Tasmania. Home of the oldest trees in the world, Ricky Ponting, and this weekend, the fastest cars in the country. Oh Tassie, how we’ve missed you…!
As the Red Bull Ampol Racing crew crack open a Cascade and mentally prepare for overseas travel once again (making sure we pack an extra pair of thermals!), we like to look back and reflect on our previous visits to the Apple Isle.
No stranger to the top step of the Tassie podium, Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup has a total of 12 wins at Symmons Plains, the most of any Supercars driver. Although simple in layout, JDub explains some of the complexities of the Tassie track.
“The Symmons Plains track is quite unique. The funny thing is, the simpler something is, generally, the more technical it becomes. Think about a 100-metre sprint or a NASCAR oval circuit; they look quite simple but they’re massively technical because all of those one-percenters make a difference,” JDub said.
“With only four corners at the Tassie circuit, you’ve got to get every corner perfect to be competitive. It’s one of the most challenging qualifying sessions we do. The whole field will qualify within a second, so every hundredth of a second is critical to get right. The whole weekend is all about little increments and finding those small gains that make a big difference overall.
“It’s been a happy hunting ground for me in the past, but as I always say, that doesn’t guarantee anything in the future. We’ve generally gone well down there, so we’ll take confidence from that, be we’ll have to be on our A-game to be competitive.
“The Tassie crowd are committed, that’s for sure! Rain, hail, snow, wind or shine, they’re there! We always get a packed hill from turn two down to the hair pin despite the weather conditions – they love their live sporting events and tend to come in droves.”
Continuing his impressive winning streak at Sandown, Shane ‘busted-wing’ van Gisbergen is expecting some tough competition in Tassie, which he believes other teams will be super competitive at.
“Symmons Plains looks so easy on paper, but it’s definitely not. They say on the track map that there are seven corners, but in essence there are only three, and they’re all left-turn corners. It’s a tough track to get right because everyone’s so close,” SVG said.
“We’ve done well there in the past, but that’s over two years ago; setups have come a long way since then, and teams have developed, so I don’t expect us to be outright fastest because there will be so many other quick guys on track. I’m sure we’ll be up or near the front – there’s no reason not to be, but we’ll prepare the best we can with our engineering team.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Its always a cool track, a cool event, and the weather always varies which can make racing conditions tough, but I always love racing there. The hairpin has developed that the wide line is actually the fastest, so it’s so inviting to shoot up the inside. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
Finally, on behalf of the entire team at Red Bull Ampol Racing, we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to the dedicated Supercars fans who had to reschedule their plans to attend this weekend’s Tasmania SuperSprint. You’re all the real MVP’s, and we can’t wait to put on a show for you this weekend. See you at the track!