The fifth round of the HPDC V8 Supercar Series at South Australia's Mallala Motorsport Park may be on top of Tony Evangelou's agenda this weekend, but the Melbourne man is also looking forward to a significant feat in his racing career next ...
The fifth round of the HPDC V8 Supercar Series at South Australia's Mallala Motorsport Park may be on top of Tony Evangelou's agenda this weekend, but the Melbourne man is also looking forward to a significant feat in his racing career next month.
Evangelou, 39, will make his V8 Supercar Championship Series debut with Anthony Tratt in the Toll Holden Commodore VZ at the Sandown 500, before he tackles one of the world's most famous touring car races, the Bathurst 1000 in October.
The Dexion Racing driver has been selected by Tratt to co-drive with him in Australia's prestigious endurance races, and Tratt said that the decision to choose Evangelou was an easy one.
"Tony has got plenty of current miles in the V8 Supercars, and he's proved to be a consistent performer," Tratt said.
"I'm sure he'll do a good job. His role will be to stay out of trouble, maintain a comfortable pace and bring the car home in one piece. I have every confidence that he'll be able to do that easily."
Evangelou is excited about the prospect of competing against the likes of Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes and Marcos Ambrose.
"It will be a dream come true to race at Bathurst," Evangelou said.
"I'm not out to prove anything. There will be a lot I'll be able to take out of the two races and it will be a great experience to be involved with a professional team like Toll Racing."
A former Porsche racer, Tratt has been involved in the V8 series since 1998, with a best result of 11th place at Queensland Raceway in 2004. The Toll-backer driver has always been a consistent performer around the Mount Panorama circuit, with eight starts under his belt and a best result of 12th in 2002.
While Sandown and Bathurst beckon, Evangelou will pedal his ex-Tratt Ford Falcon BA around Mallala this weekend in the HPDC V8 series with the expectation of a consistent weekend.
The team elected not to test before the meeting, consolidated its resources and made sure that the engine, gearbox and chassis was ready for the bump and grind of the tight South Australian layout.
"It's a bit of a goat track," Evangelou said of the 2.6km circuit.
"I actually don't mind the layout of the track though. It's not bad, but I think the V8s have outgrown it. There is always a bit of carnage, particularly in the reverse grid race. I hope we can avoid that and bring the Dexion car home in one piece, maybe even with a good result."
The team has replaced the engine for this round with the unit that was originally in the car when the purchased it at the start of this year. Also, the gearbox has been fixed after a bent input shaft was discovered after the Queensland Raceway round last month.
After the disappointment at Queensland, where the Falcon failed to start the last race due to engine failure, Team Manager David Moulden has ensured that the Dexion Ford will go the distance this weekend.
"The fact that we didn't test freed us up to make sure that absolutely everything on the car is spot on," he said.
"We've never raced with this engine, so we really don't have an expectation for the round. We could be 16th or 17th, or we could be seventh! Obviously we want to go well, but it's a bit of an unknown until we get out on the track."
HPDC V8 action starts on Saturday, with practice and qualifying, followed by three races on Sunday. Supporting the Supercars will be the popular V8 Utes, Formula Ford, Historic Touring Cars, Commodore Cup and Lotus Trophy.