Last year J-Dub and Lowndesy made the streets of Townsville their own, taking out a one-two finish on the Sunday and J-Dub claiming overall winner’s rights with a win on the Saturday to boot. And this weekend, the in-form drivers are in no mood to relent their recent stranglehold on the V8 Supercars series.
Any why would they? Having shared eight of the past 10 race wins and scored four one-two finishes the pair is as deadly as the Irukandji jellyfish that populate Townsville’s crystal blue waters. You’re safer swimming in a race suit than board shorts.
And J-Dub also happens to have five of the past eight race wins in Townsville to his name.
“We’ve had a good run in Townsville in the past but we’ve hit the reset button this year so we come here with some mixed results,” an always modest J-Dub says in race mode.
“We started the year quite slowly but have come on strong of late so we come into the race with good confidence that we can ride the curbs well and get around this daunting street circuit up here in Townsville.”
Just try and guess who he thinks he’ll be duelling with up the front – other than Crackers… Yep, his old mate, Frosty.
“There’s no doubt this weekend that FPR are going to be quick and extremely hard to beat on the back of their current form,” he says.
“We’re certainly going to have to be on our A-Game on track and in the garage to get the win. In saying that, there’s probably 13-14 cars capable of doing something big this weekend.”
The Townsville 400 also marks the return of the popular re-fuelling pit stops and longer races – much longer races. Saturday and Sunday will consist of one 200km race each, which hopefully means no more rolling re-start tangles and carnage – for the Red Bull cars at least.
“I like re-fuelling stops,” J-Dub says.
“I think it’s a good part of what we do, especially this long distance racing. It’s a big two-hour race on Saturday and we’ve got to back it up again on Sunday and come in and get some juice. It’s a good thing, it’s going to be exciting. I’ve just got to make sure I don’t spin the wheels and cop another penalty.”
Lowndes agrees and has welcomed not just the longer races but also the use of both soft and hard tyres for each race. A combination he’s become quite familiar with.
“The combination between soft and hard is always exciting to watch as drivers try and get the right set-up for the car on both tyres,” Lowndsey reckons.
“Darwin was very good for us in that respect and I’m hoping this weekend will be the same.
“The cars have gotten faster, stronger and more consistent since the start of the year. We’ve learned a lot and made a lot of adjustments and set-up changes, so I’m really excited about getting around this track because I think we’ll be really quick around here.
“Townsville last year was good to us. I probably ruined my race by using the soft tyre too hard and too early. But I think we’ve learned from that and with the car of the future, we’ve learned to look after the tyre a little bit better earlier on to get more distance out of it.”
No big deal but the last street round Lowndsey contested in Adelaide, he left a winner.
Four practice sessions will be held Friday with Saturday and Sunday each hosting individual qualifying and a 200km race.