Australia’s fastest at Willowbank
KARTING: A number of Supercars stars are trackside for round four of the Australian Kart Championship in Ipswich this weekend.
With every driver in the 2016 Supercars Championship spending the majority of their formative years racing on kart tracks across the country, they all have a special link to the discipline.
After securing a pair of world championships during his karting days, 2010 Supercars victor James Courtney launched his own brand of kart at the start of 2015. He is heavily involved in nurturing the next generation of stars.
"Karts is where we all started, we all developed our skills on the kart tracks across the country - they were great years," Courtney said.
"While karts and the engines have changed over the years, all of the principles are all the same and I just love being back at the track.
"Since launching my own brand of kart I've tried to get to as many events as possible and it's great to be working with a group of young drivers who are learning their craft.
"I remember when I was young, I had a number of more experienced people around me to help me learn and I'm always excited to do the same for the next generation of drivers."
Joining Courtney trackside this weekend will also be 2017 DJR Team Penske recruit Scott McLaughlin and 2011 Bathurst 1000 champion Nick Percat.
The pair are working as mechanics for leading drivers Kel Treseder and Daniel Rochford in the KZ2 and X30 classes respectively.
"In between races I spend a lot of time driving a kart as a part of my fitness training but also have some fun," Percat said.
"I'm good mates with Daniel (Rochford) along with a number of other racers, coming away to give 'Rochie' a hand is always enjoyable while working in a great team with the crew from DPE Kart Technology.
"It's a lot less stress than our Supercar weekends but it is still very serious when it comes to the racing."
Six-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup also dropped by the circuit yesterday to check out the action.
TEKNO Motorsport boss Jonathon Webb is also expected to be trackside across the weekend.
More than 220 drivers will line up at the event across nine classes with the on track action beginning yesterday.
Qualifying will be contested on Saturday morning followed by heat races in the afternoon and the finals on Sunday.
The fastest classes of karts (KZ2) will reach speeds in excess of 120 km/h.
Drivers as young as seven will also be in action in the Cadet 9 class.
The Ipswich Kart Club is located on Champions Way, Willowbank. Entry is free for spectators.
The fourth round of the Australian Kart Champion- ship is backed by Jayco and Castrol EDGE.