Tag Archives for " v8 Supercars "


Coates Hire Ipswich Wrap Up

The “Paperclip” as its known has had exciting races in the past and sometimes processional races. On the weekend there was a bit of both. Starting off on Friday’s practice, we saw the first real hit out of co-drivers with the Endurance races looming. It’s definitely a tough gig for the co-drivers this year with next to no testing allocated and if some of these drivers aren’t competing in another category, then they are really getting thrown in the deep end. I am making a bit of a prediction here that the Championship this year will be dictated by the 3 endurance races and in particular their co-drivers. With so many points up for grabs over these events and the Championship Points table still fairly close, the co-drivers will have a major bearing. There will be huge pressure on them to perform and not make any mistakes. Tough ask when they have had little miles in the car. For more on this, see my Fox Motorsport “Enforced” segment from the weekend when it’s posted on this site for my full views on testing.

Qualifying for Saturday’s races was fairly predictable with the Pro Drive cars again very dominant. The only surprise being Craig Lowndes qualifying fastest in the second race. It’s good to see Triple 8 gradually finding speed and taking the fight back up with Pro Drive. We interviewed both Roland Dane and Tim Edwards on the Fox Sports Panel over the weekend and great to note a mutual respect for each of the teams and what they are achieving between the two and more importantly, not sighting things like “aero” or anything else technical in fact, being the reason for the current situation. Just admitting that the Pro Drive team are doing a better job and Triple 8 have to lift their game. Good to see and hear.

Race 1 was actually quite exciting with a lot of hard and fast racing up and down the field and everywhere you looked there were big moves going on with elbows out. In particular there was a great battle with Chaz Mostert and Shane Van Gizbergen right from the green light with both drivers using plenty of aggression but keeping both cars on the black stuff. Even better was watching these drivers get interviewed after the race and neither of them whining or moaning, just saying it was good hard racing and each giving as good as they got. Maybe a few others could take note of the attitude of these two drivers!

I tipped Winterbottom for the race 1 win because I knew starting grid 2 on the outside, cleaner part of the track he would get a better start and he did, straight into the lead and never headed. Mark is definitely driving like someone that wants that Championship and is doing everything right to get it.

Race 2 on Saturday was a lot more sedate which surprised me because usually the soft tyre races make for better racing. That’s the problem with both the hard and soft tyre, they are too durable and there is not enough deterioration and I hope that V8 Supercars take note of this when they are doing the soft and super soft tyre evaluation later this year.   We definitely don’t want to make the tyres too hard-wearing, we want deterioration, that way for the pit stop races it will produce more strategy and the shorter Super Sprint races will be more about how the driver manages the tyre deterioration putting it more in their hands.

Winterbottom again led from start to finish, but this time was pushed very hard by a resurgent Craig Lowndes. The pace of the Triple 8 cars on soft tyres was actually quite good and it would have only taken a small slip up from Winterbottom for Lowndes to get past, but Frosty didn’t put a foot wrong and I have to say, leading a race with that much pressure is incredibly difficult, knowing that you can’t make a single mistake, so in my books that was a job well done.

It seems to me that the biggest advantage that Pro Drive have is their ability to be fast on both the hard and soft tyre. From what I see, other teams are either fast on one or the other but not both which is where the issue lies. Once you get to the pit stop races where both tyres are to be used, these teams are going to and have struggled.   This time it was Mark Winterbottom’s teammate, Chaz Mostert time to shine. He was never really headed and it was the pace on the hard tyres that won him the race. I was keeping an eye on the lap times throughout the whole race and Chaz was lapping just as fast on hard tyres as what most around him were doing on softs. Without any safety cars there was no way Mostert was going to be run down. Unfortunately the race did spread out and a NASCAR style competition yellow would have been quite handy, I still reckon V8s should look at this to keep the racing closer. After all it is all about the entertainment. That’s pretty well how it ended with another strong result from Lowndes in second showing he had good pace and Winterbottom picking up more points in third.

A couple of notable surprises to me, was firstly Whincup. I can’t see why Lowndes has picked up his game and Whincup still seems to be struggling. He definitely didn’t have the qualifying speed and Lowndes seemed to have him covered even in race speed. There must be a bit of soul searching going on down there on the Number 1 car.

The other was Shane Van Gisbergen in the Tekno team car. I don’t know what’s happening down there lately but what started off as a promising year, is definitely becoming unraveled and I can see frustration on Shane’s face as he should have been a real Championship contender this year. It’s not like Shane has forgotten how to drive so something is definitely not right with that car.

So that was Ipswich. A reasonable weekend of racing and overall it is starting to narrow down who the Championship contenders are going to be for 2015.

Sydney Motorsport Park is the next round and unfortunately for everyone else that is not in a Pro Drive car, that circuit is going to suit them to a T. The only thing the other competitors can hope for is rain, which could very well happen.

Cheers for now and keep checking this website for news and reviews.


