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V8 Stars This week, Tomorrow's Stars Next Week

AKA press release

This week will see Tasmania’s annual influx of Australian motor racing modern day royalty with V8 Supercar stars jetting to the Apple Isle for the Falken Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway.

The following weekend, it will be the stars of tomorrow who will begin their quest towards stardom as they compete in the 2011 Hunters Products Tasmanian Karting Championships at the Archerville Raceway just outside of Launceston.

mark winterbottom karting
Above: Orrcon Steel FPR V8 Supercar driver Mark WInterbottom in action during his karting days

When looking at the current crop of V8 Supercar drivers, it’s extremely hard to spot a front-runner who didn’t start their career in the sport of karting.

Champions such as James Courtney, Jamie Whincup, Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes all started their careers in karting.  As did the likes of Mark Winterbottom, the Davison brothers – Alex and Will, Michael Caruso, Todd and Rick Kelly along with Lee Holdsworth.

When Courtney, Caruso and Winterbottom filled the podium at the inaugural Sydney Telstra 500, James Courtney said “Today could have been the Combined District Kart Club Championship in 1992.”

“We all grew up karting together from when we were seven at places like Lithgow, Oran Park and Wollongong.

“Back then we were banging side pods and now we’re banging car doors.”

For Winterbottom, who won last month’s Armor All Gold Coast 600, he believes the lessons learnt in karting are ones that stay with you for your entire career – as does your driving style.

“V8 Supercar racing is very much a technical game in this day and age, however, the basic driving principles are still the same as when we were all in karting,” said Winterbottom.

“Karting teaches you all about race craft and driving techniques, it really grooms you for your future, those guys who used to crash into each other in karts – still find themselves crashing into each other.”

Next weekend’s Tasmanian Championships has attracted 168 competitors from various parts of the state along with many mainland visitors.

Drivers as young as seven will be competing at the event, while winning is the focus on the day, for these youngsters the sport of karting is always about teaching them about driving techniques and car control well before they are old enough to obtain their road licence.

Above: Local driver Alastair Lee is expected to figure prominently at next weekend's championships.

A total of 12 categories will be contested at the championships with national champion Anton de Pasquale out to add to his ever-growing resume when he competes in the Junior National Heavy and Junior Clubman categories. 

Local aces Alastair Lee, Jairus Holmes and Toby Archer are also expected to figure prominently across the weekend.

Proving the sport isn’t just for the boys, there’s a number of females lining up on the grid at the championships including Naomi Wrigley and Tayla Heath, both of Launceston.

Practice begins on Wednesday November 16 ahead of qualifying on Friday November 18.  The heat races will continue on Saturday November 19 ahead of the championship finals on Sunday November 20.

The Archerville Raceway is located on Pipers River Road, Turners Marsh.

Above: Tayla Heath is proof that the sport of karting isn't just for the boys.