Skaife criticizes new Bathurst track

BATHURST FACELIFT RAISES DRIVER CONCERNS Thursday, 5pm: The newly re-surfaced Mt Panorama race track was the major talking point on the opening day of the V8 Supercar 1000 in Bathurst today, with drivers concerned that the alterations may cause...

BATHURST FACELIFT RAISES DRIVER CONCERNS

Thursday, 5pm: The newly re-surfaced Mt Panorama race track was the major talking point on the opening day of the V8 Supercar 1000 in Bathurst today, with drivers concerned that the alterations may cause unwanted problems during the weekend.

Shell Series leader, Mark Skaife, led the criticism claiming that the new look enables drivers to gain an easy but unfair advantage by cutting corners, thereby dragging dirt and grass onto the racing line, creating potential disaster for those that follow.

"The surface is fantastic, but you don't have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out that if you raise the height of the road, you lessen the height of the kerbs," he said. "As a driver, one of the high points of Bathurst in the past has been that the kerbs were a no-go zone. They were vicious and you had to work hard and drive the circuit to win."

The $1.3million re-surfacing has been widely applauded for the most part, but the concern comes from the way the bitumen has been raised at the edges of the track to lessen the severity of the bump of the kerbs, making them easier to drive over.

There are several key points around the track where it is plain that this could be a problem, but the one that concerns Skaife the most is the Chase. This is a kink section on the high speed, downhill Conrod Straight, where the V8 Supercars approach 300km/h.

"I don't know what the solution is," he said. "One option is to put some tyre barriers in those places to stop guys doing it, but if you do that and someone has to take evasive action at some point on Sunday, they can hit those tyres and ruin their car. I think the only way is to have race observers watching it all day and consistently punishing drivers for kerb hopping."

This issue is certain to be addressed in some way by race officials before the lights go green for the race on Sunday.

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Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Skaife