Drivers weigh in on Sydney SuperNight format

26 Jul
One long night race, followed by a Sunday afternoon sprint
3 mins by James Pavey

A flipped format is set to throw curveballs at drivers and teams at this weekend’s Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight.

This weekend’s event isn’t your normal two-day Supercars meeting, with a long night race preceding a traditional sprint.

Drivers won’t have any night running prior to the 200km, 51-lap Race 18 — which features refuelling — on Saturday night.

The grid for Saturday’s race will be set by three-part knockout ARMOR ALL Qualifying, which follows two 30-minute practice sessions.

Then, drivers go straight into single qualifying on Sunday, which sets the grid for the 140km, 36-lap Race 19.

There’s plenty at stake, with the top four in the championship covered by 72 points, with Supercars also confirming Wednesday that fastest lap bonus points will also be on offer.

"Sydney's going to be really interesting,” Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom, who hails from nearby Doonside, said.

"Saturday night is one format, long strategy, under lights, all those sort of things, and then we roll up Sunday, and they flip the whole format and it goes back to sprint racing.

"We’re on the one tyre compound all weekend, so if we're fast Saturday, we should be good Sunday, but I like the format.

"I think the long format's exciting, leading into enduros, and then a little bit of a sprint format just to put the pressure back on for those short races."


Nulon Racing’s James Golding added: “I am looking forward to returning to a track where we have already tested the Gen3 cars.

"It will be interesting to see how much the cars have been improved over the last five months, compared to the pre-season test.

“We have also experienced a lot of different tracks in the new cars now, so there is less uncertainty about how the cars will perform when we roll out for the first practice session on Saturday.

“The mix-up in race formats is cool. Knockout qualifying on Saturday and of course, racing under lights is awesome, you can’t beat it really.”

The changing conditions will be a test for the new Gen3 cars themselves, which tested at Sydney Motorsport Park — albeit during the day — in February.

Matt Stone Racing’s Jack Le Brocq says visibility at night will also throw another curveball. The Gen3 cars have less visibility than their predecessors.

"These cars are a little bit difficult to see out of, even in the daylight, so throw the night time in there and it’s going to be pretty interesting,” Le Brocq said.

"These cars are extremely high degradation so it’s going to be interesting around SMP because it’s high deg at the best of times.

"It’s a very interesting format as well, but fingers crossed we nail it and have a good run.”

Supercars will hit the track for the first time on Saturday for Practice 1 at 12:15pm local time/AEST.

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