Defending V8 Supercar champions TeamVodafone are preparing to continue their on-track dominance when the 2012 season opens on the streets of Adelaide for the first time since 2009.
The Clipsal 500 sees drivers face a gruelling two-race format, one that the team has mastered in recent years having won an enviable four times since 2006.
V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup has faced a devastating week following the passing of his father, and will dedicate his efforts this weekend to the man he called his best mate.
“Last week was without a doubt the toughest week of my life,” said Whincup.
“Dad rode the motorsport wave with me every step of the way, which I plan to still be the case right into the future.
“It has been an incredibly hard week for my family and I and I thank everyone for their support so far. Dad will never be forgotten.
“He will be my inspiration as I concentrate on the start of my title defence at Clipsal this weekend.
Whincup has won three of the past four Clipsal 500 events, and also won on debut with the Brisbane-based team in 2006.
He enters 2012 with a stellar record, having finished either first or second in the Championship over the past five years.
Teammate Craig Lowndes won the inaugural Adelaide event in 1999, but is yet to take victory under the TeamVodafone banner, a statistic he would like to change this year.
“I still classify Clipsal as the hardest race of the year but I’m really looking forward to continuing the momentum we had in 2011 into this year,” said Lowndes.
“It’s fantastic that the first event is back on home soil, it’s good to finally go back to old traditions. The fans will enjoy being able to see the V8’s on track for the first race of the season.
“I’m feeling fit, confident and happy heading into Clipsal. The test we had a few weeks ago was really positive and I’m feeling extremely comfortable in the Commodore.”
The Clipsal 500 is the first event of the 2012 V8 Supercar Championship Series and features two 250km legs across Saturday (3 March) and Sunday (4 March).