Unique race format adds spice to 2024 AGP

13 Mar
This year’s Supercars round at Melbourne’s Albert Park is more cutthroat than ever, given there are no pit stops
  • No pit stops for Melbourne SuperSprint races

  • Drivers will race on Dunlop Soft compound for first time in 2024

  • Just 90 minutes of track time before first race of weekend

Rolling out with a fast car and nailing qualifying will set the tone for drivers at the upcoming MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint, where races won't have compulsory pit stops.

The 320 points on offer are the most at any event in 2024 — drivers will get 75 for the win, and five fastest lap bonus points for drivers, provided they finish in the top 15. However, there is plenty of risk, and very little time to get set-ups nailed down.

Drivers get two 30-minute practice sessions and two 15-minute qualifying sessions before launching into the first sprint race of the weekend.

Critically, for the first time, championship races in Melbourne won’t have pit stops, meaning drivers have to qualify well, or risk losing time fighting through the field.

Additionally, after two years of mixed tyre compound racing, drivers have only have the Dunlop Soft tyre at their disposal — a far cry from the Hard compound used in Bathurst two weeks ago.

“Anything can happen in those four races,” Tickford Racing driver Thomas Randle told Supercars.com.

"No pit stops, 20 laps on a Soft tyre. It's going to be interesting, that's for sure. Thursday is seriously jam-packed. We have two practice sessions, I think there's less than an hour between Practice 2 and qualifying.

“Best case scenario, you roll out for Practice 1 and the car's mega and it's only fine-tuning from there. But, if you're trying to do big swings, you haven't got a lot of time to get it right.

"I know every team, every driver wants that, but we just need to nail all those one percenters.”


Randle’s teammate Cam Waters suggested there will be significant tyre degradation, meaning track position will be crucial as drivers tip-toe around the Melbourne circuit.

“Obviously it’s going to be a very different weekend with no pit stops, which is probably just going to put even more emphasis on having a good qualifying car, so you qualify up the front,” Waters said.

“It’s probably going to be hard to pass. I think there probably will be a bit of deg, so hopefully that spices things up, but it's going to be a tough one.”

Erebus Motorsport recruit Todd Hazelwood was keen to get onto the Soft tyre, with the reigning champions one of a number of teams unable to unlock the maximum out of the Hard tyre in Bathurst.

“We saw last year qualifying is super important, especially now going to what is essentially a sprint race format,” Hazelwood told Supercars.com.

“It’ll be good to get on the Soft tyre. In Bathurst, for us, we probably struggled as a little bit as a team on a Hard tyre, to be fair.

“I'm probably a lot more confident with what I experienced at the test day, getting back on the Soft tyre, and knowing that we've got a fast car.”

Track action in Melbourne begins on Thursday March 21, with races held on all four days of the event.

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