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Safety tray on its way

DJR Team Penske has tested its foot and leg protection tray in both Ford Falcon FG Xs at Queensland Raceway today before debuting it at the enduros.

The development has garnered much attention after high profile crashes in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship last year and after input from the Supercars technical team and the CTAP (Chassis Technical Advisory Panel), it was assessed in the cars before tackling the high-risk enduros.

DJR Team Penske Managing Director Ryan Story said today’s test at Queensland Raceway ran smoothly with drivers and co-drivers, with no technical issues holding up the team.

Driver comfort and the ability to complete driver changes at speed were the key things to assess in relation to the safety tray before using it to race.

“This is the first time it has ever been in the car,” Story told supercars.com.

“It’s a matter of making sure we’re not...


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Five minutes with Foges: Dick Johnson

In a regular feature, Supercars personalities open up to our probing pundit in a rapid-fire format.

The latest is V8 legend Dick Johnson, whose exploits in Falcons as a driver and team owner made him the enduring favourite of Ford fans and one of Supercars’ most popular figures.

Johnson’s great rival was Holden hero Peter Brock, with their Falcon versus Commodore battles in the early 1980s defining the end of the Group C ‘Big Banger’ era that inspired what became V8 Supercars.

On the 10th anniversary of Brock’s untimely death, Johnson pays tribute to his most respected adversary, whose achievements as King Of The Mountain will be celebrated during the October 6-9 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Foges and Dick Johnson 2 2016

MF:  It’s 10 years since we lost Brocky. What is your enduring memory of him?

DJ: To be quite honest, 10 years has gone really, really quickly. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since he...


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Hold fire

Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton says the team will delve through data to find the reason Craig Lowndes’s car caught fire at Queensland Raceway today.

Lowndes’ retro-look TeamVortex Commodore was reported to have had an airbox fire when warming up the car, before testing had commenced.

Dutton played down the issue but said it could trigger a change in procedure, given the circumstances were somewhat unusual.

“It was a lot less of a setback than it could’ve been – everyone reacted swiftly, got it out, got it under control, got the damaged components replaced and didn’t miss any testing time,” Dutton told supercars.com.

“It’s obviously not cool to happen – but things do happen, it’s what you do after.

“We need to really nut through the data and get information to understand why that did happen because it didn’t seem to happen in the normal way that those fires have in the past, so...


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Brock remembered

Hundreds of people are expected to gather at Bathurst today to remember the late great Peter Brock on the 10th anniversary of his death.

At 10am today Greg Rust will host the service paying tribute to the Supercars Hall of Famer who will be remembered for his incredible nine Bathurst wins, three Australian Touring Car Championships and as a fan favourite.

Phil Brock will be in attendance to share words on his brother, with Craig Lowndes sending a video message on his mentor while he steers a Triple Eight Commodore at Queensland Raceway.

Brock remains a household name, with each year’s winners of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 awarded a trophy named in his honour.

This year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will be one big tribute to the King of the Mountain, 10 years on. Click here for tickets to the October 6-9 event. 

Brock claimed his first Bathurst win in 1972 as a solo driver...


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DJR Team Penske fields significant milestone liveries for Sandown

DJR Team Penske will field two very special liveries at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 highlighted by the No 12 Ford of Fabian Coulthard and Luke Youlden running a new number. 

In 1972, Roger Penske took Mark Donohue to the Indianapolis 500 in the No 66 Sunoco Special McLaren.

After a race where Donohue only led the final 13 laps, he crossed the line to deliver Team Penske its first win at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in only the team’s fourth attempt. Donohue's average speed of 162.962 mph set a new race record that would last until 1984.

The livery was to become one of the most famous in the history of Team Penske. At Sandown, the ‘MightyMite Special Ford’ will celebrate that livery with the blue and yellow featuring prominently on the newly numbered ‘66’ for Coulthard and Youlden.

“The MightyMite Special is the first time we have used a Team Penske inspired livery here...


