AT THE READY: V8 Supercars Championship leader Mark Winterbottom with Flight Lieutenant Robert Cousland and Flight Lieutenant Dave Murphy.
AT THE READY: V8 Supercars Championship leader Mark Winterbottom with Flight Lieutenant Robert Cousland and Flight Lieutenant Dave Murphy. Inga Williams

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THROWING a big V8 around the track at speeds nearing 300kmh certainly sounds impressive - up until the point where you stand face to face with one of RAAF Amberley's awesome Super Hornets.

A visit to the base yesterday provided championship leader Mark Winterbottom with the rare opportunity to meet someone who sits behind the wheel of something quicker than his Ford Falcon, while RAAF families got to rub shoulders with the V8 pacesetter.

As he took some time out from his preparations for this weekend's Ipswich 400, "Frosty" Winterbottom travelled out to a decidedly sunny and hot section of the tarmac at Amberley to get a full appreciation of the base's recent aerobatic acquisitions - and the pilots who tame them.

"I am super-impressed," Winterbottom said of the Super Hornets.

"It is incredible to get up this close - not everyone gets to go out on the runway and get close enough to touch them."

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For a dozen or so RAAF families - including some very excited children - the thrill of meeting a top-class race driver was almost overshadowed by the presence of the famous Lightning McQueen replica race car from the movie Cars.

Mikhail Whitehouse, who provided IT support for the Super Hornets, said he was grateful for the opportunity to bring wife Hannah and son Oliver, 5, along.

"This is the closest we've ever been allowed to get to the Super Hornet," Mr Whitehouse said.

"Oliver loves Lightning McQueen and hopefully we will also get the chance to meet Mark (Winterbottom)."

Winterbottom said that setting a good time in qualifying would be vital to his success on an Ipswich circuit renowned for its tightness.

"Six corners means you have to get every one right," he said.

"There's three-tenths of a second difference between a good time and a bad time.

"It's a tough track but it is one that has been good to us over the years."


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