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NEWCASTLE 500: Will Davison promises race fans a ‘lot of action’

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Will Davison promises race fans will see a “lot of action” when the Thrifty Newcastle 500 kick-starts the Gen3 era of the Repco Supercars Championship this week.

The Dick Johnson Racing star, behind the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang, and colleague Anton De Pasquale (No. 11 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang) head into the season-opening round with form on the board – and a point to prove.

The pair combined to take runners up honours in the 2022 overall teams’ battle, while finishing fifth and fourth respectively in the drivers’ standings on the back of four wins and 12 poles.

Will Davison

Now, after a busy February, they’re aiming to begin on a high around the bustling streets of Newcastle.

“We’ve just come off our final test leading into the first round,” Davison said.

“And, we have certainly made a lot of progress.

“There are just a lot of firsts we’re running through systematically… a few gremlins here and there.

“However, we’re [now] focusing on the performance side of things.

“It’s been challenging but it’s also been enjoyable.

“We’re slowly getting on top of everything.

“So, we are as ready as we can be.

“We’re all looking forward to it.”

The Newcastle 500 also marks the highly-anticipated debut of Gen3, the innovative technical regulations that will see the new-look Ford Mustang take on the Chevrolet Camaro across the 12-event campaign.

It is the championship’s first race in the city since the 2019 season finale, too.

Davison, who returned to Dick Johnson Racing in 2021, admitted Newcastle was a very demanding event.

“I probably couldn’t find a more daunting initiation and baptism of fire for the cars on this circuit,” the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner said.

“But, it’s a great event… a magic event.

“We’ve certainly missed coming here.

“It’s going to be really, really difficult for the drivers over two 250-kilometre races.

“However, I’m definitely excited by the daunting nature of the challenge ahead.

“The Newcastle circuit is one of the most hardcore street tracks.

“There’s plenty of varying road surfaces, loads of varying cambers, and very, very narrow and fast in certain places.

“It’s also very hard on the cars in terms that they bottom out a lot.

“In other words, there is no room for error.

“So, it’ll provide a tough test.

“And, it’s going to be an awesome challenge for us, as drivers, to try and wrestle the vehicles over a longer distance.

“We’ll work hard in the build-up to make sure we see the chequered flag.

“Obviously, we’ll work hard to ensure the car is as nice and comfortable as possible for us, too.”

Davison believes onlookers and motor enthusiasts are in for a treat come Friday (10 March).

“The cars look sensational, we’ve got big flames coming out the side of them,” the 40-year-old said.

“As for the new Mustangs, they sound ‘absolutely mega’.

“We’re in for a hot and hard day’s work [behind the wheel]… but, from a spectator’s point of view, there’s going to be some serious racing.”

The on-track action at the Newcastle street circuit begins Friday 10 March, with three practice sessions for Supercars on the opening day ahead of the first race on Saturday 11 March, and a second 250-kilometre feature on Sunday afternoon (12 March).

Newcastle 500 program

Friday 10 March

  • Practice 1: 11.15am-noon
  • Practice 2: 1.45pm-2.30pm
  • Practice 3: 3.50pm-4.35pm

Saturday 11 March

  • Armor All Qualifying – race 1: 11.15am-11.35am
  • Armor All Top 10 Shootout – race 1: 12.35pm-1pm
  • Race 1: 3.20pm-5.20pm

Sunday 12 March

  • Armor All Qualifying – race 2: 11.15am-11.35am
  • Armour All Top 10 Shootout – race 2: 12.35pm-1pm
  • Race 2: 3.20pm-5.20pm

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