Following the epic race at the Townsville 400, V8 Supercar drivers will be battling it out this weekend at the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint.
The three day event kicks off today with several practice sessions and ends with the 200km race on Sunday.
Rookie driver Aaren Russell has been left on the sideline after leaving the championship following a conflict with Erebus Motorsport owner Betty Klimenko and Plus Fitness founding owner John Fuller. It doesn’t seem to have damped his dreams of returning to racing full time, with Russell vowing not to give up despite the split.
“The dream may be over for now, but I’m not giving up, I am not a quitter, for all the doubters I have not got to the position I’m in because I can’t drive a race car, and money is certainly not something at my disposal,” he said on social media.
“I have worked my absolute bum out to get here, anyone who knows me understands the sacrifices we have made and when I have my best chance look out …”
It should make for an even more interesting race with veteran racer, Craig Baird, returning to racing to replace Russell for Erebus Motorsport’s No.4 Hungry Jacks-backed car. The kiwi born driver will be be celebrating his 46th birthday today by getting back into the swing of things for the first practice on the track for the race.
Another veteran, Craig Lowndes, will aim to bury his Castrol EDGE Townsville 400 loss returning to the track in his Queensland homeland with the hopes of adding another victory to his existing 11 wins in Ipswich.
The Ipswich SuperSprint will mark Erebus MotorSport V8 Penrite Commodore driver, David Reynolds 100th Supercars Championship event. His Melbourne-based team will also celebrate its 50th event since their debut in 2013 at the Clipsal 500.
Opened in 1999, and nicknamed “the paperclip” the Queensland raceway is not the most technical of tracks at 3.13 kilometres long and with only six corners, but in the final 200km race, drivers will have to make every corner count in order to stay ahead.
Everyone will be watching Chaz Mostert, Mark Winterbottom, Scott McLaughlin and Shane Van Gibergen who sit tightly together on the seasons pole position board.
There’ll no doubt be focus on last years Ipswich winner, Mark Winterbottom, who will be lining up for his 400th race start this weekend.
“It’s exciting, absolutely,” Winterbottom told NZ Herald. “It’s a big number, 400, but it’s been fantastic to be a part of the sport for so long.”
“Ipswich is a challenging track and it’s another one where we had a good run last year so it’s a good one to reach the milestone at.”
The Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint will be broadcast live on FOX Sports with 60, 000 people expected to attend the event.