Victoria Whitley puts Howard Racing V8 Supercar through its paces One of Australia's emerging female motorsport talents completed an impressive test session with defending Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series champions Howard Racing at Queensland Raceway...
Victoria Whitley puts Howard Racing V8 Supercar through its paces
One of Australia's emerging female motorsport talents completed an impressive test session with defending Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series champions Howard Racing at Queensland Raceway (Ipswich) yesterday.
18-year-old Victoria Whitley made the most of her opportunity with the Gold-Coast based team, taking to the track for two 6-lap stints in a 600 horsepower touring car, vastly different to the nimble Formula Ford she is currently campaigning.
She was fitted for her seat and racesuit last month, and was extensively prepared by Team Manager Warren Davis and the crew as the day grew closer.
Whitley, who is based in Toowoomba, steadily overcame a steep learning curve in her first introduction to V8 Supercar racing yesterday, adapting quickly to what was required to wrestle the 1.2 tonne machine around the demanding 3.12km layout while posting encouraging lap times.
In just twelve flying laps she had grown accustomed to the some of the trickier characteristics of the car, including its incredible braking abilities and the level of downforce generated by the aero kit.
Climbing from the car following her final session aboard the #32 Howard Racing Falcon, Whitley said the experience had been unforgettable.
"The team prepared me so well for the test and I can't thank them enough for the opportunity and experience, to be able to have a run in such a competitive car was amazing," said Whitley.
"It took a little getting used to, the forces the car generates are hard to explain and nothing like I am used to. I was constantly checking my mirrors to make sure I was keeping clear of the other drivers around me!"
"To be on track with some of the leading drivers was an absolute honour. To race a V8 Supercar has always been my dream, and today I feel as though I'm one step closer to making it a reality."
Team owner Mark Howard, who initiated the drive for Whitley, was extremely impressed by the young driver's ability to listen and respond to advice from the team.
"Victoria is very professional in the way she goes about racing and will go a long way with such a positive and determined outlook," said Howard.
"There was a lot of pressure on her today, the media attention and the fact she was testing alongside the main game teams meant she was in the spotlight and she handled it very well," he said.
"We'll continue to monitor her progress in the national Formula Ford series and are willing to lend a hand with any help she may need in improving her racecraft."
Warren Davis, who had been working with Whitley in the lead-up to the test, said she showed a genuine interest in learning from those around her and did everything that the team had suggested.
"For her first ever attempt in a V8 Supercar it was a very good job, under difficult conditions with so many teams on track with her," said Davis.
"She was quick to find her feet in the car and we were especially impressed with her smooth gear changes -- that alone takes any driver a while to master."
Victoria will be back on track aboard her Formula Ford in under two weeks time at Queensland Raceway, where the local V8 Supercar, Fujitsu V8 Supercar and Formula Ford round will be held.