TRIPLE Eight is expected to hand the reins to Zane Goddard to qualify its wildcard Camaro today at the Sandown 500.
Craig Lowndes is the #888’s designated primary driver, and it was the legend who took on qualifying responsibilities for the wildcard last year over Declan Fraser at a sodden Bathurst.
Goddard’s classification as a co-driver, however, has allowed him the freedom to take part in all practice sessions to date. He cashed in on that opportunity by topping Practice 2 (for co-drivers only) yesterday.
“I’m feeling pretty good after today. I feel like we learned a lot,” Goddard surmised.
“The co-driver session went well, we topped that one which was a great feeling.
“The last session wasn’t quite what we were looking for but we did try out a few things, so we definitely walked away with some good learnings, although the result wasn’t quite what we were looking for.”
Lowndes added: “The track is getting a bit old, in the sense that the bitumen is deteriorating a bit, but we knew that coming in. It is a bumpy track, a low-grip track.
“With these new cars with lower downforce, they are a little more difficult to drive to get the maximum out of them.
“But I feel like I’ve had a good day… we’ve learnt a lot, we know that tyres are going to be so important come the race on Sunday, so we’ve been getting a good understanding of that.
“Zane’s been doing most of the driving in terms of qualifying spec and done a super job.”
The #888 was the only real question mark around which driver would qualify, with the other wildcard this weekend – the Blanchard Racing Team’s – almost certainly giving the experience to up-and-coming star Aaron Love.
While Goddard is set to complete Sandown qualifying, Lowndes could yet get the nod for those duties at next month’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
Final practice starts at 10:45am before qualifying gets underway at 1:40pm. The top 10 will proceed to a late afternoon Shootout.
V8 Sleuth’s coverage of the 2023 Penrite Oil Sandown 500 is proudly presented by Biante – Fuel your passion with winning model cars. Visit Biante here to check out their range of model cars in a range of scales from 1:64 to 1:10.