Surfers Paradise: Intl. drivers Queensland test summary

INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS GET TASTE OF V8 ACTION AHEAD OF FRIDAY KICK-OFF The 18 international stars of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 enjoyed the chance to familiarize themselves with their V8 Supercar machines today, with a special test day just ...

INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS GET TASTE OF V8 ACTION AHEAD OF FRIDAY KICK-OFF

The 18 international stars of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 enjoyed the chance to familiarize themselves with their V8 Supercar machines today, with a special test day just for them held at Queensland Raceway.

While those drivers got the most out of their time on the Ipswich circuit, in Brisbane and back on the Gold Coast many of the home-grown V8 Supercar stars were taking the chance to get out and about ahead of Friday's event kick off.

Brad Jones Racing drivers Jason Richards and Andrew Jones took the time to visit the childrens' ward of the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, while the Miss V8 Supercars contestants underwent photographic judging at the Gold Coast's Jupiters Casino.

Meanwhile, rehearsals were underway for the Schools Star Search winning choirs and the John Paul College marching band who will be part of the official pre-race entertainment across the weekend and V8 Supercar drivers Paul Dumbrell and Steve Richards visited Slacks Creek's Autobarn..

Queensland Minister for Sport the Honourable Phil Reeves was on track at Queensland Raceway today and said today's session showcased the high calibre of talent among the international drivers.

"This was a great opportunity for the drivers and their pit crews to fine tune what could be championship winning pit stops, and I can't wait to see the teams hit the streets of the Gold Coast," Mr Reeves said.

"Just to get close to these awesome machines was fantastic, and judging from today's test drive, Gold Coast 600 fans are in for a high-octane experience.

"These drivers are among some of the best in the world, and the Coast is definitely the place to be this weekend."

Minister Reeves got in on the action today, getting up close and person with the IRWIN Tools Falcon of Stone Brothers Racing.

"It was fantastic to have an opportunity to get my hands dirty today, with a bit of wheel changing practice on the IRWIN Tools car at Stone Brothers Racing," Mr Reeves said.

"Team Owner Ross Stone and Engineer Dave Stewart really went out of their way to make me feel welcome, and give me a real insight into what is required to make the cars go as fast as they can on a consistent basis.

"All these guys certainly earn their money, when you have the opportunity to get this close you really get an understanding for what a team sport this really is."

International entrant Sebastien Bourdais of France said he couldn't wait to get onto the streets of the Gold Coast after a successful test day at Queensland Raceway.

"I've driven a lot of things, but for sure, this one is quite different. It's heavy, it's powerful, it has narrow tyres, it doesn't have much downforce. It's something pretty special," said Bourdais.

"For all different race cars, it's not always the same to get the most out of the car and be competitive. I'm just trying to learn.

"The conditions (at Queensland Raceway) aren't great. We started with half dry, half wet track on slicks - not the best to gather confidence.

"I don't really have an expectation for the weekend ahead. The series is pretty competitive. Jono has been doing well all year long, and I think if we can get a top 10, everyone will be happy."

Bourdais' IndyCar counterpart Dario Franchitti echoed the Frenchman's thoughts.

"It's really interesting just to learn the car, what it likes, and learn the limit. You brake and think you've braked too early, but then you try to brake two car lengths early and you go off with the wheels locked. So it's a real tight-rope," said Franchitti

"It's not so much the weight (that is the problem), it's the lack of downforce I think. It's very difficult to feel what's going on, when the wheels start to actually lock, things like that.

"It's something I've always wanted to do, drive the supercars. In the future, when I eventually stop IndyCar racing, it'd be a fun thing to do more of."

Each day of the October 22-24 event will see 18 international stars paired with the 29 home-grown heroes of the V8 Supercar Series taking to the concrete jungle of the Gold Coast street circuit, with the skills of these drivers - some of the best in the world - to truly be put to the test by the Aussie V8 Supercar machines and their unique style.

When the checkered flag has flown at the end of each day, 600 Sounds presented by Hard Rock will fire up each night at the Broadwater Parklands entertainment precinct, bringing together a wide range of musical acts across a whole range of genres.

Tickets are still on sale for the Armor All Gold Coast 600, with Friday admission tickets starting from just $49 and three day passes from just $136, with each ticket providing admission to not only the day's racing but also the same night's entertainment line-up at 600 Sounds. Visit ticketek.com.au or call 132 849 for more information or to purchase.

-source: goldcoast600.com.au

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