Sandown: WPS Racing preview

EXPERIENCE TO COUNT FOR WPS AT SANDOWN When casting an eye over the entry list for the upcoming Betta Electrical 500, the first endurance race of 2006, there are few teams who can boast to have bottled as much enthusiasm and experience as WPS...

EXPERIENCE TO COUNT FOR WPS AT SANDOWN

When casting an eye over the entry list for the upcoming Betta Electrical 500, the first endurance race of 2006, there are few teams who can boast to have bottled as much enthusiasm and experience as WPS Racing.

The mixture of regular drivers Max Wilson and Jason Bargwanna with proven campaigners Craig Baird and David Besnard should ensure the Gold Coast based outfit will be a considerable force in this year's long distance V8 Supercar races.

Between the WPS quartet they have amassed an impressive 301 championship rounds. While some other teams can also boast figures equal to, or in excess of this, it is the fact all four have more than 50 rounds on their resume that sets them apart from the opposition.

WPS Racing is also the only team in this year's endurance races where all four drivers were full-time drivers in the championship as recently as last year.

Melbourne-based Bargwanna is the most experienced of the four with 108 round starts, and a Bathurst victory to his name. The likeable Victorian is fresh from his best result of the season at the recent Oran Park round and believes both WPS Racing Falcons are a good chance at figuring prominently in this year's endurance races.

"Since the start of the year we've been working towards ensuring we have a competitive package for the second half of the championship. I think we showed at Oran Park we have some good pace on board and hopefully we can continue this progression in the upcoming endurance races," said Bargwanna.

"Between the four drivers we have over 25 Bathurst starts and probably over 50 years of experience across a variety of categories. I'm really excited about the prospect of achieving some good results over the next couple of races."

While Bargwanna is the only driver in the team to have won a Bathurst crown, two of his counterparts, Baird and Besnard, both have had victories stolen from them in the past. Baird crossed the line first in 1997 before later being excluded due to a technicality, while Besnard was leading the race when paired with Tony Longhurst before the latter crashed out with 10 laps remaining.

Baird is currently leading the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Championship by virtue of winning three of the four rounds contested so far in 2006, while Besnard recently sealed a deal to contest the upcoming New Zealand V8 Championship.

Brazilian-born Wilson is currently in the midst of enjoying his best championship position since landing on Australian shores in 2002 and is confident the continual improvement by the team will ensure WPS is one of the dark horse outfits in this year's endurance races.

"As a team we've certainly made some big improvements from the opening round which has been highlighted by our speed over the past few rounds," said Wilson.

"At the start of the season we knew the first half of the year was going to be tough and so we set our goals on being contenders for spots inside the top ten by the time the endurance races came around. Right now we're right on track for where we want to be and a spot near the front at Sandown is very achievable."

If experience and determination counts WPS Racing should feature heavily in the upcoming Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown International Raceway.

-credit: wps racing

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Series V8SUPERCARS