One of Australia's legendary motorsport events was "re-born" today when the covers where taken off the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 with the help of one of the sports' greatest. Six-time Sandown winner Allan Moffat was on hand to help launch ...
One of Australia's legendary motorsport events was "re-born" today when the covers where taken off the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 with the help of one of the sports' greatest.
Six-time Sandown winner Allan Moffat was on hand to help launch the return of V8 Supercar endurance racing at Sandown on September 12-14.
Moffat was joined by modern-day heroes Jason Bright, Paul Weel and Paul Radisich at Melbourne's Cavalli Restaurant to create a real Ford v Holden atmosphere.
The Sandown 500 was first contested in 1964 and remained the traditional lead-up to the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst until 1998.
Sandown International Raceway has hosted the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series for the past two years, but the races have been non-endurance contests for single-driver entries.
Next month's race will be the vital ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, presented by VB and Big Pond, and will again be a fantastic teaser to the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Mt Panorama. Both endurance races are being promoted by IMG.
The event is happening at a vital stage of the 13-round series and has been designed as one of Melbourne's real sporting highlights of the year, according to IMG Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Martin Jolly.
"The Sandown 500 has so much of the tradition that motor racing is all about," said Jolly.
"It is fantastic that we have been able to again build the event as the traditional lead-up to Bathurst and that would not have been possible without the support of such a proactive and successful company like Betta Electrical.
"With the new V8 Supercar points system this race will be a vital ingredient for any team wanting to win this year's championship. I am sure the crowds are going to be treated to great battle of speed, endurance and tactics."
Another legend of Sandown was Peter Brock who won seven consecutive Sandown 500 events, his last coming in 1984.
"There are just so many great memories from Sandown," said Brock, who now helps run Team Brock, which carries sponsorship from Betta Electrical.
"I think going back there with a 500km format is going to be something special, especially with it again being the curtain raiser to Bathurst."
Bright narrowly leads the current championship and says a good result at Sandown would be vital to his chances of taking his first V8 Supercar title.
"It is the business end of the season, and every race has a lot at stake because of the new points system," said Bright.
"It would be fantastic to give ourselves a great shot at taking the title by winning Sandown, especially when the event is backed by our own sponsors Betta Electrical."
Moffat produced some of the most memorable moments in this country's motor sport history at the Sandown 500 and believes the "new look" event deserves its place in V8 Supercar Championship Series.
"Sandown is a deserving historical race worthy of being part of the championship and adds credibility to the ultimate winner of the year's activity," said Moffat, who won at Sandown in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
"The venue is really second to none from an historical point of view and many people forget it has been there since 1962.
"The place has really contributed enormously to the development of motor sport in Australia.
"I think my best memory is from 1988 when I had great delight in winning the race with Gregg Hansford in the ANZ Sierra."
Radisich, who drives a BA Falcon for Briggs Motorsport, is also sponsored by Betta Electrical and will have similar motivation to Bright when it comes to winning in Melbourne on September 14.
"We have certainly improved as the season has progressed and I think we will be in good shape to give Sandown a shake," said Radisich, a former two-time World Touring Car Champion.
"You don't need extra motivation to win any race, but it would be nice for us to keep the winner's trophy in the Betta Electrical family."
Support events at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 will include the Historic Touring Cars, Formula Fords, Sports Sedans, Carrera Cup Cars, Aussie Racing Cars, Holden Stormraiders and an EASTERNATS Burnout Demonstration.
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