What’s the first thing you’d want to do when faced with a new circuit?
Take a good look at it perhaps? See it with your own eyes and feel it under your feet you would think…
That’s exactly what our current championship leader Jamie Whincup did this week, just over a week out from the ‘grand finale’ of the Supercars season.
Invited down for a media call, J-Dub took the opportunity to take have a squiz and check out the circuit with his Race Engineer, David Cauchi.
And boy was he impressed…
“The track looks fantastic. There’s been so much consideration for the drivers on making this place really good, not only as an event but a good race track with plenty of passing opportunities,” he told Supercars.com.
The 2.6km track winds through the city streets of Newcastle before heading down along the coastline of Newcastle’s main beach.
It’s a circuit that Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Mark Dutton described as “a hybrid with a bit of everything” when he checked it out late last week.
“The elevation has surprised me – that run up into Turn 2, you gain a lot of altitude and then hook back down the other side,” J-Dub said.
“Then there’s the terrain, the braking zones that drop away, it’s going to be really hard work, the drivers will have to be on their game the whole way around for 250km.
“It’s going to be a nightmare to get right, believe it or not, it’s going to be really difficult to work out what the right lines are and how to set the car up, but that’s all part of the fun I guess.
“There are plenty of spots on the circuit that could trip people up, without doubt.”
It’s certainly shaping up to be an outstanding spectacle, with just 30 points separating J-Dub and his closest championship contender, Scott McLaughlin.
No advantages, nothing… It’s a clean state and experience goes out the window.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge for everyone.”
“I’d expect everyone to come down, have a look at the track and see what it’s all about,” he continued.
“It’s a very, very important weekend for us, certainly for the championship contenders, but everyone in the field wants to win the first Newcastle 500.
“I’ve got no doubt everyone will be here in the next few weeks to check it out.”
This is the race that will determine both the Drivers Championship and the Teams Championship – and we’re in the depth of the fight going in. Wish us luck!