Hidden Valley: IRWIN Racing preview

DAVISON AIMING FOR TOP RESULT IN THE TOP-END IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison will head to the fifth stop of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Skycity Triple Crown at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on June 19-21, confident of continued ...

DAVISON AIMING FOR TOP RESULT IN THE TOP-END

IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison will head to the fifth stop of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Skycity Triple Crown at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on June 19-21, confident of continued improvement.

After racing in single digit temperatures at the end of May in Tasmania, the trip to Darwin and a guaranteed warm welcome is something that Davison and the IRWIN Racing team are looking forward to.

As well as the climate, Davison enjoys racing at Hidden Valley. Davison has raced a V8 Supercar before in Darwin back in 2005, plus has enjoyed success at the Northern Territory circuit in the Porsche Carerra Cup.

The IRWIN Racing team has made steady improvement in the opening rounds of 2009. Race pace has been on-par with the leading teams, but qualifying towards the front has proved a challenge. Ticking the box in qualifying is a major goal for the IRWIN Racing team in Darwin.

One of the big talking points going into the Darwin race is the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx sprint soft tyre. Only one set of the soft rubber will be supplied to teams in Darwin and can be used for either the Saturday or Sunday race. The previous two appearances of the soft tyre has been in the cooler conditions of Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria and Tasmania's Symmons Plains.

A change to the format in Darwin in 2009 is a 100km race on the Saturday and a 200km race on the Sunday. The distance of the Sunday race is the longest ever V8 Supercar race at the Hidden Valley circuit which dates back to 1998.

Warm air temperatures, added to the track layout creates its own challenges for the IRWIN Racing team; with cooling of the engine, brakes, tyres and the driver all requiring attention.

WHAT ALEX DAVISON HAS TO SAY:

"I like the track and seem to go reasonably well. It has a really good flow to it. One of the goals of the IRWIN Racing team is to qualify in the top-10 for the first time this year. I'm sure from there we can then do it constantly. Although it does not show on the results sheet, we feel that we are making progress and getting more out of the IRWIN Racing Ford. Across the board the whole group is improving, we just need to have a clean run and not have any dramas. A little mistake in qualifying is magnified as you don't drop just one spot, it can be ten spots or more. Tyre degradation in Darwin will be a huge factor; the combination of the temperature, track surface and the actual layout all add make it hard on the rubber. For sure the soft tyre will not last as long as what we experienced at Winton or Symmons Plains. It will have a big gain for up to 15 laps, and then it will drop off to a point where it will be overtaken by the standard tyre."

WHAT IRWIN RACING ENGINEER WES McDOUGALL HAS TO SAY:

"The big challenge in Darwin is the temperature, both on the cooling side of the car as well as the tyres. We will experience the biggest contrast in terms of tyre wear from the previous round in Tasmania. The IRWIN Racing team has a pretty good idea on how the tyres will wear from the test that Dunlop did at Queensland Raceway last December. On that day it was around 30ºC; so certainly similar to what we will expect in Darwin. A 200km race will be hard on the equipment, especially the tyres, cooling and I'm sure the driver. The FG Falcon is an improvement in terms of aerodynamics over the previous BF model. We feel it will be better suited to the Darwin layout. On top of that, our race car has been improved over our previous two outings. The IRWIN Racing team is confident of making best use of it in Darwin."

-credit: irwin

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Series Supercars
Drivers Alex Davison