Hino Track Guide - Symmons Plains

  • 05/04/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

For all the wilderness and quiet charm that Tasmania is renowned for, there’s one part of the Apple Isle that celebrates things loud and fast.

The Symmons Plains circuit is known as the proverbial bullring of Australian motorsport.

Its simple layout is a high-speed test with only one right-hand turn.

However, it’s anything but basic for Supercars boffins.

The two straights are a test of horsepower, while getting the braking right into the hairpin and Turn 6 are enough to keep most of the sport’s engineers up at night.

The hairpin offers the chance for multiple lines to be driven and myriad overtaking opportunities, while two different start times in the SuperSprint format will have an impact on conditions at the track. 

So even if the track looks unassuming, it’s anything but.

Here’s how to maximise the track:

Tyres

The Tyrepower Tasmania Supersprint is the first championship round to feature the new super soft tyre from Dunlop.

While the track is traditionally a low degradation surface, tyres remain an unknown going into the weekend, with the four shorter Albert Park races not demonstrating the complete life of the rubber.

Teams will have one new set of tyres to use on Friday in addition their pre-marked tyre banks.

There are 20 tyres to be used across the Saturday and Sunday, with a minimum of two tyres to be changed in Saturday’s 120 kilometre race.

Fuel

This weekend marks the first time the SuperSprint format has been unchanged at a circuit for consecutive seasons.

With a 120 litre minimum fuel drop required for Sunday’s 200 kilometre race, teams are able to draw information from 2016 in terms of running strategy.

With two long straights and a high-speed layout, fuel use is relatively high, but in terms of stops and strategy, maintaining track position is a priority given the difficulty in passing.

Another challenge is the potential to go one lap down at the track due to the length of the stops and short lap time.

Power

With one of the highest average speeds on the calendar, good engine power is crucial at Symmons Plains.

Top speed at the track is around the 270km/h mark and the average is 167km/h, making good delivery and output a priority.

Brakes 

Expect more stories of lockups than a supermax prison.

With two massive stops at the end of long straights, brakes are under a lot of stress at Symmons Plains.

However, it is the Turn 1 and Turn 2 section where you’ll also see plenty of tyre smoke.

The short time distance between the heavy stops can often mean there is not enough of an opportunity to cool the brakes – particularly if cars are in traffic.

Suspension 

Unlike a circuit such as Adelaide, suspension at Symmons Plains focuses less on riding the bumps, but instead on delivering power.

Nailing the setup for the two big braking zones and tight turns is also crucial to a good lap time.

Qualifying

Despite two big stops, Symmons Plains can still prove to be a hard place to pass.

That makes the two qualifying sessions extra important.

A 15-minute session on Saturday will set the grid for the opening race while cars will get 20 minutes on Sunday.

Overlooked area

Minimising drag is crucial for maximising top speed.

Downforce is compromised to prioritise top speed while other areas to make the cars slipperier.

Triple Eight even covered the window safety holes on Craig Lowndes' car for qualifying back in 2014 in a bid to minimise drag - a move that resulted in exclusion.

No opportunity to make a gain is ignored.

Follow Us
Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter