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In the hot seat

It only takes a few minutes to be reminded what an incredible job our Supercars superstars do week in, week out behind the wheel.

I was lucky enough to ride with Dean Fiore in the #23 Nissan Motorsport Altima at the Sydney Motorsport Park ride day this week and experience the forces, acceleration and adrenalin first hand in the passenger’s seat.

It wasn’t my first time in a car, but you easily forget the sound, smell and sensory overload as you try and savour each hundredth of a second. 

On arrival at the ride day, team boss and Bathurst winning driver Todd Kelly ramped up anticipation and explained that the car was exactly as it finished the race on Sunday – same engine, car setup, used tyres, with battle scars to marvel at.

“The pace you’ll be doing around the track is about the pace we were doing at the end of the race yesterday, with tyres dropping off a fair bit and the cars...

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Kellys commit for 2017

Nissan Altimas will be on the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship whether the car manufacturer continues to invest in the category or not.

That’s the word from Todd Kelly, the co-owner of Kelly Racing, which has campaigned four Altimas under the Nissan Motorsport banner with factory backing since 2013.

But with Nissan’s decision whether to renew still to be resolved the team has bitten the bullet and committed to the Altima for a fifth consecutive season regardless.

“Either way (the Nissan decision goes) we have got the cars and we are too far down the track to do anything other than racing Nissans next year so we are pressing on regardless,” Kelly told supercars.com.

While Kelly and the team understand Nissan Australia to be supportive of an extension, the decision first has to get the green light from Nissan in Japan and its performance and motorsport division,...

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Percat hunting for new home

Nick Percat is focused on staying on the Supercars grid next year, after team boss Lucas Dumbrell’s admission he may not be able to offer the Bathurst winner a deal for next season.

Dumbrell told supercars.com last month he wasn’t in a position to offer Percat a renewal and that his driver was “more than welcome” to speak to others teams.

Percat confirmed he is on the lookout for a new home, amidst his second season with his current team boss and friend.

“I’m definitely talking to other teams,” Percat told supercars.com.

“Like Lucas said, he’s in an interesting position where he probably doesn’t have a seat for me. That’s fine, that’s business … for me I just need to make sure I’m definitely on the grid next year.”

Silly season talk kicked back into overdrive at the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park in the wake of news Holden was pulling its sponsorship from the Holden Racing Team,...

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McLaughlin: Premat will perform

Scott McLaughlin is expecting his former teammate and co-driver Alex Premat to impress throughout the Pirtek Enduro Cup, amidst discussions of whether he is the right fit for championship contender Shane van Gisbergen.

Premat steered his first laps of the Triple Eight Commodore at a team ride day on Monday and was pleased with the feel of the car, brimming with confidence about the long-distance races.

A driving instructor in Vegas, the former DTM driver will also test with the team next week before lining up at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.

McLaughlin will pair with another former teammate this year, David Wall, and expects his French friend will be one to watch as Triple Eight goes from strength to strength.

“I’d expect him to go well,” McLaughlin told supercars.com of Premat.

“At the end of the day he’s a fast driver and he’s got a good seat now with Shane.

“Obviously seat time...

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Pirtek Enduro Cup king

Since creation of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, one driver has managed to etch his name on the trophy twice – pairing with two different drivers in two different teams. 

Warren Luff is confident he and Garth Tander are a shot at backing up the endurance trophy, which Luff believes is growing in significance and is an important addition to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

The #2 pair earned the most points across the four long distance races last year with two fourth place finishes and two thirds (including Bathurst) and will test next week pre-Sandown.

He won the trophy previously with Craig Lowndes in 2013 racing with Red Bull, and now looks at a three-peat – though no one can doubt just how difficult the long distance races are.

“The enduros always throw up that curve ball – there’s so much more you have to put into play for the three events,” Luff told supercars.com.


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“Encouraging” debut for rookie

Supercars rookie Shae Davies described his first weekend behind the wheel as “encouraging” after tackling Sydney Motorsport Park for the first time in the main game.

