Although running just his second Konica V8 Supercar race at Oran Park this weekend, Queensland's Michael Simpson will have as much track knowledge as almost any other driver in the 28-car field. Simpson has previously driven in Formula Ford,...
Although running just his second Konica V8 Supercar race at Oran Park this weekend, Queensland's Michael Simpson will have as much track knowledge as almost any other driver in the 28-car field.
Simpson has previously driven in Formula Ford, GT Production and Suzuki GTi Cup races at the challenging Sydney circuit and is hoping that his understanding of the "tricky" 2.62km layout will be an asset when it comes to putting championship points in the bag.
"We finished second in my first event Suzuki Cup race at the circuit back in 1995 and it would be nice to go one better than that this weekend," said Simpson.
"Oran Park is one of the more challenging circuits we will compete on this year and if you end up on the podium you have really earned it. "I also had a car turn upside down right in front of me in my first Formula Ford race at the track a few years ago and that's certainly not an experience I would like to have again.
"I think we proved in the first round that we have the tools to do the job. We just have to be cool and get out there and do it." Simpson was the talk of the track after he finished fourth in the opening round of the series at Wakefield Park near Goulburn three weeks ago. Since then, Simpson has literally been itching to get back in his Falcon. "If I had of come out in a rash it would not have been a surprise," said Simpson.
"I just enjoyed the first round so much and it has been hard to concentrate on anything else, but getting back out there this weekend." One of the big assets Simpson had in the first round was the support of Ross Stone from Stone Brothers Racing, who made the trip south to oversee the new Ford operation.
Stone, a Bathurst-winning team owner, sold Simpson his Falcon and been a major help during the preparation period for the Konica Series.
"Ross is not making this trip south this weekend, but I am sure we will be in constant contact," said Simpson. "The support we have received from Stone Brothers Racing has been nothing short of fantastic." Simpson is still chasing a major sponsor for the season, but has had great local support from Queensland Vehicle Warranty Network, MA Howard Constructions and Nerang Diffs.
One of his major supporters has been the Bruce Lynton Group, which has supplied the team with a workshop and team transporter. The group is also Simpson's employer and allowances have been made so he can compete in the entire season.
"I know if we keep getting results that a sponsor has to come eventually," said Simpson.
"We cannot get carried away with the results in the first round, we just have to head to Oran Park and start again."
Qualifying for round two of the Konica Series will be held tomorrow with three races on Sunday.
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, which starts at Phillip Island in Victoria on March 24-25. <pre> CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS - KONICA V8 SUPERCAR SERIES 1: Simon Wills 2342 2: Leanne Ferrier 210 3: Paul Dumbrell 190 4: Michael Simpson 186 5: David Parsons 184 6: Mal Rose 180 7: Dale Brede 148 8: Craig Harris 148 9: Terry Wyhoon 134 10: Rick Shaw 126 11: Owen Kelly 124 13: Garry Holt 124 14: Phonsy Mullan 124 15: Scott March 120 16: Adam Wallace 112 17: Geoff Full 110 18: Bill Attard 108 19: Luke Sieders 104 20: Ross Halliday 104 21: Tim Rowse 100 22: Kevin Mundy 100 23: Alan Heath 96
- Brett Murray -