Phillip Island, home to fairy penguins, pristine white beaches and the richest Australian motorsport history.
Also, home to our next stop on the championship calendar, the 4.45km Grand Prix Circuit, featuring sweeping views across the Bass Strait toward Tassie, our most recent hunting ground.
Spectacular views often come at a price and at Phillip Island it’s not in the form of cash (well technically speaking, it could be if we claim pole position or a podium), but more so, in the form of aerodynamics.
Wind at Phillip Island is like finding sheep in Pukekohe or unplanned chaos at the Bathurst 1000 – it’s guaranteed.
The exposure to the elements of the Bass Straight has a huge effect on car setup, with engineers chasing good grip and stability on a speed varied track – so it’s lucky we have our new aerodynamic package, right?
Yeah right… We’re set for yet ANOTHER test of our new Commodore and, taking into consideration this track features one of the highest average speeds on our calendar, the work is no doubt cut out for our engineers.
“This is obviously the fourth race of the year and something we look at as being the fourth type of track,” said Shane “SVG” van Gisbergen.
“It’s really high speed with some fast corners so it’ll be another good test for the new ZB. I definitely think it will suit our new car.
“The wind can play havoc but it’s not a bad thing. It can mean one day the car is handling in a certain way and you can fix it, then you get there the next day and the wind has changed completely, so you really have to be on top of your game and on top of all of that.”
Bring in long sweeping turns and heavy load and you’ll see hard tyres come out to play.
“We use the hard tyre at about three or four tracks in the year and will be doing so again this year at Phillip Island,” said SVG.
“We went pretty well on the hard tyres in Adelaide and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.”
Fast corners, high speed and unreliable gusty winds, the track might have the characteristics of an engineer’s nightmare but it sure is the ultimate track for the drivers – just ask SVG.
“It’s pretty cool to race and it’s always quite a challenge, that’s for sure,” he continued.
“The first big difference is the balance and aerodynamics – the high-speed corner that you find at turn eight in Adelaide is about 200km/h whereas at Phillip Island there’s probably three or four corners that are over about 200km/h.”
Well, for us Queenslanders, the weather sounds like a nightmare but all of our not-yet-frozen fingers and toes are crossed for a sunny weekend on the island.