RED ROOSTER SUPER SPRINT SYDNEY - V8 SUPERCARS PREVIEW
- PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.
Brian Boyd and PAYCE - 2017 Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint Preview
PAYCE Managing Director Brian Boyd has welcomed the return of Supercars to Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend for round 9 of the championship.
"It's been a long break since the cars last raced at the track in July last year and since then there have been lots of changes involving drivers, cars and tyres," Brian Boyd said.
"There was a one-day test in February of this year at the track, which gave teams the first opportunity to try out the new super soft tyres, but overall the general consensus was that little was revealed and that the most benefit came from clocking up some track time.
"Weatherwise, teams are in for a shock after the hot conditions experienced at the northern rounds, with maximum temperatures forecast to be in the mid-teens," continued Mr. Boyd.
Teams Were Caught out by the Track Conditions – Brian Boyd
With Friday's rain clouds blown over by Saturday, all teams were looking toward the short practice to complete the car setups in time for the qualifying session after lunch for race 18.
Brian Boyd of PAYCE said most teams were caught out by the track conditions since they last raced at the venue one year ago when Friday's practice sessions more than determined the tyre degradation levels would be a significant factor over the two days of racing on the soft tyres.
"However, practice 3 gave the team further encouragement with Scotty 3rd fastest and James right behind in 4th," said Brian Boyd.
"Qualifying was a tyre gamble for some teams with everyone conscious of the need to preserve tyres for the race," Mr. Boyd offered.
GRM Very Pleased with 2017 Progress – Brian Boyd
"Strong winds are also set to continue into the weekend which will add to the challenges for drivers and engineers.
"Once again, the Wilson Security Racing GRM team will be behind the eight ball with no past data from the Volvos applicable to the new Commodores," Brian Boyd said.
"However, the Garry Rogers Motorsport team can be very pleased with their progress through the year as they continue to develop the #33 and #34 Commodores for Garth Tander and James Moffat.
"No team has worked harder at the track and back at the workshop in the development of these cars," Brian Boyd added.
"In recent rounds the cars have performed well with race pace, while their qualifying times continue to creep closer to the front runners.
Teams Continue to Bring Upgrades – Brian Boyd
"It is just those allusive fractions of a second in lap times that is the difference between being well inside the top 10 in qualifying or back down the order fighting for position," said Brian Boyd.
"Just when the GRM team thinks it has caught up with improvements, the goalposts shift with the opposition also finding that little extra."
Brian Boyd said the last round at Ipswich was probably the most disappointing one of the season for the GRM team, and despite trying lots of combinations, the team could not get replicate some of the recent performances that saw them pick up a couple of top 10 finishes.
"That is unlikely to deter them though, and a strong showing from all the team members is anticipated as they see the Sydney track as one of their favourites with lots of good memories over the years," Mr. Boyd said.
New Safety Features are Welcomed by the Drivers – Brian Boyd
"Along with many other teams, GRM will also debut the new improved leg protection in the cockpit of its Commodores ahead of the new regulations that come into force from the Sandown 500 round onwards."
Brian Boyd said it's a move welcomed by all drivers who appreciate the increased level of safety the system will provide, especially at the fast tracks where there have been a number of incidents in the past that resulted in injuries to legs.
"The 3.91 kilometre Eastern Creek track with its mix of 11 tight and flowing turns ensures some exciting battles, if past rounds there are any indication.
"Tyres will once again play a strategic role and grip levels are usually low, so a well-balanced car is a necessity to put in fast laps.
"It won't be surprising to see new records set throughout the weekend," Brian Boyd said.
"James had a good run at the track last year in the Volvo and having settled well behind the wheel of the #34 Commodore can expected to do well.
Added Incentive for Garth in Sydney – Brian Boyd
"Garth, of course, is very familiar with the circuit and it was here that he had his first drive with the GRM team in 1999 before moving on to other teams.
"The fact that he still holds the lap record for fastest lap in the V8s, achieved in 2012 in a Commodore, should give him added incentive to put on a good show for his many fans," added Mr. Boyd.
"Despite all the challenges thrown at the GRM team through the year, Garth still sits inside the top 10 in the Drivers Championship in 9th spot and James not far behind in 12th place.
"The team itself continues to sit in fourth place on the Teams Championship leaderboard and will be determined to consolidate that position this weekend," Brian Boyd said.
Action gets underway on Friday with two 45 minute practice sessions. Saturday morning has a third practice session followed after lunch by a 20 minute qualifying session and a 31 lap 120 kilometre race to wrap up the day's program. Sunday will have qualifying late morning before the cars grid up for the longer 200 kilometre race of the round over 52 laps.
This will be the last round before the long-awaited endurance races get underway, starting with Sandown 500 next month.
Go Team PAYCE!