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2023 Supercars Sandown 500 session times and preview

The second most famous race in Supercars history returns this weekend with the Sandown 500 taking place for the first time in four years.

Will Davison, Dick Johnson Racing

Photo by: Edge Photographics

The Sandown 500 has been on ice since 2019 and hasn't sat in the schedule as the traditional Bathurst lead-up since the year before that.

The 500-kay race was set to move to The Bend Motorsport Park in 2020, only for the pandemic to intervene and force Supercars to scale back to a single enduro, the Bathurst 1000.

In a positive PR move for the sport, the first step to re-introduce multiple enduros post-COVID is the revival of the Sandown 500 – in its traditional mid-September slot.

A pre-Bathurst hit-out will be critical for Supercars teams as they continue to grapple with the new Gen3 cars.

While there have been several refuelling races, this will be the first proper test of reliability over an endurance distance.

With some parts such as steering racks having proven fragile so far, reliability could be a bigger issue than it was with the well-refined Gen2 cars in the past.

The Sandown layout will add to that challenge with its tall, car-crunching kerbs, the use of which is critical to lap time.

Driver changes will be another challenge with the slimmer proportions of the Gen3 cars. What will alleviate the issue is that the new refuelling systems have a longer fill time, although for Sandown refuelling will take place on the driver's side of the car, adding a level of complication to the stops.

Speaking of stops, Supercars has opted to remove the mandatory stop requirement for the Sandown 500 to free up strategy. Previously the race required at least three trips to the lane.

The endurance races are set to prove critical to the title fight with these single races each worth a full 300 points – and the added wildcard of having co-drivers share the cars with those battling for the crown.

Brodie Kostecki heads to Sandown with a 137-point series lead and will be joined by Carrera Cup regular Dave Russell for the long-distance races. Russell has been a stand-out at Bathurst the past two years, but will this time have to deal with the pressure of being right in the title fight.

Sitting second in the points is NASCAR-bound Shane van Gisbergen, who will be partnered by the highly-rated Richie Stanaway.

That's because Garth Tander, who won Bathurst with van Gisbergen in 2020 and 2022, has jumped ship to Grove Racing to join David Reynolds in what is one of the top combos in the field.

Third in the points is van Gisbergen's teammate Broc Feeney, who sits 228 points in arrears after somewhat difficult outing at The Bend last month. He will be partnered by seven-time Supercars champion, and Triple Eight team boss, Jamie Whincup.

Rounding out the quartet of major title contenders is Will Brown, who is now 258 points back after struggling at The Bend. His enduro partner is the highly-experience Jack Perkins, who has been racing for Erebus in Super2 this year.

Co-drivers are required to complete at least 54 of the 161 laps.

Other noteworthy duos include Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth, who dominated Bathurst in 2021. Their Sandown hopes, however, could hang on whether the new Ford aero, debuted in Townsville, has made in-roads on the long-standing parity issues.

The same goes for Cam Waters and James Moffat, which will be a potent combo should the Mustang be up to the task.

Andre Heimgartner and Dale Wood is another combo to watch with Brad Jones Racing showing flashes of form recently.

The Sandown 500 will see Porsche factory ace Kevin Estre make his Supercars debut for Grove Racing alongside impressive rookie Matt Payne.

There will also be two wildcard entries in the field – one for Triple Eight (Zane Goddard and Craig Lowndes) and one for Blanchard Racing Team (Jake Kostecki and Aaron Love).

The undercard at Sandown features the Dunlop Series (Super2/Super3), V8 SuperUtes, Toyota 86s and Carrera Cup.

2023 Supercars Sandown 500 session times

All times local (GMT +10)

Friday September 15

8:10-8:30 V8 SuperUtes – Practice
8:40-9:00 Toyota 86s – Practice 1
9:10-9:35 Carrera Cup – Practice 1
9:50-10:30 Super2/Super3 – Practice 1
10:45-11:15 Supercars – Practice 1 (all drivers)
11:30-11:50 Toyota 86s – Practice 2
12:00-12:25 Carrera Cup – Practice 2
12:40-13:10 Supercars – Practice 2 (co-drivers only)
13:30-13:50 V8 SuperUtes – Qualifying
14:05-14:45 Super2/Super3 – Practice 2
15:00-15:12 Carrera Cup – Qualifying 1
15:18-15:30 Carrera Cup – Qualifying 2
15:45-16:15 Supercars – Practice 3 (all drivers)

Saturday September 16

9:05-9:20 Toyota 86s – Qualifying
9:35-9:55 V8 SuperUtes – Race 1
10:05-10:30 Carrera Cup – Race 1
10:45-11:15 Supercars – Practice 4 (all drivers)
11:35-11:50 Super3 – Qualifying (Race 1)
12:00-12:15 Super2 – Qualifying (Race 1)
12:30-12:50 Toyota 86 – Race 1
13:00-13:25 V8 SuperUtes – Race 2
13:40-14:00 Supercars – Qualifying
14:20-14:45 Toyota 86s – Race 2
14:55-15:15 V8 SuperUtes – Race 3
15:25-16:05 Carrera Cup – Race 2
16:20-17:00 Super2/Super3 – Race 1
17:20-17:50 Supercars – Top 10 Shootout

Sunday September 17

9:15-9:30 Super3 – Qualifying (Race 2)
9:40-9:55 Super2 – Qualifying (Race 3)
10:10-10:30 Supercars – Warm-up
10:45-11:05 V8 SuperUtes – Race 4
11:40-12:00 Toyota 86s – Race 3
12:10-12:35 Carrera Cup – Race 3
12:50-13:30 Super2/Super3 – Race 2
14:15-17:43 Supercars – Race

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