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Live Diary: Sandown

Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes win the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 and take out the 2019 Pirtek Enduro Cup during Event 14 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Melbourne, Victoria. Australia 10th 2019

Jamie Whincup / Craig Lowndes – Car #888
Race 3 – First
Pirtek Enduro Cup First 

ChampionshipThird (2,968 points)


Jamie Whincup – Car #888

 “Obviously it was a fairly eventful start to the race but unfortunately wasn’t that eventful towards the end.  Firstly, it’s bittersweet and certainly commiserations to 97 as they were in the box seat to get the chocolates today.  I think we would have been one point ahead in the Enduro Cup which would have been interesting.  You’re certainly respectful that someone else could have won the race but at the same time you take it because there have been plenty of times where both of us have been on the receiving end of a mechanical failure or something out of your control that has ruined a good result.  All in all, I can’t thank Craig enough as he has done a fantastic job in all three rounds.  It’s been tough all round.”


Craig Lowndes – Car #888
“It is very special to get a win for the sixth time.  The car this weekend was working really well, absorbed the kerbs well and had the power down well.  Yesterday everyone was fighting difficult conditions with sprinkles for the co-driver session and rain for the main drivers which we were fortunate to get a great result in and start the race from pole position.  Our starts have been good this endurance season. Bryce  (Fullwood) got a good start also and hung out at the beginning of the race when we tried to set a lap time to look after the tyres and see what the trend would be like.  Then the safety car came out and diminished my gap that we were able to create which always creates a problem for the leader.  I then looked up and thought ‘bugger me’! I saw 97 right behind me.  Garth had seven or eight lap better tyre life and started to put the blow torch on, so we had to pick the pace up.  At the end of the day, it’s sad and happy emotions today as one side of the garage what could have been but for us, as Jamie said, we have both been on the receiving end of that side so it’s great to finish out with a win.”


Shane van Gisbergen / Garth Tander – Car #97
Race 3 – 17th
Pirtek Enduro CupSecond

ChampionshipSecond (3,064 points)


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97

“It’s a shame. The first half of the race was awesome by Garth. The safety car helped us a bit and we were right back in the fight. The car was awesome – we were 15 seconds behind, then we ran it down and extended that lead. It was amazing. Then a part broke with 10 laps to go, which sucks. I’m pretty gutted because we all on our side did everything we could but at least the team still won the race by a good margin and we got the Enduro Cup. I’m just gutted for us. There’s a lot of what could have been this enduro season, except for Gold Coast. Bathurst was a close one. This one we came even closer. It’s been awesome, but I’m still excited for next year’s enduros when they come around because it will just be a continuation. Garth was really strong for all three rounds.”


Garth Tander – Car #97
“The result is obviously devastating for the whole 97 side of the garage. We worked all race to get ourselves into that position for the last pit stop and that worked really well. My stint went well, I got through the field and we just came up 10 laps short. It’s devastating, but a great result for the team with Craig and Jamie winning. It’s just today wasn’t our day. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the team and I’m already now looking forward to the first enduro in 2020. I can’t thank the team enough for how they’ve looked after me and helped me feel part of the organisation.”


1730:  As the sun comes down on Sandown (yes it was actually a full day of it – well mostly), it’s time as always to catch those few last words and possibly even few words after today from our drivers.



1700:  What a story for the weekend.  Front and back of the grid, highs and lows on the track and to add to it all GT won the Co-Driver Cup.  Yes it is a thing and there a photos to prove it.



1640:  While Car 97 limps back out – JDub is finishing off the race in perfect form.

1635:  How do you split the garage?  It’s bitter sweet and the emotions are too fold without a doubt.  With only a handful of laps left the team knows that it was all so close yet so far.

1630:  Car 97 into the garage and it’s a scramble to fix it but time is ticking away.  This was the story of the weekend from P24 to P1 – Enduro Cup within reach – think you all get the picture.



1620:  10 laps to go… and we are absolutely devastated – there are no words just big gasps in the garage.




1455:  Co-driver dance.




1500:  GT is on fire!  We don’t have any words just the tweets that are coming from Supercars.  If anyone says that this race was just going to be another bore clearly aren’t watching car 97 pick up the pace out there.  Predictions – GT P2 maybe?



1440:  And while GT is going round and round, faster and faster – CL’s duties are done and dusted for the enduros.



1425:  Min. of 54 laps for the Co-drivers this race. 20 laps done and GT is in P8. Biggest question so far – where will GT end up before the hand over to SVG?  We think Top 4!

1350:  We knew that GT and SVG had something up their sleeves but this is next level driving!

1335: Utter CHAOS for the start of the race!  Haven’t seen anything like it.. three cars stalling?

1200:  There will be a 10 minute delay to the start of the race following the Toyota incident on track.


