Live Diary: Sandown 500


Today was a good day… A Triple Eight 1-2-3 at Sandown on our 15th birthday. Incredible! Sandown 500 event 12 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Sandown Raceway, Victoria. Australia. September 14th-16th 2018

Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell – Car #1
Warm Up –  First (Fastest Time: 1:08.4080)
Race   First 
Championship –  Third (2,718 points)

Jamie Whincup – Car #1
“We had a really solid weekend, I put it down to preparation – we prepared really well before the event, we brought three good cars here. I’m really proud of the engineering group, they just keep developing, keep moving forward and keep the speed in that car. The car was at its best in the race, it’s just great to get a bit of silverware from three months of solid hard work. I’ve never seen so much dedication behind the scenes and so much hard work from the team. There’s been so many parts going in the car to make them faster, to develop them and everyone has just been flat stick the past couple of months. The cars are definitely improving and we’ll just keep our head down and keep on that track. It’s a good birthday present for Triple Eight, the motto of the weekend was to just chill out and eat some cake and we’ll have a beer tonight and celebrate the big 15.”

Paul Dumbrell – Car #1 Co-Driver
“The car was awesome, we had great one lap pace there was no doubt about that, but the question was how long that was going to last. It’s a credit to everyone on our car, they continued to keep pushing the boundaries and they actually made the car quicker. It was an awesome 50 odd laps that I did, the car was really good and we had a good strategy. Going out there first, I just didn’t want to make any mistakes – last year we were really quick but maybe a few mistakes crept in, so I was really happy with minimal mistakes today. It was really good to see the car strong and then see Jamie go out and do an even better job than what I did.” Sandown 500 event 12 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Sandown Raceway, Victoria. Australia. September 14th-16th 2018

Shane van Gisbergen / Earl Bamber – Car #97
Warm Up –  Fifth (Fastest Time: 1:08.8510)
Race   Second
Championship –  First (3,054 points)

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97 Driver

“It’s hard to watch at the start but I had full confidence in Earl (Bamber) and he really took it conservatively. You could see he was driving the car nice, straight and conservative and then he started to pick them off once he felt comfortable. Earl was in a good position when he pitted and he did an awesome job. We short-fueled to gain some spots but we also had to save some fuel while trying to pass people, so that was pretty tough. The cars were just awesome, we were on equal fuel to Craig and managed to pass him, he let us go easy. It’s super for the team, all three cars, I’m super proud of everyone here. We’ve had good cars here in the past, but the gap to the rest of the field was really impressive, and as I said it’s a privilege to be one of the drivers. Today, we went closer to Jamie’s setup, our setup was really good but they were obviously faster. Shippy (Car #97 Race Engineer Grant McPherson) made a good call to go closer to their car. It was completely different though so I was struggling in warm up because it was so different but in the race I got used to it and we just got quicker and quicker.”

Earl Bamber – Car #97 Co-Driver
“First of all, a huge credit to the whole team, this is a massive team effort. To get the one, two, three is super special and is something that doesn’t happen everyday in Supercars. Thank you to Roland (Dane), Shane (van Gisbergen) and everybody on the team to bring me along as a rookie – it’s a bit risky to bring a rookie in, especially into a car that is in the championship fight. It was an awesome job by everyone over the weekend. It’s awesome to be with Shane, he helped me a lot, through coaching me the whole weekend, giving me so much advice, and without him I would be so lost to be honest. He did a mega job, we had a lot of fun and the good thing is that there are so many left hand corners so I passed a lot of guys on the lefts which was good. Before the race, Shane gave me a bit of advice to first find my feet and settle in, then just try to look after the tyre a bit because some of the other guys just really worked the tyre hard. Then after five or ten laps, the car started to come to us and we could drive people off the turn and so I made up some good spots. The safety car really hurt us because we had planned to go long, so some people were able to undercut us however, we came back out in the middle of the pack and we just had to wait patiently for the tyre. I think I would have torched the tyres without Shane’s advice, so that’s what I mean about Shane coaching me and giving me the advice which was really, really important. Now, let’s roll on to Bathurst, we will have to work hard because the others will be hunting us down, we will need to make sure we roll out with quick cars.” Sandown 500 event 12 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Sandown Raceway, Victoria. Australia. September 14th-16th 2018


Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell – Car #1
Practice 4 (Whincup)  Third (Fastest Time: 1:15.2925)
Qualifying (Whincup) –  First (Fastest Time: 1:07.8389) *Lap Record
Grid Race 1 (Dumbrell) –  11th
Grid Race 2 (Whincup) –  Second

Jamie Whincup – Car #1
“I feel we did everything we could today and we had a good car at the start of the day. We just had to make a call on the strategy, I still think Cauchi made a good call, it just wasn’t the right call for today but when there is hail coming out of the sky you think the best option is to put wets on which is what we did. We dropped back but in the second race for the grid, it was just about trying to recover from that, pick off a few spots, limit the damage and try to start tomorrow’s race in a reasonable position. The weather was nuts today, it was the same for everyone and we just had to roll with the punches. The car was fantastic, we got P2 and we start on the front row, I couldn’t be happier. I think we did a great job today and I’m pretty proud of everyone.”

