Day one of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 has gotten off to a cracking start on the streets of the Gold Coast, with 50,980 fans coming through the gates for the party the Gold Coast has to have.
While the racing has concluded for the day with Ford Performance Racing, the Bottle-O Racing Team and Jim Beam Racing posting the three quickest times for the combined sessions, the action for Friday is nowhere near over with Southport’s Broadwater Parklands about to fire up for the first night of 600 Sounds presented by Hard Rock.
The music event is part of the Armor All Gold Coast 600’s Rock N Race format and will see The Only, Hook N Sling, Kid Kenobi & MC Shureshock, the Potbelleez, Static Revenger and Ian Carey all hitting the stage this evening, with entry free as part of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 event ticket.
Mark Winterbottom posted the fastest time today with a 1 min 12.34 second lap to see he and co-driver Luke Youlden topping the time sheets, while Jacques Villeneuve is the first international on the sheets with his driving partner Paul Dumbrell posting a time of 1 min 12.44 seconds to see them the second fastest pairing. Jim Beam Racing’s James Courtney and Warren Luff were third fastest overall.
For the internationals, it was the IndyCar and Champ Car stars past and present that were leading the way, with three time Gold Coast open-wheel pole sitter Will Power the quickest of the visiting drivers, from two-time Gold Coast winner Sebastien Bourdais and 2008 Gold Coast winner Ryan Briscoe.
Winterbottom said he was expecting some amazing racing tomorrow.
“The Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon feels really good, I was on an even better lap late in the session and pitted so I’m very happy with the way it feels. At this stage it is better than last year’s car here but it is early days yet,” said Winterbottom.
“We’ll keep plugging away and try to continually improve it but it is certainly a great start.
“The first chicane is the biggest change in the track layout, obviously the hairpin is the biggest noticeable change but the chicane is really wide open, you’re actually going through a gear higher than you ever had. It has really livened up the racing a bit and should make it a better race which ultimately is why everyone comes so I think they’ve got it pretty right.”
Villeneuve said he found the day enjoyable as he came to grips with the circuit and reacquainted himself with the Gold Coast streets after racing here in the past in IndyCar.
“It was fun, it is important to find the limit before the race, in a place like this it is very easy to make a mistake and you don’t want to do that because you will cost your co-driver points,” said Villeneuve.
“The track is quite different to when I was here in IndyCar, it is very fun, its quite fun to be driving between the walls and when you get on that fine line for a special lap it is a pretty good feeling.”
Power – the fastest international driver of the day – said he felt relaxed following day one.
“It was a really good day, I got the hang of the car and slowly crept up on it and kept it off the wall, which was the first aim,” said Power.
“I learnt what I could about the car, I feel pretty comfortable and very relaxed. I think we are in for a good weekend.
“Even though they have shortened the track, it is a still as fun as it ever was. The shorter track is good for us Internationals as we get some more laps, we need as many laps as we can and that’s what I got today.”
Also on track today were the Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series, the Hertz MINI Challenge and the Genuine Ford Parts Australia Formula Ford Championship.
New South Welshman David Sieders topped qualifying for the Utes ahead of the first of three races for the weekend, taking place tomorrow morning. Second on the time sheets was Kiwi Chris Pither ahead of West Australia’s Grant Johnson.
The MINIs enjoyed their first of three races this afternoon, with New South Welshman Chris Alajajian taking the honours ahead of Queensland’s Beric Lynton and Paul Stokell.
In the Formula Ford racing, Queenslanders Chaz Mostert and Nick Foster were fastest and third fastest respectively, split by Victoria’s Cameron Waters, as they prepared for their first of two races for the weekend.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 action continues tomorrow with Formula Ford’s first race at 8.50am and an entertainment session at 9.15am. The V8 Supercar action kicks off with qualifying at 9.35am, followed by the TopTen Shootout following the first race for the V8 Utes at 10.15am, with the race for pole starting at 10.50am. The MINI Series will then take to the track at 11.30am for their second race before the Pirtek Aussie Legends hit the streets at 12 noon, before Formula Ford has their first race at 12.30pm and then the first of the two 300km V8 Supercar battles begins, starting at 1.35pm.
Tickets for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 are available at the gate – please visit www.goldcoast600.com.au for ticket and event information.
| V8 Supercars : Combined Practice Results : Armor All Gold Coast 600
1. #5 M.Winterbottom/L.Youlden 1:12.3486
2. #55 P.Dumbrell/J.Villeneuve 1:12.4420
3. #18 J.Courtney/W.Luff 1:12.5077
4. #2 G.Tander/C.McConville 1:12.6403
5. #33 L.Holdsworth/G.Ritter 1:12.6524
6. #8 J.Richards/A.Jones 1:12.6583
7. #888 C.Lowndes/A.Priaulx 1:12.7878
8. #14 J.Bright/A.Menu 1:12.8618
9. #51 G.Murphy/Y.Muller 1:12.8837
10. #3 T.D’Alberto/T.Monteiro 1:12.8855
11. #9 S.Van Gisbergen/J.McIntyre 1:12.9077
12. #7 T.Kelly/S.Dixon 1:12.9248
13. #39 R.Ingall/J.Perkins 1:13.0394
14. #6 S.Richards/W.Power 1:13.0720
15. #34 M.Caruso/P.Long 1:13.0949
16. #17 S.Johnson/D.Franchitti 1:13.1741
17. #24 F.Coulthard/D.Reynolds 1:13.2110
18. #22 W.Davison/R.Briscoe 1:13.2328
19. #15 R.Kelly/O.Kelly 1:13.2598
20. #1 J.Whincup/S.Owen 1:13.2832
21. #21 K.Reindler/F.Giovanardi 1:13.3591
22. #47 T.Slade/H.Castroneves 1:13.3801
23. #4 A.Davison/D.Brabham 1:13.3860
24. #12 D.Fiore/G.Morbidelli 1:13.5545
25. #19 J.Webb/S.Bourdais 1:13.6182
26. #11 J.Bargwanna/A.Tagliani 1:13.6894
27. #10 A.Thompson/M.Salo 1:14.7000
28. #16 T.Ricciardello/D.Wood 1:15.3150
29. #30 N.Pretty/S.Pruett 1:15.6548