YOUNG Gold Coast driver Michael Simpson is hoping to continue his "love affair" with South Australian venues when he competes in the final round of the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Mallala Raceway this weekend. Simpson put a borrowed HQ Holden...
YOUNG Gold Coast driver Michael Simpson is hoping to continue his "love affair" with South Australian venues when he competes in the final round of the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Mallala Raceway this weekend.
Simpson put a borrowed HQ Holden on pole in his first appearance at Mallala club meeting in 1995 and few weeks later he returned to finish fourth in the HQ Nationals. That effort earned him an invitation to compete in the HQ support events at the final Adelaide Formula One Grand Prix in November.
In his one and only appearance on the old Adelaide street course, Simpson qualified seventh and broke the track's HQ lap record on his way to finishing fourth.
Simpson will again compete this weekend with event signage on his car from the VIP Petfoods Queensland 500, which will be held at Queensland Raceway on August 24-26.
"I love the place and cannot wait to get back there," said Simpson of the Mallala circuit. "We have had a reasonable amount of success in South Australia and hopefully we can continue that in the final round of the Konica Series."
Simpson has been one of the most impressive competitors in this year's Konica Series, but is yet to take a step to the top of the dais.
"We have had a couple of really positive tests in the last couple of weeks and believe we can run towards the front at Mallala," said Simpson. "Luck has not always been on our side this season, but I'm confident we have a big chance of notching out first win in the final round."
While Simpson is looking forward to running door-handle to door-handle with the Series' frontrunners, he may have a second look if he finds himself alongside the Castrol Falcon of Brisbane's Craig Harris.
The Queensland pair have just struck a deal to co-drive with each other at this year's V8 1000 at Bathurst on October 4-7 and are currently trying to raise extra funding to run in the VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 at Queensland Raceway, near Ipswich on August 24-26.
Harris offered Simpson his Castrol Falcon for round four of the Konica series at Phillip Island after Simpson's Ford was badly damaged in round three at Winton and a bond has existed between the pair ever since.
"It was terrific for Craig to give us his car for the Phillip Island round and it's a good feeling to be extending the relationship," said Simpson. "It would be great if Craig and I could have strong results in our own right at Mallala and then continue the form into the endurance events."
Simpson's results in this year's Konica Series have come in an older EL Falcon, which has received some strong support from Stone Brothers Racing one of the leading teams in this year's Shell Championship Series. "Michael looked good the first time he stepped into the car," said Ross Stone, a co-owner of the Stone Brothers team with his brother Jim. "He has got the ability and is not scared to have a real go. I certainly think he has a future in this sport."
Simpson has received support during the year from the Queensland Vehicle Warranty Network, Brannigan's Budget Tyres, Eddie's Auto Painters, MA Howard Constructions, Nerang Diffs, the Lynton Group, Chef Talk, Queensland Raceway and Wade-Parker Consulting.
The Konica V8 Supercar Series consists of six rounds in the Eastern states of Australia and has been designed as a breeding ground for the Shell Championship Series.