Drivers' Quoteboard: Coates Hire Ipswich 400 preview
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By V8 Supercars with teams
Mark Winterbottom, Ford Pepsi Max Crew, p1 (Championship):
"We've had nearly a month off so it has been nice to get away from racing, recharge a little and focus on what we need to improve heading into the second half of the season.
"Ipswich is a tough little track to conquer as it is more complex than it appears. Also, as the home track for many of our rivals we've got a lot of teams that will be strong. The return of the soft tyre should help us and while we were strong at Queensland Raceway last year, we know that counts for nothing this weekend."
Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Racing Australia, p2:
"We've certainly had some really good times at QR, but we've had some bad times also with getting stuck in a rut and, you know, not deviating enough from when we test at the circuit to when we race, so we've got to be on the ball.
"We go back to the soft tyre, which we've been fairly heavily dominated on by our competitors over the last few rounds on the soft tyre.
"We had a good clean test day, we've got some good knowledge out of that, so I'm confident the engineers can do a good job to help us hopefully roll out of the truck competitively and keep up a good performance all weekend."
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing, p3:
"QR used to be a test track when I worked for Queensland teams.
"It's pretty simple but with simple tracks you often find that it's really, really close. Not many corners, predominantly turns right - you only turn left a couple of times. It's an interesting track and hopefully we get some good racing.
"We'll worry about the Championship in December.
"There's a lot of water to pass under the bridge until we get there for sure - like the enduros where there's big points on offer so we'll do the best we can each race. We're working hard - we want more race wins and podiums so we'll be fighting hard for those."
James Courtney, Holden Racing Team, p5:
"We're getting stronger and stronger, and the boys have been putting in all kinds of hours back at base during the break to make sure we hit the ground running at Ipswich, and after that in Sydney.
"It was fantastic to get a one-two in Townsville, and shows what we're capable of - and more importantly, where we're headed as a team."
Craig Lowndes, Red Bull Racing Australia, p6:
"It's always good to race at our home track and QR's been kind to us in the past. Last year didn't quite give us the results we wanted, but the boys had a test day while I've been in Europe and fortunately Richo (co-driver Steve Richards) was around to jump in and take my place, so I'm very thankful to him.
"They did a lot of running on soft tyres and it was obviously great for Richo to get to spend a full day in the car, which is very rare for co-drivers, and hopefully they got a lot of information that will help us this weekend."
Scott McLaughlin, Valvoline Racing GRM, p7:
"We won here last year and we have a faster car now than last year. So I am pretty confident ahead of this weekend.
"Our qualifying average is still good and that is very important. We are losing a little bit over a race distance, but not much. The team has made a solid amount of changes during thebreak,hopefully it will be enough to be on par with the top runners. Our aim is still for the top five and to keep the points coming through."
Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team, p8:
"I enjoyed the Townsville weekend, and it was great to get the one-two result - especially after solid results in Darwin.
"We have been saying that our HRT Commodores will be stronger in the second half of the year, and it's been great to be able to prove that.
"But we're under no illusion, we've still got a lot of work ahead of us. We're going to a track next that is a test circuit for a lot of our opposition, and they've got a lot of information about it.
"However, we feel that momentum is going in the right direction for us.
"The key to a good lap there is setting up the HRT Commodore to work well over the bumps.
"Making the tyre live as long as possible - with meaningful pace - is also critical during the race. We just need to make sure we have enough speed in qualifying so that we can start at the front."
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing, p9:
"Ipswich has been a happy place for our team in recent years so I am keen to get to Queensland and continue that form. Chaz had his first race win there last year and we filled the top four places in the same race so the team is eager to see what we can do. We return to the soft compound tyre this weekend, it will be very important to qualify well on Saturday and then have a good set of rubber for Sunday. We had a few tyre dramas last year so hopefully that won't be the case this year. It looks simple on paper but is anything but."
Chaz Mostert, Ford Pepsi Max Crew, p10:
"I am looking forward to going back to Queensland Raceway as it's my other home track and is where I took my first main game win last year. While I am heading back in a different car with a different team I still have my engineer Adam (De Borre) alongside me so hopefully we can find that demon setup again like last year.
"A lot has changed setup-wise across the last 12 months but we'll go back to what worked last year and start developing from there. We need a good haul of points this weekend to stay in the top 10 and continue our push for a top five by year's end."
Jason Bright, Team BOC, p11:
"I thought the test went really well.
"You don't go to tests with a heap of development parts on like we used to, you go there to try and learn little bits about the car that are going to help you during a race meeting. I felt that we had a really good day and learnt quite a bit.
"I was pretty disappointed leaving Townsville because I had a quick car all weekend.
"I thought we got on top of our qualifying issues from the previous rounds, we just didn't get the points we deserved, or that the car deserved, so it was pretty disappointing.
"We went to the test day with some set things to work on and those things should work well at QR.
"The car has definitely had good pace for the last few rounds. Hopefully we'll continue that this weekend and score the points that I feel the car deserves."
Michael Caruso, Norton Hornets, p12:
"It's going to be good to get back in the car after a few weeks off.
"It has been three weeks, but it feels like a lifetime, so I can't wait to get up into the Queensland sun, get behind the wheel and see how we fare.
