It’s Gold Coast 600 week, and that means V8 Supercars star and Motorsport.com columnist Rick Kelly is preparing to do battle on the mean streets of Surfers Paradise.
I can tell you one thing – having the Gold Coast event straight after Bathurst is the only possible way the schedule could work.
Could you imagine going from the biggest of buzzes at Bathurst, straight back to short sprint races?
Finishing the season of endurance with once last big event on the Gold Coast is perfect.
Last year showed is that the event as a whole is really coming back strongly. The organisers have returned the party aspect, and the whole build up to the event is really quite strong.
It was certainly noticeable last year with the number of fans trackside and the buzz around town.
While you mightn’t be able to see as much of the circuit as at most permanent facilities, for the fans, streets circuits like the Gold Coast are an awesome spectacle. You’re so close to the cars you can smell them, and the noise between the concrete barriers is like nothing else.
It’s always one of the issues with permanent circuits, with many being situated well outside of suburbia, how do you get crowds to attend? When you build the circuit through the city, the problem’s solved!
Another thing, the Gold Coast race has to be one of the best situated circuits anywhere on earth, full stop. The helicopter shots of the cars racing past the beach are something that simply can’t be replicated.
The streets of Surface Paradise should really suit our Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima.
Over the past two years with Nissan, I’ve managed to claim Top 10 results on each visit, but this weekend we are definitely looking for more.
The massive kerbs around the circuit are a challenge. You have to be aggressive, but it’s a fine line between getting a quick lap time and damaging the car.
Bringing up kerb strikes is always an interesting one, so expect it to be a talking point for sure.
Last year we unloaded a very quick car, we were fourth fastest in the opening session, but as the track gripped up on the Friday, the car didn’t keep up the pace.
At the start of the Saturday race, Dave Russell unfortunately clipped Greg Murphy off the start, with the race effectively over before it began.
Our car pace was good, so on Sunday we were able to advance from an early pit stop drama, and being a lap down, to finish ninth.
Attrition always plays a big part of the weekend, as do Safety Cars, so the guys in the pits have to be on their toes.
It’s one of those places where you have to treat it with a lot of respect and not make any errors.
In the JD camp, we are incredibly fired up to make amends for Bathurst. We had a quick racecar, but by being double stacked three times, and spun off late in the running, we were just never in a good enough position.
I enjoy the longer races and the strategy involved, so we’ll wait and see what this weekend has to offer.