Priaulx predicts steep learning curve for rookies

Speedcafe.com

Friday 10th June, 2011 - 1:03pm

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Dick Johnson Racing (Jim Beam) international drivers Dirk Muller and Joey Hand

Dick Johnson Racing (Jim Beam) international drivers Dirk Muller and Joey Hand

Experienced V8 Supercars international Andy Priaulx says that V8 newcomers Joey hand and Dirk Muller will have a steep learning curve ahead of the Armor All Gold Coast 600.

Priaulx, Hand and Muller, driving for the BMW factory team in this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hour, were confirmed today as starters in the international-flavoured Surfers Paradise street race. Priaulx will drive for TeamVodafone again, while Hand and Muller will suit up in Jim Beam Racing colours.

Priaulx was the best of the international drivers last year, finishing second and 10th in the two races with Craig Lowndes.

He says that the unique nature of the V8 Supercars and the high-level of competition will make Hand and Muller’s V8 debuts difficult.

“The hardest thing for Joey and Dirk coming into Aussie V8s will be the driving,” he said.

Muller and Hand will drive with Steve Johnson (pictured) and James Moffat

Muller and Hand will drive with Steve Johnson (pictured) and James Moffat

“The cars really have a lot of power, they don’t stop so well, they don’t like to turn, and it is quite a challenge to feel the tyre.

“I struggle every year with the car. It’s such a high-level championship, and it’s very, very tough.”

Each international driver will get just one test before the Armor All Gold Coast 600. Like last, all teams will be able to give their drivers laps at Queensland Raceway on October 19 (Wednesday).

Hand, an American sportscar ace, is not being intimidated by the challenge, despite the huge learning curve.

“I heard it’s an awesome venue,” Hand said.

“The cars will be different. Right hand drive, shift on the left hand, that stuff’s a little bit different.

“I drove a DP (Daytona Prototype) car a few years ago which was right hand drive, so i think that will help me.

“It’s more about the street fight. I love street fighting and I look forward to it.”

German Muller has raced in Australia on one occasion, finishing first in class in Adelaide’s Race of 1000 years in 2000.

He is doing everything in his power to be prepared for his V8 debut.

“I want to be prepared for it,” he said.

“We get one test before it, and we need to be up to speed. That is the challenge, that’s the commitment. Actually, I have to say, I’m kind of lucky. I personally race a lot on street circuits and I’m really familiar with street circuits and I like the challenge.”

The Armor All Gold Coast 600 will be held on October 21-23.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s story regarding the announcement of Priaulx, Muller and Hand.

For more, click below for audio of Andy Priaulx, Dirk Muller and Joey Hand.

Andy Priaulx talks about the Armor All Gold Coast 600 by speedcafe

Dirk Muller talks about the Armor All Gold Coast 600 by speedcafe

Joey Hand talks about the Armor All Gold Coast 600 by speedcafe

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