DOUBLE DUTY/OPPORTUNITY FOR VAN GISBERGEN AT HOME The last-minute re-shuffle of the programme by the organisers of this weekend's Nikon SuperGP meeting on the streets of Surfers Paradise means double the driving duties but also double the ...
DOUBLE DUTY/OPPORTUNITY FOR VAN GISBERGEN AT HOME
The last-minute re-shuffle of the programme by the organisers of this weekend's Nikon SuperGP meeting on the streets of Surfers Paradise means double the driving duties but also double the opportunity for Stone Brothers Racing's SP Tools-backed star Shane van Gisbergen.
The reschedule came late last week following the withdrawl of the meeting's headline act, the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
The Gold Coast Motor Event Company (GCMEC) runs the SuperGP meeting and terminated its contract with A1GP when the boss of that series, South African businessman Tony Teixeira, finally confirmed on October 17 (last Saturday) that he could not get cars, equipment and personnel from the UK to Australia in time for this weekend's event.
That left the organisers with less than a week to come up with an alternative attraction for the thousands of fans already booked to travel to the meeting.
But with the assistance of the V8 Supercars Australia they did just that. Instead of two 200km races there will now be four 150km ones - plus a host of other activities associated with the series, like the Australian Legends category which will see some of Australia's most famous touring cars and their cars on the circuit each day.
The V8 Supercars will be on track from Thursday with testing that day and on Friday before qualifying on Friday afternoon, the Top Ten Shootout on Saturday morning then a pair of races apiece on Saturday and Sunday.
The result is 600kms of racing around the unforgiving 4.47km ocean-side track in the heart of Surfers Paradise, turning the meeting into one of the most important,strategically-speaking, of the season.
As well, unlike at home in New Zealand where much of the country is still in the grip of winter-like weather conditions - and at Bathurst earlier in the month - the Gold Coast has been basking in summer-like temperatures, meaning that heat will be one of the key factors for the drivers on Saturday and Sunday.
This weekend is also a special one for the SP Tools family with the #9 SBR Ford Falcon - and driver Shane van Gisbergen's crash helmet - decked out in a distinctive 'Tools for Kids' livery.
The 'Tools For Kids' promotion is designed to raise money for Queensland's Royal Children's Hospital with fans able to bid for the helmet as well as many other items of memorabilia. Included will be the Oakley boots and gloves worn by van Gisbergen over the weekend as well as a brand new Citizen 'Eco Drive' Super Chronograph Watch.
As part of the promotion SP Tools also offered a signage spot on the #9 car to the highest bidder, the winning company Alltools, a supplier of automative tools, air compressors , air, power and hand tools in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Victoria and Brisbane.
Their logo will appear on the front of the Falcon this weekend.
Bids for auction items meanwhile can be made by visiting www.sptoolsracingcom/auction with the site open for business until 5pm on Thursday October 29.
Heading into this weekend's meeting, one of two 'home' rounds for the Stone Brothers Racing team, young gun van Gisbergen is 14th in the series points standings with a good chance of breaking into the top ten if things go his way.
He and teammate Alex Davison certainly proved they belong at the front of the pack with impressive form at the most recent round of the V8 Supercar championship at Bathurst, qualifying sixth and leading the race before slipping back to 13th place at the chequered flag after a mid-race tangle between Davison and James Courtney then handling and finally engine overheating problems.