The return of the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 endurance race has many drivers and V8 Supercar supporters excited, but in particular reigning Championship titleholder Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team) has good reason to smile as the September 12-14...
The return of the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 endurance race has many drivers and V8 Supercar supporters excited, but in particular reigning Championship titleholder Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team) has good reason to smile as the September 12-14 showdown looms.
It was in 1987 that the motor sport world took their first glimpse of the potential that the V8 Supercar star possessed and he recalls, with fond memories, his first touring car sojourn at Sandown.
"I had a win that day in the Nissan Gazelle in the 2 litre category but I think I spent most of my time getting out of the way of the main players in the outright class," said Skaife.
"My first outright victory there was 2 years later in the Nissan Skyline HR31 with Jim Richards so, Jimmy and I go back a long way, culminating in last year's Bathurst win.
This weekend, Skaife will team with regular HRT campaigner Todd Kelly in the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in the #1 HRT VY Commodore.
Both drivers have launched themselves into this assignment with added vigour as they knuckle down to the two-driver campaign.
"There's no denying it's been a tough year so far as we've worked to develop the VY Commodore with the technical changes brought about by Project Blueprint.
"However we're not that far off the pace and I think that with the full endurance format, well-matched co-drivers, good pit work and team strategy will all play as much a part in winning as outright speed."
Kelly scored his maiden V8 Supercar round win at Sandown in 2001 and would love to add his name to the list of past winners of the "500."
"It might be a 500k enduro but I can see it being virtually a sprint from the moment the start lights go out. The opportunity to partner Mark (Skaife) whose record in Australian touring cars is fantastic, gives me a great chance of success."
As Holden Racing Team boss, Skaife also has high hopes that Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst can perform strongly in the VX Commodore.
"People shouldn't discount Jim and Tony's chances either! Their drives with HRT last year (Richards) and in 2001 (Longhurst) showed they are experienced drivers with plenty of race 'smarts' that will be right on the pace in the race."
All in all the Holden Racing Team assault appears on track for the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 after a positive test day last Tuesday.
Get set for a different looking pair of HRT VY Commodores at Sandown too!
Both will carry identification on the bonnet promoting primary sponsor Mobil's new "SuperSyn" Mobil 1 lubricant formula.
The SuperSyn anti-wear system was developed in Formula One racing, where engines are subjected to extreme stresses. But, whilst new SuperSyn has been proven in motor racing, every day motorists are also able to benefit from its superior anti-wear properties and better engine protection in every day driving.
New Mobil 1 with SuperSyn is not just an oil for performance cars, but also a performance oil for all cars.