It’s time to pack the bags again and hit the road, this time it’s to the Gold Coast for Indy, err, the Armor All Gold Coast 600.
But Remember my pre-Bathurst column with all the things I wanted to see?
Murph’s record gone? Tick!
A first time winner? Nope. Lowndes and Skaife, the only combination who could have stopped it, stopped it! Nevertheless, a well deserved win.
James Moffat bounce back? Tick! Top finishing rookie and 11th on the lead lap with Steve Richards.
Someone challenge Steve Owen in the Fujitsu Series? Tick! David Russell was unstoppable!
Ryan Briscoe in a V8 Supercar? Tick! Only just, though, as his car very nearly wiped out by Fabian Coulthard’s barrel-rolling performance in The Chase.
A Safety Car between laps 10 and 15? Nope. Didn’t need it really though anyway.
Another first timer on the podium? Tick! Steve Owen scored his first champ series podium by finishing second.
A wildcard in the top 15? Was ambitious! But both entries did a good job and should be proud of their efforts.
A good job on the Toll HRT livery? Tick – it looked great.
So here are the things I want to see on the Gold Coast, in no particular order.
• A big weekend from James Courtney. A win or a few podium finishes would help strengthen the resolve of a team that has been dragged through the mud in the media and internally as well. If Jamie Whincup takes more points out of the Jim Beam Falcon’s lead this weekend, I can’t see him being stopped and he’ll chase down the Ford – just look at how strong his last four or five events have been in the last few years.
• A little bit of rain. Although I think the weather bureau is saying we are going to get it whether I want it or not! It will really mix it up at an event where the racing has generally been pedestrian in the past due to the difficulty in overtaking with hot brakes etc. The variables of a modified circuit, international drivers and some weather could make this an endurance classic.
• Will Power and Dario Franchitti find themselves racing one another at some stage. After locking horns all year in IndyCars, this could be a chance for Will to get one back on the Scot!
• An international on the podium. It’s a big effort to have it occur, but it’s possible. My best tip? Andy Priaulx paired with Craig Lowndes. And that would also be great to close the championship up into a three-way fight rather than a Courtney and Whincup show.
• Patrick Long prove to everyone exactly why he’s among the 18 guest drivers. A Porsche works driver, the American is a very good peddler and will show up some of the other visitors with perhaps more well known credentials.
• A change for 2011. Every primary driver has to have an international co-driver. It just evens the playing field – otherwise primary drivers should be allowed to pair up to protect their championship chances from being affected by the GC format.
• Scott Pruett step out from driving Lucas Dumbrell’s Commodore and watch in awe as Randy Corners climbs behind the wheel at a pit stop. Nathan Pretty’s good friend was on fire on Sunday night at Bathurst – we need to see some more of him!
• The Pirtek Australian Legends. They were a big part of saving the 2009 event and I just want to see them – simple as that! Recreating the 1-2 Ford form finish of 1977 will be something pretty special too.
• A jumbled grid. Remember that Bargs got a Sprint Gas Commodore on pole here last year – which was even a shock to him! Jumbling up the order will put some internationals in a position where the pressure on them will be massive. Some will thrive, others will choke. Perhaps next year we could limit the Primary Drivers to qualifying on Saturday and the co-driver to do the honours on Sunday?
• A good crowd and a successful event. The event is going through something of a rebirth stage so a strong turn-out of feet will go a long way to making sure there is a great vibe around and the event is a success. There are plenty of nay-sayers around, so here’s the one chance to really knock them out of the ball park.
• The whingers about the international driver format quieten up. The simple fact is that the event would not happen if it wasn’t for the international driver element. It’s a brilliant chance to showcase V8 Supercars to the motorsport world and could lead to even bigger and better things. And isn’t it just simply cool to have the likes of Villeneuve, Franchitti and Castroneves racing our cars? Yep!