Saturday schedule will challenge teams

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 20/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Teams will need to be on the pace quickly at Sydney Motorsport Park, with Saturday's revised schedule raising the stakes and providing six sessions of V8 Supercar action.

With just two half-hour practice sessions that morning, and plenty of pressure to perform at the final SuperSprint before the Pirtek Enduro Cup, teams will be battling the clock to find that perfect setup for the finicky circuit.

Given the circuit has not staged a race since 2012, and the last two outings to the test track were rain affected, there is no real form guide. So it really could be anyone's weekend.

According to Red Bull Racing Australia Team Principal Mark Dutton, the Saturday schedule -paired with a tricky tyre allocation, with just one set of Dunlop softs for Sunday -will challenge everyone in pit lane.

"The tyre strategy will throw a curve ball, and there's also the fact that ... practice Saturday is straight into qualifying," Dutton told v8supercars.com.au.

"That doesn't give you a lot of time to think about what you learnt in practice, it doesn't give you time to sleep on any setup changes for qualy or anything like that.

"And that always helps -you go hard all day at the track on Friday in practice, thinking through all the stuff and once you have a shower it's amazing how, back at the hotel, your head is clearer and you might reconfirm something or change your mind.

"There will be none of that -that in itself makes it tough, because people will have tighter time constraints."

However, while there are six drivers yet to race a V8 Supercar at the circuit -and both Volvo drivers Scott McLaughlin and Robert Dahlgren having not raced anything at all at Sydney Motorsport Park -Dutton feels they will actually be in a better position in terms of getting laps under their belts.

"The one good thing for people who haven't been there for a race meeting is you still get a lot of laps - you get a lot more laps than you would before qualifying with the short practice sessions," he explained.

"So for Dahlgren and guys like that, they'll actually have a better lead in than at other circuits that they've never been to at all before.So it's not so bad in that regard.

"Then there's the old saying - it's the same for everyone. It's not a big issue."

HHA Racing's Nick Percat - one of the six who has not raced a V8 Supercar at the circuit before -compared the structure of the weekend to the ITM Auckland 500, which saw teams with just 15 minutes between the only Friday practice session and qualifying earlier this year, which commemorated ANZAC Day.

"I like to go home or to the hotel and go over a few things, and sleep on it a bit - but I didn't get that opportunity at Pukekohe, and that was a place I'd never been to and had my best qualifying result there," Percat said.

"I was sixth, and the lead Walkinshaw car at one point -so it's hard to say. I'm not minding the two days."

While it is his first time at the track in the V8 Supercar, Percat has raced a Carrera Cup Porsche there and Formula Ford, so it is not an unfamiliar circuit.

The 25-year old believes there is no room for excuses in the Championship -it's adapt to the challenges, which are the same for everyone, end of story.

"For me, all the tracks we've gone to so far we've seemed to roll out pretty well, even when I haven't been there for a little while.

"The same as the other younger guys In the category - McLaughlin, Chaz, Pye -they roll out and we all tend to be pretty close to the money straight away.

"I think main game these days you don't have much time to have an excuse, you have to get out there and get on with it pretty quickly, so it's all good."

Six sessions on Saturday means plenty of V8 Supercars action on-track, and fans who attend Sydney Motorsport Park on Sunday will get 200km of racing, qualifying and the True Colour Track Walk, back by popular demand -as well as a great selection of support categories.

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