Track cries out for re­fit

Herald Sun - Motoring - - What’s On -

IAM lucky be­cause I have two home tracks. Queens­land Race­way is my new home and test track, but I grew up rac­ing and test­ing at Win­ton where we are this week­end. I’ve raced here in go karts and For­mula Ford, and it was my test track when I was with HRT, Gib­son Motorsport and FPR, so it’s a track I know ex­tremely well.

A few years ago it had an up­grade with an ex­ten­sion and new pits but, I hate to say, it needs much more.

V8 Su­per­cars has sim­ply out­grown it.

It’s a great cir­cuit for open­wheel­ers, his­torics and mo­tor­cy­cles with its multi-di­rec­tional changes. But we never get into top gear here and it’s too nar­row for pass­ing, so we don’t get a chance to show­case our V8 race cars.

Our cat­e­gory is a lot more pro­fes­sional these days with mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar trans­porters and race cars, mer­chan­dise and team pre­sen­ta­tion, but some tracks just aren’t keep­ing pace.

When you com­pare Win­ton with some of the cir­cuits in the Mid-East and our own street cir­cuits, such as Ade­laide and Townsville, it just doesn’t stack up.

I’d like to see it de­vel­oped, rather than scrapped be­cause we still get a fan­tas­tic crowd there.

And I should also point out I won twice there last year.

How­ever, be­fore any­one gets too ex­cited, that was on last year’s soft-tyre op­tion rule.

We’re back there on soft tyres, but this time it’s five sets of softs for the whole week­end, not just one set.

Last year I was able to pass up the in­side, around the out­side, al­most any­where I wanted be­cause we had pre­served our soft tyres and were much faster than those who were still on the con­trol tyre or worn softs.

The prob­lem ev­ery­one will face will be get­ting the ini­tial tem­per­a­ture into the tyres es­pe­cially for qual­i­fy­ing and the one-lap top 10 Shootout. The soft tyre re­acts to heat, so we won’t go any­where near as fast as we did at Queens- land Race­way. But they also won’t wear out as fast, so there won’t be that big dif­fer­ence in car speeds that there was at QR be­tween cars on new and old rub­ber.

Win­ton is no­to­ri­ous for be­ing dif­fi­cult to pass so our pit strat­egy will be very im­por­tant. We will have to try to leapfrog cars via the pits rather than pass­ing them on track.

Win­ton is also no­to­ri­ous for a boggy in-field if it rains.

If you go off, nine times out of 10 you might not come back on again. I’m speak­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence here.

You may also re­mem­ber Mar­cos Am­brose run­ning off near the back straight and get­ting stuck. He got out of his car and let the tyres down to get back to the pits.

Skaifey also gets an­other drive this week­end in prac­tice to get him used to the car for our part­ner­ship in the en­duro rounds.

We’ll make some more cabin ad­just­ments for him so he should be set for his rookie test day at QR.

Skaifey knows Win­ton like the back of his hand be­cause it’s his old test track, so he should be able to give some vi­tal feed­back.

It’s also im­por­tant for him to start build­ing a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Jeromy Moore, our race en­gi­neer. V8 SU­PER­CARS will race on the streets of Hamil­ton for at least an­other seven years un­der a deal with the New Zealand or­gan­is­ers. The event is claimed as the coun­try’s biggest an­nual sport­ing event with a three-day crowd of more than 100,000. MAR­COS Am­brose was sev­enth in qual­i­fy­ing for the Nascar race at Dar­ling­ton last week­end, but he could only man­age 25th in the race. AUS­TRALIAN Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship ti­tle­holder Josh Wa­ters has earned a test with the Rock­star Makita Suzuki AMA Su­per­bike team early next month.

Out­grown: V8 Su­per­cars needs track im­prove­ments at Win­ton.

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