Queensland: WPS Racing pre-test notes

PERFECT QUEENSLAND BUILD UP FOR WPS RACING The luxury of last week's test day at the very same track that will host this weekend's Queensland 300 V8 Supercar event at Ipswich, has marked an enthusiastic approach by the Gold Coast based WPS...


The luxury of last week's test day at the very same track that will host this weekend's Queensland 300 V8 Supercar event at Ipswich, has marked an enthusiastic approach by the Gold Coast based WPS Racing team.

In particular, driver Craig Baird who clocked up 115 laps has shown that with the small, progressive steps being made to the set up of his Wright Patton Shakespeare supported number 8 Falcon, he's been able to steadily climb towards a more competitive position in the Championship.

Further to that, the New Zealand expatriate showed last year that he's capable of big things at Queensland Raceway after qualifying in the top 10 before completing the 300-kilometre journey in 17th place.

"We haven't been setting any unrealistic goals for the team because we are still in the infancy of developing a competitive race package."

"The top rung of drivers this year have been separated by only hundreds and thousandths of a second so it really doesn't take much to get ourselves up towards the pointy end.

"Once again it'll be a case of muscling in on a competitive position during qualifying and that's something we've really been working hard towards.

"Unfortunately there were plenty of race incidents in the last round at Darwin where we came off second best.

"A mechanical black flag spoiled what was shaping as a great weekend.

"But again we finished strongly so there's no reason we can't put it together this weekend.

"The luxury of a test day has allowed us to work on a few different combinations and there's no doubt we'll have a lot quicker car in Queensland."

David Besnard, campaigning the number 48 Falcon from the WPS Racing stable is no stranger to experiencing the highs of the sport in his home state.

Flashback to 2002 and the Gold Coast driver lined up for what would be Ipswich's final hosting of the 500 kilometre two-driver endurance event, which doubled as the major preliminary to Bathurst.

Starting from the second row of the grid, the then 25 year-old Besnard, teamed with Simon Wills and each contributed substantially, as they mastered their way around the 3.12 kilometre circuit to claim the chequered flag.

"Words couldn't describe my thoughts at the time but it's something that will stay with me forever," said Besnard.

"It was extremely satisfying to be able to repay the faith shown in me by so many supporters throughout my racing career.

"It's like any sportsperson when they finally break through for that elusive first win, you hope that victory can set a more stable platform towards achieving your long term goals."

As Besnard gears himself for another tilt at home state success on July 22-24 at Queensland Raceway, there's the realisation that as part of the initial developmental team at WPS Racing, a lot of responsibility falls on his and team mate Craig Baird's shoulders.

Baird appears to be the one making more significant gains in the V8 Supercar arena so far this year, but both drivers will relish the opportunity to shine in front of a home crowd.

"There are no easy rides in this game and as such there are people who become pivotal in setting the immediate direction of your career," added Besnard.

"Being able to grow with the WPS Racing team has been a rewarding challenge the past couple of years and Bairdo (Craig Baird) is settling in real well this season.

"It's an opportunity for which we're both thankful to team owner Craig Gore.

"I know we're progressing towards creating something very special at WPS Racing and as we continue our research and development program the rewards will be there in the long run."

The last time Besnard raced competitively in Queensland, the 28 year-old revelled in the opportunity for a one-off Champ Car drive at last year's Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast, where he placed seventh in a classy International field.

WPS Racing reaches out to their fans

WPS Racing drivers David Besnard and Craig Baird proved a major hit with Queensland fans today when they ventured out west for a series of fly-by visits in the lead up to this weekend's Queensland 300.

First stop was the Toowoomba workshop of Queensland's newest sports car model, the Skelta G-Force, which will compete at this year's historic Leyburn Sprints on August 20/21.

Besnard is a confirmed starter for the time trial event which commemorates Queensland's first hosting of the Australian Grand Prix back in 1949.

Next it was off to the Ipswich Central State School where both drivers spoke to students about the importance of road safety and discussed how they first got involved in motor racing.

Completing the day, the WPS campaigners ventured out Willowbank way and happily chatted with the kids of Amberley State School and signed more autographs.


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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers David Besnard , Craig Baird , Simon Wills