Former Perkins Commodore pilot to climb back aboard a V8 at Phillip Island Classic

FORMER Castrol Cougar V8 Supercar driver Melinda Price will return to the cockpit of a V8 Supercar as part of the Australian 5-Litre Touring Car Association’s demonstration runs at the Phillip Island Classic next month.

Price, who competed for the Perkins-run Cougar program in 1997 and 1998, will drive an ex-John Briggs/Supercheap Auto Falcon EL at the event in March as part of a 13-car field.

The Supercheap Falcon is owned by Keith Linnell and was originally built in 1993 as the Komatsu Falcon by Kevin Waldock and his privateer team in New Zealand.

Price has raced in Historic cars in recent times since becoming a mother to daughter Lily and also beaten a battle with breast cancer.

Price and Kerryn Brewer recorded the best-ever finish by a female crew in the Bathurst 1000 in 1998 when the duo steered their Commodore to an impressive 11th place from 33rd on the grid.

The duo – who were the only two of the four Castrol Cougars to ever actually race in V8 Supercars – had finished 12th from 41st (and last) on the grid in 1997.

The Cougars program was put together in 1997 to produce an all-female driving team in V8 Supercar racing with TV personality Kym Watkins and netballer Michelle Fielke the other Cougars, however they never actually raced.

The uniquely liveried car – run by Larry Perkins’ team – was a hit with fans in the late 1990s and helped attract even more female attention to the sport.

Price is the cousin of former V8 Supercar driver Shane Price and the niece of former touring car and open wheel driver Drew.

She made eight ATCC/V8 Supercars Championship event starts between her debut at Barbagallo in 1997 and last appearance at Bathurst in 2000.

Price made her Bathurst 1000 debut in 1994 in a two-litre Toyota Corolla Seca and made further starts in 1997, 1998, 1999 (finishing 17th) and 2000 (finishing 20th) – the latter two coming for Ultra Tune Racing.