Ford Falcon outfit Irwin Racing has signed New Zealand all-rounder Matt Halliday to co-drive Marcus Marshall for the Phillip Island 500 and Bathurst 1000 Australian V8 Supercar endurance races.
Halliday (29) has done V8 Supercar endurance races with Larkham Motor Sport and Ford Performance Racing. Halliday has driven in the A1 Grand Prix Series, selected events in the 2007 Champcar World Series, New Zealand Porsche GT3 Cup, Formula Holden and European open-wheelers and the IndyCar development series. Irwin racing managing director, Jason Bright, says it’s Halliday’s multi-category experience that makes him a good choice for the team.
“In the long races you need two drivers that really complement each other,” he says. “In the past Matt has shown outstanding speed and consistency at Bathurst. Phillip Island will be new to him, but it’s a new experience [as an endurance race] for all the teams.
“Importantly, Matt has raced in many categories and seen just about every scenario you can think of.
“September at Phillip Island could see four seasons in one afternoon – plus the challenge of Mount Panorama is without doubt the greatest test in V8 Supercars.
“We’re placing equal importance on the Irwin Racing Falcon and my own Fujitsu Racing entry for these two races. No car is going to be sacrificed over the other and we want both cars to finish towards the front.”
Halliday says Marshall has always been “strong in the endurance races and I’m confident that we’ll combine to be a strong pairing. “I’m keen to be part of the team as quickly as possible. The plan is to test as well as drive in Friday practice sessions at Queensland Raceway and Winton ahead of the Phillip Island 500.”
Marshall says Halliday has “travelled a similar path in racing to me with a wide range of categories. Believe me this experience is crucial in long-distance races.
“We’re of similar size – so I don’t expect a huge challenge in ensuring that we’re both comfortable in the car. Again this is crucial for us to be successful in these big races.
“Importantly, we have time in testing and practice sessions to work on improving these areas well in advance of Phillip Island.”