Red Bull Racing Australia drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen together with Triple Eight Race Engineering teammate Craig Lowndes went head-to-head today at Perth’s Elizabeth Quay to see who really had the need for speed.
Kicking off the Perth SuperSprint race weekend, the three V8 Supercars drivers gave the crowds a taste of what’s to come, battling it out on a mini Barbagallo Raceway – with radio-controlled (RC) cars.
Tearing around the model circuit in RC versions of their own VF Holden Commodores, the drivers not only raced for the top spot but boasting rights.
Taking home the gold was TeamVortex driver, Craig Lowndes.
“I knew that Shane van Gisbergen was going to be strong in the RC race and I thought I had the measure on Jamie Whincup and when they each lost a wheel and a battery, it was a clean run home for us.”
The TeamVortex driver holds the record of most wins in the West in Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars history.
“We’re feeling really confident about this weekend because it’s a circuit where we’ve had a lot of success and has the highest win rate for me, which is encouraging," he said.
No stranger to the world of RC racing, van Gisbergen entered the race with a jump on the competition, already claiming the NZRCA off-road National title earlier in the year and came out on the second step of the podium.
“I had a bit of an advantage going in to the RC race today and I had a lap lead at one stage but then we lost a wheel so that put an end to my chances of winning."
To date, Barbagallo Raceway has not been one of Van Gisbergen’s strongest tracks, having never claimed a podium or qualified in the top four.
“The last few years at the Barbagallo track haven’t gone my way but the setup of the Red Bull Racing Australia cars is different to what I’m used to here so I’m confident that we can get back up to speed.“
Rounding out the top three was Red Bull Racing Australia teammate and six-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup.
“I haven’t picked up a RC car since I was 13 so it was always going to be an uphill battle. I tried to play a straight bat but got taken out a bunch of times so we’re just waiting for the stewards meeting to see where we’re all going to shuffle out at the end of it."
Whincup was happy to settle with third place this time round, as he currently sits at the top of the leaderboard in the V8 Supercars Championship.
“Perth just makes me happy, it’s such a picturesque place and at this point in the championship I am just trying to win as many individual races as I can.”
The V8 Supercars hit the Barbagallo circuit tomorrow for two practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s final practice session and qualifying before the 120km race. Sunday then sees another qualifying session followed by a 200km race at the Perth SuperSprint.