Junior Johnson Targets Second Enduro Win With Lamborghini Drive In 34TH Sandown 500 STEVEN Johnson, winner of the Queensland 500 motor race a week ago, has set his sights on an endurance double with confirmation today that he will drive a ...
Junior Johnson Targets Second Enduro Win With Lamborghini Drive In 34TH Sandown 500
STEVEN Johnson, winner of the Queensland 500 motor race a week ago, has set his sights on an endurance double with confirmation today that he will drive a Lamborghini in the 34th Sandown 500 in Melbourne on Sunday week.
Johnson, 26, will partner regular driver, three-time Australian Gold Star Champion Paul Stokell, in the Team Lamborghini Australia Lamborghini Diablo SVR coupe, which he will test for the first time at Melbourne's Calder Park circuit on Wednesday.
The pair is expected to be major contenders for the 500 kilometre race, which Johnson's father Dick won in 1994 and 1995 in a Ford Falcon.
"It would be nice to add another 500 race to my record and Paul and I are going to have to work just as hard in the Lamborghini as Paul Radisich and I did in our Shell Helix Falcon to win in Queensland," Johnson said.
"I'm looking forward to a good close race. Paul and I have worked together as teammates at Shell Helix Racing in the Queensland 500 and I think our times will be pretty close.
"We've got a good chance if we can just keep going consistently. From what I'm hearing, the Chrysler Vipers will be our strongest opposition and the Porsches will be very reliable."
The V12-engined Lamborghini is the most successful car in this season's Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship, with eight wins to its credit from 13 starts.
It was the last of 42 cars to be officially entered for the prestigious race, which has been run at Sandown International Motor Raceway since 1964.
Other entrants include Queenslanders Paul Morris and John Teulan in a Ferrari 360, Australian Football League personality Sam Newman in a Ferrari, 1985 and '89 winner Jim Richards, co-driving with car owner Tony Quinn in a Porsche GT3, Peter Fitzgerald/Geoff Morgan in another Porsche, D'arcy Russell in a Chrysler Viper and John Bowe with New Zealander Chris Dunn in a Ford Mustang Cobra RA.
One of Europe's fastest production cars, the 250 kmh BMW M3, will make its Australian track debut in the race.
The $136,000 German coupe, recently launched in Australia, will make the transformation from road-burner to race rocket in the hands of Sydney's Peter Boylan and Trevor Sheumack.
Starting at 12 midday, the leading cars are scheduled to complete 161 laps and four compulsory pit stops, including at least one to driver and wheel change.
On Saturday, the 10 fastest drivers from qualifying will compete in one-lap run-offs for pole position in the Budweiser Top Gun Challenge.
Cars also will race on Saturday in rounds of the Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship and Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship.
Other events on the three-day program organised by PROCAR Australia and Sandown promoter Jon Davison are the Poolrite V8 BRute Muster series, Australian Formula 3 Championship and Toyo Mitsubishi Mirage Series.
The 34th Sandown 500 - At a Glance
From its inauguration on 29 November 1964, the Sandown 500 has become one of the great institutions of Australian motorsport. The first race attracted an international field, including two-time Indy 500 winner Roger Ward, Britain's Sir Gawaine Baillie, Jackie Stewart, Mini ace Paddy Hopkirk and eventual winner Dr Roberto Bussinello, Alfa Romeo's chief driver. Also on the grid in an ex-works Lotus Cortina was Canadian Allan Moffat, who was unsuccessful that year but later won six times. Peter Brock (9 times), Jim Richards, Dick Johnson, John Bowe, Glenn Seton and Larry Perkins also are Sandown 500 winners.
* 34th Sandown 500, 14-16 September 2001
* Sandown International Motor Raceway, Princes Highway, Springvale, Vic.
* Race starts 12 midday Sunday; duration 500 kms or 161 laps
* Final qualifying 3.15 pm Saturday - Budweiser Top Gun Challenge for fastest 10
* Eligible cars - Nations Cup (grand touring cars), GTP (showroom sedans & coupes)
* Rules - Compulsory pit stops including one wheel change, one driver change (Nations Cup & GTP class A, 4 stops; GTP classes B, C, D, 3 stops). Max. 12 tyres.
* Support races Saturday & Sunday, (Rd 6) Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship, (Rd 6) Century Batteries GT Performance, (Rd 7) Century Batteries GT Production, (Rd 4) Poolrite V8 BRute Muster, Australian Formula 3 Championship, Toyo Mitsubishi Mirage Series
* Ticket prices - Friday free; Saturday adults $20, children 5-15 $10; Sunday adults $30, children 5-15 $10; free paddock entry every day