The Sandown Undercard

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/09/2016
  • By Chad Neylon

key facts

  • Five co-drivers will line up in the third-from-last round of the Dunlop Series.
  • Another five drivers will have double-duties in Carrera Cup.
  • Formula 4 and the Toyota 86 Racing Series round out a quality supports bill.

The headline could have easily read, "The 10 drivers I'm most jealous of this weekend" but there is a fair amount of pressure on the guys who are juggling their own championship hopes with those of their co-drivers.

Supercars Dunlop Series

Jack Le Brocq (Cam Waters' co-driver)

"JLB" is leading the Dunlop Series by a handy 51 points but importantly his main championship rival and teammate Garry Jacobson is not racing in the 500. Hopefully for Le Brocq the added miles are an advantage and not a hindrance but I imagine Jacobson will be fairly keen to prove to the Supercars fraternity that he deserved a spot on the grid this year. Intriguing battle ahead.

James Golding (James Moffat's co-driver)

Fancy sharing a Supercar at Sandown with a bloke named Moffat. Golding will be pinching himself when he wakes up on Sunday morning as he gets set for his main game debut. Everyone knows there's a seat at GRM going for 2016 so this weekend is very much an audition but he can't let that distract him from the fact he's third in the Dunlop points.

Andrew Jones (Jason Bright's co-driver)

Out of all 10 drivers, I'd say this guy would be feeling the least pressure. He's having one of his best years in the Dunlop Series for some time (he's sitting fifth) and he's driving really well. This whole double-duty thing is nothing new to him and with all due respect to Jason Bright he doesn't have to worry about ruining someone's championship if he makes a mistake. Having said that, nobody likes letting their uncle down.

Macauley Jones (Tim Blanchard's co-driver)

It's a different story for Andy's cousin, Macauley. He's young and keen to impress and just like so many other second-generation drivers he has the added weight of expectation. For what it's worth I thought Jones handled his Pirtek Enduro Cup debut really well last year and the other thing he has going for him is fitness – apparently he's got a huge tank on him, so long stints won't be a worry.

Paul Dumbrell (Jamie Whincup's co-driver)

Amazingly out of the five Dunlop Series drivers racing in the 500 this weekend "PD" is ranked the lowest. He's eighth in the points and he has the added curve ball of being the only driver doing double duties in an older generation car but he should handle the change between the soft and hard tyres well. I'd say there's pressure sharing a car with Whincup but he never shows it. He's won Sandown, Bathurst and the Pirtek Enduro Cup – don't be surprised if he collects all three again this year.

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia

Matt Campbell (Todd Kelly's co-driver)

If this kid was an Uber driver his rating would be six stars, that's how good he his. One day we'll all remember this Sunday as Matt Campbell's first ever Supercars race. He has double duty experience in the past with Carrera Cup and Australian GT in the same weekend but this is a different ball game, as the Porsches have paddle shifters, Michelin tyres and they are left hand drive. Despite all this I expect he'll extend his Carrera Cup points lead and do a sound job in the Nissan. Get around him.

David Wall (Scott McLaughlin’s co-driver)

I hope this guy never goes on Facebook because the keyboard warriors have never had many nice things to say about one of the nicest guys in racing. Trolls aside, David Wall can drive, especially when it comes to sportscars. He's warming to the Porsche and I don't think double-duties will worry him at all, the only thing I will say is he may never have a better opportunity to score a podium – that Volvo is a rocket and I don't think anyone wants to win Bathurst more than Scott McLaughlin. Hopefully punters don't say the same things they said about Paul Morris if they do win it.

Steven Richards (Craig Lowndes' co-driver)

Not only is Steven Richards the kind of guy you wished your sister would meet but he's also the only double-duty co-driver who doubled up here last year, so that has to be an advantage. There must be something in the Richards' gene pool that sees them become better drivers the older they get, he debuted here 22 years ago and he's still winning big races. Expect him to add another trophy or surfboard to the collection.

Ash Walsh (Tim Slade's co-driver)

Tim Slade will be hoping all of Ash Walsh's bad luck this year has been used up. This guy has raw speed to burn (took pole on debut in Carrera Cup in Adelaide) but he's been so unlucky this year I'd honestly be scared to cross a road next to him. You know who else is due some good luck at Bathurst? BJR. No other team has come so close yet been so far away from a win at the mountain. With all this in mind I think Walsh and BJR are the perfect combo for this year!

Dean Fiore (Michael Caruso's co-driver)

Fiore's first Carrera Cup campaign in eight years has been a good way to stay sharp for the enduros. There's no doubt about it, this team is a sneaky chance at some trophies this year. I'm tipping the Supercars' most fashionable driver to shine in the co-driver ‘Race For The Grid,’ which is due to finish about 20 minutes before the second Carrera Cup race. That's a tight turn around for all five of them to worry about.

CAMS Jayco Formula 4

The only other driver on double duties this weekend is 18-year-old future prospect Will Brown, who is driving in F4 and the 86 series.

Brown has a helpful 31-point buffer over speedway racer, Nick Rowe with his BRM teammate, Jordan Love another ten back from Rowe.

The car that Brown is driving was in another realm at this round last year in the hands of the eventual series champ, Jordan Lloyd. I expect it to be at the front again unless the forecast rain arrives, then I'd be backing the dirt-track experience of Rowe.

Toyota 86 Racing Series

The Sydney round was survival of the fittest but despite multiple tests the little 86 machines wore the brunt of the crashes well, so kudos to Toyota on that.

After dominating the first five races, championship leader Cameron Hill finally had his win streak broken by the aforementioned Will Brown. I'm looking forward to watching these guys duke it out over the fast downhill section of Sandown, should be wild.

Steven Johnson and Leanne Tander return to the invitational cars, while 1992 Sandown 500 Runner-Up, Tony Longhurst is making a comeback at the age of 58 in the third car.

All support categories are scheduled for three races this weekend. You'll be able to catch all of the action on Fox Sports 506 and selected races on Network Ten.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter