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How French star fell in love with Supercars

BACK in his native France, a young Kevin Estre sat on the couch next to his grandfather watching Supercars racing.

Now, it’s his turn behind the wheel.

Estre is one of the world’s top long-distance race car drivers, representing Porsche Penske Motorsport in the elite Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship. Just days ago, he helped PPM to third place in the 6 Hours of Fuji.

But ahead of sharing a retro-liveried #19 Grove Racing Mustang with Matt Payne in this weekend’s Sandown 500, Estre reflected on how Supercars has always taken his fancy – even from the other side of the world.

“My family is very much into racing so we watched pretty much everything, and then Supercars was always a championship which was interesting to watch because the guys were following close and overtaking and very cool tracks,” Estre told V8 Sleuth.

“So I think that’s why we were watching, because it was exciting to watch.

“At that stage I would say (Mark) Winterbottom and (Jamie) Whincup being the two guys that I definitely remember their names.

“And then more lately I was teammates with Shane (van Gisbergen) in GT in 2015 and so from that moment on I had more of a personal link to the championship or to the driver, so I definitely followed what Shane was doing the last years because I knew him.”

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Winterbottom, Whincup and van Gisbergen will all be on the grid this weekend in rival cars.

MORE: How Estre fared in first Supercar test

Estre meanwhile is hoping to sprinkle some non-Supercars enduro expertise into the Grove camp.

“Trying to give a little bit of different approach or different thinking on what we could do on strategy or tyre saving or fuel saving, try to just bring my experience from the other race series I’m doing into that,” he said.

“Although it’s a very special car and very special type of racing, but trying to help as much as I can and learn from the others.”

Grove’s other Penrite Ford, the #26, is being driven by Bathurst 1000 winners David Reynolds and Garth Tander.

Estre is the first Frenchman to race in Supercars since another Bathurst 1000 winner in Alex Premat.

Opening Repco Supercars Championship practice at Sandown begins 10:45am tomorrow.

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.

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