"We're also getting to that point of the year where we are starting to think about the endurance races as well. We have a ride day at Queensland Raceway on the Monday after the event, so we'll get Dean Fiore out into my car and give him some laps.
"Come endurance time, it's important that we start to get things in order so it will be great to have him suited up and behind the wheel."
Scott Pye, Wilson Security Racing, p15:
"We have had a big lead-up to Queensland Raceway. The team had its first (independent) test day last week, which went really well. We were able to make a lot of changes during the day keeping the boys very busy! But I think we really have improved the car so we are looking forward to it. It would be nice though to have a better tyre bank for the tests.
"The team had a great round in 2103 with Chaz giving the Wilson Security team a win. To get another big result is the aim for this weekend.
"I also got to experience my first DJR Open Day and Fan Dinner on the weekend. I have been to a few of these but nothing like this! The passion and support of the DJR fan base if most impressive. We want to give them a lot to cheer about at Queensland Raceway."
James Moffat, Norton Hornets, p16:
"Realistically, it's going to be a challenging weekend. The layout of the circuit doesn't suit our cars with the package we have at the moment.
"Having said that, we'll go there with a positive attitude and try and get the most out of it.
"All we can focus on is trying to get the car handling as well as we possibly can and go from there. Like any round of the championship, it's going to be important to finish all of the races and bank as many points as we can."
Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing, p17:
"Queensland Raceway is one of those tracks that if you don't quite have the ideal car, it becomes very difficult to wring a lap out of it.
"You have places like Adelaide, Homebush, Gold Coast and Townsville, where you can always hustle the car around, push it over the kerbs and try to get something from it, which is certainly not the case at Queensland Raceway.
"The category is closer now than it ever has been before, so for us there is a focus on getting the cars dialed in as best we can, and from myself just try and get the most out of it.
"We just need to maximise everything, which is nothing different, but there is really a stronger focus on that, especially in qualifying.
"We've got a good format for the weekend; the soft tyres present a strong opportunity for us to move forward in the races as we look after our tyres a little better.
"We also have a couple of improvements on the car since our last outing, so for me, it's very exciting to get back in the car, I'm chomping at the bit to get out there."
Russell Ingall, Repair Management Racing Aus, p18:
"I think realistically all we were missing was two or three tenths a lap and after the test day we've nailed back a couple of those tenths, so I'm really looking forward to this weekend and being a bit more competitive.
"I've done what seems like thousands of laps around Ipswich, the track probably isn't the most technical circuit in the world with only six corners but with that you have to make every corner count.
"There are a few tricks to it, turn one and two are still reasonably bumpy and there is definitely a technique to getting through there fast.
"The best thing about is we're on the soft tyre which we've shown to be more competitive with the front runners, so it's stacking up to be a good round for us."
Nick Percat, HHA Racing, p20:
"Being the Coates Hire sponsored event, I enjoy good support there and it's great to meet all their customers and take part in the event activations.
"I've always had good pace at Queensland Raceway and hopefully we can keep the car in the top ten like we did in Townsville and carry that momentum through this weekend and eventually into the enduros later in the year."
Dale Wood, Team ADVAM/GB Gal, p22:
"I think the test was really good. I was lacking a little bit of confidence after Townsville. I just never felt comfortable in the car, it felt like we had an issue in the car that we never got on top of so it was nice to go to the test and have the car feeling familiar again, the way it has been in previous rounds ... the pace by the end of the day was quite good too. I think we found some things that we can take to the next few rounds.
"Next to Winton I'd say QR is my most familiar track, but it is for a lot of people. I've had a lot of success there before, I can only hope that helps with a bit of momentum going into the round.
"Last year I qualified on pole in the Dunlop Series car and won the first race. It didn't go our way for the rest of the weekend but it was pretty good and I was probably the fastest car there.
"It would be nice to carry that through to this weekend - I don't think that's going to be the case - but if we can be in the top half then it'll be a bloody good weekend."
Jack Perkins, Team JELD-WEN, p23:
"I'm really looking forward to getting to Queensland Raceway this weekend. I've had lots of success there in the Dunlop Series, and some in the main game as well, so it's a track that I actually enjoy. We're heading there after another good test day, where I got plenty of miles under my belt. It was very encouraging, particularly with Ipswich being a soft tyre round. I'm really looking to get rid of some of the bad luck that has plagued the Team JELD-WEN Ford this season, and post some solid results in the lead-up to the endurance races."
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing, p24:
"Queensland Raceway is a unique circuit compared to a couple of the circuits we have just come from.
"It has a couple of quite fast corners, and a couple of medium speed corners that are quite unique.
"You need to tune the car a little bit differently to how would at a Townsville or Darwin for instance.
"It'll be good to get there and see exactly where we are with our cars and what needs to be tuned up on them.
"There are a couple of little things here and there on our cars that are new since the last round, which will give us a bit of a gain.
"We're expecting it to be quite challenging, hopefully the faster corners, turns one and two, is where we can claw back some time.
"I can't wait to get there and see what we can make of the weekend."
Robert Dahlgren, Valvoline Racing GRM, p25:
"It looks like a nice track with quite a few overtaking opportunities. I am really looking forward to it and can't wait to race there."