Madison Down will be right in his element when the Gfinity Supercars Eseries heads to Oran Park tonight as part of the final round of the 2019 season.
Fresh off a double podium last week, the Shannons Racing driver is fourth in the championship leading into the Australian triple-header at Oran Park, Phillip Island and Bathurst.
Sydneysider Down resides just 10 minutes from where the Oran Park circuit once stood and credits the track for developing his love of motorsport.
“I grew up going to every V8 round there for years all the way until the last one in 2008,” he told Supercars.com.
“So for me, that was probably a track we visited three or four times a year to varying motorsport events, like Super Trucks, V8s, etcetera.
“I guess it was a bit of a hole in not just my life but the whole area’s life out here when that track went away.
“It was probably one of the main reasons I actually discovered iRacing, because I heard they were getting Oran Park and it was very accurate and very well done with all of the laser scanning and whatnot.”
Supercars’ last two visits to the circuit stand out in Down’s memory as particularly special.
“The biggest one for me is probably the last round there in 2008,” he said.
“It was kind of the last properly big event at the track and I was a big Mark Skaife fan. It was his last round as well before his retirement, so that was the big one.
“That track was known for its atmosphere and fan friendly viewing and the amount of people there that weekend was incredible.
“It was something that I will remember forever.
“But even in 2007, it’s hard to go past that one too. That was a really good year with the rain and Lee Holdsworth got his first win that year, so that was a pretty cool one as well.”
With all that in mind, the 25-year-old would cherish a top result at Oran Park tonight.
“It’s kind of a home track for me, as silly as it might sound when it’s in a sim game, but it’s realistic enough that it kind of feels like it’s still there,” said Down, who works as a Supercheap Auto store manager.
“So it would be pretty cool to get a good result there but it’s also a very difficult track, a very short lap so qualifying will be really important.”