Sandown retro grid taking shape as teams conduct test days

The annual retro themed grid for the Wilson Security Sandown 500 is taking shape with livery reveals coming in thick and fast.

Earlier in the year, Red Bull Racing Australia pulled the covers off their retro infused livery for Shane van Gisbergen and Matt Campbell’s #97 Commodore, as well as Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumpbrell’s #88. 

Meanwhile, Preston Hire Racing revealed Lee Holdsworth and Karl Reindler’s ‘split’ livery late last week.

Nissan Australia have also shown off their vintage liveries for Rick Kelly and David Wall’s #15 Nissan Altima, and the sister #7 Altima of Todd Kelly and Jack Le Brocq. 

The team also announced yesterday that Simona de Silvestro and David Russell will run a ‘milestone’ themed livery for their #78 Altima, commemorating Nissans record breaking R380 Type II sportscar.

The colour scheme has been replicated to mimic the R380 Type II, one of the Japanese brands most successful cars when it won the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix as well as setting an original five international speed records in 1965.

“The car looks amazing, and I love the idea of going retro for Sandown,” said de Silvestro.

“Nissan has a lot of famous race cars and to be honest I didn’t know much about the R380 before, but this has been a nice chance to learn about such a successful car. So while it certainly achieved a lot, I think it also makes for a really good looking Supercar.

“The whole team has gotten behind the retro idea, and I think it’s a great way have a bit of fun ahead of what is a very serious part of the season.”

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Two more liveries were unveiled on Wednesday morning, with both DJR Team Penske and Triple Eight Racing showcasing their scheme’s they will be fielding at Sandown next weekend.

The Shell V-Power Racing DJR Team Penske crew will celebrate the longest corporate partnership in Australian Motorsport with its retro look, embracing a vintage twist to their usual Shell V-Power livery.

Team owner Dick Johnson has been associated with the oil giant for over 50-years and will run a retro version of the famous Shell logo.

“Our naming rights partnership with the team is one that we’re very passionate about, and is particularly exciting given the results for the team so far this year,” said Scott Wyatt, CEO of Shell’s exclusive Australian licensee.

“We are extremely proud of the relationship Shell has with Dick Johnson, which has developed over 50 years into a partnership that is iconic in Australian sport.

“To be able to celebrate that partnership in conjunction with the team this year is very special, and we hope that we will see many more years of success in association with this great team.”

Scott McLaughlin will pair up with Alex Premat in the #17 Ford Falcon, while Fabian Coulthard is set to be joined by Tony D’Alberto in the #12.

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The most recent livery to be revealed is of Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards’ Caltex backed #888 Holden Commodore, which was uncovered on Wednesday morning at Queensland Raceway.

The car features a retro red and a white livery, designed to pay tribute to the 1980s racer Colin Bond.

“The car looks really good again this year, it’s great to be able to get involved with the retro theme and pay tribute to such an historic era of our sport,” said Lowndes.

“I think the white and black aspects of it set it apart from our Sandown car last year and I really like the way the recognisable features from Bondy’s cars have been recreated in this livery with some unique twists.”

The pairing fielded the livery for the first time in a pre-enduro test day on Wednesday at the Queensland circuit. The covers were officially pulled off when the car was unloaded from the back of Triple Eights hauler and showcased to the public on a Facebook Live video.

Triple Eight were joined by Red Bull Racing Australia, Shell V-Power Racing and Tekno Autosports at the Ipswich circuit today.

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In Victoria though, the weather didn’t exactly play ball for a number of teams who participated in their own pre-enduro test day at Winton.

Prodrive Racing, Nissan Motorsport, Preston Hire Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport were all at Winton aiming to gain valuable date and mileage ahead of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 next weekend.

The teams efforts were unfortunately hampered by torrential rain overnight, with the showers continuing into the morning and restricting the ability to complete any meaningful laps.

The four teams did log a few laps on the wet track, but all abandoned the test day prior to the 11am cut off, which means that they do not lose an allocated test day by Supercars regulations.

Only Nissan Motorsport have elected to return to the circuit tomorrow, hoping that the weather will improve so they can have a second shot at completing their test day. Prodrive however, are rescheduling a test at Winton early next week.

Mobil 1 HSV Racing and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport attempted to run a test day at Winton on Tuesday, but preserved it because of the relentless rain lashing the circuit, which continued into Wednesday effecting the quartet of teams scheduled for today.

Brad Jones Racing opted to cancel their pre-enduro test day, which was supposed to take place on Tuesday as well. The Albury team practiced driver changes at their workshop to try and aid their preparations.

“The last couple of test we have had to abort because of the conditions, so that has been frustrating,” team owner Brad Jones told Speedcafe.com.

“We will probably do a test after the Gold Coast.

“There has been a lot going on at the workshop with driver changes and brake pad changes and things like that.

“We are so limited with opportunities in terms of test days that you don’t want to burn half a test day if its wet.”

The Wilson Security Sandown 500 will take place from the 15th – 17th of September at the Melbourne venue.

Images: Speedcafe.com

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