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Craig Lowndes unveils retro livery

The covers today come off Craig Lowndes’ special edition livery ahead of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 Retro Round, as the TeamVortex Holden hits the track at Queensland Raceway for testing.

Trading in its familiar ocean green colours for an early ‘90s-inspired, red and white livery, the no. 888 Commodore is getting into the spirit of the retro theme at the first of this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup events.

888SandownRetro1

Co-driver Steven Richards will be joining Lowndes at today’s pre-endurance season test day, the pair hoping to continue the success of their Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 win last year. Both drivers are excited to be getting behind the theme, having grown up watching the racing and idolising the heroes of the eras being celebrated.

“It’s great to be sporting a new livery ahead of the retro round at Sandown Raceway,” said Lowndes. 

888SandownRetro2

“This year is the 47th time Sandown Raceway has...


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2017 Calendar to be announced after Sandown

Supercars will release its 2017 calendar after next week's Wilson Security Sandown 500.

Chief Executive James Warburton said: "We have made an effort to release the Draft Calendar before Sandown each year, but we are still finalising a number of agreements as well as still waiting on confirmation of dates for next year's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne which obviously has a material effect on the early part of the season.

"Once we have these dates and finalise other sanction agreements we will release the full calendar for our teams and fans before the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

“Our plans to expand in Asia are taking shape, but as we have said many times it will not be at the expense of local events which are crucial for our fans. In Asia it is about getting it right and making sure our events are enduring and not one-offs. We now have three long-term contracts in place...


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Ingall: Simona will prefer Nissan

After making the switch from Prodrive to Nissan as a co-driver, Russell Ingall believes Simona De Silvestro will be more comfortable in the Altima at Bathurst.

De Silvestro will return to pair with Renee Gracie as a wild card entry at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, but she will steer a different race car this time around, with Nissan Motorsport to run a fifth car at Mount Panorama this year.

It was also confirmed that the Swiss female racer would join the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the next three years, with her 2017 team to be announced after Bathurst.

Standing in for injured Chaz Mostert last year at the Gold Coast, Ingall has effectively gone from steering the Prodrive Ford Falcon FG X to racing the Nissan Altima this year as he pairs up with Rick Kelly – and the two-time Bathurst winner thinks De Silvestro will be happier behind the wheel this time around.

“I...


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Webb plays down impact of changes

Tekno Autosports team owner Jonathon Webb is confident a mid-season change of key personnel will not impede his and Will Davison’s attack on the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

Data engineer Jarrod Bowles left the team to join the new Jaguar Formula E program after the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint and his replacement is not due to start until the Wilson Security Sandown 500.

“He (Jarrod) was approached a little while ago and came to us and said ‘I have this opportunity’,” Webb revealed to supercars.com. “It’s where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do. He has done a great job for us.

“It’s always hard and I did put the pressure on him saying I didn’t like letting anyone go mid-season.

“It’s not ideal for anyone, but their season starts now and they went testing a couple of weeks ago.”

The new team member missed the Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint, where Davison ran out of fuel at the end of...


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Tander: Three-year deal key to success

Leanne Tander is excited to see fellow female racer Simona De Silvestro sign up for three years in Supercars, and believes the long-term deal will be the key to her success.

Tander – who has raced a Supercar at Bathurst and is considered one of Australia’s best female drivers – believes De Silvestro is a good fit for the series and that she will perform well once she settles into the category.  

The Swiss racer impressed at Mount Panorama last year paired with Renee Gracie, but Tander insists it will take time for her to challenge consistently, tipping her to emerge in mid-2018 with more Supercars experience under her belt.

“I think the fact it’s a three-year deal is really important,” Tander told supercars.com.

“The one-off race at Bathurst is great, it gets attention, but it doesn’t really further women in the sport. You’ve still got the haters – if something happens it’s because...


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Holdsworth ready for Sandown

A day of testing at Winton has put “any concerns to bed” for Lee Holdsworth, who will return to drive his Preston Hire Racing Supercar at next week’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.

