Action from last year's Ipswich 300 practice day at Queensland Raceway.
Action from last year's Ipswich 300 practice day at Queensland Raceway. Rob Williams

Drivers get ready for Ipswich 300

LEADING V8 Supercar drivers Mark Winterbottom, Jonathon Webb, Tim Slade and Jack Perkins returned to their grass roots, getting their eye in for next month's Coates Hire Ipswich 300 at Queensland Raceway.

The four 'young guns' of V8 Supercars joined Member for Ipswich West Wayne Wendt and Ipswich Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood at the Ipswich Kart Club for a Kart Challenge against each-other and a celebrity race.

Winterbottom, currently fifth in the Championship, has had mixed success at Queensland Raceway in previous years but his Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon is beginning to fire in 2011 and he is anxious for a second win at the Queensland Raceway "paperclip".

"We have turned a corner in Townsville a few weeks ago which has been really heartening for the team," Winterbottom said of his second and third at the Sucrogen Townsville 400 when he and team-mate Will Davison impressed.

"Queensland Raceway has been interesting in recent years in that the 'home' teams have not had so much success compared to the Victorian-based teams. I won their in 2008 and was on pole in 2009 so it's a track that we have done well at."

The karting challenge was a good warm-up for the drivers who also enjoyed watching the celebrities try their hands behind the wheel.

"Karting is where almost all of us began our careers so its great to be able to show other people just how great the sport is, how much fun it is for kids and where they may be able to take a career," Winterbottom said.

Mr Wendt said it was great to have the four in Ipswich early ahead of the biggest annual event in the region and an important boost for the economy.

"It's been a very testing time for Ipswich which is still recovering from the devastation from earlier this year so it's great to bring something back to the people," Mr Wendt said.

"This event will give local businesses and the community some faith and a real boost for the next three years, and is integral to the Government's major events strategy for the whole state."

Deputy Mayor Attwood said the community was proud of the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 as one of its marquee events annually that the region supported with its feet.

"It's a tremendous community event that the whole region supports and one that helps bring more jobs to the region by injecting much needed funds and national profile," Cr Attwood said.

"Millions will see Ipswich in the spotlight on the race weekend which gives great profile to one of the fastest growing regions in the country."

The 2011 Ipswich 300 will feature the first south-east Queensland appearance of Disney Pixar's CARS Truck Tour 2011, one of the stars on the about to be released Cars2 movie.

The Disney Pixar's CARS Truck Tour 2011 themed installation features a number of entertainment zones and themed activity stations, providing a whole new level of synergy between the CARS universe and the real world.

Adding to the excitement of the Disney appearance at the Ipswich 300 is that kids under 12 are free with a paying adult when they attend the event.

Support categories include the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, The QBE Australian Superbikes, Formula Ford and Aussie Racing cars.

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