TRIPLE EIGHT’S SANDMAN FINDS A NEW HOME

The Sandman as it sits currently at Triple Eight about to be collected by the Groves. Pic: Supplied

THE EVER-POPULAR Triple Eight ‘Sandman’ wagon ex-V8 Supercar has found a new owner in long-time Porsche racer Stephen Grove and son Brenton.

Grove Jnr drove a Triple Eight-prepared and run Commodore in last year’s Dunlop Super2 Series and has competed so far this year in the Bathurst 12 Hour with his father and Ben Barker in a Porsche.

PRE ORDER HERE: ‘Racing The Lion’, Our Illustrated History Of Holden In Australian Motorsport Book.

“We sold my Supercar back to Triple Eight at the end of last year, so essentially it’s something of a trade,” Grove Jnr told V8 Sleuth today.

“We were really interested in the Sandman and it all just happened to be a few weeks before the Holden announcement of Holden closing.

“Over the off-season the Sandman was stripped of every nut, bolt and bumper, it was painted, all the guards, the suspension arms, the whole body work, the whole chassis has been repainted, engine and transaxle rebuilt, it’s back to showroom status – ‘RD’ (Roland Dane) wouldn’t let it out of the workshop until it was Mickey Mouse!

“We did a test day with Steve in my Supercar last year and they had the Sandman there doing some filming with Red Bull so we had a chance to drive it. That was deal done, the easiest sales pitch for them ever!

“Originally we were going to do some sponsor rides in it but I think RD has made it so Mickey Mouse that we’re too scared to drive it now! 

“Not many people outside the Triple Eight/Red Bull family have driven it. We’ll keep it in our workshop and take it to sponsor rides and show clients, but beyond that it’s now a collector’s item.”

Headturner! The Sandman grabbed attention in 2014. Pic: Red Bull Media Pool.

Triple Eight Race Engineering worked in secret for six months to complete the beast – complete with carbon fibre surfboards! – to pay homage to the car’s history as Australia’s popular beach lifestyle vehicle.

The chassis beneath the skin in fact was one of the team’s first Car of the Future chassis – 888A-032 – raced by Whincup as the #1 Red Bull car for the first part of the 2013 championship.In his hands it won races that year at Pukekohe, Barbagallo, Texas, Hidden Valley and Queensland Raceway to give it eight wins before it was retired after the Winton round of that year’s championship.

From there Triple Eight converted it into the Sandman featuring an F1-inspired fly-by-wire throttle system and six-speed paddle shift gearbox.

Daniel Ricciardo and Jamie Whincup with the Sandman – in modified livery – at Sandown in 2016. Photo: Red Bull Content House.

It hosted a range of the team’s drivers in addition to F1 star Daniel Ricciardo, who slipped behind the wheel on a promo day at Sandown in 2016.

The Sandman was also used for testing of the now-shelved V6 turbo engine project in 2017 at Norwell with Greg Murphy turning laps in it that year at Bathurst– though the mighty V8 it’s best known for has been returned to the engine bay.

Featuring a thumping 5.6-litre (340 cubic inch), 705-horsepower V8 engine with 8200 maximum rpm (800 rpm more than the usual Supercar rev limit), the Sandman can scorch the 0-100km/h run in 3.2-seconds.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.