The month of August is fast becoming a month to try new things and with that comes new challenges – you beauty.
After a successful run at the first night race in Australia since 1996, we’re heading into a brand spanking new track at Tailem Bend located in country South Australia and aptly named The Bend.
The 4.95km circuit still holds the scent of freshly laid tarmac (yep, we love the smell) and is just pining for the Supercars class of 2018 to roll out and burn some rubber this weekend.
Although no Supercars have raced the track, we’re somewhat lucky that both of our drivers (you know the guys, J-Dub and SVG) cut some laps in something with four wheels, both jumping behind the wheels of a couple of GT cars earlier this year.
“It’s a cool track and it’s always good to have something new and exciting,” said Shane “SVG” van Gisbergen.
“It’s going to be tough not having any data or setup to work off so there’s going to be a lot of learning going on.
“Thankfully though, the format allows for three practice sessions to sort it out. Two of them are on Friday so we can think about it overnight and try again on Saturday.”
As if the night race in Sydney wasn’t dark enough, the weekend’s racing, or more specifically Friday’s practice sessions, will resemble something akin to the blind leading the blind as they tackle the brand new circuit.
“The hard tyre with this style of track, a combination of everything with both fast and slow corners, will be a challenge. You’ve just got to get a setup that suits all of that and learn it pretty quickly,” continued SVG.
“It seems to be a cross between the Phillip Island and Eastern Creek (Sydney Motorsport Park) circuits, with all of the fast sections and some very slow corners.”
Meanwhile, Jamie “J-Dub” Whincup will go into this round with experience on his side as he is set to draw level with Glenn Seton with the 10th highest number of Supercars round starts in history.
In saying that though, it’s not something to get carried away with considering no one in history has raced this track in a Supercar.
“I’m looking forward to getting on the circuit in the supercar. I’ve done a few laps in a GT and plenty in a road car, but I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like in a supercar,” said J-Dub.
“I think it’s a fantastic track and I think it’s one of the best we have in this country.
“In some ways there is a level playing field going in, but I think the big factor is using our practice sessions wisely to try and get the cars in the ball park.
“We will focus on working as a team to try to get all three cars as quick as possible, so that we’re somewhere up the front.
“Everyone is going to be desperate to try and win the inaugural race.”
The Bend SuperSprint kicks off with practice on Friday before two races across Saturday and Sunday.