JDub/CL – P16 — 01:08.8104

SVG/GT – P12 — 01:08.5783


1015:  So much for a warm up seems like a full on mini-race practice if you ask us – but then again that’s probably the point.

1010:  Driver changes, tyres, fuel and all in between to get geared up and ready to roll ahead of the race this afternoon.

1000:  Warm up time.  GT and J-Dub in the cars for the start of the session.

0800:  Two sessions – one signing, one driving and then it will be time for the final race of the Enduro Cup.



Sunday 10 November


Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes will start tomorrows race from Pole after both drivers won there qualifying races today at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 Event 14 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Gold Coast, Queensland. Australia 9th 2019


Jamie Whincup / Craig Lowndes – Car #888
Practice 4 – Second (01:07.5442)
Qualifying – Second (Fastest Time: 01:07.9158)
Qualifying Race 1 (Co-Drivers) – Second
Qualifying Race 2 – First


Jamie Whincup – Car #888

 “The car was good, and poles have been few and far between this year, so we’ll certainly take this one.  With the rain coming down we pushed hard.  Craig did a fantastic job in the co-driver race to start us in a good position for the second race and my car was very quick so we were able to claim only the second pole for the year which is pretty lean for our standard.  There is a battle for the teams’ championship that is going on, and we are trying to do whatever we can but probably lost a few points today but looking ahead to tomorrow.”


Craig Lowndes – Car #888
“Throughout the practice session and qualifying the car performed extremely well.  For my race today, it was great to get a reasonable clean and dry run.  It sprinkled in parts but to hand the car over starting in second to pole was for me a big tick in the sense of doing what I have been asked to do.  The beauty is we feel like we have been searching for speed, but this weekend certainly feels like we are getting on top of it.  Jamie did a sensational drive in these tricky conditions, so I am looking forward to tomorrow starting in pole position.  It’s going to be basically wake-up in the morning and see what the weather provides.”


Shane van Gisbergen / Garth Tander – Car #97
Practice 4 – 18th (Fastest Time 01:08.2247)
Qualifying – Fourth (Fastest Time: 01:07.9663)
Qualifying Race 1 (Co-Drivers) – Third
Qualifying Race 2 – DNF


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97

“We were up the front in qualifying, then Garth’s race went well. He got a good start and he was pretty cautious when the damp came; we didn’t have the pace. We started third for my race in mixed conditions. We went safe, starting on wets, but I just simply misjudged turn one and the closing speed to the car in front and unfortunately came into contact with Anton (de Pasquale) which put us out. I’m sorry for them because Will (Brown) had done a good job putting them on the front row in the first race and it wrecks two young guys’ days who were going pretty well. I’m kicking myself, but hopefully we can make it up tomorrow. We’ll think about strategy tonight, who starts, how to get out of the traffic and start moving to the front. We’ll put our heads down and try to come up with something.”


Garth Tander – Car #97

“My race went reasonably well. I got a good start, got a couple off the line, settled in behind Craig and was pretty comfortable there in second. When the rain came my car balance just went away too much and young Will Brown did a good job, he was prepared to take more risks than I was at that stage, so he got me. As it dried out, we were the quickest car again. The car was good, I was happy with our race to bring it home third. We’ll look at what strategy options we have available to us tonight for starting off the back tomorrow. The good thing is we can be hyper flexible with our strategy because I’m confident I can run as fast as any of the main drivers, so if it ends up that I’m running against the main drivers I think I can hold my own.”


1800:  The finished look was a little different to what we were hoping for so unfortunately it’s opposite ends of the grid for tomorrow.  Let’s see what the trail of thought is for the bulls.



JDub/CL – P1



1735:  Meanwhile JDub is cruising out there.  A couple of slides on the tail end of the corners but for the most part it’s just great driving, eyes forward and the countdown of laps until the finish.





1722: Oh dear!  In the beginning stages and SVG spins out.  This is not looking good as SVG limps back to the garage.


1720:  Main driver turn to hit the track.

1245:  Nice driving by the co-drivers who have now locked in the line up for the next race.

JDub/CL – P1




1435:  A different kind of view for JDub.



1425:  Co-driver race is on!

1245:  Disappointment to be holding on to the top spot for so long only to be etched out by the tiniest of margins but it’s still a front row spot and we will take it!

JDub/CL – P2 — 01:07.9159

SVG/GT – P4 — 01:07.9663


1235:  Not much movement going on as most of the cars waited it out in pit lane.  Will the current times be enough?

1230:  It’s just rain, rain, rain, rain and… yes you guessed it more rain.

1225:  Qualy time.

1145:  Do you ever wonder how long it takes to debrief and review data only to make some very big decisions for the next sessions?  Well actually we do know – there’s only 35 minutes until we hit the track again.


