Sydney night race a 'wildcard' in title fight

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/07/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam

Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen have classed the maiden Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300 as a "wildcard" in their Supercars Championship battle.

On August 4 at Sydney Motorsport Park, Supercars will race under lights for the first time since 2011 and for the first time in Australia since 1997.

The Saturday-evening race will be worth the maximum 300 points, and at 300km be the year's longest single-driver race.

Drivers will have a 40-minute practice session on Friday night to acclimatise to the conditions, with a second practice and ARMOR ALL Qualifying to be held on Saturday afternoon.

Van Gisbergen is one of 13 drivers who were on the grid in Abu Dhabi in 2011 for Supercars' last night race, and was part of a Sydney lighting test earlier this year.

"It's probably the most important race of the year, single-driver event, 300 kilometres, 300 points," the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver said.

"It's up there, on how important the race is, it's a big wildcard.

"We need to be on it there, I'm glad they made it the long track, the short one would've been boring as anything but the long track's going to put up a good fight.

"It'll be an awesome event, I'm really looking forward to that."

_EV09-17-0202Fabian Coulthard and Simona De Silvestro undertook the first lighting test at Sydney Motorsport Park last August

McLaughlin made his Supercars debut two years after the Abu Dhabi event and was just three years old when the 1997 Calder night race took place.

He leads van Gisbergen by 131 points after 20 of this year's 31 races, the pair both having won a race and taken a second at Queensland Raceway last weekend.

The Shell V-Power Racing driver took both ARMOR ALL Poles in Sydney last year, with team-mate Fabian Coulthard winning on Saturday after McLaughlin and van Gisbergen clashed.

Other than looking to work some night karting into his schedule beforehand, McLaughlin said his approach for the 300-point race would not change.

"There's a lot more points on offer, post-Sydney but like Shane said it's very important, a bit of a wildcard," he said.

"I feel like we're prepared and we've always gone reasonably well around there.

"I am excited about our car pace but it is going to be a wildcard with temperatures and what you're going to do at pitstops and all of that sort of stuff. It's going to be cool."

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