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Live Diary: Auckland

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Qualifying – First (Fastest Time: 01:01.5620)
Top 10 Shootout – First (Fastest Time: 01:01.6666)
Race 216th

ChampionshipFifth (2,140 points)

“Today was certainly a weird one as we were leading the race, and in control, but we were indecisive about when we were going to pit due to the lapped traffic out on the track and the fact we weren’t getting any blue flags.  If we’d received blue flags, we would have kept going but being stuck where we were was the start of it all.  Cauchi (David Cauchi, Race Engineer) had said over the radio that we weren’t the leader and to go passed the safety car.  I stopped behind the safety car to give it the opportunity to put the green lights on, waited a few seconds but it seemed as if they were all asleep and I just got on with it.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.  It would have been nice if the car behind had followed.  Clearly, an error was made, but at the end of the day it meant we finished towards the back of the pack.  If we’d stayed behind the safety car we would have only gained maybe one or two spots so in hindsight we weren’t going to get a much higher position than we did anyway.  From that point on it was pretty much the end of the race for us.  It’s disheartening, as we have been working hard to improve performance and when there’s an incident like today certain questions start arising.  At the moment the next round isn’t on my mind because we need the time to head home to regroup and refocus.”


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97

Qualifying – Fourth (Fastest Time: 01:01.6593)
Top 10 Shootout – Sixth (Fastest Time: 01:01.9809)
Race 2Second

ChampionshipSecond (2,410 points)

“Firstly, it’s an amazing feeling to get the Jason Richards Trophy again as he was a special person who meant so much to everyone.  Out on track, obviously there was an incident with the safety car, but we knew we were in a good position and just had to keep it together the whole race to try and push for the win.  The whole weekend was good as we had made some gains with the cars.  Certainly, the pace on both cars has improved.  Now it will just be about trying to find the necessary balance moving forward.  That will make it interesting to see how the cars perform at Bathurst.  It’s been an unreal atmosphere here with everyone supporting the drivers and especially the Kiwi drivers.  For Scott to take the win and have a Kiwi 1-2 today was an awesome finish to the weekend in New Zealand.”


1930:  As the crew packs the garage into containers so everything can be flown back to Oz.  We take a moment to relive the action of the weekend with the  guys behind the wheel.

1800:  Do you think this weekend had it all covered?  My goodness.  Did we miss anything?  Before we get a chance to catch up with the boys – SVG is off to the media conference.  JDub is being interview in the garage AND somehow juggle heading off to the volunteer party.  Work is never done for these twos.

1735:  SVG for P2 and the Jason Richards Trophy.  What a weekend for the Kiwi at home.



1715:  Even after all that JDub still got the skills.


1645:  We have been trying to keep up with what is going on after the safety car was called but there is some racing going on up ahead.


1625:  Room with a view.

1620:  JDub must have some Red Bull in that car.  He breaks his previous lap record with a 1:02.4788 this time around.

1610:  Another front row start for the team.  It will be a battle no doubt.  Let’s get this race started!



1540:  View looks good.

1445:  Blackout period for the drivers.  This also means it’s only one hour until we go racing again!

1415: Ducking into debrief.


1400:  JDub claims pole!

1355:  Not quite.  Falling short and slotting into P5.  In the meantime JDub is already at pit exit.

1350: SVG rolls out to pit exit – can he be the Kiwi to get two from two pole positions this weekend?

1340:   Drivers are gearing up as the top 10 head out to determine the starting positions for today’s race.

1150:  It’s a very similar day for the drivers with qualifying, debrief, black out on repeat three times throughout the day.  Yep not much action happening outside of that.  We will try to snap some behind the scenes but can’t promise it will be that entertaining.

1140:  SVG is determined and finishes strong.

JDub – P1 — 01:01.5620

SVG – P4 — 01:01.6593



1135:  JDub has called it quits for qualifying.

1130:  All the action is happening from P2 and below as JDub still sits in P1 – SAFETY CAR!



1123:  CHARGE for the first flying laps for the bulls.

1120: Different format for today’s schedule. Does anyone know if we have actually had back-to-back race weekends with the same format?  For now it’s qualifying  and followed by a top 10 shootout.  Here we go.

1000:  One last autograph session at Holden in New Zealand.  Earlier in the week the drivers took on a challenge with remote control cars.  If you didn’t know: SVG is the 2016 NZRCA title.


Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup, Holden Red Bull Racing Holden NZ RC challenge, Wednesday September 11 2019. Photo: Simon Watts/ NZ

Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup, Holden Red Bull Racing Holden NZ RC challenge, Wednesday September 11 2019. Photo: Simon Watts/ NZ


0900:  Late start for the final day of racing.  Forecast looks good both on – strong performances for the cars yesterday and off the track – yes believe it or not we have sunshine and blue skies.


Sunday 15 September


ITM Auckland SuperSprint Event 11 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Pukekohe, Auckland. New Zealand. 13th-15th Sep 2019

Jamie Whincup – Car #88

Practice 3 – Sixth (Fastest Time: 01:02.1132)
Qualifying – 12th (Fastest Time: 01:02.1251)

Race 1 Sixth

“I’m really proud of the engineers as we came here to Auckland with a strategy and philosophy which we stuck to until the death and tried to make it work.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work as we were 12th in qualifying which then made us make the decision to switch set-ups over to the same as Car #97 for the race.  It was obviously a better set up and if we were just going to keep doing the same thing we wouldn’t have moved forward.  As a result of the change, we got a heap of information from the set-up.  For the race, it was just qualifying lap after qualifying lap to give ourselves an opportunity to get to the top.  Thankfully the car was fast, and it hung onto its tyres as we worked our way back into the race which was nice.  We are proud of ourselves as we raced hard, we contributed to the race and hopefully Jason Richards is looking down on me and gives me the opportunity to win the trophy again tomorrow.”


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97

Practice 3 – Eight (Fastest Time: 01:02.1749)
Qualifying – First (Fastest Time: 01:01.5480)

Race 1 First

“It’s been a good day in learning the differences between the new aerodymanic set-ups in the car.  Grant McPherson (Shippy) did a good job in this morning’s practice session which then led us into a decent qualifying. We managed to get some good laps done in the session and got the opportunity to maximise by taking pole position.  In the race itself, it took a while for the tyres to come on but once the car got going it was racing until the end.  It’s a dream come true to claim pole position and have a win here at Pukekohe today, but we are not going to get ahead of ourselves.  As we saw today, the car can still be better tomorrow because in the middle sector we got stuck and couldn’t pass.  We really need to maximise tomorrow’s qualifying session again to start up the front of the grid and not get stuck behind.”‘


1830:  What a day so nice to have the weather hold off first and foremost – kidding!  Both drivers should be happy with those performances on track but let’s give them a chance to say it how it is.


TM Auckland SuperSprint Event 11 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Pukekohe, Auckland. New Zealand. 13th-15th Sep 2019


1745:  But before he can even catch a breath it’s to the podium then all things media.

1735:  SVG has done it claiming the first race in NZ.  Amazing achievement for the Kiwi – pole position and a race win.



1655:  Ooooooooo J-Dub!

1640:  This race is all about getting track (no pun intended) –  the engineers are constantly checking, cross referencing and calculating who is where with what, doing which lap on what fuel and it’s hard just to type about it.

1630:  Some trivia for you all – Did you know?

J-Dub clocked 1:02.5421s before the  safety car.  The previous lap record was held by  his co-driver CL, who managed a 1:03.2524s.



1610:  Bulls are ready – let’s get them out of the gates!



1550:  Ever wonder what the drivers get up to once they exit the cars from the grid …

1545:  Strap in as we head out onto the grid – P1 and P12 for the bulls this afternoon.

1455:  The day is just going by so quick – practice, debrief, black out… qualifying, debrief and yes you guess it back into black out ahead of the race.



1420:  Quick happy snaps and into the Fox Sports box for comments.  Yes the drivers need to move just as fast as they drive.


ITM Auckland SuperSprint Event 11 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Pukekohe, Auckland. New Zealand. 13th-15th Sep 2019


1415:  SVG shoots straight to the top in the last seconds – how on earth does he do it?  Starting from pole position for today’s race!

J-Dub – P12 — 01.02151

SVG – P1 — 01:01.5480



1410:  Busy, busy, busy in the garage as we hit the final five minutes.



1350:  Qualifying time.

1215:  Quick bite to eat and debrief.

1155:  Practice makes perfect or at least gives us the knowledge and tools to keep on changing it all up to get the perfect race car.

JDub – P6 — 01:02.1132

SVG – P8 — 01:02.1749


 1140:  Wow!  Talk about an energy boost SVG!

1100:  20 minutes away from practice.

1020:  and they are done.  We have considered buying them autograph stamps to make it easier.  Any guesses on how many autographs the drivers sign each round?

0950:  Straight into #3.

0920:  Autograph session one is done onto #2 for the day.

0900:  Late start for us on a race weekend but there is not time to stop as we hit merchandise alley to see all the NZ fans out here today.


Saturday 14th September


Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Practice 1– 17th (Fastest Time: 01:05.0289)
Practice 2 – Sixth (Fastest Time: 01:01.8208)

“We had a good day despite P1 being interrupted by the weather.  In the end it was a great opportunity to get some laps done but certainly couldn’t feel the car or make any major adjustments to make it go faster.  Thankfully we had a clean second practice and we were able to make a decent amount of setup changes and start getting a feel for the new aerodynamic changes.  Unfortunately, unless we do solid back-to-back sessions in the same car, on the same day we won’t really know what the aerodynamic changes can do.  We seem to be competitive in comparison to the rest of the field, so we would have to think the changes are a gain for us which will then allow us to be almost as competitive as the Ford.  My car is good, giving it an eight out 10 and I’m happy with the way it has rolled out as it rolled out much faster than it did at Tailem Bend.  But now as always, it’s about grinding it out and making the car faster overall.”


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Practice 1– Third (Fastest Time: 01:02.6552)
Practice 2 – Second (Fastest Time: 01:01.7785)

“Our practice was good considering the constant changes in weather conditions and the fact that we are trying to find our feet with the aerodynamic changes.  We are trying to see what it does but there are so many variables and changes.  Obviously, we are yet again on a different track so it’s just trying to balance it throughout the weekend to gain as much as possible and we will no doubt use a test day to figure it out properly.  It’s also great to see the fans out in force especially for a Friday with average weather conditions it really shows how much Kiwis love the V8s and Supercars.  Hopefully the crowds carry on throughout the rest of the weekend and one of the five Kiwis can win a race and give them all something to cheer about.”


1700:  Day 1 in NZ is done and it seems like the bulls may be finding their wings on the other side of the ditch.  Let’s catch up with them both to see what their thoughts are on the track, the changes and the topic of the day the weather.

1600:  SVG heads off to face the media and we will catch up with J-Dub after.

1550:  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  We are liking the numbers but as always we are looking for the top spot.

JDub – P6 — 01:01.8208

SVG – P2 — 01:01:7785




1548:  … except when SVG has decided to take detour.

1535:  Both cars seem to have picked up the pace as their lap times come in and they shoot into the the top spots time and time again.

1530:  Shaping up to be a good practice session out there.  The drivers will be trying to clock up the laps and making plenty of changes to get the training wheels off ahead of tomorrow’s race.



1510:  Almost time for the drivers to reappear and take the cars out for a spin in the second and final practice of the day.

1430:  After all that signing the drivers need a break as they escape into… well… we don’t have our transporter here so not quite sure where they did end up?

1410:  Back-to-back autograph sessions today as we head straight to the Holden stand in merchandise alley.



1340:  Wow! There are a lot of people in line to get those autographs boys!  Given that it could be raining, cloudy and sunny or all the above within a matter of seconds we thank you for supporting the team and being out here on track with us.

1300:  Grabbing a quick bite to eat before it’s back to the garage to met a lot of school kids and fans who are out here today.

1240:  Mixed results for the first practice session and the mixed weather conditions didn’t help with understanding any of the new changes on the cars.  May need to send some quick prayers above to the Rain Gods to hold off for the next practice.


J-Dub – P17 — 01:05.0299

SVG – P3 —  01:02.6552


1235:  Well that practice went by a little too fast.  Not entirely sure how much time was spent on track vs. the garage?



1215:  We decided to do a quick poll about the weather but it seems like our Twitter followers are just as indecisive about their answers as the weather itself!



1207:  SVG seems to be having some radio issues – lots of static and weird sounds on the other end he says (alien contact possibly?)

1206:  Well that was short lived – the bulls are straight into the garage as the rain has started to come down.

1205:  Rolling out in NZ for practice 1.

1145:  Time to get the cars on track and hopefully manage a few laps before the weather has a change of plan.

1100: Lots of sunshine during our time with the fans but those clouds sure do look dark and gloomy.  There is lots of talk about rain and rain and possibly some more rain.  Not long before the practice sessions get under way – will the rain hold off?



1015:  But before any on track action begins we must first make a priority stop to visit all our NZ fans who have come out in force despite the gloomy forecast ahead.


0900:  NZ – here we are!  We have made it across the ditch – yes that includes car, drivers, team and containers with all our garage tools and toys!


Friday 13 September