WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Event five of the Virgin Australian Supercars Championship is hosted by Winton Raceway this weekend and it’s somewhat of a home event for the Holden Racing Team who will travel just three hours up the Hume Highway from HQ. Winton is also the team’s testing track.

During the summer break the circuit underwent a resurface and while HRT have held two test days there since the beginning of the year, this is the first time the Supercars Championship will race there since the makeover.  Joining the team this weekend for a dedicated practice session are Endurance Series co-drivers Warren Luff and Jack Perkins.

Both HRT drivers have previously enjoyed success at Winton with Tander achieving four wins and four podiums, and teammate Courtney having had three race wins, five podiums and two pole positions.

Surprisingly there has been a number of HRT stars who did not record a race win while racing for the team.  They include Lowndes, Skaife, Murphy and T Kelly.  The great man himself Peter Brock never won a race at Winton in his whole ATCC career.

The only year HRT has not raced at Winton since the team’s inception in 1992 when they were only participating in a partial season of the ATCC, but the team hasn’t missed an event since.

Again the Supercars Championship has chosen to make only the Dunlop soft tyre compound available for the two qualifying sessions and two races.  With fast lap times predicted, the use of soft tyres promises to spice up the racing and make this weekend’s on-track action unmissable.

FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT

Garth Tander, #2 Holden VF Commodore
“The schedule so far this year has been good and I like it a lot compared to last year.  What the Championship needs is regularity in the calendar and that’s what we have been able to achieve in this first part of the year.  It’s obviously tough on the team logistically but to help continue to grow the sport I think it has been good.”

“In reality we should go well at Winton because we test there and that’s probably going to be more of an advantage this year because of the change of surface. The circuit was resurfaced during the summer break and even since we tested there in February to April the track was considerably faster.”

“The track has a different characteristic now, it’s got a lot more grip and therefore you need a car that reacts and behaves differently to what Winton required in the past.  So having that bit of experience on the new surface will certainly give us a bit of a head start on the Queensland teams.”

“It’s a strange quirk that the Queensland teams have better stats there, but we have beaten them up at their home test track too.  When it’s your test track you tend to get a bit narrow focussed with the setup of the car, whereas when you go to any other circuit you are quite open minded.”

“The beauty of having Luffy in the car on Friday is he has been with us for a while now. He was at the test day last month and he was with us at the test day in February; so he has driven the car quite regularly at Winton.  We will have a couple of pre-programmed test items for him to try and if he says it’s better that will stay in the car.”

“The hard tyres need to be destroyed, never to be used again.  The soft tyre is a much better tyre and the racing has been better because of its predominant use.  The new surfer will have minimal degradation so the hard tyre is not what you want at all.”

James Courtney, #22 Holden VF Commodore
“Winton is our team’s test track but there isn’t really any advantage this year purely because the track has changed so much with the resurfacing.  It is constantly evolving and it will get faster and faster until it starts to deteriorate in the future.”

“We may have had a slight advantage over the Queensland teams given we just had a test day there, but Whincup came down to test with Holdsworth, so he would have taken home a heap of data to his team.”

“Normally we have found that with a new surface they have a lot of grip so hopefully at Winton the surface will produce a lot of good racing.  You should be able to run off-line and still have quite a lot of grip and hopefully that will be the case this weekend.”

“It is awesome for Jack that there is a co-driver session just for them on Friday.  He has been super quick in the car and did a great job for me last year when I was out on the side, then obviously we won at the Gold Coast.”

“It’s a strange thing to say but I am already looking forward to the endro season already, so getting him in the car and getting some more laps under his belt is a good thing.  On Friday he will start with a testing programme for us and give us a bit of direction.”

“I agree with Garth in that it is good just being soft tyres for the weekend, I think the other tyre is a waste of time.  The soft tyre should produce some exciting racing and I’m looking forward to it.”

TRACK FACTS

Track Length 3kms
Track Direction Clockwise
Average Speed 131km/h
Top Speed 225km/h
Qualifying Lap Record 1.19.6538s
Race Lap Record 1.22.5291s
Event Format Super Sprint
Tyre Allocation 24 – soft tyre compound only