This years Sandown 500 had a “Retro Revival” theme which led to fans being treated to some funkadelic colour schemes from yesteryear. It wasn’t just the cars who got to play dress up. Race teams and even fans alike got into the spirit of the event by dressing up too. It was amazing spectacle, and supercharged the whole event with positive vibes!
The weather on the Friday for practice was fine and dry. Drivers from all the categories pushed hard. There was plenty of action in all categories including Historics, Formula 4, Toyota GT86, the Dunlop Series and of course the main event, the V8 Super Cars. Track time is valuable and drivers made the most of Friday’s testing boundaries and pushing limits. Although the GT86 Cars aren’t the fastest, they sure knew how to put on a show. Plenty of sideways action, curb hopping and riding grip limits in their tail happy cars. Seriously, it’s one of the most entertaining categories we’ve seen for a while.
In the Dunlop series, the Friday honours went to Jack Le Brocq in his Go Getta Racing Ford Falcon FG/X, followed by Todd Halewood in his iSEEK Communications VF Commodore, and in 3rd was Paul Dumbrell in his Eggleston Motorsport VF Commodore.
Also not to be outdone on the Friday practice was the Carrera Cup, pushing hard and well past their own limits! The drivers in the Carrera cup certainly aren’t afraid to throw themselves around, or to get airborne!
After the all this lead up, it was the V8’s turn to come out and get a feel for the track conditions. It was the combo of Garth Tander & Warren Luff in the Holden Racing Team VF Commodore taking the top spot. Followed in 2nd by Shane Van Gisbergan & Alex Premat in the Red Bull Racing Australia VF Commodore, and in 3rd was the combo of Alex Davison & Jonathen Webb for the day in the Team Darrell Lea STIX VF Commodore.
Continuing the Retro vibe some of the cars from Melbourne Old School Cruisers were on display. The boys and girls brought out a variety of cars to the event for the public to admire. The club has a strong mix of both muscle and classic rides, perfect cars for cruising and a pretty good fit for the event.
It all started to get serious for the Saturday with qualifying and racing for the other categories. There were plenty of incidents right through the Saturday as Sandown always has something up its sleeve.
There were panels rubbed in every category for the Saturday, some more serious than others!
In the Dunlop series there was an accident on turn 1 which took out a couple of cars. It wasn’t the only incident, more cars ended up in the wars during the race. Almost every car in the field finished with some sort of battle scars.
So with the afternoon sessions complete and qualifying fought out for the starting order of the Sunday, it was Jamie Whincup & Paul Dumbrell in their Red Bull Racing Australia VF Commodore taking pole for the start of the race on the Sunday. Along side in 2nd, sits Garth Tander & Warren Luff in the Holden Racing Team VF. 3rd was the Volvo S60 from Wilson Security Racing GRM of Scott McLaughlin & Darren Wall
With the starting order sorted out, it looked to be a great race day on the Sunday until Melbourne decided to be Melbourne and delivered it’s world famous rain and wet weather. A lot of racing I’ve covered lately has been rain affected, so I hope it wasn’t me putting the mockers on the weather! Being one of those days where it rains for 10 minutes, then goes away, then comes back, it had teams and engineers looking to the heavens trying to figure out which strategy to stick to. Slicks? Wets? Decisions, decisions… it made for some very interesting pit watching and racing too.
With the morning races under way, it was on for everyone to play in the conditions. Everybody had their turn and it was a great lead up to the race, as everyone was interested to see how it would turn out. Also coming out to play were the race cars from yesteryear to put on a display, which were a sight to behold. If only they came out as an actual race category again, that would be awesome.
With the main game all lined up and ready to go. It was the time everyone had been waiting for, right from the get go it was an exciting race. Lap 1 had a massive crash on the back straight of the track, involving the Volvo of James Moffatt & James Golding which in turn brought out the red flag.
After the race was delayed due to the damage on track and to have the car removed, racing resumed but had to be shortened. Sandown had lived up to its name with action aplenty right to the final laps. But its was the combo of Garth Tander & Warren Luff in the HRT Commodore that made it to the top of the podium, ahead of a hard charging Shane Van Gisbergan & Alex Premat in their Red Bull Racing Australia VF Commodore. With 3rd going to Team Darrell Lea STIX Commodore of Will Davison & Jonathon Webb. So that wrapped up another epic Sandown for the year, following on the good news that Sandown will host the Sandown 500 till 2019! Great news for everyone indeed.
Story & images by Ivica Glavas
Enjoy more images from the event below.