MOMENTUM BUILDING IN THE WEST

PERTH’s weekend of Supercar racing threw up a couple of issues that are going to need to be addressed before the series returns to Barbagallo Raceway in 12 months’ time.

  

At 2.42km long Barbagallo shares with Tasmania’s Symmons Plains the honour of being the shortest track on the annual Supercars schedule, and that brings with it the issue of 26 cars all trying to qualify at once.

 

Fundamentally, the problem is that you’ve only got a 15 minute qualifying session and during that time you try to get two runs, which means there’s an unholy scramble for track position and you get a mix of some cars on hot laps, while others are on slow warm-up laps.

 

If you’re at the head of pitlane you can be almost at the end of your hotlap while others from the other end of pitlane, are still on their warm-up lap.

 

It’s a problem annually at Symmons Plains but there you have good visibility around the track (unless it rains) whereas at Barbagallo there’s a big hill with a blind crest, so drivers can come over that absolutely flat out on a qualifier and discover a whole train of cars crawling along about to start their hot laps.

 

We saw exactly that on the weekend, with the incidents to Giz and (Dale) Wood, and it’s extremely dangerous and could potentially lead to a major accident.

 

It’s an inevitable issue on short circuits.

 

Maybe one day Barbagallo will be extended but in the short term we need solutions.

 

It's easy to say just look in your mirror but for a second you can and there’s a car behind you warming their tyres, then you have to monitor your gap to the car in front of you which is also monitoring their gap.

 

Everyone wants 100m clear space, everyone wants ideal tyre and brake prep, no one wants to go into the marbles. We all push the boundaries to give ourselves that little extra gap. And it's generally the ones at the back that pay the price with the faster cars coming up on them.

 

Of course it’s made a lot worse with Barbagallo’s blind crest, as you can't see anything beyond the car warming up immediately behind you. 

 

I’d suggest that we split the field in two and run sessions back-to-back, each of 15 minutes, with 13 cars in each. These could be drawn randomly prior to the start of the weekend, so you have a mix of cars and there’s no favouritism.

 

You’d also swap the two groups around Saturday to Sunday, so that in each qualifying session both groups get to go first.

 

Or another option is for either Friday P2 or Saturday P3 to dictate the top and bottom 50 percent, as we used to do. It would add interest to the Friday also. Yes there will always be one session faster than the other, but it’s not such a big an issue in Perth or Symmons, our two shortest circuits.

 

And maybe they are 10 minute sessions with one set of tyres each, followed by a top 15 shootout to even it up?

 

At the weekend there were also several incidents at the very awkward pitlane entry, which requires a sharp right-hand turn exiting the last corner.

 

Unsurprisingly, drivers exiting the last corner were caught unawares by cars in front suddenly slowing on the exit, and peeling into the pitlane.

 

When they built the new pit facility five or so years ago, they also created a new pitlane entry to the right off the downhill main straight, but unfortunately that would also cause problems.

 

It's too quick and would be very easy for someone to over-run as it turns through the infield at the last corner, and end up back on the race track.

 

So unless there is a wall installed outside this pit entry, then it couldn't work. And I'm not sure then of other ramifications to circuit safety requirements.

 

It’s always going to be hard to have a pit entry at a 250km/h part of the circuit. 

 

PERTH was good news for the Tekno team at last.

 

We had our best weekend of the year by far, finishing both races strongly, running inside the top 10 and not having any incidents. It’s just what everyone needed after a tough first four weekends of the year.

 

I think we really did maximise what we had at Barbagallo, and I was delighted that collectively as a team we were able to out race and beat Giz in the Red Bull Holden and Fabian (Coulthard) in the Penske Ford on Sunday.

 

We had a pair of strong races, didn’t get mixed up in anything, and brought the car home both days without a scratch.

 

That stuff counts after the start to the season we’ve had!

 

The guys and girls at Tekno have worked so hard this year and kept their spirits up amid a lot of disappointments, so Perth felt like a turning point for all of us.

 

We go to Winton in 10 days’ time ready to capitalise on this momentum.

 

 


« back
CONSOLIDATING CHAMPIONSHIP CHANCES
18.05.2017
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MOMENTUM BUILDING IN THE WEST
11.05.2017
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THE RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK
20.04.2017
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TASSIE BOUND
06.04.2017
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AGP TIME
23.03.2017
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JUMPING IN THE DEEP END
09.03.2017
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THE SEASON OPENER IS HERE
01.03.2017
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2017 TEST DAY WRAP
14.02.2017
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BATHURST 12 HOUR WRAP UP
10.02.2017
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2017 AUSTRALIAN MOTOR RACING SEASON IS UPON US!
03.02.2017
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SYDNEY FINALE
09.12.2016
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PASSING IN PUKEKOHE
11.11.2016
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STACKING UP THE NUMBERS
28.10.2016
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CONQUERING THE MOUNTAIN
12.10.2016
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SUCCESS AT SANDOWN
21.09.2016
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POWERING ON TO SANDOWN
12.09.2016
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MID-SEASON
11.08.2016
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QUEENSLAND RACEWAY BLUES
27.07.2016
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TAKING ON TOWNSVILLE
18.07.2016
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THE WILD WEST
13.05.2016
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TASSIE TRIUMPH
08.04.2016
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HEADING SOUTH
31.03.2016
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WE'RE BACK
16.03.2016
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THE HOME STRETCH
18.11.2015
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WELCOME TO BATHURST
08.10.2015
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PUSHING FORWARD IN QUEENSLAND
13.08.2015
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LESSONS FROM THE NORTH
08.07.2015
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WINTON WOES
19.05.2015
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PERTH PERFECTION
11.05.2015
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ONE YEAR LATER
15.04.2015
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ROCKY START TO THE YEAR
16.03.2015
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