The Konica V8 Supercar Series will take the Konica V8 Supercar Challenge to Mount Panorama next weekend [9-11 October] as they provide the support for the prestigious Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 event.

The non-championship race will conclude what has been an extremely successful year for the series, and looks to build on an average increase in crowd attendance figures of eleven per cent. The championship has also enjoyed the increased popularity of running as a support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series at this year's Clipsal 500 and Eastern Creek rounds, and is set to benefit from running alongside the senior series' most important event next weekend.

The Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 will give a number of regular Konica V8 Supercar competitors the opportunity to match it with the best as they either compete in the main championship event or occupy co-driver positions with major teams in the Championship Series.

The top six cars from the 2003 Konica V8 Supercar Series championship are eligible for entry in the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 subject to TEGA approval, helping to foster young drivers and reinstate claims that the Konica series is fast becoming the breeding ground for future V8 Supercar talent. As a result, new Konica champion Mark Winterbottom will partner Mark Noske at the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 in the number nine Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon.

After finishing just outside the top ten at the preceding Sandown event, despite battling horrid weather conditions, the 22-year old said he will be looking to improve on his past endurance performance at the upcoming Bathurst event.

"We definitely had the potential to do a faster lap time in qualifying at Sandown, and know that the car has what it takes to get a top ten position," Winterbottom said, "The team has worked extremely hard to prepare the car for Bathurst and, hopefully, we won't let them down. We have learnt a lot from Sandown and will use it as valuable experience for Bathurst, especially if we see the same conditions in the 1000-kilometre race."

One Konica competitor that will be looking for a repeat of his endurance performance at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 is Super Cheap Auto Racing's Luke Youlden. His superb drive with fellow Super Cheap Auto Racing Championship series driver Steve Ellery saw the two finish the first endurance race of the year in second position behind Holden Racing Team drivers Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly.

Youlden's mature approach to the first endurance race of the year has earned praise from not only his co-driver, but from the whole Super Cheap Auto Racing team.

"Luke did a great job for Steve and the team at Sandown, in what were very trying conditions," Super Cheap Auto Racing team manager Bruce Ellery said, "He did everything that was asked of him and more, he did a fantastic job. He drove brilliantly at Bathurst last year and we know that he'll reproduce that form at Mount Panorama in a fortnight's time."

Youlden will be putting the experience he has gathered from this years Konica V8 Supercar Series to use at the Bathurst event, determined to show the teams performance at Sandown was not a one-off performance.

"Steve and I are going to Bathurst to win," he said, "After our Sandown result, many people have mentioned us as a team that can win at Bathurst, and I think that they are right. We won't be satisfied with anything less than a podium but, having said that, we know it will be tough. We'll have to drive flat chat for the entire race.

"This year's Konica series has really helped me prepare for the endurance races, as it's given me the miles that I needed to get used to V8 Supercars. Last year, I used the Konica 25-lap race to prepare for the Bathurst 1000 but, this year, I used the entire Konica series and I think it's paid dividends."

Another Konica driver to watch out for in the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 main race on Sunday week is Owen Kelly, who will partner Ford Performance Racing regular David Besnard in the #19 Ford Falcon. The two managed to finish inside the top ten at the Sandown event, despite encountering a drive-through penalty to finally finish the 500km race in eighth position.



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