The future is here. In Marcos Ambrose and David Besnard, Stone Brothers Racing has two of the most dynamic youngsters on the Australian circuit.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]2000 Rookie of the Year, Marcos Ambrose is the most exciting prospect to burst onto the V8 scene since Craig Lowndes. Like Lowndes, he is a supreme athlete, instinctively talented, with the ability to conquer the sport like few have done before.
Showing complete contempt for his rookie status, the Tassie tearaway made the transition effortlessly from open-wheel racing to V8 Supercars. He quickly demanded respect, overcoming inexperience with sensational qualifying pace (including four poles) and outstanding race performances - none better than his Hidden Valley triumph.
He claimed some impressive scalps during his time in Europe, including current Formula One stars Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen, and now has tamed the likes Lowndes, Radisich and Skaife in Australia. He is in a class all his own.
Only costly misadventures in the points-rich races prevented Ambrose from challenging for the title last year. In 2002, Mark Skaife may be the only thing standing between Ambrose and the championship crown.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]David Besnard was overshadowed by the Pirtek Falcon last year, despite showing more early promise.
He made a compelling start to his V8 career, winning a number of races in the Konica feeder series before teaming with Tony Longhurst for the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000 - both of which he was in a position to win.
But, through a combination of rotten luck and rookie mistakes, Besnard's freshman year was a demoralising experience.
Round eight at Oran Park was a rare highlight. Doing what he had promised all along, Besnard leapt onto the podium - even getting the better of a red-hot Mark Skaife in the final race. It may have just saved his V8 Supercar career; enough to suggest the faith Ross Stone has shown in Besnard from the very beginning is still justified.
He's a gutsy, driven kid, determined to succeed at whatever cost.
In last year's Clipsal 500, desperate to avoid another perilous pre-qualifying outing, Besnard remained in circulation despite being violently ill from food poisoning. A similarly dogged performance can be expected from Besnard this year.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]Also, making a number of cameo appearances for the Stone brothers this year is former 500cc World Motorcycle champion, Wayne Gardner.
The Wollongong Whiz will race with Besnard in this year's endurance events. Until then, he'll renew his association with V8 racing aboard a Caltex-liveried Falcon for at least three championship events, beginning in Adelaide for the Clipsal 500.
He's lost none of his four-wheeled speed, and refuses to play a minor role this year.