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V8 Supercars Enduro preview

Who will emerge victorious in V8 Supercar's three endurance races, which kick off at Sandown this weekend?

V8 Supercars Enduro preview
The special Bathurst livery for Team Vodafone is delivered to the track via helicopter
Overview of Mount Panorama and Bathurst circuit
Overview of Mount Panorama and Bathurst circuit
The special Bathurst livery for Team Vodafone is delivered to the track via helicopter
Jamie Whincup races against stunt pilot Joel Haski
Will Davison and Steve Owen
David Reynolds and Dean Canto
Jason Bright and Andrew Jones
Will Davison and Steve Owen
Start: Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Holden leads
Start
Todd Kelly and David Russell
Damaged car of Chaz Mostert and Dale Wood
Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff take the win
Start
Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff
David Reynolds and Dean Canto
Teams arrive in the pit area
The 2014 V8 Supercar endurance calendar remains unchanged with the Sandown 500 kicking off the endurance season, followed by the 52nd running of the traditional Bathurst 1000 race at the Mount Panorama circuit in New South Wales AU.
 
The party on the Gold Coast 600 wraps up the endurance season for 2014 with two 300km races in which the Pirtek Enduro Cup winners will be decided. The Pirtek Enduro Cup is a new mini championship started in 2013 to reward and acknowledge the best performing (most points) pairing over the four races. 
 
It's time to take a look at the teams and their expected performance for the three endurance races.
(Results based on Primary Driver)
*New pairing for 2014
 
#1 Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell 
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 1st
  • Bathurst 1000: 2nd
  • Gold Coast 600: DNF/4th
Expectations for 2014: Whincup and Dumbrell will podium in all three races and secure at least one victory for their sqaud. They are most definitely going to be one of the top runners.
 
#2 Garth Tander/Warren Luff*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 22nd
  • Bathurst 1000: 4th
  • Gold Coast 600: 18th/7th
Expectations for 2014: Tander has found some form recently and Luff has just come from winning last years Enduro cup with Lowndes. Expect a top five at Sandown and at podium result at Bathurst.
 
#4 Lee Holdsworth/Craig Baird
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 4th
  • Bathurst 1000: 14th
  • Gold Coast 600: 12th/5th
Expectations for 2014: The Erebus E63 Merc has had reliability issues since its debut in 2013 but the car held up last year. Both drivers are experienced and I think they might just crack a top ten at Bathurst and maybe even a podium at Sandown. The GC won’t hold much for the No. 4 car though.
 
#5 Mark Winterbottom/Steve Owen* 
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 6th
  • Bathurst 1000: 1st
  • Gold Coast 600: 3rd/18th
Expectations for 2014: Last year's Bathurst champion had a great start to the season and was looking like the man to beat before his form abruptly dropped off. He will pick it up again for Sandown and Bathurst as he goes in search of defending his 2013 Bathurst triumph. Steve Owen is a new partner for Frosty this year and is capable enough to make this two one of the fastest cars in all three races.
 
#6 Chaz Mostert/Paul Morris*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 14th
  • Bathurst 1000: 21st
  • Gold Coast 600: 9th/11th
Expectations for 2014: Mostert will be shooting to have a good crack at Bathurst this year after his problems in 2013. With Paul Morris’ strategy expertise, watch these two in 2014 as I think they will be the underdogs that could potentially pull off an upset,
 
#7 Todd Kelly/Alex Buncombe*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 11th
  • Bathurst 1000: DNF 
  • Gold Coast 600: 17th/DNF
Expectations for 2014: Kelly has endured a shocking season and is effectively last in the championship. V8 newcomer Alex Buncombe won’t help Kelly at all in these races. This duo will struggle, much like the Robert Dahlgren and Greg Ritter pairing.
 
#8 Jason Bright/Andrew Jones
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 24th
  • Bathurst 1000: 5th
  • Gold Coast 600: DNS/15th
Expectations for 2014: These two join again for the fourth time in the endurance races. Theses guys always put on there A-game for Bathurst but struggle at Sandown and the GC. I would think top 15 overall is realistic.
 
#9 Will Davison/Alex Davison*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 3rd
  • Bathurst 1000: 7th
  • Gold Coast 600: 6th/9th
Expectations for 2014: The two Davison brothers finally team up for an enduro season. Will, now with Erebus, will be looking for his first win with his new team. Alex had a fairly average season last year in a FPR customer car. Expect the brothers to run strong and score a top ten.
 
#14 Fabian Coulthard/Luke Youlden
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 7th
  • Bathurst 1000: 16th
  • Gold Coast 600: DNF/2nd
Expectations for 2014: Fabian has been fairly consistent in the season so far and now Luke is settled in the team. They will be a top ten team in all three events.
 
#16 Scott Pye/Ash Walsh*
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: DNF
  • Bathurst 1000: 6th
  • Gold Coast 600: 13th/DNF
Expectations for 2014: Scott Pye had a tough year in 2013, despite his sixth place result at Bathurst, and has had a better one in 2014 for sure but he will be coming into the enduros with his big crash at SMP still on his mind. Ash Walsh also had a massive shunt at Sandown last year. I see them hovering around 17th place in all three races.
 
#17 David Wall/Steve Johnson*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 19th
  • Bathurst 1000: 22nd
  • Gold Coast 600: 7th/12th
Expectations for 2014: Wall now with the iconic DJR team and pairing with son of a Legend Steven Johnson. I would love to see these two in top 10 but I think a top 15 is more realistic.
 