Hidden Valley Race Round Up – My View in front of the Camera

Hidden Valley as usual turned on another great event. I put this race on the “must do for Motorsport Fans” list up there with Townsville, Adelaide and Bathurst. The whole Town and Territory get behind the event and it shows with the enthusiasm of the locals as well as the many thousands of tourists that go there each year.

The commitment from the organizers carried on with a full resurface of the 2.87 km track. Apart from improving the aesthetic appeal of the layout, what it did produce was some of the best racing that we have seen so far this year, especially the short Supersprint races on Saturday which up ‘til now have basically been a bit of a dud. With the grip levels much higher than previous years and the confidence of the drivers to have a go, there was some true hard & fast passing and side by side racing, even up to three and four wide in certain instances. It was so good to sit there and watch the whole field having a big go and throwing caution to the wind, which entertained both the huge live and television audience.

There was a couple that got hard done by from some of the maneuvers, notably Fabain Coulthard, who got sent on the start of both Saturday races, but overall the rest of it was just good hard racing. The Driving Standards Observer definitely had a long list that night, but I was pleased to see that all the penalties were fair and just, apart from Rick Kelly getting a drive through when Whincup only got 25 points for virtually exactly the same sort of incident. I would much prefer to see points penalties than drive throughs unless it is absolutely blatant.

Before I go much further, V8 Supercars have to make a priority with their event de-brief to analyze and understand why all of a sudden the Saturday racing was so good. There is one word for it “GRIP”. A race driver likes nothing more than when a tyre or circuit has a tremendous amount of grip. What this does is increase confidence to brake later, lean on the car more in the middle of the corner and also accelerate harder coming off. When you have increased grip levels, you can feel the car better and it also widens up the circuit so it’s not so single file, hence making more overtaking opportunities. I remember last year when Winton did the botch track repairs and after the first session it spread a “glue like” substance all over the track that made the grip level so high you thought you were driving a Formula One car. The smiles on all the driver’s faces after they had driven on it said it all. It was the same after the first practice sessions in Darwin where all the drivers commented on how much better it was to drive on the new gripier surface.

Now don’t suddenly think this is going to happen at all the other circuits but it can be achieved. I have been shouting out behind the scenes for some time for a softer, gripier and better tyre. The current control tyre is way too hard and at the very least, the soft should be the standard with an even softer variance under that. I doubt whether you would get too many drivers that would disagree with this concept. Not anyone smart anyway.

The other factor that spiked up the races on Saturday was the multiple safety cars over the two races. Keeping the field bunched up definitely helped the battles as the cars were so close in pace from first to last. I know this is out of the control of the Race Officials, but I can tell you, compared to Sunday’s race where a safety car mid way through would have made a huge difference, we might have to start thinking how we can achieve it. I am definitely not a fan of manipulated racing but what I have seen in Nascar where they throw the odd competition yellow has a lot of credit. Remember it’s about entertainment.

Speaking of that, considering there was no safety cars in Sunday’s race, I still think it was a good race with many strategies really playing their part. I believe the three guys on that podium had genuine car speed and deserved to be there. I was very pleased for David Reynolds to finally get that first solo win on the board. There was a bit of chat afterwards about cutting through the circuit when he had his little excursion off Turn 5, but at the end of the day he did everything to the rule book. He had the fastest car in that race and controlled the race beautifully so in my opinion, he deserved the win.

Mostert continues to impress me with his consistent qualifying form and consistent race form. I truly believe if he keeps this up, he will be a championship contender this year.

I have to say, unless something really turns around for Jamie Whincup, the boy could be struggling to get his 7th Championship. Why I say that is the current top 5 cars in the championship as we speak I believe are super strong and just seem to be way more consistent.

Of course one of the biggest stories was Lowndes clocking up the 100 wins on Saturday. During our interview with him in the Fox studio you could really feel the emotion that he had in achieving such a great milestone. It was fitting that he acknowledged his current team as well as all previous ones that helped him achieve that unbelievable record. He is definitely the crowd favorite and rightly so. As I have mentioned in previous interviews, I believe he is the most complete driver of our era, working just as hard off the track as on. He is one of the best ambassadors for V8 Supercars since Peter Brock.

So that’s a wrap. Off to Townsville next. Another great event and one of my favorites where I think we are going to see a bounce back from some of our street fighters like HRT and Tekno so don’t think ProDrive will have it all their own way this time.



Welcome To My Official Website


Welcome to my official website.

Up until now, most of my websites have been linked with the teams I have been racing for over the years.

With my change from finishing up full time racing in V8 Supercars last year to a position with Fox Sports, I have had time to create this website and its content. The look and feel of the site is much like most others, the point of difference with this is one is I actually want it to be informative and functional.

I am introducing things like my regular car test segments and will be bringing you news on all things to do with motorsport and inside information that is normally not shared outside the inner circle of motorsport and the motor industry.

As always and what I am well known for, it will be totally unbiased and I am not sure too many other websites can claim that – especially in motorsport.

I certainly hope you enjoy the ride and I’ll be putting out alerts on social media with any new stories on the site.