BATHURST WINNERS LEAD CHARGE TO KEEP INDY SURFBOARD IN CALTEX HANDS Bathurst winners Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup will be leading the charge to keep one of the most distinctive trophies in Australian sport in the hands of Caltex-backed ...
BATHURST WINNERS LEAD CHARGE TO KEEP INDY SURFBOARD IN CALTEX HANDS
Bathurst winners Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup will be leading the charge to keep one of the most distinctive trophies in Australian sport in the hands of Caltex-backed V8 Supercar teams at this weekend's Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge in Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
Lowndes is the defending V8 Supercar round winner at the Lexmark Indy 300 and therefore the current holder of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge winner's 'surfboard', the trophies awarded at the Gold Coast V8 event. The accolade is just one of the major V8 Supercar trophies currently held by Caltex-backed V8 Supercar teams.
Caltex Racing pilot Russell Ingall is the defending V8 Supercar Champion and Caltex-backed Stone Brothers Racing the defending Team's Champion. The Caltex-backed Triple Eight Race Engineering team is not only the new Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Champions after the stunning win by Lowndes and Whincup at Mount Panorama earlier this month, Lowndes is also the reigning Barry Sheene Medalist and Whincup the 2006 Clipsal 500 winner.
The Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge is often something of a street-fight on the demanding Surfers Paradise street circuit, but Caltex Ambassadors Lowndes and Ingall have proved fast at the picturesque event, with Ingall winning the round in 2003 and Lowndes the defending event champion.
Both Ingall and his team-mate James Courtney enter Indy with added confidence after a strong run at Bathurst saw them finish within a fraction of a second, with Courtney narrowly getting the third and final place on the podium over his team-mate.
Russell Ingall -- #1 Caltex Racing Falcon
"Bathurst really sorted a few of the drivers out, which it usually does, so Indy is going to be a really important race with the Championship, as it was last year as well," said Ingall.
"We had a few brake dramas at Indy last year, but in saying that we also set the lap record. More throttle, less brake tends to help with that! The SBR team is looking forward to getting back there.
"The SBR cars have been a little slower than we would like until this stage but we went to Bathurst with a new outlook and set-up. To bring the cars home third and fourth at Bathurst indicates that they will be quick at Indy.
"Indy is one of my favourite events; it's a home race for us so not jumping on a plane is great.
"But really it's the atmosphere of the place, inside and outside the race circuit. It's a festival rather than a race meeting and that's why they get 300,000 people coming to visit the Gold Coast for the race.
"Overall it's just a whole package, the track is good, exciting racing, you don't get anything better and that's why the drivers really enjoy coming here."
Craig Lowndes -- #888 Team Betta Electrical Falcon
"Now we have all dropped our worst round we know where we are in terms of the championship and which teams are going to pose the biggest threat," said Lowndes.
"There are still four rounds of the championship to go and it is all still up for grabs, we need to keep our focus on consistency and reliability.
"While there is always a great atmosphere at Indy, this weekend's event is the toughest of the four remaining championship rounds and it is a circuit that commands millimetre-perfect precision on track."
"We are in a good position heading into this round. We are leading the championship, I love racing on street circuits and this is an event we won last year."
Jamie Whincup -- #88 Team Betta Electrical Falcon
"It is extremely important to keep the ball rolling after the Bathurst success," said Whincup.
"Indy is one of my favourite tracks and is one that really suits the Triple Eight Falcons, the harder you attack the circuit and the kerbs the more you get out of the car.
"If we get some really hot weather, it may be the survival of the fittest."
James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon
"I've been to the Gold Coast for Indy many times as a spectator so it's going to be a bit different this time to be out there racing in the Jeld-Wen Falcon," said Courtney.
"All the guys rave about the circuit. They all talk about how you can grab the car around the neck and really push it around the circuit so I'm looking forward to doing that.
"I haven't raced on the circuit before so I will walk around the circuit with the Jeld-Wen crew; drive it in a road car. I'll ask Russell for hints but I need to work out if he is telling me the truth or not!
"You can't really get a good feel for a track until you get in the race car and drive around so it will be a bit of a tough weekend to learn everything so quickly. But I've been on that same learning curve all year and we've coped pretty well so it shouldn't be too much different this weekend."