Â Drivers, teams and spectators have given a strong display of support for the return of the V8 Supercars Championship to Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend.
The Sydney Motorsport Park 360, round nine of the V8 Supercars Championship, exceeded expectations with fantastic racing and a strong weekend crowd of 24,341 spread across multiple viewing areas around the 90-hectare site.
Triple Eight Race Engineering Driver Craig Lowndes says that it is fantastic that the V8 Supercars have returned to Sydney Motorsport Park.
“It’s fantastic and about time that we returned. To see the infrastructure changes and the facility changes has been incredible. We [Triple Eight] were here not long ago, and to come back a month later and to still see the improvements going on is sensational,” said Lowndes.
“It’s a fast-flowing track, and we all love it. It’s got some great elevation changes, and it’s got everything going for it, and like I said it’s about time we came back.”
Triple Eight Race Engineering Principal Roland Dane says that it was a good return, and that the V8 Supercars should support the facility.
“I think it’s a great circuit. It’s a good, flowing track; a proper motor racing circuit. But it’s also the only permanent circuit in the Sydney basin, and as such we should be supporting it. We should be here. I hope we are here,” said Dane.
“I think it’s been a very good return here, considering the event was only put on the calendar a matter of four months ago.
“It was good to see a good crowd here, a very enthusiastic crowd, a crowd full of real, avid race fans, so I’m a big supporter and I definitely hope that we’ll be back here every year.”
The unique two-day format – a first for V8 Supercars – had the V8 Supercars running two practice sessions, qualifying and Race 18 of the championship on Saturday.
The race was won by Triple Eight Race Engineering driver Craig Lowndes. Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison were second and third respectively.
Sunday included one practice session, qualifying and Race 19 of the championship. This was a longer, 56 lap, 220km race which was won by Triple Eight’s Jamie Whincup, with Craig Lowndes second and FPR’s Mark Winterbottom third.
Andrew Leithhead, President of the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC), says the Sydney Motorsport Park 360, a celebration of the rejuvenation of the circuit and the 60th anniversary of the club, has exceeded the ARDC’s expectations.
“We accepted the challenge of bringing the V8 Supercars back to Sydney Motorsport Park with arms and eyes wide open. We knew it was not going to be easy, but it is important for this venue to host the top-level category in the country,” said Leithhead.
“We were aiming for a weekend crowd over 20,000, so we’ve exceeded our own goals and expectations. Feedback from teams, drivers and the public has been strongly positive so it’s a fantastic step forward in the inaugural year of the V8 return.”
The Sydney Motorsport Park 360 is the first time the V8 Supercars have raced at the western Sydney circuit since 2008.
Continuing the celebration, the eighth running of the Australian Muscle Car Masters will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park next weekend, on Father’s Day, September 2.