The Gold Coast 600 roared into life today.

Mark Winterbottom steering his Ford into the lead during today’s practice session.

Vivien Von Drehnen reports.


The Dan Wheldon memorial trophy was unveiled today. An opportunity for drivers to pay their respects to Indy car driver Dan Wheldon who died in the final race of the season in Las Vegas earlier this week.

Phil Reeves, Qld Sports Minister: “I know alot of the drivers will be honouring Dan in their drive this weekend and there’s no doubt that this trophy is a fitting tribute to Dan.”

Mark Winterbottom came out on top in today’s practice session, followed closely by Holden’s Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.

Mark Winterbottom, V8 Supercar Racer: “It gives you confidence because this place is incredibly tough, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to win tomorrow or Sunday, but it’s a great start, I’ve got my car and co-driver now, and we’re in position one, so no pressure for him.”

Sports Minister Phil Reeves went for a walk through the pits to welcome the drivers, getting up close to the action.

But if the thrills and spills of the V8’s aren’t enough, the dancers, fairy-floss and mini-track make entertainment off the track.

Despite economic uncertainty, event organisers say numbers have already exceeded last year’s crowd total of 175,000.

Tony Cochrane, V8 Supercars Chairman: “Corporate’a completely sold out, that’s great, the weather is just superb, perhaps a little warm for a few of our internationals, but nonetheless fantastic for our fans, fantastic for safe racing, so I think we’re in for an absolute Australian cracker of a weekend.”

And as for the Holden versus Ford debate, that’s never-ending.

Vox 1: “Holden.”

Vox 2: “HOLDEN!”

Vox 3: “Definitely a Ford fan.”

Vox 4: “Definitely a Holden, Holdens all the way.”

The bumper to bumper action will continue tomorrow when the official laps begin.

Vivien von Drehnen QUT News.