Supercars Co-Drivers Get Sandown Laps

Supercars Co-Drivers Get Sandown Laps

Neil Crompton was the surprise guest star as Supercars teams turned out in force for what amounted to a co-driver practice session at Sandown.

There is only one pre-Bathurst test ahead of the Mount Panorama classic again this year, which means the top teams rolled their race set-up from the Sandown SuperSprint into a giant ride day, with more than a dozen cars on track at some times.

There was even an Audi R8 from Melbourne Performance Centre, cutting laps in preparation for the GT races at the Easter Bathurst meeting.

Sandown winner Shane van Gisbergen was missing from the driver roster as he continues the recovery from his mountain bike crash, but the Red Bull Ampol team had both Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes in their cars, Tony D’Alberto fronted for the Shell V-Power Mustang squad and, further down the pitlane, proven Bathurst regulars included Warren Luff and Luke Youlden.

“There are a lot of cars here, that’s for sure,” D’Alberto, wearing his new race suit for the first time, told Race News.

“But laps are laps. The cars will be a bit heavy with passengers, but it’s always good to drive.”

Tom Randle was early into the action, driving James Courtney’s Boost Mustang but wearing a Truck Assist suit, as JC watched and waited for his turn at the wheel.

Some garages looked like they were filming episodes of ‘Young Talent Time’, with Nash Morris set to drive one of the Erebus Commodores and WAU also looking at a Super2 youngster as a potential driver.

For Crompton, there was nothing serious.

“They said they needed a driver and asked me if I wanted to have a go. Naturally I said yes,” he said, as he prepared to jump into Chaz Mostert’s car.

Crompton even had a brand-new Arai helmet for his drive, which he said was to help calibrate himself for his Supercars commentary work.

“It’s been a while since I drove one of these things. It will be good to have a few laps. And it helps when I’m talking on the broadcast, or even talking technical with the drivers.”

Crompton also had a wry smile as the now 60-something recalled his own racing career.

“It’s been more than 30 years since my best result here in a touring car. Lots of these kids weren’t even born them,” he said.