
"The racing at Shanghai should provide a very real opportunity for V8 Supercars to promote the claim of being the worlds' premier touring car championship.
"Whilst the Chinese have enjoyed the spectacle and technical excellence of Formula One, I trust the V8 Supercars will provide a closeness and depth of competition that only Australia and New Zealand have been lucky enough to enjoy.
"I am sure the tough V8 rumble, belching flames and constant contact between the cars will have the Chinese crowd in love with the Aussie V8's.
"From an entertainment and corporate spectacle, if the V8 Supercar teams and drivers can put on a memorable performance, which they are very capable of, I believe this may open further opportunity in this dynamic part of the World.
"Who knows what's possible? Other international events, sponsorship, investment in teams...perhaps ultimately a Chinese supported Team or Driver?
"I can't wait to hear the sweet sound of a V8 Supercar cutting its way between those huge grandstands at full speed."
TONY LONGHURST -- OWNER, WOW RACING
"WHEN I FIRST HEARD OF THE V8 SUPERCAR SERIES CONDUCTING A ROUND IN SHANGHAI, I THOUGHT 'WOW' THE SERIES HAS REALLY COME OF AGE.
"The logistics alone of moving everything offshore for such an event really does test everyone's capabilities; it's such a mammoth task for all concerned.
"I think everyone should take their hat off to AVESCO and the promoters for making such an event possible, it will be great for the sport and certainly showcase the V8 Supercar Championship Series to the world.
"I can't wait to see the world class circuit and facilities provided at the Shanghai International Circuit, everyone tells me you really have to see it to totally appreciate the entire complex.
"I'm also very much looking forward to experiencing the total Chinese experience, their food, culture and the scenery, from what I have been told they are very hospitable people.
"Although the series has been conducted in New Zealand over previous years, it bears no resemblance to what is required to conduct an event such as this in Mainland China and I believe the world wide television audience is likely to be around 600 million viewers, it truly is amazing to consider the series has come this far in such a short period of time."
Steven Ellery -- Driver, Team Betta Electrical
"I am heading to Shanghai a few day's earlier to help promote the race in China and will use some of that time to become accustomed to the local climate and if necessary, do some additional training.
"Like everyone else I am really excited to be racing on a track that no one has any data on. I was the unknown quantity when I started with Team Betta Electrical but they now know what I am capable of and we are starting to gel as a team.
"The challenge for us in China will be to start the weekend with the car setup well so we can focus on overcoming new track challenges."
Jason Bargwanna -- Driver, Larkham-Orrcon Racing
"It is the beginning of a new era in the V8 Supercar Championship.
"We have seen Champ Car successfully expand away from their traditional base in America with events held in Australia, Mexico and Korea, now it is Australia's turn to take the next step and build on our most successful domestic motor racing Championship.
"Competing in China allows our Championship to expand on our already well supported International base and provides the Championship with a fair bit of International recognition.
"It should also make the rest of the world sit up and take notice of what real touring car racing is all about."
Simon Wills -- Driver, Team Dynamik
"Shanghai will be the 10th country and ninth F1 track where I've raced since starting my racing career. I'm looking forward to this one the most as the track looks mega and with a virgin V8 Supercar crowd to boot it's going to be one hell of a dog fight."
Matthew White -- Driver, Britek Motorsport
"I'm really excited about China for a few reasons. Everyone's in the same boat at Shanghai, not having any data or track knowledge, so that will even things up a bit for us. Also, we get to play the tourist which is rare. Some of the team is taking a tour of the Fujitsu factory on Thursday and my wife and I have a week's holiday after the race to explore some of China's beauty and culture, around Shanghai and Beijing, first hand."
Max Wilson -- Driver, WOW Racing
"I, like many of my colleagues have never been to China, and I really don't know what to expect, it's a totally different culture from the west but I hope we can build up a fan base there and widen the appeal of the V8's to many more countries around the world, maybe this is the start of even greater things ahead for both the series and all concerned.
"I am so looking forward to seeing the circuit, I have heard so much about it and people keep saying to me that you can't explain what it is like you just have to be there to experience it in total.
"It will be a totally new experience for everybody; least of all the fans and I hope a lot of the Aussie fans can follow us over to experience the event with us.
"I am going to try and see some of the sights whilst I'm there, although we will be on limited time, there should be occasions when I can sneak a peak here and there.
"It certainly is great for the sport, and should really put the series on the world motor racing map, you know there is nothing else in the world to match this series and that's what makes it so special."
Kieran Wills -- Team Owner, Team Dynamik
"This is an exciting, challenging time for our series and teams alike. We hope to blow away the Chinese spectators with our world class event."
John Panozzo -- Team Manager, Super Cheap Auto Racing
"The New Zealand races have given the teams' good grounding so it has been a case of adapting what we have learned there to the 'fly away' situation we have with China.
"Not taking our truck means we have had to make use of all the available space, take only what we need and therefore leave what we don't really need at home.
