GRM takes off for Chinese V8 Supercar round It's been a long time coming, but the inaugural visit of the V8 Supercar Championship Series to China is very much a reality, with Garry Rogers Motorsport's pair of Holden Commodores...
GRM takes off for Chinese V8 Supercar round
It's been a long time coming, but the inaugural visit of the V8 Supercar Championship Series to China is very much a reality, with Garry Rogers Motorsport's pair of Holden Commodores touching down in Shanghai yesterday.
An entirely new experience for everybody involved with V8 Supercar racing, the round will be held on a slightly shortened version of the Shanghai International Circuit which last year held the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix and hosted MotoGP this year.
GRM's Cameron McConville, who sits 11th in the championship, is one of a handful of drivers heading north today as part of pre-race promotional work. He's looking forward to the new venture into Asia by the traditionally Australian racing category.
"I'm leaving today (Monday) as one of the first drivers to fly over to China for pre-race promotional work around the Shanghai area from Tuesday onwards," said McConville.
"We'll be opening a Valvoline centre on Thursday while we're in the area as well. It's a busy week planned as part of AVESCO and Network Ten commitments.
"It's a great opportunity to see some of the city that we wouldn't normally get to see being at any other race. Usually we just see the racetrack, airport and hotel! I'm thinking the circuit will be something of a level playing field because no one has any information or date from previous races.
"I've never been to China before, the closest I've managed was visiting the Macau Grand Prix street race and I was amazed by the sheer number of people in the area, but I'm told China and Shanghai is even bigger and busier again!
"We're not using the full Grand Prix track that the Formula 1 cars use, but the 4.5-kilometre length is ideal for our cars. If it was any longer it would probably get a bit boring for the fans and the cars would look a bit small on such a wide track compared to what we're used of.
"You'd be lying if you said you weren't excited about going there. Setting up the cars will be interesting. Some corners have very long radiuses and are more suitable for an open wheeler car than a V8 Supercar. I'm not sure how our tyres will handle such 'loaded' corners because these ones tighten up on themselves in places."
His team-mate Andrew Jones continues to rack up experience, both on and off the track, in 2005. His visit to New Zealand this year was his first race overseas and now his first visit to China will also be a new experience.
"As a team we've been studying the map of the circuit in the workshop for the last few weeks," said Andrew.
"It's a pretty flowing circuit by the looks of it and has a bit of everything. It's hard to compare it to any other circuit in Australia because it looks quite unique.
"It looks like it definitely has been designed with open-wheeler cars in mind and not our big V8 Supercars so it will be fun to see how our cars cope with it. The tyres are going to take punishment through the long winding turns so it will be important to drive with tyre conservation in the back of your mind.
"We just need to keep pushing on and improving more and more. The Chinese race is new territory in just about every respect. We'll have to just take an educated guess on the setup for the cars and go on what information we have and see what we can come up with."
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.