2018 WD40 Phillip Island 500 - Preview with Brian Boyd - Longer Format Sure to Deliver an Exciting Race Meeting
- PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said this weekend sees the Supercars round at the fast and flowing 4.45 kilometre Phillip Island circuit and a continuation of the race format from last year of two 250 kilometre races, rather than the shorter sprint races of earlier years.
"High on everyone's minds will be tyres, following the devastation last year when there were no less than 15 blowouts on the then new 2017 specification Dunlops," Brian said.
"Low tyre pressures and excessive negative camber proved too much for the tyres and resulted in high attrition in practice and in the races.
"This year, the teams will run the 2016 specification tyre, which to date has not been an issue, except for punctures from debris on track and the usual degradation.
Qualifying Times will Continue to be Critical - Brian Boyd
"While I expect teams would like to be more conservative this weekend, the level of competition and closeness of times will likely see many teams risking aggressive setups to gain an edge," Brian Boyd said.
"Good qualifying times will continue to be critical to a good race result and this is where the Wilson Security Racing GRM team is looking for improvement as they continue with the development of the new cars.
"The team will arrive at the Phillip Island track generally pleased with the performance of the new Commodore ZBs and with a podium from Adelaide and several top ten finishes to their credit after three rounds," Mr. Boyd said.
Phillip Island Holds Great Memories for Garth - Brian Boyd
"Phillip Island has long been a favourite of the Garry Rogers Motorsport team and for Team PAYCE racer, Garth Tander, it holds great memories."
The circuit was where Garth made his V8 Supercars debut 20 years ago in a GRM Holden and then chalked up wins for GRM in 2000. Garth subsequently won again at the track in 2007 and 2008 and more recently in 2013.
Brian recalled that last year the Wilson Security Racing GRM team arrived at the track with new Holden Commodore VFs, having switched from Volvos.
"They had no real data for reference and were still very much in development mode," Mr. Boyd said.
"This year it is a more level playing field with all Commodore ZB teams having their first true test on the fast Phillip Island circuit.
2017 Saturday Race: Tyre Woes - Brian Boyd
"Race one last year on Saturday developed into one of attrition as tyres blew at an alarming rate. James Moffat's car was one of the unlucky ones."
Brian Boyd said Garth was able to keep his tyres intact and half way through the race he found himself in a good position for a top finish.
"With good pit strategy and determined driving, Garth made his way up the order and in front. Unfortunately, a Safety Car intervention brought the field back together and gave the cars with fresh tyres another chance to get back in the game," he said.
""Despite the challenges, Garth was able to hold on to third place at the chequered flag and give the team its first podium of the season.
"Sunday's race was less dramatic, however Garth was pushed off track at one point but fought back strongly to record a 7th placing and contribute to the team's 4th place in the teams championship.
"The Wilson Security Racing GRM team went away from last year's meeting all smiles so here's hoping for a similar outcome this weekend," Brian Boyd finished.
The track action begins on Friday with two 40 minute practice sessions. Saturday is race one preceded by a 20 minute midday qualifying session to set the grid for the final race of the day over 57 laps. Sunday is a similar format with an earlier qualifying session of 20 minutes and the main feature of the weekend over another 57 laps or 250 kilometres.
Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup: Phillip Island 2018 will be the Longest Solo Driver's Event to Date – Brian Boyd – Brian Boyd
Brian said the 2018 series is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in its history.
"This weekend will see a full complement of 26 cars contest two 111 kilometre endurance races over 25 laps," he said.
"On a historical note, Phillip Island hosted the first ever round of the series back in 2003, which was won by Jim Richards.
"The two long-distance races mark the start of the six-race Endurance Cup, an initiative introduced last year with the full support of all drivers and teams."
Brian pointed out that the races will be the longest solo driver's event to date, surpassing last year's event at Bathurst over 93 kilometres.
"In recent years, the track hosted a Pro-Am event where the driving duties were split between two drivers. This year will truly be a test of both car and driver," Mr. Boyd said.
"PAYCE supported drivers are well-placed coming into the weekend which is the third round of the eight round series.
"Dale Wood in the #100 Porsche is the most successful to date, with seven top ten finishes from seven starts, including a win in Adelaide and three wins in Melbourne at the AGP meeting. He is currently second on the leaderboard.
David Wall Good Form to Continue – Brian Boyd
"Reigning champion, David Wall in the #1 PAYCE Porsche is not far behind in third place in the standings, with three podiums and two fourth places from his seven starts to his credit."
Brian Boyd said that David is just one of two drivers in the field to have won a round at Phillip Island, when he teamed up with Shane Smollen to win the Pro-Am race last year.
"Not to be disgraced, James Moffat in the #38 PAYCE Porsche has impressed everyone with his return to the series and has six top ten finishes, including a podium third placing him sixth in the standings," Brian added.
Action on track gets underway on Friday with two 30 minute practice sessions then on Saturday there is a 20 minute qualifying session before race one in the afternoon over 25 laps.
Sunday is race two, again over 25 laps, with the grid set according to the finishing order in Saturday's race.