"The logistics of 'picking up' everything we require to compete and transporting it all to Shanghai are quite incredible, but it has all been easier than what we anticipated. For a first up effort, things have gone exceptionally well and there is not one thing that gives me any concerns."
Adam Laws -- Team Manager, Britek Motorsport
"It's amazing how much the V8 Supercar Championship Series has grown since its inception in the early 90's. Back then it was a challenge to send 12 cars to Tasmania, now we have 32 cars and the associated equipment being flown to race in Shanghai, China.
"In Fujitsu Racing's first year we've had many challenges to overcome and I expected the logistics of this event to be enormous. However, cramming all the gear into an air-freight container that's one quarter of the size of the semi-trailer we normally use has been much easier than anticipated.
"My next challenge will be to herd a group of Aussie and Kiwi team members through the streets of Shanghai looking for something to eat. Somehow, I think they might prefer if we followed in the footsteps of Shane Warne - who packed his own baked beans for the Aussie Cricket Team's tour of India."
Anthony Tratt -- Driver, Toll Racing
"This trip to China highlights the popularity of the V8 Supercar category not only in our country but to the rest of the world who are now paying to have our circus on their shores.
"I have seen quite a lot of video footage of the circuit and its surrounds and I think we all should take our hats off to the Chinese government, the Chinese community, and to all concerned in making it possible for more people to experience the thrills and spills of our Australian made V8 Supercar category."
Garth Tander -- Driver, Holden Special Vehicles Dealer Team
"It is at times like these that the Playstation comes in very handy! We only learned on Sunday the track configuration that we will be using in Shanghai, and while it is shorter than the full F1 circuit, it still looks very good and throws up all the challenges that we thought the Shanghai circuit would.
"Being designed for F1, the corners have a slow-fast combination that is going to require of plenty of mechanical grip, as we don't have the aero down force that F1 cars have. It is going to be interesting to see how much grip we have in the fast corners. But I can't wait to get out there."
Jason Bright -- Driver, Ford Performance Racing
"Having raced extensively overseas in the past, I have always wanted to expand upon my international racing career, that is, to compete in other countries and circuits, as you always learn so much from this.
"I see our visit to China next week as no exception, as it will broaden all of our perspectives as racing drivers and I am sure that our new Chinese fans are going to love what they see.
"You realise that we have developed something very special with V8 Supercars when we have been asked to compete at such an impressive venue, in such a far away land. Get ready China - we plan to put on an unforgettable show."
Chris Jewell -- General Manager, Britek Motorsport
"This event is an important milestone for V8 Supercar Racing and whilst the original NZ meeting was the category's first international foray, it's fair to say the magnitude of the China event is so much more comprehensive from a logistics, planning and cultural perspective.
"I'm sure it will be a real eye-opener for the Chinese public and will provide a perfect test-case as to the merit of V8 Supercar further expanding its international horizons."
Kevin Murphy -- Team Owner, Dodo Racing
"It's been quite a bit of work for our team to get prepared for the trip to China. In terms of cars and their setup, it's a case of suck it and see.
"All we can do is compare the Shanghai circuit with tracks in Australia that have similar characteristics and apply setups to the cars that reflect that. Then we can fine tune from there.
"Our team isn't as large as some of the others in V8 Supercar racing, so we will have our full number of staff on hand for the weekend, whereby some others will be forced to leave some at home."
Jason Richards -- Driver, Dodo Racing
"Looking at the circuit, I think slipstreaming will be more of a factor at Shanghai than at most other tracks we visit. The cars will be struggling to cut the air on the 1.2-kilometre straight, so I think you'll find plenty of chances for passing.
"I've been doing my research watching some on-board camera footage from Michael Schumacher's Ferrari at the Grand Prix there last year."
Cameron McConville -- Driver, Garry Rogers Motorsport
"I'm actually going to be one of the first drivers to head to China. I'm going early on Monday to take part in all of the pre-race promotional activities as well as help open a Valvoline centre on the Thursday.
"It's a busy schedule but it's a great opportunity to actually see some of the city. Usually we go to a race meeting and don't see anything other than the racetrack, the airport and the hotel, so to be a tourist for a few days will be a welcome change."
Andrew Jones -- Driver, Garry Rogers Motorsport
"We've been having a look at the circuit map at our workshop in the last week or so and it's got a bit of everything. There's not really a track in Australia you could compare it to.
"It looks very much like it's been designed for open-wheeler cars, so it will be interesting to see how our big cars go there. The long radius corners will give the tyres a real caning."
Greg Ritter -- Driver, Ford Performance Racing
"If someone told me ten years ago that I would be racing in Shanghai in a V8 Supercar, I would have told them that they were dreaming. A race like this transforms us into truly international racers and this is a great thing.
"Any race driver will tell you that there are circuits that they have always wanted to compete at. The Shanghai International Circuit is without a doubt one of those.
"It would have to be the most exciting motor racing circuit in the world without any shadow of a doubt and I am gearing up for a truly incredible experience. A strong result at this race would not only be historic, it would be a privilege."