Australian V8Supercars News: - Mark Alan Jones Last weekend at Eastern Creek the Australian V8Supercars had an AVESCO organized test session with 32 cars in attendance, including Holden Racing Team, Ford Tickford Racing, Perkins Engineering,...
Australian V8Supercars News: - Mark Alan Jones
Last weekend at Eastern Creek the Australian V8Supercars had an AVESCO organized test session with 32 cars in attendance, including Holden Racing Team, Ford Tickford Racing, Perkins Engineering, Tony Longhurst Racing, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Gibson Motor Sport, and the Holden Young Lions. HRT dominated the lap charts with Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes topping the charts in each of the 5 30 minute sessions. Neil Crompton set a quick time in FTR's EL Falcon in the last session to finish third fastest for the day ahead of Russell Ingall, Glenn Seton (publicly debuting the AU Falcon), Larry Perkins, Steven Ellery, Tony Longhurst, Jason Bargwanna, Garth Tander. All were under Greg Murphy's 1997 lap record. Ellery's time in the last session sent shock waves through the privateer's present. 2nd fastest of the privateer ranks was Paul Romano in 11th almost a second adrift of Ellery. John Briggs was 3rd fastest in the Falcon EL that teammate Robert Thorn will race.
1st Mark Skaife Mobil Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VT 1:30.7333 2nd Craig Lowndes Mobil Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VT 1:31.2356 3rd Neil Crompton Ford Tickford Racing Ford Falcon EL 1:31.2927 4th Russell Ingall Castrol SLX Holden Commodore VT 1:31.4468 5th Glenn Seton Ford Tickford Racing Ford Falcon AU 1:31.7060 6th Larry Perkins Castrol Holden Commodore VT 1:31.8892 7th Steve Ellery Chelgrave Contracting Ford Falcon EL 1:31.9118 8th Tony Longhurst Castrol Ford Falcon EL 1:31.9759 9th Jason Bargwanna Valvoline Holden Commodore VT 1:32.0864 10th Garth Tander Valvoline Holden Commodore VS 1:32.4064 11th Paul Romano Bap Romano Racing Holden Commodore VS 1:32.8083 12th Mark Noske Holden Young Lions Holden Commodore VS 1:32.8374 13th Greg Murphy Wynns Holden Commodore VT 1:33.0090 14th John Briggs Super Cheap Autos Ford Falcon EL 1:33.1997 15th Todd Kelly Holden Young Lions Holden Commodore VS 1:33.2999 16th Tomas Mezera Plaspak Holden Commodore VT 1:33.3456 17th Cameron McLean Greenfield Mowers Ford Falcon EL 1:33.6323 18th Mick Donaher Ultra Tune Holden Commodore VS 1:34.2562 19th Mal Rose Ming Holden Commodore VS 1:34.3929 20th Rodney Forbes Lansvale Smash Repairs Holden Commodore VS 1:34.4537 21st Garry Willmington Simon's Earthworks Ford Falcon EL 1:34.5431 22nd Steve Reed Lansvale Smash Repairs Holden Commodore VS 1:34.6766 23rd Peter Doulman Gatorade Holden commodore VS 1:35.1244 24th Robert Smith Smith's Truck Sales Holden Commodore VS 1:35.2169 25th Bob Pearson Pro-Duct Holden Commodore VS 1:35.2804 26th Danny Osborne Colourscan Ford Falcon EL 1:35.8137 27th John Trimbole Daily Planet Holden Commodore VS 1:36.0518 28th Rod Nash Budweiser Holden Commodore VS 1:36.1122 29th Mike Conway Cadillac Productions Ford Falcon EL 1:36.7609 30th Bill Attard The Xerox Shop Holden Commodore VS 1:37.1869 31st Richard Mork RDM Motorsport Holden Commodore VR 1:37.7700 32nd Barry Morcom Holden Commodore VR no time The late arrival of the Audi and Volvo touring cars and the still to be announced television deal has forced a reorganization of the Australian Super Touring Car Championship. The season will now kick off at Lakeside with the Oran Park round moving to the date previously occupied by Calder with Calder moving to the end of the season. The dates are as follows: -
April 18 Round 1, Lakeside, Queensland May 2 Round 2, Oran Park (Short Circuit), New South Wales May 30 Round 3, Mallala, South Australia June 20 Round 4, Winton, Victoria July 18 Round 5, Eastern Creek, New South Wales August 1 Round 6, Queensland Raceway, Queensland August 15 Round 7, Oran Park (Grand Prix Circuit), New South Wales August 30 Round 8, Calder Park, Victoria
