TeamVodafone drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup made a pit stop of a different kind today (16 March) in Adelaide, stomping grapes for their new wine ahead of their impending full-bodied attack on the Clipsal 500 racetrack this weekend.
The duo battled it out for grape stomping supremacy to see who has the best wine legs to take the title in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fans at the iconic Adelaide Central Markets.
The pair also unveiled TeamVodafone's limited edition wine - the TeamVodafone Champion's Drop - a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot produced by acclaimed South Australian winemaker Geoff Merrill.
"Stomping grapes in a wine barrel is certainly not what I expected to be doing as pre-race training here in Adelaide, but what a way to uncork our competitive spirit and hopefully make 2011 a great vintage for us," said Lowndes.
"We are releasing the TeamVodafone Champion's Drop to celebrate our fifth year as TeamVodafone, and like a good drop of wine, our partnership has matured with age and is packed with an earthy hunger for winning, notes of ambition and layers of success."
The balanced tannins and complex character of the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is said to be a winner on the palate, a taste familiar to Lowndes and Whincup after a fruitful five year partnership under the TeamVodafone banner.
Despite mixed fortunes at the opening round of the 2011 V8 Supercar Championship Series in Abu Dhabi, Jamie Whincup heads into the first event on Australian soil with the championship lead.
The team has put a lot of emphasis on fuel consumption ahead of the two gruelling 250km legs that will make up the Clipsal 500 and they are hoping past success on the 3.22km street circuit will give them an edge when they hit the track this weekend.
"We're excited to be back in Adelaide for this year's Clipsal 500. We always get barrels of support from fans, and over the years we've had a bit of fun to mark the beginning of our Clipsal 500 campaigns including having a priest bless our race car last year," Whincup said.
To share the good drop with others, TeamVodafone is auctioning five magnum bottles of TeamVodafone Champion's Drop on ebay through the website, www.teamvodafone.com.au/auctions , with all funds raised supporting the tireless efforts of the team's charity of choice, Australian Red Cross.
"We are pleased to share the fruits of our labour with the Australian Red Cross, as they do a wide range of fantastic work to help thousands of Australians every year," said Whincup.
Clipsal 500 is the second event of the 2011 V8 Supercar Championship Series and features two 250km legs across Saturday (19 March) and Sunday (20 March).