Brisbane Lions star Jason Akermanis took a break from the rigors of AFL football today to realise one of his dreams – driving a V8 Supercar. The self-confessed Brisbane-based rev head was given the chance to drive one of the Ford Falcons prepared by championship-leading team Stone Brothers Racing at Queensland Raceway, near Ipswich.
Akermanis did a total of 10 laps in the Milligans Food Group Falcon which is campaigned by Mark Winterbottom in the Konica V8 Supercar Championship Series and reached speeds in excess of 240kph.
In a unique swap, SBR’s two-time Bathurst winner Russell Ingall, will train with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Wednesday night as part of a special feature being prepared by Network Ten’s RPM program which will go air this Sunday afternoon.
SBR’s Marcos Ambrose leads the V8 Supercar Championship Series on adjusted points in his Pirtek Falcon while Ingall jumped back into championship contention with a win at Queensland Raceway in his Caltex Havoline Falcon eight days ago.
Akermanis, who is 26 and played 166 AFL games, kicked a sensational goal in the closing stages against Port Adelaide on Saturday night to give his team the lead, only to see it eventually be beaten by a single point – today’s experience helped him forget about that for a while.
“That was just awesome,” said Akermanis as he stepped from the car.
“You watch these guys on TV and think ‘that’s easy’, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“The acceleration is just amazing and these guys are just so more skilful than you could imagine. It is hot in the car, but I think I am sweating more from the concentration.
“I did not want to wreck one of Ross’ (Stone’s) $300,000 cars, especially with Mark (Winterbottom) driving it next weekend.”
And did Lions’ coach Leigh Matthews know about today’s exercise?
“He (Matthews) has told me he never wants to know about any of this,” said Akermanis.
“He said that after I came off a bike at a bit of speed a while ago.”
SBR co-owner Ross Stone, a big Lions fan, sat anxiously on the sidelines as Akermanis “played” with one of his $300,000 machines.
“He did a solid job,” said Stone. “It is tough enough getting into one of these when you have a heap of experience, let alone when you are just a fan with a bit of bike experience.
“I think he started to get a real feel for it towards the end.”
Ingall was also impressed with Akermanis’ time behind the wheel.
“The first thing he did was get it out of pit lane – I have seen plenty of experienced blokes have trouble doing that,” said Ingall.
“Jason was very professional about the whole deal and really did a good job. I doubt I will be that impressive when I turn up at Lions training on Wednesday – I need to learn how to kick a football before I join in any training drills.”
Winterbottom will have an opportunity to win the Konica V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton in North-East Victoria this weekend.
While there are a host of scenarios with the series’ new point scoring system, a maximum point’s haul of 177 from a possible 192 from the three races would guarantee him the title.