The following is a detailed lap of the Phillip Island circuit to be used as the venue for the second round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series this weekend. Also find following thoughts, results and memorable moments relating to this venue from...
The following is a detailed lap of the Phillip Island circuit to be used as the venue for the second round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series this weekend. Also find following thoughts, results and memorable moments relating to this venue from both Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall. Ambrose will be returning in his Pirtek Falcon for his third season with Stone Brothers Racing. Ingall is making his championship debut for SBR in the Caltex Havoline Ford after several seasons with Larry Perkins Racing.
PHILLIP ISLAND -- A LAP WITH MARCOS AMBROSE
You almost want to close your eyes as you head over the start-finish line and into turn one after slotting down into fifth gear. Doohan Corner is one of the bravest corners in the country and is aptly named after Australia's own five-time 500cc World Champion, Mick Doohan. The corner is so fast and it disappears so quickly into the Southern Loop which you take in third gear and which is a vital key to a good lap time. The loop has a big crest and as the car goes over it, it drifts to the outside of the track. You want to fight it, but you need to let the car go and drift to the outside.
It's then back on the gas through the fast flowing left hander, you can do this flat on new tyres, but it is a little different on worn rubber. It's then on the brakes big time and it's easy to lock a brake because the brakes cool off lap by lap. The Honda Hairpin is very flat, so it is difficult to get into the apex.
Then there's a short squirt to Siberia, this can be second or third gear, depending on choice. You then run up to one of the hardest parts of the circuit. You pass the farm shed on the left which is a right kink. Going flat through here, the car pushes to the wrong side of the track to up Lukey Heights. You need to be fully committed.
Going over Lukey Heights is very tricky. Again you get pushed wide, but you need to set up the car for MG which is the right-hand hairpin. MG has a nice camber to get in well, but coming out, the track drops away and can cause some wheel spin.
Getting out of MG cleanly is very important to ensure you get a nice run through the left hander which sweeps down on to the main straight. Mark Skaife gave me a tap a few times through here in race one last year. The run on to the straight is downhill, which produces plenty of speed really quickly. Again this is another brave corner and has brought a few drivers undone over the years. A good exit from here sets you up for the highest speed possible down Gardner straight, named after 1987 500cc World Champion and former Stone Brothers Racing driver, Wayne Gardner.
Taking pole here in my Pirtek Falcon last year was certainly one of the most satisfying things I have done in V8 Supercars. You have to really earn a good lap around here.
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
One of my favourite circuits, Phillip Island is fast and flowing and is one of the few tracks where the car actually feels suited to the circuit. We can use all our power and momentum, although the lack of gravel traps makes it a little daunting. One of the few tracks where it takes time to build your confidence to go as fast as possible. You need to take your time every time you go there.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
I had a steering column snap going into turn one in a Formula Ford race in 1996. It was on the warm-up lap, thankfully it was not in the race. I managed to get it back to the pits, because it was hanging on by a thread, but I had to turn the wheel three times to get the wheels to move at all. As I got back to the pits the wheel snapped off completely in my hands. I guess you could say that was one of my luckiest days in racing.
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX HAVOLINE RACING
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
Beating Craig Lowndes there in the wet in a VS Commodore in 1997 was a great day. This is a pretty tough place to win at and when you do, you tend to enjoy it.
THOUGHTS ON PHILLIP ISLAND
Even though I have done a lot of laps around there I have had mixed results. It is one of the circuits where if the car is not right you are in for the biggest weekend of your life. It is certainly a place with big potential for a major accident if you get it wrong. I think Jason Bargwanna holds the record for one of the most spectacular accident there after last year.