This year’s Wilson Security Sandown 500 is a special one given 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the first running of the Sandown touring car endurance classic in 1964 won by the Alfa Romeo Ti Super of Ralph Sach and Italian Roberto Bussinello.
Beginning as a Six Hour race in that year, it later morphed into a Three Hour in 1968 and from that point on became the annual, pre-Bathurst endurance race.
It became a 500-kilometre race in 1984 and later disappeared from the calendar as the ‘500 was held at Queensland Raceway (1999-2002) and Phillip Island (2008-2011) prior to the Sandown 500’s return in 2012.
This year is the 43rd time the race has been held, the 25th time it has been a 500-kilometre race and the 10th time it has been a part of the Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercar Championship.
- Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom will make his 150th V8 Supercar Championship round start at this year’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Winterbottom becomes the 20th driver in championship history to reach the mark, which ironically comes at the same circuit where he made his V8SC debut as a Stone Brothers Racing endurance driver back in 2003.
The 33-year-old won the Sandown 500 in 2006 with Jason Bright and was runner-up with Steve Richards in 2012. He also claimed pole position for the race in 2007.
- Craig Lowndes could make history at this year’s Wilson Security Sandown 500 and equal the late, great Peter Brock’s record of nine wins in the annual pre-Bathurst endurance race.
Brock won all nine of his races at Sandown, though Lowndes has won eight across the three different venues that have hosted the annual 500-kilometre race in the V8 Supercar era.
He’s clocked up five wins at Sandown (1996, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2012), two at Phillip Island (2010, 2011) and one at Queensland Raceway (2000).
- Brad Jones Racing will celebrate its 200th V8 Supercar Championship round at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
The Albury-based team made its debut in the opening round of 2000 at Phillip Island and raced Ford Falcons for eight seasons before switching to Holden Commodores from 2008 onwards.
BJR has won nine V8SC races in that time however is yet to claim one at Sandown.
BJR’s best Sandown 500 result remains a fourth place in 2003 with Brad Jones and John Bowe driving.
- Volvo returns to the Wilson Security Sandown 500 this year for the first time in 20 years with its pair of S60s run by Garry Rogers’ team.
A Volvo last appeared in the Melbourne endurance classic back in 1994 when production cars competed in their own separate class alongside the V8s of the era.
Dutchman Jan Lammers and production car expert Kent Youlden (father of Lockwood Racing endurance driver Luke) finished 19th overall and fourth in class in an 850 T-5.
This year is just the fifth time (in addition to 1964, 1985, 1986 and 1994) that a Volvo has competed in the Sandown 500.
- The Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander will make his 220th ATCC/V8 Supercar Championship round start at Sandown, tying former HRT teammate Mark Skaife for fourth on the all-time championship starts list.
Tander is yet to claim a Sandown 500 podium finish let alone a victory, with no less than four, fourth-placed finishes in the race in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012.
- Heavy Haulage Australia Racing’s Nick Percat will celebrate his 26th birthday on race day at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Percat scored the best solo result of his V8 Supercar Championship career – second – last time out at Sydney Motorsport Park and will be lead driver for the first time in his career at his fifth attempt at the pre-Bathurst, 500-kilometre race.
His best Sandown 500 result came in 2012 with he finished fourth with Garth Tander for HRT.
- Brothers Will and Alex Davison will pair up in the #9 Erebus Motorsport V8 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG at Sandown and, in doing so, share a car for the first time in their careers.
No brothers have ever claimed victory in the Sandown 500, though Rick and Todd Kelly did come close in 2006 when they finished second to Jason Bright/Mark Winterbottom by just 0.1586s, the closest finishing margin in the race’s history.
- Seven combinations have survived from last year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup for the three-round, four-race endurance component of the 2014 V8 Supercar Championship.
The combinations remaining in place are:
Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell (Red Bull Racing Australia)
Lee Holdsworth/Craig Baird (Erebus Motorsport V8)
Jason Bright/Andrew Jones (Team BOC)
Fabian Coulthard/Luke Youlden (Lockwood Racing)
James Courtney/Greg Murphy (Holden Racing Team)
David Reynolds/Dean Canto (The Bottle-O Racing Team)
James Moffat/Taz Douglas (Norton Hornets).
- Nissan GT racing star Alex Buncombe is the only V8 Supercar Championship debutante in the field of 50 pilots at Sandown.
Buncombe, who is part of Nissan’s Global Academy program, drives a Nissan GT-R GT3-spec car in the Blancpain Endurance Series and will share the #7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan Altima with Todd Kelly in the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
The Brit is joined by countryman Oliver Gavin (who competed at the 2011 Gold Coast 600 alongside Greg Murphy), Cameron Waters and Swede Robert Dahlgren on the list of drivers making their first Sandown 500 start]]>