Initially signed as Erebus’s co-driver, Davies is now eagerly awaiting news of his partner for the next three rounds.

The 26-year old from the Gold Coast contested his first event with Erebus Motorsport over the weekend, and despite pulling up at the back of the field he was happy with his progress throughout the weekend.  

“It was certainly as I expected, it was a massive step up from Dunlop Series but I loved every minute of it,” Davies told supercars.com.

“The team was great, they were encouraging, we made big steps over the weekend.

"It’s hard to say finishing 25th was a success – but I think it was in a lot of ways.”

Graduating from the Dunlop Series, in which he steered an old generation car for Matt White...

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Eight things we learned at Sydney Motorsport Park

Stating the obvious

We didn’t learn Triple Eight Race Engineering is the class of the Supercars field at Sydney Motorsport Park. We all knew that already.

But scoring two one-twos across its three cars on a weekend where Craig Lowndes celebrated race start 600 and Jamie Whincup race win number 100 confirmed that supremacy. The question is who can catch them?

Scratching their heads

That’s what T8’s rivals up pitlane were doing as the weekend’s domination panned out. There is no shortage of brainpower or talent within the rival teams but none are close to the Brisbane outfit right now. The frustration around that is palpable, especially at Prodrive Racing Australia, where there is a desperate and urgent desire to get back on terms.

Down the road at DJR Team Penske it’s easy to sense that frustration too, as the US-owned team judders though an unpredictable sophomore year. At the...

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Matt Moylan swaps Steeden for Supercar

Penrith Panthers captain Matt Moylan took a break from finals training to experience a Supercar hot lap around Sydney Motorsport Park earlier this week.

Jumping in with Scott McLaughlin, Moylan had the chance to ride in the Volvo S60 after it proved a speedy package during the weekend’s event, with McLaughlin earning two top six finishes at the circuit.

Moylan suited up with GRM to take to the shortened SMSP track, which hosted a whopping 25 cars on Monday post-event. He wasn’t disappointed.

“It was unreal,” the Panthers captain told supercars.com after his two-lap ride. 

“I really enjoyed the experience, you’ve got to respect what they do, how they handle the car … it’s pretty impressive.”

The 25-year old was fascinated with the drivers’ abilities to handle the forces within the car.

“I was saying as soon as I got out, I don’t know how they change gears and steer sometimes!


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Supercars goes retro for Sandown

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will celebrate five decades of history with a special `Retro Round’ at next month’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.

The first event of the 2016 Pirtek Enduro Cup, the Wilson Security Sandown 500  will evoke memories of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, with retro style liveries, race suits and  fashions.

Sandown is the perfect place for Supercars’ first annual Retro Round, as one of the most historic venues on the calendar, first opening in 1962.

On-track action will see an array of retro-liveried Supercars racing for the coveted Sandown 500 trophy, whilst off track fans will be able to enjoy a classic car display featuring many of the famous racing cars of the era.

The whole Sandown Park precinct will be turning back time, with rockabilly bands, retro food vans and fans dressing up in their finest classic threads. 

A  retro fashions on the field...

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Reindler’s ready for enduros

Karl Reindler left the Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint with his head held high, with valuable miles for the Pirtek Enduro Cup under his belt after filling in for injured Lee Holdsworth. 

More good news for Preston Hire Racing was that regular driver Holdsworth felt good after some practice laps and a run at Monday’s ride day, with a test day scheduled next week set to focus on his return for Sandown.

While Reindler was aiming to nurse the car home across the weekend, he was racing hard by Sunday’s 200km sprint, determined to show he would have a go when required.

“It was a tough one, I wanted to keep the car straight obviously but I didn’t want to be a pushover as well,” he told supercars.com.

“I don’t think I’ll be approaching the enduros as aggressively as I did the sprint race, but I feel like I can leave the weekend holding my head pretty high given the lack of race miles we’ve...

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Get to know: Chris Pither

Super Black Racing's Chris Pither joins the Inside Supercars panel tonight, and took supercars.com's quick questions before his appearance.

