Engineer Preview: Chill Perth 360

  • 01/05/2013
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Ahead of this weekend’s event – and Garth Tander’s milestone 200th event start in V8 Supercars – Car Manager for Holden Racing Team’s #2 Commodore Scott Sinclair discusses the main characteristics of the 2.42km Barbagallo Raceway. Having grown up in Western Australia, Sinclair knows what to do well there. 

The Engineer Preview is a new segment running on v8supercars.com.au to give an insight into the different personalities of the circuit our series races at, and what goes on in the garage. 

V8Supercars.com.au: What are the main characteristics of the circuit?

Sinclair: "Barbagallo is well known for its abrasive surface and long corner length. Its corner length is the second longest average for the season (second only to Phillip Island), which means the car spends a high percentage of its time in lateral load.

"The track is smooth, especially compared to (last event) Pukekohe, so bump compliance is not usually a significant issue, but with three big braking zones good stability under brakes is very important."

How will the weekend’s format affect setup and strategy?

"Tyre degradation has been an issue at the past two events (Symmons Plains, Pukekohe) so there have been no pit stops for tyres during the races.

"Tyres can hit a ‘cliff’ and, given the long loaded corners at Barbagallo, the lap times would be hurt badly when this happens, so we’ll most likely see cars stopping for tyres during Sunday’s two 100km races.

"Degradation will still be an issue Saturday, but given the 60/60 format allows for a change of tyres during the ‘half time’ break, I don’t expect we’ll see anyone pit for tyres during the races themselves."

What is the tyre allocation?

"Tyre allocation for the weekend is six sets of soft tyres. This leaves two new sets for each of the three Qualifying sessions and two sets for each race."

How will this impact setup and strategy?

"Each set of tyres we’ll use for the races will only be about four laps old from Qualifying. 

"Anyone who has full confidence in their qualifying speed could try get through Qualifying using only one new set.

"This would then leave a new set for the race, which would be very handy at the end when everyone is struggling."

What aspects of the circuit will suit your car and what do you have to be mindful of?

"Earlier this year, most cars seemed to be struggling with rear stability under brakes and a lack of mid-corner rear grip, which is most likely a result of the new independent rear suspension everyone is now using.

"Most have improved, but with the amount of time spent in corners at Barbagallo, a car that lacks grip will be quickly exposed.

"Good tyre life will most likely determine the weekend’s outcome – push hard early and that might cost you towards the end.

"With that in mind, our focus will then be on ensuring we tune our Holden Racing Team Commodores for good rear grip, with the ultimate goal to provide Garth (Tander) and James (Courtney) with well-balanced cars, which will allow them to manage their tyres through the races."

 

Scott Sinclair

Full name: Scott Sinclair
Time with HRT:Joined 2011
Drivers engineered:Will Davison, James Courtney, Garth Tander
Career highlights:2010 V8 Supercars Championship (with James Courtney)
Origins:Born in Sydney but grew up in Perth; October 21, 1982
Outside of racing:Big sports fan, spending time with my family (wife and two little girls)
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