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HRT Looks Forward To "Pre-Season" Hit-Out!

Australian Grand Prix V8 Races Important Series Guide

Like football’s pre-season competition, this weekend’s V8 Supercar support race at the Australian Grand Prix (AGP) in Melbourne can give an indication as to who’s going to be on the pace when the Shell Championship Series begins at Phillip Island in a month from now.

At last year’s AGP meet, the Holden Racing Team’s Mark Skaife took pole position as well as two race wins and a second, very closely followed by fellow Commodore driver Garth Tander. Interestingly, Skaife and Tander battled it out for the V8 Supercar title, right down to the Championship decider at Bathurst last November.

While the Grand prix meeting does not count for Shell Series points, the V8 Teams find the weekend vital in determining what gains they’ve made during the off season.

“We’ve obviously continued with our development over summer,” said new Australian Champion Mark Skaife this week, “but I’m sure so has the Holden Racing Team’s opposition. The AGP is a good benchmark to find out where we are in the scheme of things and also which are the teams that we’ll have to watch.

“The other important aspect of the weekend is the exposure for our sponsors and for the category as a whole. The AGP crowd is huge and the television audience is also large. That’s good for the sponsors and hopefully too, we can convert some of those ‘once-a-year’ viewers to full-time fans of V8 Supercars,” Skaife pointed out.

New HRT signing Jason Bright is looking forward to his first official race meeting with the Team and sees it as an important part of preparing for the start of the Championship in a month’s time.

"So far, I've had only limited time in the car so this is a continuation of my learning curve. It's my first race back in V8 Supercars and while some things have changed, it's essentially the same sport." Bright said this week.

"Round one of the Series is only a month away and we have another test scheduled prior to that so while I'll be doing my best to win, I've still got to be aware of the big picture. For all that, it should be a great weekend and I can't wait. It's my first drive with a new team, Albert Park is a great circuit and the crowds and atmosphere will be terrific - what more can I say?” Bright said.

The V8 Supercars practice and qualify on Thursday, with a 10-lap race Friday, a 12-lapper Saturday and a final 10-lap race on Sunday morning.

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Contact: Aalbert van Ham (09) 526 6619 (direct telephone line)

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