Pither's already exceeded his own expectations in his debut year, clinching his first ARMOR ALL Pole Position at Queensland Raceway and a number of top ten finishes. 

Practice 1

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

The Red Rooster Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint! To be honest, I haven't been to a sporting event or concert in a long time, I've been too busy racing!

Now I'm living in Victoria, I'm starting to watch a bit of AFL and it's slowly growing on me. I've been to a couple of games this year and I need to get to a few more and support Geelong. 

Do you have a signature dish in the kitchen?

I do, it's pretty straight forward - Bangers and Mash.

What’s on your bucket list?

Well, the main thing on my bucket list was to race in...

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Ten of the best

In anticipation of his 100th Supercars Championship race win, Jamie Whincup ranked his top 10 best ever victories for supercars.com.

“It’s very hard to rate all of these and put them in an order, but I’ve done the very best I could,” the Red Bull racer said.

After clocking up 99 in Townsville, Whincup cracked the ton yesterday in great form, leading home Triple Eight teammate Craig Lowndes. 

Here are the victories he believes are his best after being the form man of the last decade in Supercars. 

Number 10 – Abu Dhabi 2010

Whincup wins two from two at season opener, earning maximum points to lead Mark Winterbottom in the championship. It was Triple Eight’s first race event running Holden Commodores.

Jamie Whincup of Triple Eight Racing during the YAS V8 400, event 01 of the 2010 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, February 20, 2010.

“This was the big controversial Ford to Holden switch which was just unknown in that era. That was the big news, that Triple Eight decided to do the big switch.

“We went to Abu Dhabi –...

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Volvo line-up confirmed

Wilson Security Racing GRM Has confirmed former full-time driver David Wall will join Scott McLaughlin in the #33 factory Volvo S60 for the Pirtek Enduro Cup, while rising Dunlop development series star James ‘Bieber’ Golding will race with James Moffat in the #34.

The pairings are as expected for the three round co-driver series, which comprises the September 16-18 Wilson Security Sandown 500, the October 6-9 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and the October 21-23 Castrol Gold Coast 600.

Golding will contest the enduro series for the first time, as well as race in the Dunlop Series rounds at Sandown and Bathurst. The 20-year old currently lies third in that championship in his Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Commodore VF.

While Golding is an undoubted talent, favourite of the team and in with a bonafide shot of replacing DJR Team Penske-bound McLaughlin next year, Rogers presented Wall...

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Gavin out, McConville in

Cameron McConville will co-drive alongside Nick Percat in all three of this year’s Supercars enduros following a forced changed for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.

British GT driver, Oliver Gavin was originally confirmed to partner Percat at Bathurst and the Gold Coast, while a clash of race dates with Gavin’s factory Corvette Racing team saw McConville earlier this month announced to fill the co-driver’s role at Sandown.

But a previously unforeseen, three-day manufacturer tyre test for Corvette Racing scheduled recently now also conflicts with the Gold Coast race, meaning the five-time Le Mans 24 Hour class winner would only be available for Bathurst.

After notifying Percat and team owner Lucas Dumbrell of the latest clash, Gavin has subsequently withdrawn from what has become his annual Supercars enduro campaign.

Percat is disappointed not to again be sharing his Commodore with the...

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Walkinshaw commits to racing Holdens

Ryan Walkinshaw says his team is committed to entering Holdens in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2017.

The team boss spoke to Supercars.com at Sydney Motorsport Park after Holden's recent decision to back Triple Eight Race Engineering from next year.

But the owner of Walkinshaw Racing says he is looking forward not back, and takes confidence in the future from Prodrive Racing Australia’s ability to race on strongly after losing factory backing from Ford.

Beyond that he won’t comment.

“Absolutely next year we will be a Holden team,” Walkinshaw told Supercars.com.au while attending last weekend’s Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint.

“Its inappropriate to even contemplate and discuss those things (beyond 2017) in public,” he said.

“At the moment we are a Holden team and the Holden factory team and our focus will be finishing the season with our heads held high for Holden and...

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Premat prepares

Alex Premat completed over 50 laps in Shane van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Holden Commodore at a ride day at Sydney Motorsport Park yesterday.

