Preview: Winton Motor Raceway
We’ll be honest – Perth is not what we wanted, but with some tricks up our sleeves we are looking to turn it around this weekend.
Dubbed “The Nation’s Action Track,” Winton’s tight and twisty rural layout features a range of slow corners and short straights, which combine to make it the slowest circuit on the Supercars calendar.
With an average speed of just 131km/h, engineers need to pull their socks up and produce a car with excellent slow speed grip, particularly in the front, to produce a fast lap time.
While it is our designated test track, it won’t mean much this weekend with the team yet to test there this season.
History lesson: Our first Supercars race win came here with Lee Holdsworth in 2014 after starting fourth on the grid.
What makes this track unique: Top gear isn’t used at this track. If a driver does choose to use it briefly before braking at Turn 1, it’s very likely to result in a visit to the grass.
Grip levels: High, although a little unknown. The track was resurfaced at the beginning of last year and produced fantastic levels of grip but since then the surface has broken up and needed fixing.
Tyre degradation: Low, as with most resurfaced tracks. Engineers can expect slightly more degradation this year but nothing too significant.
Run-off: Plentiful, although Turns 2 and 4 can bring you unstuck, with the walls in close proximity to the track’s edge.
Safety cars: Of the last 46 VASC race held at Winton on the current circuit, the Safety Car has appeared in 26 of them – a percentage of 56.5%.
Watch out for: Our co-drivers – Luke Youlden joins us again in the #9 Holden, while Chris Pither will turn his first laps in the #99 during the Additional Driver’s Practice Friday morning.
Did you know: The team’s David Reynolds passed a whopping 11 cars to claim sixth in last year’s Sunday race.
Don’t forget: The field will rise to 29 cars this weekend – with three Dunlop Super2 Series drivers joining the field as wildcard entries.
FROM THE DRIVERS
David Reynolds – #9 Erebus Penrite Racing
“Winton was a turning point for us last year, it was the first time we actually had a really good car and we raced really well. I had the fastest car on track and went from 17th to sixth. I think if we qualified up the front we probably could have won the race because my car was that good.
“They have resurfaced some areas of the track so that’s going to create different surfaces throughout the lap, so there’s the potential for every corner to be different. I’m pretty open-minded, it’s our test track and ideally, we would have tested there this year but the schedule hasn’t allowed it so it’s fair to say it will be like any other track we roll up to with no real advantage.
“It’s a high turning, high lateral-g track; even though they are shorter corners you do spend a lot of time braking into the corner and accelerating away. You probably only spend 25% of the lap at full throttle and a lot of time spent on the brakes and turning the wheel. It means you can make a mistake at turn one in qualifying you can sometimes make it up during the rest of the lap because there are so many corners.
“It’s pretty cool of the category to have a couple of wild cards this weekend and cool for young drivers to have that opportunity. I think they will have done a magnificent job to be fighting up the front but it is their test track so it’s their best opportunity to go well.
Dale Wood – #99 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing
“It’s a technical little track that isn’t very conductive to overtaking which means the importance comes down to qualifying. It’s really important to qualify well because then if you have decent race pace, you will generally be able to hold a good position and get a result.
“Our green tyre pace should be good this weekend, it’s somewhere we have tested a lot and understand well. They have done some repairs after the track surface had broken up a bit but it’s quite a good surface and doesn’t hurt the tyre nearly as much as what the likes of Perth did.
“It’s a matter of getting the front end to work well enough on a green tyre. Often when we put a new tyre on we pick up a lot of rear grip and not enough front grip so we need to ensure that we get that right during practice on Friday. That is the hard part and if we can do that then we will have fast cars.
“It’s somewhere we’ve done a lot of laps around so everyone knows the track quite well so the times are always super close. Traditionally I’ve gone quite well here, but this field it doesn’t really mean anything, you’ve got to get it right on the day to have a change of going well.”