It has been one of the longest break in this year’s calendar and let’s fess up, since we last laid rubber in Ipswich five weeks ago we have all been staring at a blank TV screen, or if you’re like Shae Davies, been running laps of your home/workplace in your imaginary Commodore.
Thankfully, the wait is over. We have been itching to get back on track and we are just days away from rolling out at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The circuit is complex and teams need to be mindful of a number of characteristics when searching for that perfect setup, so to get us back into the swing of things, we asked our newcomer to talk us through the ins and outs of the Western-Sydney circuit…
Track length: 3.905-kilometres
Average speed: 154km/h
Top speed: 256km/h
Qualifying lap record: – 1:29.0808 by Scott McLaughlin in 2014
Race lap record: – 1:30.9123 by Garth Tander in 2012
What are the main characteristics of SMP?
SD: SMP is a very fast & flowing circuit which is very rewarding for the driver when that great lap is put together. It relies heavily on having good car balance through high speed cornering as well as good braking stability in turns 2, 4 and 6.
How will these impact setup and strategy?
SD: We will have to take a relatively balanced approach to the setup in the car. There will have to be compromise in some areas to maximize the overall lap, applying focus to achieving good stability high speed so that the driver can extract the most from the car.
Where is your best passing opportunity?
SD: The best passing opportunity at SMP would have to be into turn 2 which is the largest stop on the track leading to a double apex corner. There are many different approaches taken to the corner from different drivers so this area presents the best chance to make a clean pass and look like a hero doing so.
Lastly, what are your thoughts heading into the weekend?
SD: It’s still quite surreal as I head into the weekends racing. Despite this, I know the job ahead of me and the focus will be as big as ever to get the best result for Erebus and myself. It’s a dream come true to be in this position and something that I’ve been working towards for many years so I will be making the most of it.