The trick to Townsville

The Townsville circuit in Reid Park is unique in many ways.

It’s a mongrel of a track. No, we don’t mean that rudely – it’s literally a cross-breed of purpose-built race track and street circuit. It’s been known to mix up the pack and throw in a few unexpected results. It’s a nightmare on tyres, making strategy a key player.

With a Townsville win rate of 53% (that’s nine victories from 17 races since the event’s inception in 2009), the boys of Red Bull Holden Racing Team know a thing or two about getting it right in North Queensland. So what do they think makes it the tricky little track that we’ve come to know and love?

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Jamie “J-Dub” Whincup

“It’s a great track, it’s one of the only tracks we go to that’s a hybrid circuit, so it’s a street circuit, but it’s got some really cool racing corners because they started with a clean sheet of paper through the parkland, so it’s a place we enjoy. It’s physically and mentally a very demanding circuit. The weather’s normally really good, but that means high temperatures. I’m a big fan of the heat, despite being Melbourne-born and bred, but if it’s 28 degrees ambient, we’re looking at around 50 degrees in the car.”


Shane “SVG” van Gisbergen

“It’s a track I’ve gone good at and we had a really good weekend as a team there last year. It’s an awesome event, a great track, it should be good – I’m looking forward to it. I always go good at street tracks with the big kerbs. You have to just attack every lap beyond the limit of the car and that’s what I enjoy so I always like going there and getting the most out of it. I’ll be coming into it off the back of Watkins Glen so another challenge for me will be adjusting back to the Holden supercar, but that shouldn’t be too difficult.”


Mark “Dutto” Dutton

“The tyre degradation is really high there, which throws up some really good strategy options. It’s a really harsh track on cars, we’ve seen lots of cars breaking components there by taking as much kerb as possible. That goalpost keeps moving because as soon as you make the cars stronger and handle kerbs better, the drivers take more kerb, so the loads and forces go up again. You’ve got to not only have strong cars, but cars that can ride kerbs and take fast, flowing corners.”


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David “Cauchi” Cauchi

“Townsville is one of the highest tyre-degradation circuits that we go to in the calendar and it’s a bit of a hybrid circuit. It’s a bit of a cross of a traditional circuit and a street circuit so there is a decent amount of bumps and big kerbs, but there are also some fast-flowing sections. You need to have a car that certainly rides the kerbs well and has good ride control, but also needs to handle the higher speed, flowing sections well. It’s a good challenge for both engineers and drivers.”


Grant “Shippy” McPherson

“I think the fact that Townsville’s a mixture of a street circuit and a purpose-built race track gives it probably some of the broadest scope of corners that we see for the year and makes it difficult to set a car up for. Track surfaces changes, corners speeds and corner radius – it’s always a good challenge to get the car right for every section of the track here.”