Dodo Racing Takes Off For China V8 SUPERCAR racing will enter a new era this weekend as the series makes its first visit to China and the fact that it is a brand new circuit to the field may give teams such as Dodo Racing...
Dodo Racing Takes Off For China
V8 SUPERCAR racing will enter a new era this weekend as the series makes its first visit to China and the fact that it is a brand new circuit to the field may give teams such as Dodo Racing a chance to sneak further up the grid and spring a few surprises.
The Shanghai International Circuit has already hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix and MotoGP event on its full 5.4-kilometre layout, though the Australian muscle machines will use a shortened 4.6-kilometre version.
Team drivers Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup fly out for China from Melbourne tomorrow and both are excited about the prospect of an all-new racing experience.
"I'm treating it just like any other race meeting to be honest," says Richards.
"It's going to be a big challenge with a new circuit as well as a new language, which I won't have a clue about! Obviously the event has been pretty well organised but in terms of the racing I'm quite excited.
"The big 1.2-kilometre straight into a hairpin corner should make for some really interesting moves under brakes - and the odd brain fade! I've been looking at on-board footage from Michael Schumacher's Ferrari at last year's Formula 1 Grand Prix, but that's leagues away from what we'll be used to!
"Slipstreaming will be a lot more of a factor in China than what we're used to at other race meetings. With a long straight like that, the cars will be really working hard to slip through the air and that will open opportunities for those tucked up behind to make a lunge into the hairpin with more momentum.
"We're heading in a direction with our setup that is very much 'gut feeling' type of stuff. I haven't spoken to anyone who has raced there so I don't know what the surface is like and what the grip level it offers is like.
"It'll take a fair bit of luck to pull your car out of the garage and have it right on the pace straight away. I think you'll see plenty of two-car teams with one car at the front of the field and one at the rear in the practice session, because that will reflect them going in two totally different directions on their setup in an attempt to learn as much as possible. "Engine power will be very crucial. The long straights give those with plenty of power a good chance."
The team's pair of VZ Commodores left with the other 30 V8 Supercars from Avalon Airport near Geelong on the weekend, packed and stacked into specially constructed aluminium racks for the trip. Each team will take approximately eight tonnes of equipment.
Whincup, who sits 17th in the championship, has been busy fighting off illness that had laid him low since the completion of the Eastern Creek meeting.
"It hit me on the Sunday of Eastern Creek and driving in two 140-kilometre races saps a fair bit of your strength at the best of times so I was feeling it in the days after but I'm back to 100 percent now," said Whincup.
"I've haven't been overseas in about 15 years! Seeing the actual facility is what I'm most looking forward to. It's a pretty impressive place from what I've seen on television - some Australian tracks could learn a thing or two!
"The temperature and humidity of the area at that type of year is pretty similar to what we'll encounter in Darwin three weeks later, so I can't see that being a major problem. I'm back to being 100 percent healthy.
"If anything, we're just trying to look to change our recent trend in results, which have been on the decline in the past three rounds. It's been a gradual drop-off, nothing major, but just that little bit from round to round adds up. We've gone from knocking on the door of the top 10 to dropping back to towards the back part of the 'teens'.
"We've been advancing the cars in a technical sense but just haven't been able to translate it into results. Yet!"
The Shanghai V8 Supercar round will be run over three races, with a 100- kilometre race on Saturday and two 140-kilometre events on the Sunday.
Network Ten will telecast all of the action from China from 12.00 to 5.00pm on Sunday June 12.