TYRE LIFE THE KEY AT DARWIN'S HIDDEN VALLEY RACEWAY
The cars that can hold onto their tyres in the heat the best will have the upper hand in Darwin this weekend.
IRWIN Racing’s Lee Holdsworth goes to Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway full of confidence given the strength of the IRWIN Tools Ford in recent years.
Former driver Alex Davison was the pole getter in 2010 and current team mate Shane van Gisbergen is the reigning champion having won the Sunday race last year.
The challenge is to get the most out of a set of tyres, take full advantage of the faster soft tyre and have enough left over to get you through to the end of the race.
In 2009 the IRWIN Ford got its first and so far only race podium at Darwin and followed it up with its debut pole 12 months later. History suggests that the team has worked out how to prepare their cars for the ultra hot conditions and will be one of the teams to watch when the V8 Supercars hit the track later in the week.
Travelling to Darwin on the Ghan, with stop offs and tourist activities in Alice Springs and Katherine, Holdsworth has narrowly missed out on a V8 Supercars podium on several occasions this year and currently sits sixth in the championship.
The V8 Supercars hit the track on Friday for practice followed by qualifying and a 120 kilometre race on Saturday and qualifying and a 200 kilometre race on Sunday.
What IRWIN Racing’s Lee Holdsworth had to say:
“Shane (van Gisbergen) had a really good win in Darwin last year and Alex (Davison) had a pole there a couple of years ago so I know the cars are strong there. The biggest challenge is getting the most out of the tyre so that it holds onto them over a whole race stint, then setting the car up properly so that you get the most out of them. Darwin is always hot and the heat is hard on tyres because the track surface is ultra hot, it burns them up quickly so you have to make the most of them why you have them but you also need to conserve them so that you can run the whole race distance. We’ve gone well so far this year, had plenty of top tens and the top fives are becoming more frequent. It’d be nice to continue to improve and challenge for race wins, we’ll see how we go but we are going there with more confidence than we would have at other events.”
What IRWIN Racing’s engineer Brad Wischusen had to say:
“Darwin is another soft and hard tyre round, we need to make sure we get the soft tyre to live as long as it can given Hidden Valley Raceway is a high tyre degradation circuit. It’s similar at Perth in terms of race strategy in a way, it’s not a fuel dependant race it’s more tyre dependant. If we can manage the tyres and maintain the speed and ability to attack, then we should have a good run.”