Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint Preview

This coming weekend the Supercars action switches to Ipswich’s Queensland Raceway, the home track for several Supercars teams. The short 3.12 kilometre ‘paperclip’ track has just six corners, but challenges the drivers with its series of straights followed by tight corners, where the balance of the car will be an important factor. With the addition of four wildcard entries, the field has grown to 30.

Two pieces of good news this week was the signing of a new deal to keep Ipswich on the Supercars calendar for at least the next three years and equally good news that the track is to be extended as part of a $220 million Ipswich Motorsport Precinct project.

Four Team PAYCE drivers will be competing across the main feature round and the Touring Car Masters which will no doubt be a crowd favourite as they battle it out in the fourth round of their championship. The meeting will also see a special session set aside on Friday for enduro co- drivers with the Pirtek Cup rounds kicking off in September. That session will see Team PAYCE drivers, David Wall, Richard Muscat, James Golding and Macauley Jones on track.

Team PAYCE member, Garth Tander is one of only two drivers to have competed in every one of the rounds at the track since 1999 and he has won on five occasions and been on pole three times over that period. James Moffat is also very familiar with the track and had a top 10 finish last year in the Volvo.

James Golding will have his second outing as a Supercars wildcard entry and he will drive Mason Barbera’s Super2 car with some changes to help bring it closer to the Supercars specifications. He acquitted himself well in his first solo appearance at Winton and is expected to continue his impressive record as he prepares for the coming enduro drives.

Once again, the Wilson Security Racing GRM team face the unknown in setups for the Commodores, but as they have shown through the season, they quickly get up to speed to the point now where the cars are very competitive, especially in race trim and just need those few extra tweaks to produce consistent good qualifying pace to have them near the front of the pack at race start and away from potential trouble.

The team’s outstanding strategy planning and the performance of the pit crew have been major contributors to their fourth place in the teams championship and are expected to play an important role throughout the weekend.

Action gets underway on Friday with two 45 minute practice sessions. They are back on the track for a third practice session late Saturday morning, followed in the afternoon by a 15 minute qualifying session and then the first race over 39 laps or 120 kilometres to wrap up the day’s racing program.

Touring Car Masters

Team PAYCE member John Bowe has been coming to this track for more years than he probably wants to remember and is credited with a race win when competing in the premier V8 touring car series. His record at the track in Touring Car Masters is a standout, both when he was behind the wheel of Mustang Sally and more recently with the #18 Holden Torana SL/R 5000.

In last year’s round at Queensland Raceway, JB’s weekend started well in practice with second fastest time then quickly went downhill in qualifying when the electrical gremlins struck, leaving him stranded track-side and relegated to the rear of the field for race one.

He recovered spectacularly in the race to come from last to finish 4th in an exciting surge through the field. Race two was equally satisfying and he soon reigned in the frontrunners to take the lead and go onto a well-deserved win, breaking the race lap record in the process.

This weekend should see John back to his best after a great recovery from his injuries in the recent crash and the #18 Torana looking better than ever in its refreshed livery.

The TCM action starts on Friday with a 20 minute practice, then a second practice on Saturday morning before the curtain-raiser race to the Supercars race late afternoon. They make two appearances on Sunday with a 12 lap race in the morning and the final race of the round in the afternoon.

In what is shaping up to be one of the best and closest championships for years, JB’s main competition will likely include Steve Johnson in the Mustang, Glenn Seton in the Chevrolet Camaro and Jason Gomersall in his Torana UX1.

Bill Smith 0412 446 058