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Mar 23, 2015

TEENAGERS DRIVE INTO V8 RACING HISTORY BOOKS THIS WEEKEND

HISTORY will be created at Sandown this weekend with the youngest V8 drivers in history to compete in the opening round of the Kumho Tyre Australian V8 Touring Car Series at Sandown.

Western Australians Alex Rullo, 14, and Jake Kostecki, 15, will join the field in the category that is home to ex-V8 Supercars no longer eligible for the V8 Supercar Development Series.

Rullo will drive an ex-Ford Performance Racing Falcon for Melbourne-based MW Motorsport, while Kostecki will drive an ex-Craig Lowndes TeamVodafone Falcon.

The Kumho Series is unofficially the third tier of V8 racing and is a home for the Falcons and Commodores that were once driven by top stars of the sport.

14-year-old Rullo has been steadily building his racing experience. He competed in last year’s Wanneroo 300 enduro in a V8 Touring Car alongside current V8 Development Series driver Jack Le Brocq and has raced Historic Formula Vee, Hyundai Excels and Suzuki Swifts.

He’s spent hours studying in-car Sandown footage and driving on a simulator to help him prepare for this weekend.

“It’s not quite as exciting as racing - you don’t get the same adrenalin rush - but I just close the theatre room door and try to concentrate,” says Rullo.

“My aim has been to try to do 30 consistent laps without any mistakes.

“I’m doing the Kumho Series for the experience and to get as much experience as possible. How I go will determine my plans for 2016. If I do well, I’m hoping to get a seat in the V8 Supercar Development Series.”

No driver under the age of 16 has competed in either the V8 Supercars Championship or V8 Supercar Development Series.

Kostecki’s older brother Kurt was the youngest - he was 16 when he competed last December in the DVS round at Sydney Olympic Park. He undercut the record of current Volvo V8 Supercar star Scott McLaughlin, who had also been 16 when he debuted in the DVS in 2010.

“Being my first race weekend in a V8 I am feeling very excited, anxious and a little nervous all at the same time,” says Kostecki.

“I know I still have a lot to learn in this category and I’m sure that is a feeling that every driver has if they want to make it to the top.

“Despite being 15 and completing just a handful of test days, I’m ready for what is the biggest challenge of my motorsport career so far. I’m confident that my team, friends and family are behind me all the way and I’m hoping the hard work everyone has put in will soon start to pay off during 2015.”

The teenagers will be among an 18-strong entry list for this weekend’s opening round, headlined by Holden Racing Team V8 Supercar endurance driver Jack Perkins teaming with 17-year-old Liam McAdam for reigning champions Eggleston Motorsport.

Sandown will host the opening round of five in this year’s Kumho Series with events at Winton, Queensland Raceway, Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park to follow.