Tony D’Alberto got a rare opportunity at Sandown International Raceway last Friday.
In an irregular opening, D’Alberto’s Centaur Racing team was invited by the Victorian state racing association to give away passenger rides around the Sandown circuit in the team’s Commodore VE race car during last weekend’s round of the Victorian State Motor Racing Championships.
It is believed the laps that D’Alberto completed are the only time that a current V8 Supercar will do any laps around the Melbourne track before the V8’s penultimate round of its series in November.
Due to Sandown Raceway’s strict noise restrictions, only a handful of race meetings can be held, and D’Alberto took the opportunity to get some rare Sandown laps.
One of the guests that D’Alberto took for a spin around Sandown was NBA basketball star David Andersen. The Australian national team representative, who plays for the Houston Rockets, squeezed into the #3 Centaur Commodore in what was his first taste of V8 Supercars laps.
D’Alberto said that they weren’t sure if the 6 foot 11 inch giant was going to fit inside the passenger seat.
“He’s a pretty tall guy, but very flexible, so we got him in OK,” he said.
“I don’t think he had the most comfortable ride – his head was sticking up in the rollcage! – but he said he enjoyed it and it was a pleasure to take him.”
D’Alberto, currently 14th in the V8 Supercars Championship Series, said that getting some extra laps around Sandown will prove invaluable later in the year.
“Well, it was a ride day, so there’s nothing much you can gain in terms of set-up, but just getting the chance to drive around there helps a bit,” he said.
“I had my best V8 result there last year (seventh in Sunday’s race) and I hope that we can go a few better this year.”
The Norton 360 Sandown Challenge will be held at the Sandown circuit on November 19-21. It’s the penultimate round of this year’s V8 Supercars Championship Series.