Red Bull Holden Racing Team Supercars drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup, along with TeamVortex’s Craig Lowndes, hit a different kind of circuit this morning, trading race cars for go karts ahead of the Perth SuperSprint this weekend.
Proving that their competitive streak is not left behind at the race track, the three Triple Eight drivers battled it out head-to-head to claim boasting rights ahead of the weekend.
“It’s always great to get in the kart and have a spin, it’s not something we usually get to do before race weekends, so it was a lot of fun,” said van Gisbergen, who set the fastest time of the three drivers. “I got the kart with the most grunt in the last run, so that might have given me a bit of an advantage.
“I haven’t had a win at Barbagallo Raceway yet so hopefully this is a good omen ahead of the weekend. We were strong there last year, but we don’t know yet how the new tyres will go. It should be an interesting weekend.”
“It got pretty competitive out there,” said Whincup after the action. “We don’t do things by halves and we’re all competitive blokes, so we were never going to go easy on each other.
“We’ve had ups and downs in Perth over the last few years. Hopefully we can get the car right this weekend, but our performances so far this year have only been okay. The field is so close and everyone is in with a shot, you can’t discount anyone.”
It wasn’t just the drivers who got to experience life in the fast lane, six lucky members of Triple Eight’s “T8M8” fan club got a chance to get behind the wheel after some sound advice from the professionals.
“It’s pretty cool to get the fans here,” said reigning Supercars champion van Gisbergen. “We like to get amongst it with them, especially our T8M8s as they are really the best fans in pit lane. They are actually pretty good behind the wheel as well, I was surprised!”
With at least one Triple Eight car on the podium in Perth from 18 of the last 20 races, all three drivers head into the weekend confident after last year’s stellar performance, which saw a Triple Eight podium lock out, the first in the current era of Supercars racing.
“I have always had great success here, as it is a track I like racing on,” said TeamVortex driver Lowndes, who has more wins here than any other driver in history.
“The Barbagallo circuit is a challenging one, it has a very quick lap time and it’s very important to get the car balance right. It certainly isn’t a driver or braking-friendly track, it’s all about getting the flow of the car right and looking after the tyres.
“We’ve taken a lot of positives out of the last round at Phillip Island as the car was fast and we worked well as a team, so I’m really looking forward to getting on track this weekend.”
The Perth SuperSprint is taking place at Barbagallo Raceway from the 5–7th May.