De Pasquale braced for street track test

  • GEN3 Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/02/2023
  • By James Pavey

Anton De Pasquale is raring to put "big boy pants on” and push the new cars to their limits at the Thrifty Newcastle 500.

For the first time since 2020, a Supercars season will commence at an out-and-out street circuit.

Newcastle’s tight confines and stunning backdrops has seen the track compared to both Macau and Monaco.

It offers a major test for not only the new cars, but for drivers as they aim to kick off 2023 at the front of the field.

The Thrifty Newcastle 500 features ARMOR ALL Qualifying and a Top Ten Shootout on both weekend days of the event.

Qualifying will prove pivotal to a driver's chances, given how difficult it is to overtake on the 2.61km circuit.

One of the leading qualifiers on the grid, De Pasquale — who completed his final pre-season laps on Tuesday — is ready for the challenge.

“It’s a fine element between making changes and making the car as good as it can, feeling comfortable, knowing how to extract a lap,” De Pasquale told

“It’s stuff we haven’t gotten too hard into yet yet, but as the year goes on, we’ll get better and better.

“At some point, we’re going to have to put the big boy pants on and do a big lap in these things.

“Getting the car into a window when we want to do that, something that looks after its tyres, all the things that make you go fast."

From there, attention will turn to the two-hour-long 95-lap races, Newcastle’s first since November 2019.

The performance of the cars and tyre wear have been highly publicised, but De Pasquale also acknowledged that reliability will also be a talking point.

Only one of the six Newcastle races between 2017 and 2019 — the 2018 Sunday race — featured a 100 per cent finish rate.

De Pasquale on Tuesday

“It seems like these cars are going to deg harder than what we’re used to,” De Pasquale said.

“As the year goes on, we’ll get better and better at that.

“Different motors, different cars, the deg’s going to be high.

“We haven’t run these cars on a street track, so reliability… you never know what you’re going to get.

“Hopefully our things are good, and it goes to the end."

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 on March 10-12.

Tickets are on sale on and

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