Hino Track Guide: Adelaide

  • 01/03/2018
  • By Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

The 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship starts this weekend, with the Adelaide 500 street circuit offering a firm challenge first-up.

Since it joined the calendar in 1999, the 3.22km layout has proven itself capable of breaking both driver and machine over the course of 500 kilometres.

Concrete walls and tyre barriers line the circuit, leaving little margin for error, especially when cabin temperatures often exceed 50C during the races.

Across 14 corners, Adelaide has a bit of everything and an average speed of 146km/h.

Kerbs play a key role, with suspension set-up defining how a car can attack and ride the kerbs, and then settle to stay on its way.

At the Senna chicane that starts the lap, tactics can also shape how a driver uses the kerbs during the race.

Strikes - or cuts - of the kerbs are logged, with the threat of a costly pitlane penalty, while lap times are docked for breaches in practice and qualifying.

That fine line sums up getting the most out of a street circuit, drivers having to balance the risk-reward ratio to avoid sacrificing lap time.

The bumps that come with using what are public roads the rest of the year adds to the importance of suspension set-up.

during the Clipsal 500, in Adelaide, Australia, March 05, 2017.

Drive-traction is the other key, both in the run through the sequence of 90-degree corners in the middle of the lap, which ends with the long run out of Turn 7.

That sets drivers up for the notorious Turn 8, the fastest corner on the circuit and the one that places the highest reliance on aerodynamics, as Holden introduces its new ZB Commodore.

A section of the track, either side of and then through Turn 8, has been resurfaced, which will give drivers and engineers more grip to play with.

The field will tackle the weekend with the harder of this year’s two tyre compounds, as Dunlop reverts to its 2016 construction.

Teams start out with 28 tyres, with four returned after practice on Friday.

Each of the two, 250km races include a pair of compulsory pitstops, with a minimum 140-litre fuel drop.

Safety Cars can shape strategies, having been summoned in 35 of the 40 races held in Adelaide since 1999.

The most deployments in a single race is seven on the Sunday in 2008, but of the five legs to have run Safety Car-free, four have come since 2012, including on the Sunday last year.

Shane van Gisbergen of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the Clipsal 500,  at the Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide, South Australia, March 04, 2017.

The key numbers

Qualifying record: Shane van Gisbergen, 1:19.2951s
Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore VF, 2017, super-soft tyre

Race lap record: Scott McLaughlin, 1:20.4210s
Shell V-Power Racing Falcon FG X, 2017, super-soft tyre

Smallest race-winning margin: 0.5420 seconds
Garth Tander to Jamie Whincup, 2011 Saturday

Biggest race-winning margin: 20.5203 seconds
Craig Lowndes to Will Davison, 2013 Saturday

Most Adelaide 500 wins
4 - Jamie Whincup
2 - Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose, Garth Tander, James Courtney, Shane van Gisbergen
1 - Craig Lowndes, Jason Bright, Rick Kelly, Will Davison, Nick Percat

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