Whincup/Lowndes to share Ferrari at Bathurst

By September 26, 2016News

Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes will pair up for an assault on February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour aboard a Triple Eight-assisted Maranello Motorsport Ferrari.

The deal will mark a long-awaited Bathurst 12 Hour debut for six-time Supercars champion Whincup, while Lowndes returns to the team with which he won the race in 2014.

The Supercars stars will be joined in the all-Pro entry by Ferrari factory ace Toni Vilander.

Triple Eight is set to provide an engineer and additional staff to the program, building on a relationship that has seen Jeromy Moore and Grant McPherson previously part of the team.

A GT rookie, Whincup says he’s looking forward to the challenge of getting the most out of the Ferrari 488 package.

“The Bathurst 12 hour is an event I’ve been keeping an eye on for a few years now,” said Whincup, who has previously driven Audi and McLaren GT3 cars during private tests.

“I’ve been patient waiting for the right opportunity and feel I’ve found it with the Maranello/Triple Eight combination.

“I’m excited to be teaming up with Craig again after more than six years and also look forward to learning from Toni on how to drive a left-hand drive, high downforce, turbo car fast.”

Lowndes meanwhile had been scheduled to race for Audi at Bathurst this year before breaking his collarbone and withdrawing from the event.

Having also missed out on the 2015 race that clashed with Supercars’ pre-season test day, next year will mark Lowndes’ first 12 Hour since his victory with Maranello.

“I am delighted to have the chance to defend my victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour of two years ago with Ferrari and Maranello again,” he said.

“Jamie and I have enjoyed a lot of success together at Bathurst, so it’ll be great to pair up again, and to have the engineering support of Triple Eight. I can’t wait.”

After a disappointing run at Bathurst this year with the previous 458 model Ferrari, Maranello team owner Mark Coffey says his team is going all-out for success in 2017.

“We wanted to be in a position to take advantage of the rules allowing all-professional driver line-ups for the first time and we feel like we have ticked that box,” he said

“We have a comprehensive program in place to make sure the drivers and our entire team are ready for the race next February, including making sure Craig and Jamie get plenty of seat time before they get to Bathurst.”

Whincup and Lowndes won three consecutive Bathurst 1000s together from 2006, but have not shared a car since 2009 due to a Supercars rule change requiring drivers to remain in their regular entries.

To win the 12 Hour they will likely have to beat Triple Eight Supercars team-mate Shane van Gisbergen, who is expected to defend his 2016 victory with Tekno Autosports’ factory-assisted McLaren team.

Source: Speedcafe.com