Sidelined since his Darwin crash that left him with a fractured pelvis, rib and knee issues, Holdsworth is confident he will be able to complete the miles required at Sandown after today’s extended running.

Holdsworth spent time behind the wheel of his new car at the last event at Sydney Motorsport Park, completing a handful of laps in practice and at the following ride day – but today was the big test, and he passed with flying colours.

“I feel great, it was a good test of fitness – I am a bit buggered but that was to be expected,” Holdsworth told supercars.com.

“I would’ve done close to 100 laps, about 300km today – so probably close to what I’ll do at Sandown, to be honest.

“I’ve come out of it feeling...


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BJR steps back in time

Brad Jones Racing is the next team to release retro looks for the Wilson Security Sandown 500, with one Supercar paying tribute to the Jones’s rich racing history.

The Freightliner Commodore – to be driven by Tim Slade and Ash Walsh – has a look inspired by the Holden Dealer Team’s 1968 HK Monaro GTS 327 driven to second place at the Bathurst 500 by Jim Palmer and Phil West. Freightliner’s vintage ‘boomerang’ logo, and received a modern upgrade in terms of styling, pinstriping and PPG colours.

The BOC Commodore – steered by Jason Bright and Andrew Jones – throws to Brad and Kim Jones’ racing history, referencing one of their championship winning AUSCARs.

BRJ retro both cars 2016

2016 marks 25 years since Brad won the 1991 AUSCAR Championship in the #8 VN Commodore, which was one of his whopping five AUSCAR championship titles, before moving onto NASCAR.

“Looking back at our AUSCAR days, it was a great part...


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Nissan to race wildcard at Bathurst

Nissan Motorsport has committed to supporting the Harvey Norman Supergirls wildcard entry at this year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The driver pairing of Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie that raced in last year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, will return to Mount Panorama for this October's race as part of the Harvey Norman Supergirls. The wildcard entry ensures that 5 Altimas will take to the grid for the largest ever factory Nissan assault on the Great Race.

Nissan Motorsport Team Co-Owner Todd Kelly said he was looking forward to expanding the team for the 1000km event.

"It’s really exciting to have a fifth Altima running at Bathurst this year. When we heard that the wildcard was available, we jumped at it. We know what it’s like to run the wildcard at Bathurst, and have done it well in the past, so we’re confident we can do a good job," he said.

According to Kelly, the...


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Simona De Silvestro signs with Supercars

Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro will join the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2017.

Supercars Chief Executive James Warburton said the 28-year-old former IndyCar and Formula E driver had signed a three-year agreement to race in Supercars.

De Silvestro raced in last year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and will return to Mount Panorama for this October's race as part of the Harvey Norman Supergirls with Australian driver Renee Gracie racing for Nissan Motorsport.

"This is an exciting announcement for the sport and a major coup for Supercars," Warburton said.

"We said we wanted to have a full-time female driver in our championship and in Simona we have secured a world class driver.

"Along with Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher she is one of only three female drivers to have stood on the podium in IndyCar and she will be a brilliant addition to Supercars.

“I want to thank...


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Nissan wild about Bathurst

Nissan Motorsport is assembling a crew from its factory-based staff and GT program to run an all-female wildcard entry at this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

News broke this morning that Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie’s Harvey Norman sponsored Supercar will this year be run by the factory Nissan squad, meaning the ex-Indy Car driver and Dunlop Series junior will steer an Altima this time around.

Nissan Motorsport team manager Scott Sinclair confirmed the girls would test the car before Bathurst, though dates are being finalised as the team decides whether it runs a one or two-day program at Winton.

The chassis will be the car Rick Kelly campaigned last year, which has been refurbished and sitting in the wings as the team’s number one spare. Sinclair estimates it is 60 per cent complete at this stage. 

The championship-winning-engineer-turned-team-boss explained that...


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Get to Know: Jonathon Webb

Ahead of his appearance in the Pirtek Enduro Cup Inside Supercars special tonight (7.30pm Fox Sports 506), TEKNO boss and co-driver Jonathon Webb took supercars.com’s quick questions.

