Driver training for the 2014 Mazda3 Grand Prix Celebrity Challenge is underway at Victoria’s Sandown Raceway, with some already emerging as early favourites.
Of the 20 celebrities taking to the wheel of the all-new Mazda3 for this weekend’s race, Brett Emerton, Robbie McEwen and Nathan Brown have shown early speed.
Winter Olympians Lydia Lassila and Torah Bright are proving that their sporting ability isn’t limited to snow-covered ground, emerging as the fastest of the ladies.
The training sessions began earlier this week, starting with a simple exercise to give the celebrities a chance to get used to the Mazda3, and checking for correct fitment of racing seats and harnesses.
Former Australian Touring Car Champion, Mark Skaife, and a team from Skaife Racing are providing expert tuition to the wannabe racers, including braking exercises, vehicle control and cornering techniques.
“The drivers are still at the early stages of learning the key competencies of becoming a race car driver but they are all applying themselves well,” Skaife said.
Robbie McEwen likened the experience to his first day of high school, but said he was more focused on success then trying to win friends.
“These three days at Sandown are all about absorbing as much information as possible while we have Skaifey and his team with us,” McEwen said.
“It’s great getting to know the other celebrities and having some fun but once we get to Albert Park, there will be no friends on the track, it’s all about going as hard as possible – I’m here to win.”
The celebrities will be kept busy during this weekend’s Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, with practice on Thursday, qualifying on Friday, and one race each on Saturday and Sunday.
The 2014 Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge drivers:
- Adam D’Sylva
- Alex “Chumpy” Pullin
- Brett Emerton
- Catriona Rowntree
- Charley Boorman
- Clint Stanaway
- Dave Thornton
- Lauren Phillips
- Lydia Lassila
- Maz Compton
- Megan Washington
- Nathan Brown
- Rachael Finch
- Rob Mills
- Robbie McEwen
- Sam Mac
- Scherri-Lee Biggs
- Tim Robards
- Tommy Little
- Torah Bright