Post Bathurst action moves to the Gold Coast for round 11 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, with 32 competitors battling it out in the Gillette V8 Supercar Championship Series. Unforgiving is the only word to describe the anticlockwise 4.5...
Post Bathurst action moves to the Gold Coast for round 11 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, with 32 competitors battling it out in the Gillette V8 Supercar Championship Series.
Unforgiving is the only word to describe the anticlockwise 4.5 km Lexmark Indy 300 street circuit. Lined with concrete barriers, the demanding track sees drivers wrestle their 600 horsepower V8 monsters against a line of bitumen boasting hard corners, high speed straights and tricky chicanes.
We join Gillette's Jason Bright in the Team Brock Commodore to experience one quick lap of the twisty, tight circuit.
"The 2003 Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge is the 11th round of the championship and we have two very tough 100km battles. That's 22 laps a piece, and our biggest problem come October 25 is going to be brake fade with so many sharp corners out of high speed straights.
"We normally have no brakes after just a few laps, so with 22 to complete, it's going to be tough. It's all about consistent fast times, staying competitive, and nursing the brakes--...you'll see what I mean after riding this lap with me.
"Out of Lexmark Hairpin on the northern end of the circuit it is a one km speedfest down the main straight, and past Duracell Pit Lane. You're hitting about 260kph when you go into the first chicane, the Lexmark Chicane, which is one of the most difficult braking areas in the country. It's extremely high speed, and you're turning right into a kink and braking at the same time, it's easy to lock the front wheel.
"A few seconds later you have the second chicane, and in both cases getting a good clean run off is vital. You really need a car that rides the kerbs well and can absorb the bumps.
"Next the sharp, left hander at the ANA hotel, from 5th to 2nd gear and dropping from 240 kph to 70kph in a few seconds. It's just 10-15 seconds after braking at the two previous chicanes and the brakes are still hot. You brake and turn at the same time--so it is very easy to lock a front wheel once again.
"A quick squirt up to turn four -- Bartercard Turn, you hit the rev limiter in third gear, then back to second for the run onto the back straight--quite a difficult corner as it goes off camber on the exit. It's a close shave corner and easy to touch the wall here.
"You're clocking about 230/240kph, before braking hard down to 70 kph through the tricky Beach Esses. Concentrate on the run off, for a nice clean run to the Fosters Chicane. Extremely hard to pass here, because it's constantly turning.
"Off the beach straight, there's more hard turning -- and braking! A left hander at 90kph into a right hander at 70k, so you need your car to change direction quickly.
"OK..we're back to Lexmark Hairpin and it's difficult. With this last corner onto the main straight you turn while you brake, and you go to the right before you turn left, so it's very easy to lock the right front wheel. Concentrate on getting a good run off before you head off like a madman down the straight for lap number two.
"You're aiming for a lap time of around 1minute 52 seconds--Marcos Ambrose holds the race lap record set in a Falcon AU in 2002 -- a 1minute 51.65 seconds blitzer..and that is bloody fast around this hair raising bitumen burner.
"As I said brakes are the key, and keeping away from the concrete. A slight mistake can be devastating -- I'm sure you've seen the pile ups on this circuit before. This is a real drivers' circuit, there's no room for close shaves here -- stick to the black stuff only and stay way out of trouble!
"V8's have raced at INDY eight times, and the Fords have taken five wins. Time's come to even up the score a bit for the Lions. This year put your money on Team Brock. Enjoy all the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge action on the Goldy..It will definitely be the hottest race of the year -- literally!!"