Racing in the dark, sure it’s not a new concept and is seen all over the world but we haven’t seen it in Australia since 1997. This year, the Sydney SuperNight race is 300km – the longest single driver race in the history of Supercars.
Somewhat of a ‘wildcard’ round, the night race this weekend is just one race worth 300 points – risky enough to shake up the championship battle.
Over halfway through the season and just 131 points separating our front runner Shane “SVG” van Gisbergen and the current leader, Scott McLaughlin, we’re gearing up for potentially the most important weekend in the calendar.
“It’s probably the most important event of the year, single-driver event,” SVG told the Courier-Mail.
“It’s 300km and 300 points. It’s up there in how important the race is – it’s a big wildcard.
“We need to be on it there, but I am really looking forward to that.”
Fear not, SVG isn’t going in blind (pun intended) with a bounty of night racing experience up his sleeve including Abu Dahbi under lights in 2011, a few stints in a GT overseas and, more recently, driving in the Supercars’ light testing at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“In night racing it’s about the crowd, which is what they are doing it for,” SVG told The NZ Herald.
“I’ve raced in America where it’s lit or in Europe where it is pitch black. Both are cool but in pitch black you can’t see, and it is no good for the fans.
“I think Supercars have found a good balance in keeping it quite dark but also being able to see on television and from the crowd.
“Driving-wise, we have a few things in the cockpit to make it easier to see what we’re doing and be more comfortable around the track, while the pit stops will be lit up too.”
They say that you’re only as good as your last race, which is a bonus for SVG having won Sunday’s race at Ipswich last week, but a race in the dark will ensure no driver is comfortable going in – just how we like it.
“We’ve had some great momentum as a team lately, some podiums and strong results, we just need to keep that going, keep working hard and keep the ball rolling,” SVG said last week.
“Sydney is quite a different track to QR (Queensland Raceway) so the setup will be fairly different. There’s only a few tracks we’ve been to that are similar so that’s all we’ll have to work towards.
“Although the night time aspect of it will make sure nothing is a certainty.”
Who knows what this weekend will bring, a new championship leader or a huge boost to the current leader… One thing we’re sure of though, it’s going to be lit.