WPS RACING SETS COURSE FOR SEASON OPENER WPS Racing new recruit Craig Baird and foundation driver David Besnard will today use the V8 Supercar practice and qualifying sessions at the Fosters Australian Grand Prix to finalise their preparations...
WPS RACING SETS COURSE FOR SEASON OPENER
WPS Racing new recruit Craig Baird and foundation driver David Besnard will today use the V8 Supercar practice and qualifying sessions at the Fosters Australian Grand Prix to finalise their preparations for the season-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide later this month.
The two drivers are primed for their first non-test day hitout of the year as the V8 Supercars make their 2005 public debut on the streets of Melbourne's Albert Park.
It will be Baird's first competitive drive for the Wright Patton Shakespeare financial group-supported WPS Racing, which is in just its second season in the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
Baird last week joined Besnard for his first drive with WPS Racing when the pair had their first test day for the year at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway.
"It will be nice to get on the track with the other teams to see how we are going, so I'm very much looking forward to it," said Baird.
Besnard echoed the thoughts, saying the pre-season Melbourne Grand Prix event gave all of the teams the chance to monitor their progress ahead of the season-opening Clipsal 500 from March 17-20.
"We had a great test day last week and we can't wait to get out on the track and see where we are at," said Besnard.
"I had to sit this event out last year (when Mark Noske debuted for WPS Racing) so it's nice to be back."
Both drivers will be competing with new car numbers this year, with Baird in Car 8 and Besnard in Car 48.
The car livery is similar to that of last year, with businessman Craig Gore's Wright Patton Shakespeare again the team's major sponsor.
During the off-season the two cars were stripped back to their chassis' and rebuilt, with Friday's hitout at Willowbank the first time they have been driven since the final race of the 2004 season.
Both drivers reported that the cars handled well and they were confident of a good showing throughout 2005.
Wright Patton Shakespeare will also have other cars on track, with the company again sponsoring the V8 Supercar Championship Series' Safety Car program.
This year the Safety Cars will be the impressive 250kW HEMI-powered V8 Chrysler 300C, which are planned to be released in Australia later this year.