Paul Dumbrell – Car #1 Co-Driver
“Our move to come in during the first grid race was the team’s call and from where we were down on the back straight, it was okay but as we came out of the last corner and drove down pit lane there was hail on the ground so I thought it was definitely the right call but it’s just not to be. In 2003 it hailed and I speared off under a safety car so it could have been be either side of that. For us, at the end of the day the car has come out quite strong. We’ve been working on it all weekend and the car is good. There are 161 laps tomorrow and it’s been proven here before that it doesn’t matter where you qualify, anything can happen. Sandown 500 event 12 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Sandown Raceway, Victoria. Australia. September 14th-16th 2018

Shane van Gisbergen / Earl Bamber – Car #97
Practice 4 (van Gisbergen/Bamber) –  18th (Fastest Time: 1:16.6237)
Qualifying (van Gisbergen) –  10th (Fastest Time: 1:08.4181)
Grid Race 1 (Bamber) –  16th
Grid Race 2 (van Gisbergen) –  11th

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
“It was okay today, we didn’t get the most out of it in qualifying because of some troubles with vibrations and what not but we got 10th which was still alright. We took the conservative route in the first race for the grid when it rained, which was the right thing to do. In my race, I just tried to make up spots cleanly, there was a crash and a safety car so we lost a few laps of opportunity there. It’s still a fast enough car, we just need to chip away at it tomorrow.”

Earl Bamber – Car #97 Co-Driver
“We started on slicks, we didn’t really go anywhere and started to lose too much. The car was good, we were just trying to find our way in the long safety car period and then soon after that there was a lot of rain but we survived. The car was good with good speed but then there was torrential rain so we decided to pit, but we had to double stack which meant we dropped back and ended up coming out of that first grid race in 15th, and that was sort of the day. The car was good, we will tune it up tonight and have a little bit more speed tomorrow. In the second grid race, Shane did a mega drive up to 11th so we will see what happens tomorrow. I think it was the right call to pit considering where everyone is in the championship, a few people can roll the dice and don’t have much to lose, but our car has a championship to worry about so we played it safe. It could have gone the other way and rained a bit more. We made the right call to go out on the wets – it’s easy to be an expert after the race, if we knew what the weather was going to do then this sport and racing would be easy with that sort of stuff.”

1200 Car #1 has qualified P1 for this arvo’s races for the grid AND J-Dub beat PD’s lap record from yesterday – a huge deal according to them both. Check out our Instagram to see the boss’ reaction here>.

1030 Bam Bam headed out for some practice laps in the rain while SVG (and PD) sat back to watch. For all the LIVE updates on track, follow our Twitter page here>.

0800 A chilly, gusty morning and the rain is beginning to bucket down. How the weather plays out will be interesting today…


1800 Today was a good day and even the driver’s thought so:

Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell – Car #1
Practice 1 (Co-drivers)  First (Fastest Time: 1:07.8467) *Practice Lap Record
Practice 2 –  First (Fastest Time: 1:08.0680)
Practice 3 (Co-drivers) –  Sixth (Fastest Time: 1:08.7552)

Jamie Whincup – Car #1
“I wasn’t on the track for a whole lot of today but the track was radically different to how we’ve ever seen it. The car is reasonable, we’ll just keep working on it tonight to get good pace and come in strong tomorrow morning. At this track, we have generally had a good quick car but we just make rookie errors over the later part of the weekend so we’re not looking at car pace at the moment.”

Paul Dumbrell – Car #1 Co-Driver
“The car was good today. The grip was obviously really good at the start of the day but it went away as the day went on and it became more like a typical Sandown track. And like Melbourne, it was always going to rain, so it looks like it’s going to be wet and get worse throughout the day tomorrow. We had a huge amount of grip today, it happened at Winton a few years ago, whenever they refill the holes it gives you huge grip. I would’ve thought it may have lasted a bit longer but by the end of the session it was back to standard Sandown 30-year surface.

Shane van Gisbergen / Earl Bamber – Car #97
Practice 1 (Co-drivers)  14th (Fastest Time: 1:08.7871)
Practice 2 –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:08.0680)
Practice 3 (Co-drivers) –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:08.6262)


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
“Earl went well today, he did more laps than me but I will do more laps tomorrow morning. The track was really funky with the rubber that was on it so I expect tomorrow will be different because that’s gone, as well as the weather factor. It was a good day, a good start, all three cars are fast. Earl got up to speed quite quickly which was expected, he’s a top driver and we all know how good he is and now it’s up to me to qualify up the front so he’s in and amongst all of the good co-drivers for his race.” Sandown 500 event 12 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Sandown Raceway, Victoria. Australia. September 14th-16th 2018

Earl Bamber – Car #97 Co-Driver
“It was good out there, I really like the track because there are loads of left-handers and I’m left-handed. Obviously it’s one of the tracks in the calendar that I don’t know so it was a bit of a challenge to come here and learn the track, but Shane was a massive help to coach me and teach me everything. I also think I got a bit lucky because normally it’s super low grip here, but there was something funky with the track today and it’s really high grip, although it did take a while to get going and get used to. After that, we chipped away and I just tried to focus on my driving and get better. At the end we managed a good time, we got to do a bit of race prep stuff, I did a practice start as well, so we are sort of all prepared.”

1400 See what the team have been up to with all the behind the scenes action on our Instagram page>>

1200 Word is that Bam Bam is loving this track because it’s full of left-handers and he’s left-handed… Surely that’s a Kiwi joke.

0900 The sun is shining and it’s a balmy 20 degrees down here. Practice is set to get underway in 30 minutes. For all the LIVE updates from our on track sessions, follow us on Twitter>>

0700 Rise and shine, the smell of enduros is in the air! Our co-drivers Paul “PD” Dumbrell & Earl “Bam Bam” Bamber are set for a big day of burning some rubber ahead of the weekend’s racing.