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Race Preview: 2013 Australian Grand Prix

Motorsports fans have been starved of burning rubber and panel-slamming action for two, long, boring weeks but finally the V8 Supercars are back on track this weekend – at the Melbourne Grand Prix nonetheless.

Not only will petrol heads get the first look at Mark Webber, Seb Vettel and Dan Ricciardo on track as they battle it out for the first win of the 2013 Formula 1 season, but Red Bull Racing Australia will return to racing for just the second time.

This year marks the most highly anticipated season in the history of V8 Supercars, and with four races over three days before the Formula 1 gets under way on Sunday, it’s safe to say that this weekend is to motorsport fans what a Thrift Shop sale is to hipsters.

Throw in the Red Bull speed comparison, which pitches former MotoGP champions Mick Doohan (road car) and Casey Stoner (Red Bull Pirtek Holden) against Formula 1 legend David Coulthard (Infinity Red Bull Renault) and you have a Red Bull Racing extravaganza.

It’s the first time Red Bull Racing Australia, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso will come together at the one event, meaning there will be more wings in one place than a Kentucky Fried bucket.

Webber will be looking for his first podium at Albert Park since debuting at the circuit in 2002, attempting to better his fourth from 2012. Meanwhile, Vettel will start as favourite with Ricciardo hoping to better team-mate Jean Eric Vergne and redeem himself after a disappointing race last season.

The V8s will garner their fair share of attention over the weekend too, with four races over three days and qualifying on the Thursday. And there will be some big questions to be answered.

Can Nissan and Erebus (Mercedes) recover from their disappointing debut at Adelaide? Can Shane Van Gisbergen recreate the form that saw him snatch the second Clipsal 500 race from Lowndesy and J-Dub? Probably not – well, not if we have anything to do with it anyway…

One thing is for sure however, Red Bull Racing Australia will be out to consolidate a near perfect start to the season in their all-new VF Commodores. Lowndes and Whincup are one-two in the championship respectively and are expecting further improvement out of the Cars of the Future over the weekend. There’s even been talk of lap records being broken.

Lowndes already has five wins at Albert Park to his name and will be doing his utmost to keep reigning champion J-Dub at bay.

Here’s hoping for a Red Bull double-double!