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HomeNewsThe day Kostya Tszyu became a V8 Supercar driver

The day Kostya Tszyu became a V8 Supercar driver

BOXING champ Kostya Tszyu achieved plenty of things in his career inside the ring but back in July 2006 he tried out a whole new sport – V8 Supercar racing.

The ‘Thunder from Down Under’ stepped behind the wheel of WPS Racing’s spare Ford Falcon AU at Queensland Raceway under the tutelage of team driver Jason Bargwanna, part of a ‘swap lives for the day’ PR stunt for the Craig Gore-owned team.

The very same car was the former 00 Motorsport Falcon AU that Neil Crompton had driven in the 2002 V8 Supercar Championship Series.

The car is now available for sale in the V8 Sleuth Online Showroom, returned to its 2002 00 Motorsport silver and black livery, with further information available here.

“Queensland Raceway was my first time at a proper V8 Supercar race, although I’ve seen them at the Grand Prix twice, but I can say the excitement up there is no less than down at Albert Park,” Tszyu said in a Motorsport News column after the drive.

The boxing champ checks out the AU Falcon. The team was racing BA model Falcons by this stage but had run the AU at Bathurst in 2004’s non-points Konica Minolta race for Neil McFadyen. Photo: an1images.com / Scott Wensley.

“Driving a V8 Supercar is really cool. I just listened to what the team told me to do. Already having a CAMS license helped a bit (Tszyu had raced in the celebrity race at the Australian Grand Prix), but I really took the first few laps easy because it is a very different car and you have to feel the car, feel the engine, and feel the strength of the car.

“And then there’s learning what the car can do on a corner and how fast you can go around each corner. It’s not about how fast you drive but how smooth. It’s not about how rough or fast you go, but just about feeling the car and the brakes.

Buckled up and ready to roll. Photo: an1images.com / Scott Wensley.

“I am very excited to be doing it. It’s really split second – one mistake and you are gone.

“So it’s important for me to remember the lessons I had when I did my CAMS license for the Grand Prix Celebrity race, which was the same – no mistakes. Every single mistake you make costs you.

“Being at the Queensland race gave me a chance to look at a couple of the corners, and I could see that Turn 3 looks quite difficult, but it’s good if you want to pass someone! But it didn’t seem to be too difficult a track.”

The roles were later reversed in the gym and Bargs donned the gloves to spar with Tszyu – though we’re not sure quite how easy he went on the 2000 Bathurst winner!

Put ’em up Bargs! Photo: an1images.com / Scott Wensley
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