RACE fans won’t know who to cheer for at the V8 Supercar Series round at Winton as there will be 13 locals taking part.
Jason Bright, Fabian Coulthard, Dale Wood, David Reynolds, Andrew Jones, Kim Jones, Matt Chahda, Corey Gooch and Brett Youlden all have links to the region.
Bright, Coulthard, Wood and Reynolds will compete in the main game.
Andrew Jones is in the second tier V8s, while his dad Kim will race his March 80A in the Historic Open Wheelers.
Youlden will compete in a HQ Monaro in the Touring Car Masters, while Chahda (Falcon) and Gooch (Torana) will compete in sports sedans.
For the young Chahda, this will be his first drive in front of a huge crowd and after a successful run at this year’s Bathurst 12-Hour, is looking to impress in front of national teams.
Chahda will race his Ford BA Falcon ex-V8 Supercar, the same car he has been racing in the Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Car Series.
Following Winton, the Albury driver will begin his campaign in the V8 Touring Car Series — part of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals — which begins at Mallala Motorsport Park in South Australia this month.
The round will not be a one-way street for the Red Bull Racing Australia pairing of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who sit first and second respectively on the V8 championship ladder.
Winton was not a happy hunting ground for either last year and if form is anything to go by, winners this weekend could come from the more nimble cars in the field — Nissan, Mercedes and Volvo.
James Moffat gave Nissan its first V8 Supercar win at Winton last year and all three of the Erebus Motorsport Benzes completed every single racing lap.
Scott McLaughlin and Volvo Polestar Racing secured two top-five finishes at last weekend’s Tasmanian round and if his present form continues, Volvo just might have its first win this weekend.
Moffat and teammate Michael Caruso in their Nissans took first and second in Saturday’s race last year, with Jason Bright third.
On the Sunday it was Mark Winterbottom, Bright and James Courtney in race two, with Courtney, Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert finishing in that order in race three.
And who could forget Coulthard’s drive in that final race, making up 11 places in 10 laps to claim the last spot on the podium.
Coulthard sits in third spot on the pointscore ladder, David Reynolds 14, with Jason Bright languishing in 21st spot.
Bright and Team BOC are struggling to come to grips as to why the VF Commodore is struggling for pace.
“It’s been a frustrating weekend,” Bright said after last weekend’s final race.
“We had a glimmer of pace yesterday (Saturday) but nothing at all today. We haven’t had a weekend like this where we’ve struggled for pace in 12 months, so we’re going to have a really good look at everything. All the components, everything.
“It’s not the same car I had last year, that’s for sure.”