V8 Supercars teams on damage alert for back-to-back events

The RBRA crew service Craig Lowndes' Holden at Albert Park

The RBRA crew service Craig Lowndes’ Holden at Albert Park

Staying clear of trouble around the tight Symmons Plains layout will be vital this weekend as the V8 Supercars teams tackle a unique offshore double-header.

The scheduling of the Symmons Plains and Pukekohe meetings just a week apart this year marks the first time that the teams have had to follow up the ferry trip to Tasmania with the fly-away visit to New Zealand.

None of the 28 cars in the field will be able to return to their bases between events, placing a premium on contingency planning for replacement parts and componentry.

Damaged or not, all cars will need to be loaded into their respective trucks by late morning on the Monday after Symmons in order to make the boat ride back from Burnie to Melbourne.

The crews will then spend Tuesday morning swapping spares from their trucks to already partially-stocked aircraft containers at Melbourne’s Avalon Airport,  with the cars and equipment flying to NZ in two shifts on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Those in the first batch, mainly made up of the Queensland teams, will be able to complete preparations on their cars in the Pukekohe pitlane from Wednesday morning.

By contrast, the remaining squads will enjoy more time with their cars in Melbourne on the Tuesday afternoon, but will not be able to set-up at Pukekohe on Wednesday until some hours after their rivals.

The back-to-back events ensure that some of the Queensland crews will not see home for the best part of two weeks.

Red Bull Racing Australia team manager Adrian Burgess explained to Speedcafe.com that the small group of his team members who will fly back home between races may well be carrying parts in their luggage in order to assist the race crew.

“The difficulty of it this year is that the cars are all new so we’re servicing certain parts of the cars more frequently than we would with the old cars while we’re learning about them and generating mileage and defined lifing points,” he said.

“Equally on the back of that people’s stock levels of spares are all lower than what we’d like them to be because everyone has been busy building race cars. We’re all trying to catch up in the spares department.

“If you’re organised it (the back-to-back events) shouldn’t be too much trouble, but some things are out of your control, like if you have a shocker in Tassie and rip up a car. That’s when it’ll get interesting.”

This weekend’s Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 at Symmons Plains will mark the debut of V8 Supercars’ new ‘Super Sprint’ format, featuring a double-file-rolling restart to kick-off the second of two 60km ‘legs’ to Saturday’s opening race.

The team transporters will arrive on the Apple Isle during the early hours of this morning.

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