Thursday at the racetrack for this weekend’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars weekend, there was a lot of finishing up details, both for all the race teams as well as those working on the infrastructure necessary for such a large endeavor. The race teams had the edge on their work, in preparation for the first of four forty-minute practice sessions on Friday. The first and last of the sessions will be for all 56 of the V8 drivers, with two other sessions just for the 28 Interntional drivers.
The weather forecast (so far) is calling for mild and maybe cloudy weather. Mid-seventies sounds just about right. But Queensland being what it is – tropical – weather is subject to instantaneous and unpredictable changes.
One group taking advantage of the quiet downtime was the TV and Radio broadcasters, taking shots, doing interviews, getting their ‘color’ in place. Among those seen was CALVIN FISH, part of the American-based SPEED TV broadcast team.
After the day-long test at Queensland Raceway, the V8 drivers – especially the Internationals – were on a tight schedule making a wide variety of promotional appearances, some going back to back with appearances, sponsor commitments, and other gatherings. Very few of the drivers were at the circuit, and those who were seen had returned late in the day.
PATRICK LONG/No.61 Bundaberg Holden had an early morning event with the Porsche people, who were learning of the value of the Surfer’s race. With Long were fellow Porsche factory drivers racing this weekend – JORG BERGMEISTER/No.15 Jack Daniels Racing Holden and MARC LIEB/No.4 Irwin Racing Ford. Long had other places to go and people to see during the day and after he arrived at the track.
And so it was for all of them. I would guess that the drivers are looking forward to being in the cars, on the track and doing what they came to do – race.
Among the few drivers who returned to the track after a round of appearances was ALEX TAGLIANI/No. . He was a man on a mission. He needed a seat insert, and he was hands-on with the crew, making sure it not only fit well but was himself doing some of the cutting.
There have been and will continue to have memorials of one kind or another for the late DAN WHELDON of England, who was tragically killed last Sunday in a horrific 15-car wreck-fest at the IndyCar race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon was to have been one of the Guest/International drivers this weekend at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars race.
Thursday morning all of the British drivers in the V8 Internationals group, along with several ‘honorary’ members of BRDC, the British Racing Drivers Club – of which Wheldon was a member, revealed its way of honoring one of their own. Those drivers will sport a special commemorative strip on their visors and wear black arm bands.
Other ways to honor Wheldon have been occurring all week and no doubt will continue.
Thursday the Queensland Sport Minister, the Hon. Phil Reeves MP, will take a Pit Walk with TONY COCHRANE, the V8 Supercars Chairman. At the end, Reeves will unveil a special Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy, which will be awarded to the top placing International driver in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 race. At the unveiling will be all the V8 drivers, local and International.
There are plans for some kind of Memorial Saturday, with details to be revealed.