The support program will feature Junior Touring Cars, ROH Commodore Cup & Porsche Cup. Earlier this month it was confirmed that the Sandown 500 would be moving to Queensland Raceway, Willowbank. The Queensland 500 will take place on September 26. At the launch last week of Dick Johnson Racing 1999 season Dick Johnson announced he would retire at the end of the 1999 season. 53 year old Johnson will hang up his helmet after first appearing on the Australian Touring Car Championship 29 years ago in a Holden Torana XU1. Since then Johnson has won the Australian Touring Car Championship a record equaling 5 times, the Bathurst 1000 3 times, the Sandown 500 twice, the 1995 Eastern Creek 12 hour and was Ford's leading driver throughout the 80's and the early 90's. Despite his huge catalogue of wins, including the nerve wracking 1994 Bathurst 1000, Johnson rate his best ever drive was to second place in the 1992 Bathurst 1000. This week sees the arrival in Australia of Brad Jones Racing's two new Audi A4's raced last year in the BTCC by Yvan Muller and John Bintcliffe. The team looks forward to the weight reduction the two front wheel drive cars will have of the four-wheel drive predecessors. Brad Jones and Cameron McConville will drive these cars. The next two weeks should also see the return of the two Volvo S40's that raced at Bathurst for the George Shepherd run Volvo outfit after they were rebuilt post Bathurst/Macau by TWR. Mark Williamson will join Jim Richards in this years team, driving Richards 98 cars (Rydell 1997) while Richards will drive the car that took Super Touring double crown last year - the British Touring Car Championship and the Bathurst 1000. Team Dynamics has tested Paul Morris with a view to running Morris in a second Team Dynamics Nissan Primera in the BTCC alongside Matt Neal. Morris time at Albacate was only 0.7 second shy of Matt Neal, who in turn was only 0.1 second slower than factory Nissan driver Laurent Aeillo. If the BTCC deal doesn't come through Morris will race a BMW 318i in the Australian series. Former Commodore privateer Tony Noske announced this week of the re-formation of the Holden Young Lions. Tony Noske will run the team of two ex-HRT VS Commodores for drivers Mark Noske and Todd Kelly. Both Noske & Kelly were members of the original Young Lions squad back in 1997.
Two ex-factory 1998 STW Cup Peugeot 406's (including the car driven by Laurent Aiello) have been sold to an unnamed Australian team. The cars, if run with a reasonable budget, should be as quick as Jim Richards Volvo S40 and quicker the Brad Jones' Audi A4's. While the buyer at this stage is unknown it is most likely to be Paul Pickett who has been looking for two new Super Tourers In Germany but until now these were thought to be Opel Vectras.
Greg Murphy recently shook down his new VT Commodore. Murphy's car is the first VT to be completed by Gibson Motor Sport. Steven Richards is now not expected to enter Albert Park as it is unlikely his VT will be completed on time.
John Faulkner shook down his VT Commodore but is still waiting word on sponsorship dollars from his long time backers Betta Stores and Fisher & Paykel. Faulkner asked for a substantial increase in funding this year to be able to continue to chase the front runners, and it is this increase that caused the sponsors to be concerned. Faulkner's old VS will race the full championship with Wynns Formula Holden driver Paul Dumbrell, and HRT test driver Cameron McConville racing the car.
Rumors have been circulating recently that Peter Brock and Ron Harrop will team up the run a V8Supercar team. Brock and Harrop have both recently scaled down their HRT related roles, with Brock working more directly with Holden, and the engineering once down by Harrop for HRT now being moved in house at HRT.
The format for this years V8Supercar season points has been decided with points to be awarded down to 30th place and double points on the three endurance events. Privateers will compete as individual drivers not as teams and best 5 results will count. Privateer's points will come from the 15-minute race on Saturday. The grid will be determined by qualifying order, scrapping last year's 'lucky dip' system.
The Searle family have acquired a second BMW 320i, identical sister to the ex-Bigazzi car that Troy Searle currently drives. With GT-P moving to a partial Saturday program for this year it became impractical for the religiously committed Searle's to continue to race Luke Searle in his GT-P BMW 323i. Luke and Troy will contest the full ASTC.
Dean Canto has been confirmed as the second driver in Peter Hills Knight Racing operation.
Rod Wilson and Michael Downard will race the ex Carlos Rolfo BMW 318i this year and are hopeful of retaining the Playboy sponsorship the car raced under at Bathurst.
