The official pre-season S5000 test is underway, with 11 drivers from Australian and International motorsport sampling the V8-powered single seat race cars at The Bend Motorsport Park today.
New drivers to the class testing today include reigning Formula 4 champion Luis Leeds and his former F4 rival Antonio Astuti, as well as Carrera Cup racer Thomas Maxwell.
All three are gearing up to make their debuts in the class at Albert Park, the first of the six round season.
Also getting their first laps in S5000 cars are Indy 500 entrant James Davison, Supercars driver Zane Goddard and New Zealand driver Jordan Michels.
Experienced S5000 racers James Golding, Tim Macrow, Barton Mawer, Ricky Capo and Brayden Willmington are also testing today.
Golding is set for a busy day, not only testing his S5000, but also testing his KZ2 kart ahead of a round of the Australian Karting Championships at The Bend’s karting facility.
Many of the drivers testing today are set to join a strong list of international talent already confirmed for the opening round of the championship, including Formula 1 legend Rubens Barrichello and reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Alex Premat.
The first round of the Australian S5000 Championship will support the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park street track on March 12-15.
“The Grand Prix is a real special place for me. I live close by, my dad works there and I’ve been there and every year I’ve been at the event,” said Leeds.
“To actually drive around the circuit, in one of these loud, fast S5000 cars, it’s an amazing opportunity.
“As a driver, all I want to do is go as fast as I can. I’m going there with the expectation to back up my performance from Formula 4 last season where I qualified on pole and won the event.
“S5000 has a tough field and a tough competition, and against the likes of Rubens Barrichello and Alex Premet, it will be special to be on the grid with those guys. I’m only 19, so I grew up watching them. They were the icons, so to be on the same track, same race, its something no many people get to do in their lifetime and I’m very grateful for it.”