And the Frenchman is amused by comments he mightn’t be up to the job as co-driver for one of the title contenders come the three Pirtek Enduro Cup events.

After spending two years full-time in the Championship with Garry Rogers Motorsport, Premat drove with Scott McLaughlin in the enduros in his Volvo S60 and proved a quick asset. But he is not racing full-time – currently a Las Vegas driving instructor – which has led some to doubt his competitiveness this season with bona fide title contender van Gisbergen.

Premat was pleased to steer the Triple Eight Commodore and felt comfortable quickly at SMSP.

“It’s pretty amazing to finally drive the Triple Eight car,” he told supercars.com.

“It’s very different to the Volvo, everything – the engine, the...

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Driver of the Century

"I'm just a racing driver just trying to go out there and do the best I can."

That’s Jamie Whincup, yet again understating an achievement; this time the prospect of becoming only the second driver in the history of Australian tin-top racing to reach 100 wins.

Sometimes, to listen to Whincup, you’d think he’d been lucky to win one race let alone 100 … as well as six Supercars championship and four Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000s.

His post-race press conferences often happen in a parallel universe; he’ll recount how his apparent dominance has been a deception, where a lights-to-flag victory has been luckily scored against the odds in a car that still needs to be “tuned up” if he is to have any hope of competitiveness against clearly faster opposition tomorrow.

Yep, just a battling bloke from the Melbourne ’burbs trying to humbly eke out a living in a profession he goes okay at.

As a...

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Target 700: Lowndes new deal looming

Supercars legend Craig Lowndes is almost certain to be offered a new deal by Triple Eight boss Roland Dane to extend his full-time career beyond 2017 and target 700 championship race starts.

Lowndes, 42, celebrated his record 600th championship race yesterday with a blinding start into the lead in his TeamVortex Holden Commodore VF and a second place finish behind long-time team-mate Jamie Whincup.

Lowndes was renewed for two years as the driver of T8’s new satellite entry this year and has relished the role outside the Red Bull garage. He has won two races and runs third in the championship behind Whincup and new team-mate Shane van Gisbergen.

“I think there is every chance, I’d be surprised if we didn’t (re-sign Craig) as a full-time driver,” Dane told supercars.com Sunday evening after his team had dominated the Red Rooster Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint.

“I look at him now...

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Mostert chasing Pole Award

He declared himself out of the championship fight after Townsville but there is something Chaz Mostert is gunning for this year – as well as his first 2016 win.

Despite missing four rounds in 2015 after a qualifying crash at Bathurst, Mostert won the ARMOR ALL Pole Position Award after scoring 10 P1 starts across the season and being almost untouchable over one lap.

Once again he’s leading the way, having reset the lap record over the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park and taking both poles. He has five to his name this season, with closest challenger Mark Winterbottom on three, and Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup all with two.

There are 10 poles left to take – one each at Sandown and Bathurst (which have different qualifying formats), two at the Gold Coast and Sydney Olympic Park, and four in Auckland. 

After two P1 starts at the Red Rooster Sydney...

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Stewards Summary: Sydney Motorsport Park

Stewards Summary Update #2: FINAL issued Sunday 28th August at 1700hrs.

Matters from Race 19:

The Stewards imposed a Pit Lane drive through Penalty on Car #34, James Moffat, for a driving infringement (contact with Car #97, Shane van Gisbergen).

A post-race investigation was conducted into an incident involving contact between Car #2, Garth Tander, and Car #23, Michael Caruso, at Turn 4 and no breach of the Rules was established.

Matters from Qualifying – Race 19:

There were no issues.

Stewards Summary Update #1: issued Sunday 28th August at 0945hrs.

Following an investigation and an admission of Careless Driving by Car #222, Nick Percat (contact with Car #111, Chris Pither) the Stewards imposed the penalty of the loss of 10 Championship Points on Car #222, Nick Percat.

There were no issues.

There were no issues.

Scott McLaughlin and James Courtney were late to the briefing and failed...

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