Mark Adderton has announced he will not be contest the ASTC this year and will concentrate on raising the funds to race at the front of the 2000 ASTC season. -- Preview -- This weekend at the Australian Grand Prix meeting for Formula 1 the V8Supercars are the headline support category and a full field of 46 cars are entered for the 4 races (1 each on Friday and Sunday with two on Saturday). Races 2 and 4 will feature on Channel 9's telecast of the Grand Prix while highlights of race 1 will appear late on Friday night. Race 3 is not expected to receive any coverage. The only change from earlier entry lists is Cameron McLean coming into the field after Tomas Mezera pulled out. Controversy centers around the AU Falcons on the entry list, as the AU wing kit has still to be formally approved by CAMS, and there is thought to be some debate over aspects of the aero kit. The AU's will race at Albert Park under a temporary homologation.
1 Craig Lowndes Mobil Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VT 2 Mark Skaife Mobil Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VT 3 Trevor Ashby Lansvale Smash Repairs Holden Commodore VS 4 Jason Bright Pirtek Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon AU 5 Glenn Seton Ford Credit Ford Tickford Racing Ford Falcon AU 6 Neil Crompton Ford Credit Ford Tickford Racing Ford Falcon EL 7 Steven Richards Wynns Gibson Motor Sport Holden Commodore VT 8 Russell Ingall Castrol SLX Perkins Engineering Holden Commodore VT 10 Mark Larkham Mitre 10 Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon AU 11 Larry Perkins Castrol Perkins Engineering Holden Commodore VT 12 Greg Murphy Wynns Gibson Motor Sport Holden Commodore VT 14 Mike Imrie Saabwreck Motorsport Holden Commodore VS 15 Todd Kelly Noske Racing Holden Commodore VS 16 Dugal McDougall Aloe Quench Perkins Engineering Holden Commodore VS 17 Dick Johnson Shell Helix Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon AU 18 Paul Radisich Shell Helix Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon AU 19 Wayne Gardner Coca-Cola Wayne Gardner Racing Holden Commodore VT 23 Ray Hislop NHP Ford Falcon EF 24 Paul Romano Romano Racing Holden Commodore VS 25 Tony Longhurst Castrol Tony Longhurst Racing Ford Falcon EL 27 Terry Finnigan Sony Autosound Holden Commodore VS 28 Rodney Forbes Lansvale Smash Repairs Holden Commodore VS 30 Greg Crick Ericsson Ford Falcon EL 31 Steve Ellery Chelgrave Contracting Ellery Racing Ford Falcon EL 34 Garth Tander Valvoline Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Commodore VS 35 Jason Bargwanna Valvoline Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Commodore VT 38 Mark Poole James Rosenberg Holden Commodore VS 39 Chris Smerdon IT Services Holden Commodore VS 40 Cameron McLean Greenfields Mowers Ford Falcon EL 43 Paul Weel K&J Radiators Ford Falcon EL 44 Mal Rose Fairfax Community Classifieds Holden Commodore VS 46 John Faulkner Fisher & Paykel / Betta Stores John Faulkner Racing Holden Commodore VT 47 John Trimbole Bottle Magic Holden Commodore VS 48 D'arcy Russell Rod Smith Racing Holden Commodore VS 50 Dean Lindstrom Ultra-Tune Clive Wiseman Racing Holden Commodore VS 52 Barry Morcom Ford Falcon EL 54 Simon Emerzidis Simon's Earthworks Ford Falcon EL 55 Rod Nash AutoPro Rad Nash Racing Holden Commodore VS 60 Nathan Pretty de Walt Pretty Racing Holden Commodore VS 66 John Bowe Caterpillar PAE Motorsports Ford Falcon EL 72 Robert Smith Smith's Transport Holden Commodore VS 74 Kevin Heffernan Price Attack / KFC Pace Racing Holden Commodore VS 75 Anthony Tratt Toll Express Ford Falcon EL 77 Richard Mork Holden Commodore VR 79 Mike Conway Cadillac Productions Ford Falcon EL 99 Mark Noske Noske Racing Holden Commodore VS Schedule:
Thursday March 4 1030-1130 V8Supercar Autographs (GP Expo) 1210-1235 V8Supercar Practice 1430-1436 V8Supercar Flying Laps 1525-1550 V8Supercar Qualifying Friday March 5 1200-1300 V8Supercar Autographs (GP Expo) 1545-1610 V8Supercar Race 1 Saturday March 6 1130-1230 V8Supercar Autographs (GP Expo) 1420-1440 V8Supercar Race 2 1655-1715 V8Supercar Race 3 Sunday March 7 1000-1100 V8Supercar Autographs (GP Expo) 1215-1230 V8Supercar Race 4