One goal for Holden in 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series The goal of returning Holden to the status of V8 Supercar champions begins this weekend at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and, with minimal disruptions or movements during the off season...
One goal for Holden in 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series
The goal of returning Holden to the status of V8 Supercar champions begins this weekend at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and, with minimal disruptions or movements during the off season the General's teams are well placed to mount an assault that will reassume the #1 plate for the `red' side.
A twoday test session last week at W inton Motor Raceway in Victoria gave the six Holdenbacked teams based in Melbourne their first ontrack hitout for 2006 before heading to Adelaide.
One of Holden's major strengths is the continuity in its frontline teams, with Holden Racing, Toll HSV Dealer Team and Jack Daniel's Racing all retaining their driving lineups and others making small refinements during the offseason with minimal staff movements or interruptions.
Bathurst champions Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly return for the factory Holden Racing Team, while Toll adds its backing to the HSV DT Commodores of Garth Tander and Rick Kelly.
Larry Perkins retains Steven Richards and Paul Dumbrell in his team and pulled off the sponsorship coup of the off season by signing Jack Daniel's to replace Castrol, giving his team perhaps its strongestever assault on the V8 Supercar Series.
Supercheap Auto Racing has strengthened its lineup with the addition of Cameron McConville to partner fourtime Bathurst champion Greg Murphy, while the emerging Tasman Motorsport has increased funding due to a new sponsorship initiative.
Bathurst runnerup Jason Richards is joined by former V8 Development Series champion Andrew Jones, while Garry Rogers Motorsport will give reigning Development Series champion Dean Canto a ticket back into the main series in addition to rookie Lee Holdsworth.
Team Sirromet W ines and Team Kiwi Racing will retain their technical alliance with Paul Morris and Paul Radisich again driving, while Morris will also run another car to be shared between young guns Alan Gurr and Fabian Coulthard. The former will drive this weekend before Kiwi Coulthard drives at Albert Park and Pukekohe.
Holden Motorsport Manager Simon McNamara said that keeping a strong portfolio of loyal Holden drivers will be the cornerstone of success in 2006. "While we may have not won the championship for the past three seasons, there's no doubting the strength and depth of our team and driver lineups," he said.
"In all honesty, a wide range of our teams and drivers have been at the front of the field over the past few seasons, whereas only two teams from the other side stand out well above the rest and one of those only just began to reach those levels last year.
"HRT and HSV DT have fast cars and experienced drivers, Perkins has a new major backer and a new enthusiasm, Supercheap has a strong technical package and Tasman continues to improve and has become a major player. There's a lot to look forward to in 2006."
Holden will also be well represented in the Fujitsu V8 Development Series, which is the main support to the Clipsal 500.
Nathan Pretty and Geoff Emery (Mack/Smiths Trucks Racing), Tony D'Alberto (GMAC Racing), Mark Porter (MSport Racing) and Jack Perkins and Shane Price (Perkins Motorsport) will all drive Commodores in the seven round series.
Practice begins this Thursday in Adelaide for the Fujitsu Series teams, while the main series drivers will hit the track on Friday.
HOLDEN MOTORSPORT QUOTEBOOK
Mark Skaife (#2 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"There were plenty of positives to come out of testing at W inton, although we probably lost half a day to the weather. My car is a new chassis and it's pretty close to spoton. It's basically the same spec of chassis we ran with last year, albeit with a few tricky engineering tweaks which we spent a bit of time testing and walked away feeling pretty confident going into the Clipsal 500."
Greg Murphy (#51 Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore VZ)
"I believe you have to win races to win the championship and Adelaide is definitely one of the races to win. This year is going to be tough, tougher than ever before, but I'm confident we're ready for it. The Supercheap Auto Racing team is a good team, a strong operation with solid support. W e've worked hard over the summer break and we're ready to begin the new season."
Jason Richards (#3 Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"The year we're going to Adelaide so far in front of where we were last year in all aspects. Our engines are more developed, we've got the same crew of guys who work well together and that gives you the confidence to pick up where we left off at the end of 2005 and start the year with a whole bunch of points in the bag."
Garth Tander (#16 Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ)
"We were very happy with the new car in testing at W inton, and while you can always make things a little better, we believe we already have a better package than last year. This year, we believe we can do a lot better, and our aim is to keep the car straight and leave Adelaide in the top three in the championship."