<pre> 2001 Konica V8 Supercars Round 1 - Wakefield Park, NSW 24th-25th February 2001 </pre> 24 year old Melbourne based racing driver Simon Wills has blitzed the field to take overall honours in the opening round of the Konica V8 ...
<pre> 2001 Konica V8 Supercars Round 1 - Wakefield Park, NSW 24th-25th February 2001
</pre> 24 year old Melbourne based racing driver Simon Wills has blitzed the field to take overall honours in the opening round of the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Wakefield Park in a Holden Commodore VT. In his V8 Supercar Sprint debut the Team Dynamik driver set fastest laps during qualifying and all three races on his way to double race wins and a commendable seventh place in the reverse grid race.
Wills was delighted with his dream debut...
"I don't think we could have asked for a better debut considering the short timeframe in organising our assault on the Konica V8 Supercar Series. So many people have rallied behind me to springboard this campaign including Revolution Racegear, 4 Paws Design, Simoco and Birrana, and I'm really pleased to have delivered them a victory so early."
Simon's fastest lap of 1:00.0527 (131.88 km/h) set in the cooler conditions of Race 1 established a new lap record for Wakefield Park during a race which Simon lead from lap 1 to the finish after passing Dale Brede under brakes at the final turn of the opening lap. Wills finished ahead of Simpson and Kelly, with Brede rounding out the top four positions.
With the top ten finishing positions reversed for Race 2, Simon found himself well and truly amongst the thick of the action during the 17 lap second race. Starting from tenth Simon took to the grass at turn 1 to avoid the opening lap melee, dropping to back to 13th as a result. Simon then picked cars off one by one as he powered through to seventh position on lap 9 before the safety car intervened. The restart saw Wills once again confronted with another spinning car in the form of Garry Holt, then dropping to 15th in the ensuing off track excursion. The remaining laps saw the Team Dynamik driver claw his way back to a remarkable 7th position, having passed more than twelve cars during the course of the race.
Race 3 saw Wills stall off the line, performing a dramatic bump start as the remainder of the 21 car field hurtled towards him. Wills recovered with the loss of only one position and then set about working his way to the front of the field. Ferrier, starting from the front row, had already bolted by this stage and the task was always going to be a tough one. By the time Wills had made it to second position Ferrier had punched in a sequence of impressive hot laps to lead by around 5 seconds on lap 9, when the safety car then appeared. This closed Wills in on the restart, and Wills shadowed Ferrier with lights ablaze in a great battle for the lead over the next 5 laps. The pressure was immense, and when Ferrier locked a wheel under brakes on lap 15 at the tight infield left hander, Wills took his opportunity and pounced into the lead. The finishing order Wills, Ferrier and Simpson.
Overall round results saw Simon Wills victorious with 234 points, ahead of Leanne Ferrier on 210 points and fellow Formula Holden sparring partner Paul Dumbrell with 190 points, all three driving Holden VT Commodores.
The round not only marked the V8 Sprint race debut for Simon, but also the V8 Supercar debut of Team Dynamik, an operation run out of the Birrana Racing workshop in Adelaide. The team were delighted to have performed so well against tough opposition, considering the support given to other teams from the likes of Garry Rogers Motorsport, Stone Brothers Racing and Gibson Motorsport.
Simon is now focussing his attention on the second round of the championship at Oran Park, a track at which he has already tasted victory, having won the last four Formula Holden races there during 1999 and 2000. "I can't wait to get stuck into it again at Oran Park. The Konica V8 Supercar series looks really competitive this year with Simpson, Dumbrell, Ferrier and Kelly all battling for round honours. I have to admit that I'm not fond of the reverse grid format, but I do love the challenge of driving these V8's as quick as absolutely possible, 100% of the time"