Dick Smith Sandown 500, September 14-16
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Race 20 - Sandown I Introduction
Sandown EDITOR: Stefan Bartholomaeus DESIGN: Kirstie Fuentes SALES/MARKETING: Leisa Emberson IMAGES: Alexandre Premat Brad Jones Racing Ford Performance Racing Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Motorsport Michael Patrizi Stone Brothers Racing Taz Douglas TeamVodafone Tony D’Alberto Racing VIP Petfoods Racing Wilson Security Racing PARTNERS: Armor All, Bisley Workwear, Castrol EDGE, IRWIN Tools, Lucky 7, Money Choice, Norton by Symantec, Coates Hire, Orrcon Steel, Pirtek, Toshiba, Vodafone
The twists of time V8 Supercars’ decision to move its 500km, pre-Bathurst, endurance event back to its traditional home at Sandown this year raises the question of how the race’s history should be recorded. The official honour role of previous winners issued by V8 Supercars in the lead-up to this weekend runs under the headline of ‘Sandown endurance race’, and therefore omits the names of those who tasted victory in the Queensland 500s (1999-2002) and Phillip Island 500s (2008-11) run in the place of the Sandown 500 in recent years. Following on from that, the official list includes the winners of the 2001 and 2002 Sandown 500s run for the now defunct Procar’s production car classes. Sam Newman’s qualifying effort aboard a Lamborghini in 2002 therefore has his name in the history books as a one-time Sandown 500 pole-sitter alongside the likes of Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose and Rick Kelly. Whether Newman’s feat at Sandown is more relevant to what we’ll see this weekend than the heroics of Steven Johnson and Paul Radisich at the opposing V8 Supercar event in Queensland is certainly debatable. I would argue that, as the Queensland 500 and Phillip Island 500 were clearly run as replacements for the Sandown 500, the history of all three should be grouped under the tag of ‘the 500’. The different locations - and in the early days, distance - of the race over the years may see some oppose that theory, but such a move would certainly not be without precedent. The honour role for what is now the Bathurst 1000 long included the 500 mile events run at Phillip Island between 1960 and 1962. It was only the rather awkward orchestration of the ‘40th anniversary’ celebrations ahead of the 2002 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 that saw the first three races eventually brushed aside. The amount of careful wordplay involved in this year’s ‘50 years of Bathurst’ campaign shows that the category is not afraid to iron out the crinkles of history when it suits. Perhaps it’s time to give the history of ‘the 500’ the same treatment.
Journalist, Speedcafe.com Editor, Speedcafe Race Guides
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Races 18/19 - Sydney I Cover Story
Race 20 - Sandown I Cover Story
he V8 Supercars Championship’s annual move into endurance mode sees an additional 28 drivers thrown into the white-hot title battle.. The co-driver with arguably the hardest job of all this year is Paul Dumbrell. Having called an end to his full-time career ahead of the 2012 season, the 30-year-old was quickly snapped up by TeamVodafone to partner its three-time champion Jamie Whincup. Whincup heads to Sandown with a onepoint lead in the title race over Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom after a titanic fight between the sport’s two biggest teams across the opening eight events. To put it bluntly, Whincup’s entire year’s work is about to be put into Dumbrell’s hands.
Speedcafe.com’s Grant Rowley spoke to the likeable Victorian ahead of the weekend. SPEEDCAFE: You’ve been out of a full-time V8 Supercars seat for nine months now. You’ve done test days and practice sessions in Jamie’s car, but do you feel ready for your return to race conditions? PAUL DUMBRELL: I feel as ready as I’m ever going to be. From my point of view, coming out of a nine year full-time career to just do two races, it has been a year of adjustment, but I think I’ve done as many laps as I can. I’ve done test days and a ride day, so I feel comfortable in the car. I’ve had the luxury of coming out of a full-time gig. Next year might be a different story with a lack of Car of the Future experience, but right now, I’m feeling as good as I can.
SPEEDCAFE: It must be nice knowing that your return is at Sandown, a place that has been kind to you over the past two years. DUMBRELL: When I heard the rumour last year that the race going back to Sandown, that brought a smile to my face. I won my first race there in 2010, but we were probably one of the faster cars. It’s a track I enjoy, for sure. It’s a local, home track too. I get to stay at home and focus on the job of, basically, doing whatever Jamie wants me to do! The last few years, it was about me trying to maximise it for myself. This year, I’m there to do a job. If they want me to do 40 laps or 60 laps, I’ll do it and I’ll do it to the best of my ability. SPEEDCAFE: The bookies have yourself and Jamie as the favourites for the race.
This would probably be the first time you’re in that position. What sort of pressure does that bring? DUMBRELL: The only other time I was the favourite was when the bookies made a typo! It’s a pressure I’ve never had to deal with before, but Jamie has to deal with that week in, week out. At the end of the day, it’s another motor race. I’ve been racing there for 10 years, but this is the first time I’ve raced with the number #1 on the door. I just have to drive to the best of my ability and bring it back with a straight steering wheel and no marks on the side of the car and let him get in and take on the likes of Craig (Lowndes), Mark Winterbottom or Will Davison. I can’t be drawn into a battle with those guys. I’ll have a clear idea of what they want me to do come race day.
I certainly won’t be able to win the race for them, but I’ll definitely be able to lose it. That’s my philosophy. SPEEDCAFE: Last year, you were in the Winterbottom/Davison/FPR camp. This year, you’re against them. As you’ve probably seen from the sidelines this year, there’s only been four cars capable of winning this year. Have you been surprised to see how dominant those four have been? DUMBRELL: It has been interesting. Only
two years ago, DJR was a dominant team. James Courtney won the title and Stevie Johnson was right up there. It has been a year of two halves, really. FPR was the dominant team in the first half of the year, and that has swung now in Triple Eight’s favour. No doubt the building and developing Car of the Future is hurting some teams in the background. It has been a challenging year Continued on page 9 >>
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