Seventeen-year-old teenager, Bryce Fullwood, enjoyed a thoroughly competitive showing during the second round of the 2016 Dunlop V8 Supercars Championship at Phillip Island last weekend. The Darwin born Territorian took to the 4.45-kilometre seaside Grand Prix circuit like a duck to water, despite having never previously raced at the high-speed venue.
Mixed conditions during Saturday’s qualifying session saw Fullwood claiming a solid 10th place qualifying position despite the showers continually blowing in across the venue’s coastal location; situated some 100-kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD. Race 1 saw the youngster moving up into ninth position on lap two before an off-track excursion dropped the Middy’s Data and Electrical sponsored Falcon back down the order to the tune of ten places. Undeterred, the former multiple karting title-winner drove his heart out to claim a workmanlike 11th place at the end of the 16-lap journey.
Sunday saw a further two 16-lap races contested, with the early morning hit-out resulting in a personal-best (PB) career race result of seventh, in which Fullwood diced throughout the race with many more experienced V8 Supercar exponents, delighting his MW Motorsport team with a classy drive to the chequered flag.
The final encounter proved tougher after early contact saw Fullwood completing the opening lap way down in 20th place in the 25 car field. Undeterred, he put his head down to again drive back through the pack, passing a huge mid-field battle in his wounded Falcon, which had sustained heavy front and rear damage after the earlier contact. A late-race Safety Car period bunched the drivers back up, with Fullwood pressing on determinedly on the re-start to come home in 12th place at the finish line, and in doing so claiming his first top-10 Dunlop V8 Supercar round result.
“It was a pretty crazy weekend, although I felt quite good in the car from the outset having come into the event from a successful weekend racing at Sandown two weeks ago in an older V8 Supercar, where I set a new lap record. Qualifying was tricky with the continued scattered showers blowing in and it was hard to know just how much I could push the car, so to claim my first top-10 starting position was very rewarding.
“Having overcooked things with an off track moment early in the first race I was pretty happy to get back near where I had started by race end. The Phillip Island track invites high-speed race craft and this was something quite new for me, although slip-streaming down the long front straight at over 270-kph was a heap of fun. Race 2 was a great run and I was mixing it up with some very experienced campaigners, so to claim a PB race finishing position was very rewarding, even more co considering Phillip Island was a completely new circuit for me.
“In the final race I had contact from behind going into the Turn 4 hairpin on the opening lap, which saw me bundled down to 20th position. Unfortunately, the car sustained quite significant front and rear damage which compromised its aerodynamic efficiency, but I drove it as hard as I could to try and recover as many positions as possible. To claim 12th place by the end of the race was a reasonably recovery and the overall weekend result of 10th overall shows we are starting to get to grips with the new car and team.”
Race image available to download here. Media outlets are welcome to use this image as you please.