JDub/CL – P2 — 01:07.5442

SVG/GT – P18 — 01:08.2247







1040:  Practice time… but how much can we get done?


Penrite Oil Sandown 500 Event 14 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Gold Coast, Queensland. Australia 8th-10th 2019


0915:  The brave souls that are weathering the weather!  Our fans are truly amazing to battle the four seasons of Melbourne to come out and support the bulls. And we love seeing you all in the retro and Bathurst edition gear – looking good!

0900:  Sun is out and we have our fingers crossed that it stays sunny.  But hey this is Melbourne and we all know the weather is no indication of what could be this afternoon for the races.


Saturday 9 November


Jamie Whincup / Craig Lowndes – Car #888
Practice 1 (Co-Drivers) – 16th (Fastest Time: 01:08.6371)
Practice 2 – Ninth (Fastest Time: 01:08.2716)
Practice 3 (Co-Drivers) – First (Fastest Time: 01:07.8356)


Jamie Whincup – Car #888

“Believe it or not I actually felt like a co-driver today.  I just did a brief half an hour session; it was half wet and then ended up in the gravel, so it was literally a few laps today which is obviously out of the norm.  As a result, I feel like I haven’t done enough laps out on the track to know if the car is good, bad or otherwise.  Today though was more about Craig and for him to do the job with the car setup.  His time at the end of the final practice session shows the car is there or thereabouts.  We will see what tomorrow brings as it’s predicted to rain again so we’ll see what rolls out when tomorrow rolls around.”

Craig Lowndes – Car #888
“The weather is a funny thing.  You can never predict it and today was proof of that.  We move the events to make it better for all so hopefully today was the worst of the three days.  I think the interesting thing is this is usually the first round for the enduros which means that the co-drivers get more seat time, which now is funny as this year Sandown is the final round of the endurance races and we don’t really need the seat time.  It is what it is, and I have really enjoyed spending more time behind the wheel today.  My next seat in the car will most likely be in the qualifying race and I am looking forward to tomorrow with points up for grabs for the co-drivers.”



Shane van Gisbergen / Garth Tander – Car #97
Practice 1 (Co-Drivers) – First (Fastest Time: 01:08.1548)
Practice 2 – Sixth (Fastest Time: 01:08.1336)
Practice 3 (Co-Drivers) – Fourth (Fastest Time: 01:07.9537)


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97

“I didn’t do much today, but the car is really good. We had relatively dry sessions throughout practice. It was fairly wet when I started, but it came good and the car was good. Hopefully there will be a lot more laps tomorrow, but it was a decent start to the weekend for everyone. We’re not sure what we need to work on for tomorrow yet, we’ll work that out in debrief. Some more track time would be good, to try and do some longer runs tomorrow and get some laps in before the race.”


Garth Tander – Car #97

“It wasn’t too bad today. The car was pretty good straight out of the truck. We just tuned it to the new grip conditions here with all the resurfacing that’s taken place. I thought we made some gains through the day. It was nice of Shane to jump in for half an hour and do some driving! Then I got back in at the end. I think we’re in a pretty good spot for tomorrow. The weather didn’t create many challenges, given the forecast of Armageddon that we were meant to get here today. We got all dry running, so we were surprised. I think we’ve got a pretty good dry car and then we’ll just wait and see what weather Melbourne delivers us tomorrow.”



JDub/CL – P1 — 01:07.8356

SVG/GT – P4 — 01:07.9537



1542: CL shows us how it’s done.

1520:  Final stint of the day and its back over to our co-drivers.  Getting plenty of time this round and yet we are almost at the end of the Enuro Cup.


JDub/CL – P9 — 01:08.2716

SVG/GT – P6 — 01:08.1336



1313:  And somehow CL manages to yet again steal the spotlight this time as a domesticated god – and apparently comes with a reference!



1310:  The things these drivers say on the radio – Captain obvious we say.



1300:  Whoops – may have spoken too soon. JDub draws the red flag.

1245:  Well having said that this practice is for our main drivers.  Lret’s see if they can match their counterparts from the first session.  Weather seems to be stable.

1130:  Fairly easy day for JDub and SVG but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any appearances.  Junior Press conference and there are some tough questions out there.


JDub/CL – P16 — 01:08.6371

SVG/GT – P1 — 01:08.1548




1040:  It’s not looking dry our there as the co-drivers roll out for their first practice at Sandown.

0830:  Today’s weather prediction is hail? Are we in November and in the lead up to summer?

0730:   Rain or shine it’s time to refresh those driver changing and pit stop skills.



0700:  Sunny, windy, rainy and … yep we are definitely in Melbourne.


Friday 8 Novemebr