Drivers' Quoteboard: Sydney Motorsport Park preview
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By V8 Supercars with teams
Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Racing Australia, p1 (Championship):
"It feels like we're starting from scratch at Sydney Motorsport Park because the last time we were there for a race meeting it was in the old car. In saying that though we were competitive then, so I'd like to think that we're in with a shot this weekend.
"We haven't learnt a lot at Sydney Motorsport Park through the test days, so it's going to come down to how good a job we can do on the weekend. It's crazy challenging because we not only have the hard and soft tyre compounds to contend with, but looking at the weather it looks like we'll be running on wets. It's going to be an engineering nightmare, but it's the same for everyone so we'll just have to do a better job than everyone else. The key will be being on the right tyre at the right time.
"Hopefully plenty of Sydneysiders come out to support and we make a good weekend of it."
Mark Winterbottom, Ford Pepsi Max Crew, p2:
"Losing the points lead has definitely given me a kick in the backside and I am keen to get it back. It is fitting we are heading to my home track where there will be a lot of friends and family to try and get the lead back heading in the enduros. It is a big event this one. I enjoy the circuit so hopefully it is good to us. It could be tough for everyone as there are a lot of unknowns. We've had success in the past there and we plan to get the lead back and show that we are in the fight."
Craig Lowndes, Red Bull Racing Australia, p3:
"It's going to be exciting to go back to Sydney Motorsport Park after a long break from racing there, even though we tested there earlier this year. It's a track I enjoy and I had my first win for Triple Eight and my first ever V8 Supercars win there, so it's very much a sentimental circuit for me.
"I'm looking forward to finishing the Super Sprint rounds for the year, apart from Phillip Island, on a positive note and obviously get our teeth into enduros.
"Although it's a two day format, we've still got a three day weekend. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out with the two day format - I'm a fan of trying to condense everything as much as possible, so I'm really looking forward to the event."
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing, p5:
"We've gone alright at the tests there (at Sydney Motorsport Park) at the start of the year. How we're going to go there this time I'm not sure. We've got minimal practice with it being a two-day schedule so we'll have to see how it pans out.
"Turn one is pretty cool, obviously it's fast, high speed and rewards a little bit of bravery. It's a track that's pretty hard on tyres so it's going to be pretty tough in that aspect of the race.
"Getting through a full program and not having a night to think about it and adjust the car is going to be pretty tough on teams so we're going to have to try and get the most out of it as quick as we can."
Scott McLaughlin, Valvoline Racing GRM, p7:
"The test day has been really good for us. We know where we can start from and I am really looking forward to it.
"It is going to be a bit different with a two day of V8 Supercars. Our car is pretty good on the high-speed tracks [but] the biggest thing will be getting some turn in from our car and the race pace. But I think we have got a pretty awesome weekend ahead of us."
Chaz Mostert, Ford Pepsi Max Crew, p8:
"My expectations are low this weekend as I haven't raced a V8 Supercar there before. We tested there in February but it was really wet and was my first time in the car. The track is new for a lot of people given we haven't raced there much. Hopefully I can pick it up quickly. We were pretty quick at Queensland Raceway and my engineer Adam has done a lot of work in the background so hopefully that helps me get up to pace quickly so we can come away with a strong result."
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing, p10:
"We need to work on our qualifying speed and aim to be further up the grid, which is especially important for Saturday. It is probably going to rain over the weekend, which will be the first wet races we've had all year. Hopefully we are strong in the wet. The two-day format should be good. Saturday is the busiest day of the year for us as we are on track six times so it will keep drivers and engineers busy and should be a good show."
Jason Bright, Team BOC, p11:
"The last round in Queensland was pretty disappointing. We weren't too far off but didn't qualify anywhere near well enough for that weekend. We had a really weird slow stint in that Sunday race. There were periods where the car was really fast and then other times when it was struggling. It was one of the weirder weekends we've had all year.
"Sydney Motorsport Park - I really like the track, it's a shame we haven't been going there every year because it's one of the best tracks in Australia. It hasn't been great to me over the years so hopefully we can get a good result this weekend.
"Tyre life is definitely a big factor at Sydney Motorsport Park because it is all high speed, long corners, so that will play a big part, especially on Sunday."
Scott Pye, Wilson Security Racing, p13:
"I fell we have really improved the car at the last few rounds and we can compete regularly in the top 10. The result at QR (career best fourth place in Sunday's 200km race) was fantastic and we were a genuine top five car throughout the race.
"We just have to keep working hard to ensure the momentum is there at each round. This weekends' two day format gives the crew very little time between practice, qualifying and racing, so if we roll out of the truck with a good car we should be in great shape.
"Although we have not raced here since 2012, I don't think it will have a huge bearing on the grid, and we will be pushing to be right up there."
Will Davison, Erebus Motorsport V8, p14:
"I had my first ever race win at Eastern Creek in 2008 so I've got fond memories from winning that.
"I've had fond memories of the place throughout my whole career. It's certainly a great facility that deserves to be on our calendar.
