Kiwi motor racing star Fabian Coulthard is hoping to cap off the most remarkable time of his life with his first Supercars Championship title.
The Shell V-Power Team Penske driver returns to his home track at Pukekohe Park Raceway just 17 points adrift of Jamie Whincup for the Championship lead at the penultimate stop – the ITM Auckland SuperSprint this weekend.
“Going to New Zealand leading the championship or going being second makes no difference. I want to go well at each and every event and that is what we are aiming to do,” said Coulthard.
The 35 year old will arrive in Pukekohe late in the week after his partner Becky gave birth to twins Mackenzie and Carter last week.
“It has been so great. The biggest worry with new arrivals is if they are fit and healthy and we are very lucky that they both are. For them to be here and to be alive and kicking has brought a huge smile to my face and I have instant love for two little kids,” Coulthard said.
While Coulthard has stayed at the hospital with his partner and babies, he has not lost sight of his day job.
“Obviously the arrival of the twins has been great but I still have a job to do. I’ve been watching old races from Pukekohe on my laptop and doing some research. The mind is still thinking racing.”
Coulthard, who lost the lead in the championship after a challenging weekend at the Gold Coast 600, believes he and fellow Kiwis Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen will have hometown support to boost their chances.
“I love coming back to Puke. I’ve had lots of success there in the past in Formula Ford and Carrera Cup and had some success with Supercars around there.
“We are coming to Pukekohe this year with the most competitive package we’ve ever had. The team has provided both Scotty and I with quick cars and we’ve been able to contend for podiums at each and every event.
“I am expecting a good showing. Gold Coast was okay but not great. We are still in the Championship hunt with two rounds remaining and it is going to be all guns blazing from here on in.”
The New Zealander reckons the spiritual home for motorsport in this country is a track that suits him and his team.
“We went good there last year and I don’t see it any different this year. We’ve been competitive this year on tracks we’ve been uncompetitive on in the past. Our package has been great pretty much everywhere we have been.”
He is also unconcerned at the potential of some wet weather this weekend, something that has not surprised him.
“The last three or four rounds that Becky hasn’t been to it has rained so I guess it is no surprise it may be wet for New Zealand given she is not coming. It is the way things go. We will do the best we can and that is all we can do.
“The weekend is going to be fantastic. To come home to a New Zealand event and to have the support of every one – even just walking into the track people are wishing you good luck or congratulating you – is a pretty cool feeling.
“We finally have us three kiwis in competitive teams and we are able to show what we can do. So I’m hoping we get plenty of support.”
There are 300 points up for grabs at the event, to be decided on a new format of two 200km races – one each on Saturday and Sunday – with mandatory fuel and tyre stops.
Whincup leads the Championship with 17 points to Coulthard, his teammate McLaughlin just 10 points adrift in third ahead of Prodrive Racing’s Chaz Mostert 126 points from the lead with Whincup’s teammate van Gisbergen a further 63 points back.
Tickets are now on sale at Ticketek for the ITM Auckland Supersprint. Family concessions mean kids 12 and under get access to trackside free (with a paying adult). Grandstand ticket prices are better value than ever with single day grandstand tickets available.
Pukekohe Town Square is the place to be in the build-up to this year’s event. Celebrate the ITM Auckland SuperSprint 2017 with a warm Pukekohe welcome for the Supercars drivers on Thursday, 2 November from 4-7pm. The free Pukekohe Fan Day includes classic cars on display, a DJ on stage, fun activities with pedal and Xbox One’s Forza Motorsport 7, and Supercars drivers on site for autographs and selfies (from 5.15-6.15pm).