Following the successful launch of the 2010 TeamVodafone calendar in aid of the McGrath Foundation, the team and its sponsor have gone one step further and traded their vibrant rocket red paint scheme for McGrath Foundation pink ahead of this weekend's V8 Supercar finale in Sydney.
In addition to Vodafone's commitment, another of the team's partners, Norton, is also supporting the charity which places McGrath Breast Care Nurses across Australia as well as educating young women to be breast aware. However, while the new livery is sure to create some hype, every position and point on track will be crucial as Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes attempt to defend both the drivers' and teams' championships at this weekend's event.
While Whincup has built a prominent lead in the race for his second successive title, the gap to the Holden Racing Team in the teams' showdown is just a single point. The pilots of the #1 and #888 cars are both eager to challenge for wins on the streets of Sydney Olympic Park and are confident that the crew has the experience to adapt to the new circuit.
“The Sydney 500 will be a very special event for us, as we are not only shooting for back-to-back championships but also for the accolade of being the first to win this flagship event,” Whincup said, “We have worked hard all season to build a lead and there won't be any conserving or holding back this weekend. It has been a two-way battle for teams' championship honours this year and I'm confident that myself and Craig have the form on our side to retain the necessary margin.”
Whincup sits atop the standings, on 3175 points, and only needs to finish one of the two 250km races to claim his second title, while Lowndes, the winner of the most recent race of the championship in Perth, is hungry to cap off a consistent year with further podium placings.
“We'd really love to finish this year on a high to thank our team, sponsors and fans for their support,” the V8 veteran said, “Earlier this year, we saw the introduction of the hugely successful Townsville street race and Sydney looks set to be even bigger, especially with such a carnival atmosphere. Our goal is to stay ahead of HRT and do the double with back-to-back title wins, it would be a fitting way to end another great season.”
The Toll Holden Racing Team isn't likely to make things easy for TeamVodafone, however, with the team's focus on securing not only race wins in Sydney but also the coveted teams' title.
Drivers Will Davison and Garth Tander are sandwiched by Whincup and Lowndes in the individual standings and, while the title is a remote chance for Davison - who sits 281 points behind Whincup - team-mate Tander is looming large, just 128 points behind and has an outside chance of finishing second overall.
“The teams' championship is a big deal and that will be our focus for the weekend – there's only one point in it and we'll be focused on winning it,” Tander said, “There's a strong rivalry between the Toll Holden Racing Team and Triple Eight – both teams have two cars capable of running up the front each weekend and scoring big points. As always, both teams will be going at it hammer and tongs to win the championship this weekend, so it's up to the team that does the best job collectively to take home the chocolates.”
Tander also sees the irony in also trying to chase down his team-mate for second in the drivers' championship.