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Ampol Returns to Australian Motorsport

Iconic Australian fuel brand Ampol will make its return to Australian motorsport for the first time in 25 years when the Supercars Championship descends on Darwin this weekend. 

Following Caltex Australia’s recent decision to transition back to Ampol, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team will kickstart the brand’s re-emergence in motorsport by updating the car livery and race s

Speaking on the transition, #88 driver Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup is hoping to welcome back the brand with some competitive results this weekend.

“Ampol has a long history in Australian motorsport and I’m excited that the Red Bull Holden Racing Team is part of its return.

“We’ll have the new Ampol and Amplify Premium Fuels logos on our cars from this weekend onwards and we’ll be doing our best to give the brand a successful return to the track,” said JDub.

In 2020, Ampol is set to amplify its sponsorship with the team, rolling out fan engagement activations throughout the Supercars season.

#888 co-driver Craig Lowndes will head up the ‘Ampol Pit Stop’, a premium webinar series providing exclusive insight into the Red Bull Holden Racing Team and the personnel that keep the show on the road.

The new premium fuels brand, Ampol Amplify, sees Ampol’s return as a tier one fuel brand with world-class, high-quality fuels that customers can rely on.

Australians will start to see Ampol service stations popping up around the country in the coming months, with the transition to be complete by end of 2022.

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Quashing the Helmet Questions

You might be wondering, what happens at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team workshop away from the track?

The answer? We like to bust the hard-hitting questions, and there’s been a few that have rolled across our desk that we would like to settle relating to one particular topic – driver helmets.

Why does SVG wear a visor on his helmet but JDub does not?

SVG: “It’s not something I’ve thought about really. There’s no real reason why I use one, I just always have. Sometimes I run it up, sometimes I run it down.”

JDub (aka Captain Team No-Visor): “I don’t think a visor is needed in a Supercar, as you have a windscreen that does the job of a visor. For me, looking through a second pane of plastic isn’t necessary.”

How do you decide what artwork to put on your helmet? 

SVG: “I’m fortunate enough to be a Red Bull athlete, so I work with those guys to come up with a cool design every year. I like to make sure I add a few Kiwi touches as well.”

JDub: “I work with my helmet painter every year to come up with new and fresh designs. The fantastic brands I represent have a major say in what they want to see from the design first and then I add my personal touch after that.”

How often do you change your helmet?

SVG: “I travel with two helmets for every race event, but I like to use the same one and will only swap if I have to. I’ll bring in a new helmet and design usually once a year in time for the big races like Bathurst or New Zealand.”

JDub: “I generally use two helmets a year. They wear out pulling them on and off all the time plus some rubbing on the belts, but mainly due to hygiene from the amount of sweat they see over race meetings.”

What role does a HANS (Head and Neck Support) device play in driver safety?

SVG: “I’ll let JDub answer that one…”

JDub: “The HANS device plays a massive role in driver safety.  It’s another layer of protection for drivers to put on before they get in the car which is sometimes annoying, but worth its weight in gold in a crash.”

Do you have to train/strengthen your neck given the added weight on your head when racing?

SVG: “Not really, I usually do a lot of cardio training. We don’t have to train our necks like you see the Formula 1 driver do.”

JDub: “Supercars don’t have the downforce to warrant any neck training. In saying that, at Adelaide at the start of the season after three months off, by the end of the race the neck is starting to labour a little and super sore the next few days following.”

So, there you have it. Now, back to the lab to answer the next batch of burning questions…

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ACU delivers clinical edge to RBHRT

Queensland-based Australian Catholic University (ACU) students Shannon Chilman and Sam Parker will need to pack earplugs for their next internship – supercharging the Red Bull Holden Racing Team with exercise science muscle.

In a first for the motorsport category, Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology students from ACU’s School of Behavioural and Health Sciences will provide evidence-based health guidance for our team’s high-performance pit crew and drivers.

“This is an incredibly amazing experience,” Shannon said. “The facilities they have here are top notch and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Both Shannon and Sam’s careers were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Shannon was temporarily sidelined from a personal training role, while Sam was affected by redundancies in the high-performance sport industry.

A former competitive Irish dancer from the United States, Shannon saw the internship as a chance to apply her own experience and training.

“I was always getting injured so I’m fascinated by how the body heals and how it can perform,” the budding clinical exercise physiologist said. 

 “I’ve always been around the fitness industry but it’s my mission to get into the clinical side. I want to help people, to get them to connect with their bodies.”

Sam completed her undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science at ACU and is now on the way to her masters qualification.

“I was always the sporty kid. I wasn’t elite but it was always something I was interested in,” she said. 

“The set-up here at Red Bull Holden is very professional. Everyone exudes high performance and it’s somewhere I could see myself working.”

As part of the research partnership between ACU and Red Bull Holden Racing Team, crew chief Kris ‘Gooey’ Goos and his team have already participated in fitness testing and movement analysis at the Brisbane campus’s Exercise Lifestyle Clinic and in the biomechanics lab. The experienced wheel man believes he now has the sport science oomph to gain an edge over the field.

The lab’s motion capture technology and support from the interns could deliver strategies to make the RBHRT pit crew’s performance safer, faster and more efficient when handling 22kg wheels and 6.5kg rattle guns. “It’s going to be a massive deal for us,” Gooey said. “With the changes in the rules due to COVID-19 restrictions and short turnarounds, we will take a hundredth-of-a-second. We should be able to shave tenths-of-seconds out of this easy, just by having everyone on the right level.”