Record breaking day looms

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 09/10/2015
  • By Bruce Newton

It could be broken record day at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with the 300km/h barrier a big chance to be busted and the fastest qualifying times potentially dropping into the 2min04sec bracket.

But achieving the milestones will take the right conditions and huge commitment.

A change of gearing for this year's race means the V8 Supercars have the potential to run beyond 300km/h down Conrod Straight if the conditions are right.

And with Fabian Coulthard leading the charge into the 2min05sec barrier on Thursday and undercutting his own qualifying lap record in the process, the expectation is this afternoon's qualifying could see the field plunge even further into previously uncharted territory.

The fastest car down Conrod Straightyesterdaywas the Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat Wilson Security GRM Volvo S60 at 296.1km/h. The entire 27 car field was separated by just seven km/h.

Wilson Security GRM team manager Dean Cowling told the team was surprised to record the fastest time.

"That's great, we weren't even concentrating on our straight line speed we just wanted to get a lap together and that's where our main focus is at the moment," he said. "But if we are quickest in a straight line that's great."

And he said if the conditions improve 300km/h was attainable.

"There was a bit of a cross wind today and it will change a bit so we will see what the wind does tomorrow.

"If the wind follows the cars down the main straight then there is every chance of 300km/h for sure."

Coulthard set a best time of 2min05.4786sec yesterday in his Freightliner Racing Holden Commodore VF, setting the fastest ever V8 Supercar lap around Mount Panorama and beating his own 2min05.6080 qualifying record from last year.

The Brad Jones Racing driver said there was a decent chance the fastest cars in this afternoon's qualifying sessions would break into the 2min04 bracket.

"You use multiple sets of (green) tyres in qualifying and obviously the conditions have to be good. It has to be fine.

"Everything is possible, but to what level I don't know. It'll be nice. If there's a four in it, I'll try and do it."

Whether the cars do get into the 2min04s or not, Coulthard is confident his mark from yesterday won't last long.

"Obviously to go a couple of tenths quicker than what I did here last year is pretty special and I think the way the weekend is panning out; it wouldn't surprise me if it gets broken again."

Coulthard suggested a slipstream from another car might be necessary to break through the 300km/h barrier.

"I think maybe its doable if you have a tailwind by yourself, but you have to punch the air by yourself so it's going to be hard.

"Maybe if you get a tow it will be a little bit easier with the car in front breaking the air for you and gives you a better run at it. If there are two or three cars and you are the last guy, then maybe.

"We may break 300 but I push my right pedal down as hard as I can to the floor anyway so if I do it I do it."

And while the gearing change has made 300km/h theoretically attainable because it raises the top speed, it also hampers the cars because they are slower accelerating out of Forrests Elbow on to Conrod Straight.

"You start from a few more revs down and the engine has got to pull itself through that rev range," he explained.

Coulthard said the change of gearing had affected shift points and therefore the way drivers attacked the 6.213km track.

"It is a little bit different. There are shift points that are your markers for the track and they have changed with the gearing. But you just adapt, this is now the norm and we get used to it."

Top 10 official speeds from Thursday Practice 3:

Scott McLaughlin296.1
Nick Percat295.4
Jack Perkins295.1
Scott Pye294.5
Jack Le Brocq294.4
Steve Richards294.4
Steve Owen294.3
Paul Dumbrell294.1
Andre Heimgartner294.1
Fabian Coulthard294.1

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