New roof vents to keep Richards and Whincup cool for heat and humidity in Darwin Who cut the hole in my Commodore's roof? That's the question Dodo Racing's Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup have been asking as their team packed their V8 ...
New roof vents to keep Richards and Whincup cool for heat and humidity in Darwin
Who cut the hole in my Commodore's roof?
That's the question Dodo Racing's Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup have been asking as their team packed their V8 Supercars for the long haul north to the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin.
The Touringcar Entrants Group of Australia has introduced a new mandatory vent in the roofs of V8 Supercars, designed at helping increase airflow and ventilation at race venues where heat and humidity are a major factor.
"The new vent in the roof should help lower the cabin temperature for this hot event," said Whincup, who sits 13th in the championship and within 28 points of breaking into the top 10.
"I'm going to Darwin with a lot of confidence coming off such a strong fourth place in China. Darwin is very much a low grip circuit so we will have to change our thinking setup wise to get the most out of the car - it's very different to the track surface in Shanghai.
"China's result was no fluke. We've had some good speed at different parts of the season, but for one reason or another, the luck hasn't been on our side and we haven't been able to translate it into a result.
"There's no reason why we can't go out and have another result like that. We came awfully close to reaching the podium in Shanghai. We have good people all working hard with a common goal. That's a major key.
"It's a fantastic event due to the fact that the whole city gets behind it. We're always welcomed with open arms when the V8 Supercar Series head up north.
"One of the main areas to focus on for the weekend is our braking at the end of the long pit straight. Under braking has been one of our strengths to date this year. The short lap there, with lap times around 70 seconds, will mean that qualifying will be very tight and just as close as at Pukekohe. "The heat and humidity mean we'll be placing an extra emphasis on taking on plenty of fluids and relying on our cool suits."
Team-mate Richards was also looking strong for a good result in China but a punctured tyre and engine problem in the last race halted his charge. The increased pace in the Dodo Commodores gives him confidence for Darwin and that a result, not unlike Whincup's in China, is not far away for the #3 car.
"After the performance in China, we've got to go there thinking we're in with a pretty good shot," said Richards.
"Darwin has its similarities but the grip levels are much reduced. We ran the older model VX Commodore up there last year so we have a bit of learning to do in the two-hour practice session. Hopefully we can get on top of things early.
"In China we were aided by the fact it was a new circuit for everyone in terms of setup and the actual driving. My car was very fast straight out of the box. With Darwin the roles are reversed because it's a new circuit for our current-specification car.
"We've been pretty quick at most places this year. I've made a couple of Top 10 Shootouts so there shouldn't be any reason why our upward trend can't continue. In China everything was a bit more in harmony and we're only now looking for small improvements over what we've got already."
Richards admits that the upward trend in results by the team bodes well for the biggest race of the year - Bathurst in October.
"Bathurst is a primary focus for us. Being a young team, we need to expect that we can have a big showing at Bathurst to help us grow. We have good drivers, engines that are coming on strong, cars that are showing pace and still more developments to come. That points to us peaking at the right time of the year."
Richards has plenty of experience on the circuit, making four starts from 2001 to 2004. The 2.9-kilometre circuit hasn't been too kind to the Kiwi, who is yet to have a Top 20 finish in the Northern Territory round.
Whincup has made just the one start at Hidden Valley, finishing 19th in 2003.
Round six of the V8 Supercar series will be made up of one 20-minute sprint race on Saturday and two 140-kilometre events on Sunday.
Network Ten will telecast all of the action from 2.30 to 5.00pm on Sunday July 3.