#18 Jack Perkins/Cameron Waters*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 8th
  • Bathurst 1000: 8th
  • Gold Coast 600: 22nd/ 23rd
Expectations for 2014: Jack Perkins has had a bad season so far but he will be looking to revitalise it for the endurance races. Cam Walters was the winner of the Wildcard Bathurst drive in 2011 and has been doing good in the DVS series this year. I don't see them achieving anything higher than a top 20 though.
 
#21 Dale Wood/Chris Pither*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 14th 
  • Bathurst 1000: 21st
  • Gold Coast 600: 9th/11th
Expectations for 2014: Wood has had a average season in 2014 with one podium to his credit. Pither has been a front runner in the DVS before and brings experience with him, but I doubt they'll be able to contend Expect a top 20 at the very least.
 
#22 James Courtney/Greg Murphy
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 5th
  • Bathurst 1000: DNF
  • Gold Coast 600: DNF/DNF
Expectations for 2014: Murphy ruined Courtney’s year in 2013, bringing extremely bad luck with him. Murphy crashed the car at Bathurst and then was was shunted into the wall in the GC600. Then, while in the lead during the second race at Surfers Paradise, the car suffered a mechanical failure. 
 
#23 Russell Ingall/Tim Blanchard*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 9th 
  • Bathurst 1000: 17th
  • Gold Coast 600: 5th/3rd
Expectations for 2014: Russell Ingall has always done pretty good for the Endurance races but I feel with his new team and new co-driver Tim Blanchard that he won’t do that well in 2014. Tim Blanchard has never been fast, nor has LDM. I think a finish between 15th-20th is what we'll see from the ageless wonder and Blanchard in 2014. 
 
#33 Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat*
 
2013 Results: 
  • Sandown 500: 8th
  • Bathurst 1000: 8th
  • Gold Coast 600: 22nd/23rd
Expectations for 2014: Kiwi young gun Scott Mclaughlin and team mate of yesteryear Alex Premat will pair up for an assault on the 2014 Enduro Cup. McLaughlin has been quick in 2014 in his Volvo. I think that these guys will be one of the strongest pairings provided they both know each other very well and get along. Top five is what should be expected provided the Volvo will last the distance.
 
#34 Robert Dahlgren/Greg Ritter*
 
2013 Results: (For Ritter as this is R.D’s debut year)
  • Sandown 500: 10th
  • Bathurst 1000: 23rd
  • Gold Coast 600: 14th/14th
Expectations for 2014: Swedish import Robert Dahlgren has had a bad debut season, never driving a V8 Supercar prior to 2014. Greg Ritter will definitely boost Dahlgren’s performance for 2014 but don’t expect top 15’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two came dead last unfortunately.
 
#36 Micheal Caruso/Dean Fiore*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 20th
  • Bathurst 1000: 25th
  • Gold Coast 600: DNF/10th
Expectations for 2014: Caruso has had a much better season this year compared to the dismal 2013 he endured. The Nissans have found some speed but still need some more. Dean Fiore will be a good co-driver for Caruso. They'll manage a top 15 at best.
 
#47 Tim Slade/Tony D’Alberto*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 21st 
  • Bathurst 1000: 26th
  • Gold Coast 600: 15th/20th
Expectations for 2014: Tim Slade has had a better year in a more established and reliable car at Super Cheap Auto Racing, however, he has yet to score a win. I know it won't come in the enduros, but I do know he will come very close at the Gold Coast as both he and co-driver D’Alberto had great results there last year. I'd expect a top 20 showing overall, but a solid top ten at the Gold Coast.
 
#55 David Reynolds/Dean Canto
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 17th
  • Bathurst 1000: 9th
  • Gold Coast 600: 8th/1st
Expectations for 2014: Reynolds and Canto have shown form for most of the enduros since joining FPR in 2012. Scoring a bitter sweet second place at the 50th Bathurst 1000 in 2012 after a great battle with Whincup to the line. 2013 wasn't as good at Bathurst but his consistency paid off at the Gold Coast with a race win on sunday. I will be disappointed if this duo finished out of the top 10.
 
#97 Shane Van Gisbergen/Jonathan Webb*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 12th
  • Bathurst 1000: 11th
  • Gold Coast 600: 2nd/DNF
Expectations for 2014: The Gis dominated at SMP last round and I expect his form to carry over to Sandown, earning a top five and if the skies open up, I expect a win! Jonothan Webb (team owner) will be great for SVG and these two will be very quick.
 
#222 Nick Percat/Oliver Gavin*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 22nd
  • Bathurst 1000: 4th
  • Gold Coast 600: 18th/7th
Expectations for 2014: Percat is having a solid debut year in V8 Supercars and with Oliver Gavin coming on board for the endurance races, these two could be a great pairing. I will be expecting an impressive run in all three races from the duo.
 
#360 James Moffat/Taz Douglas
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 26th 
  • Bathurst 1000: 18th
  • Gold Coast 600: DNF/DNF
Expectations for 2014: Moffat has never been incredibly fast and don’t expect uch help from Douglas either. I think these two will struggle to put together any kind of decent performance.
 
#888 Craig Lowndes/Steve Richards*
 
2013 Results:
  • Sandown 500: 2nd
  • Bathurst 1000: 3rd
  • Gold Coast 600: 1st/8th
Expectations for 2014: 2013's Pirtek Enudro Cup champ. What more could you want! Lowndes/Richards will be the team to beat this year and I will be surprised if they finish outside the top 10. 
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