"But at the end of the day, the past means nothing especially in this day and age. I'm sure everyone's got a good story to tell, that's the nature of the field and the quality of the drivers. It's all about getting it right on any given weekend.
"If we can get a really good car around here, I feel like that'll set us up going forwards.
"I feel it's one of the toughest circuits to get a good car. It's a real test for us to have a quick car on the slow short sharp corners and also a quick car on the long fast corners.
"It's a good opportunity to keep developing and in the meantime going maximum attack to get a good result.
"The motivation and morale in the team couldn't be any higher and I'm really enjoying working with the engineers and moving the car forwards.''
Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing, p16:
"I'm very excited for a couple of reasons heading into Sydney Motorsport Park.
"For one, we've had the pre-season test there a couple of years in a row, and we've found some really good corner pace, which has put us towards the top of the timesheets.
"Obviously a race meeting is a little bit different, but nether-the-less it gives us good hope.
"Also the Queensland Raceway round for us was much better than we expected.
"We learned a lot from that, and hopefully we can carry the momentum up to Sydney Motorsport Park, which is the final Super Sprint round before the endurance season as well.
"From that point of view it's quite exciting about the progress we have made and the improvements we've got coming on stream.
"It's time for us to forge our way forward."
Lee Holdsworth, Erebus Motorsport V8, p17:
"We got to Sydney with a bit of a different mindset.
"We're not going in with specific expectations, we're just trying to work at simplifying things and work on our consistency and build confidence going into the enduros.
"We know the car can be quick, we've proven that time and time again. We're just looking for a consistent weekend.''
Nick Percat, HHA Racing, p18:
"We are all pumped for this weekend after the excellent weekends at both Townsville and Queensland Raceway. "It's all going well and a big credit must go to Alex (Car Manager) and Ty (Performance Engineer) with how they've approached working with me and the great relationship we've got already.
"I've had success there in the Porsche Carrera Cup and in Formula Ford, so hopefully that will continue and we can come away with another top 10 finish."
Russell Ingall, Repair Management Racing Australia, p19:
"It's looking promising, we were one of the quickest cars at the test day in both (wet and dry) weather conditions and I've got a good record here.
"It's always a challenge of getting the car to where we would like it in such short period of time with limited practice sessions.
"Being a smaller team, we don't have the resources like the larger teams down pit lane. That does make it harder and it can take us a bit longer to get there."
David Wall, Wilson Security Racing, p21:
"There is really no such thing as a 'home track advantage' but it is nice to be here in Sydney. I have a lot of family and friends coming out on the weekend and get to sleep in my own bed!
"I really enjoy Sydney Motorsport Park and have put in a lot of laps here. The cars are evolving every round and the Wilson Security/PAYCE Falcons showed some strong race pace in the 200km race at QR. Qualifying will again be a huge focus for all three races and we need to find that bit more.
"We are learning more about the car and the set up every time we race and this is carrying on to each round. The field will be very competitive here and we are looking to be pushing for those Top 10 results."
Dale Wood, Team ADVAM/GB Gal, p22:
"The last time I raced at Sydney Motorsport Park was in Formula Ford in 2004 or 2005. I really like the track. It's got good fast, flowing corners and undulations. We've just got to hope we roll out on Saturday with a car we're happy with and we'll be alright.
"The test at Winton (before last event at Queensland Raceway) went really good, pretty much everything we threw at the car worked. So you go with all these great ideas to carry into the next race and unfortunately it didn't pay off. We'll take a step back this time to something I'm a bit more familiar with.
"There's no reason to be questioning things too much, a lot of the year has gone well and there's been some races that haven't gone well. I think going into this one there's every potential for us to go well again."
Jack Perkins, Team JELD-WEN, p23:
"It is the first track that I've been to for the second time in my Team JELD-WEN Ford. At least we have some information from the test day there earlier this year and I think the weather that made it tough that day is back again this weekend. We are looking to get a positive result before the enduros where my co-driver Cam Waters will join me. I can't wait to get there and get started."
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing, p24:
"At our very first test day at Sydney Motorsport Park, when we only had two Nissan Altimas finished to that point, and we were very early on in our engine development program, the cars weren't too bad," said Todd Kelly.
"Our initial setup was quite good, but we've come a long way since then, in our aero kit, our engine, and what we've learned about setting the cars up.
"At this year's pre-season test, again we were quite fast there, and it was both wet and dry, and we were near the top of the time sheets in both scenarios.
"Of all of the tracks we go to this season, it's certainly one that we should be able to get a good result out of our cars.
"There are a lot more corners, including faster corners, than there are straights, which will certainly suit our cars and our package more.
"Hopefully we can get there and nail the setup. We found a lot of good stuff from the last round at Queensland Raceway, and a lot of that should translate well to Sydney Motorsport Park.
Hopefully we can have a good round, we've certainly got the potential there, and it will certainly set the team up with the right amount of positivity and morale heading into the enduros."
Robert Dahlgren, Valvoline Racing GRM, p25:
"It is almost like my home track in Australia if I was to pick one. I think the track will be good for the Volvo and we have an interesting weekend ahead of us, lets go racing!"