A Supercars race winner in his own right, ‘Webby’ stepped back from full-time racing at the end of 2013, but has been a solid co-driver and even stood on the top step at Bathurst earlier this year, winning the 12 Hour with Shane van Gisbergen and Alvaro Parente.

SC: What was the last concert or sporting event you attended?

JW: It’s got to be the Holden State of Origin. I’m not always ‘playing’ with motorsport but if I’m going to get out to an event it’s going to be state of origin.

 

Q: Who do you go for?

A: This is a tough one. See, I live in Queensland but I’m a New South Wales boy. I always get reminded by my mates back home that it’s State of Origin not ‘state of where you live’, so got to go the...


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Performance promise from Moff’s Volvo

While the ultimate result wasn’t gained, both driver James Moffat and team owner Garry Rogers have been pleased by the improved performance shown by the #34 Wilson Security Racing GRM Volvo S60 last Sunday in Sydney.

Moffat qualified the car sixth, one place behind Scott McLaughlin, and then out-raced his highly credentialed team-mate in the #33 Volvo to be lying fifth late in the race and headed for his best finish of the season.

But a lunge at Shane van Gisbergen for fourth ended in a spin for the Red Bull Holden Commodore VF and a drive-through penalty for Moffat that dumped him to 18th at race’s end.

While upset by the outcome post-race, Moffat was also conscious that the performance shown at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint potentially boded well for the balance of what has been a difficult season.

“We have had a pretty rough season and when you have a result there that is...


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Sandown stop chop

Dropping from four to three compulsory pit stops is expected to open up strategy at this month’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.

Four stops have been compulsory in the Pirtek Enduro Cup opener since 2013 when the new multi-valve Nissan and Mercedes-AMG engines were struggling to match the existing Ford and Chevrolet pushrod engines for thriftiness.

However, with the Mercedes-AMG M159 engine now parked and the Nissan VK56DE substantially more competitive on performance of all types, the decision has been taken to mandate only three compulsory trips through pit lane for all cars.

There are no CPS changes at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 where seven stops remain mandatory.

One less stop combined with the use of the Dunlop soft tyre in the 500km classic for the first time have substantially altered the ground rules for the teams.

“Having the soft tyre and one less CPS should change the...


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Supercheap Auto Racing to run retro livery

Prodrive Racing (Australia) and Supercheap Auto Racing will go back in time for the 2016 Sandown 500 with the number 55 entry to feature Supercheap Auto Racing's 2002 livery for the inaugural Retro Round at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.

MosterRetro1

In place of its traditional yellow, red and black livery, streaks of purple will be added to Chaz Mostert and Steve Owen's FG X to replicate the Ford AU Falcon raced by Steve Ellery.

The Sandown-only livery was selected to run in support of the Supercars Retro Round initiative, celebrating five decades of Supercars Championship history.

"It's really cool to be able to take a look back through all of Supercheap Auto's old liveries and have one on our car at Sandown," said Mostert. "Supercars has such a long history and to be able to celebrate that with a brand that has been in the sport for as long as it has is really exciting.

MostertRetro2

"The car looks...


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Saturday Sleuthing: Perkins Commodore Comeback

It’s quite ironic in the history of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 that six-time race winner Larry Perkins made his last start in the race in 2003 and son Jack made his debut three years later driving exactly the same car.

Now, that very Commodore – Perkins Engineering chassis 041 – is being restored back to its Castrol #11 colours and specification as raced by Perkins and Steve Richards in the 2003 Bathurst race, the 26th and final start in the race by former Formula 1 pilot Perkins.

2003 Perkins Richards Bathurst 2 Sleuth

Larry’s son Jack has been working for the last few years on returning his former Jack Daniel’s car to how it was three years prior when his father saddled up for the endurance races.

“I lost the best part of 12 months when we moved factories and set up in Sunshine (western suburb of Melbourne) and I didn’t do a lot of work on the car in that time,” Perkins told supercars.com this week.

“Then I was...


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