Queenslander Michael Simpson will endeavour to get his championship hopes back on track in a borrowed car at the fourth round of the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Phillip Island in Victoria this weekend. Simpson's title hopes looked in tatters ...
Queenslander Michael Simpson will endeavour to get his championship hopes back on track in a borrowed car at the fourth round of the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Phillip Island in Victoria this weekend.
Simpson's title hopes looked in tatters after he was taken out in an opening-corner accident at round three in Winton on May 6, but Brisbane driver Craig Harris came to his rescue a couple of days later by offering him his car for this Sunday's races.
Harris has international business commitments this weekend and needs his Castrol-backed Ford to run competitively to gain maximum exposure for his sponsors.
Simpson slipped from third to eighth in the points race after failing to score a point at Winton, but the use of Harris' car will allow him the chance to keep his title hopes alive.
Simpson, 26, has competed at Phillip Island twice previously in a BMW production car and in a round of the national Formula Ford Championship. "We tested in Craig's car at Lakeside weekend and everything went great," said Simpson. "I can't tell if we will be faster or slower in Craig's Castrol Falcon, but I am sure we will be very competitive.
"I am battling a bit of a head cold at the moment, but I am sure the drive from the Gold Coast to Phillip Island will help cure that. "We not only want to get back into the fight for the title this weekend, we want to produce a big result for Castrol, Craig's sponsors."
Harris, who owns the City Automotive Group in Brisbane, said he was delighted to help a young driver literally trying to keep his career on track. "This will be a win-win for everyone involved and I am pleased we could help Michael stay in the championship hunt," said Harris.
"Michael is a good young steerer and I am confident he will bring the car back in one piece and pick up the points needed to keep himself in contention for the title.
"We have a major investment in this racing program with Castrol and it is important that we maintain our profile in the championship. "You can be sure I will be on the phone more than once over the Phillip Island weekend to see how things have progressed."
In the meantime Simpson's team is still looking for a major sponsor in an effort to get his own car back on track for round five in Queensland on July 8. "We have been surviving from race to race and we always knew a major accident would hurt us, but that's the risk you take," said Simpson.
"We have so many good people working hard to help us make this whole operation a success and I believe we have the assets to provide great value for a naming-rights partner."
Simpson is still chasing a major sponsor for the season, but has had great local support from Queensland Vehicle Warranty Network, MA Howard Constructions, Nerang Diffs and Wade-Parker Consulting.
One of Simpson's 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.
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. <pre> KONICA CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (After 3 rounds): 1: David Parsons 616 2: Paul Dumbrell 578 3: Owen Kelly 558 4: Simon Wills 556 5: Dale Brede 506 6: Leanne Ferrier 490 7: Terry Wyhoon 454 8: Michael Simpson 418 9: Craig Harris 384 10: Garry Holt 382