V8 Supercars introduces ‘lucky dog’ for Super Sprint

The start of Leg 2 of the inaugural Super Sprint at Symmons Plains

The start of Leg 2 of the inaugural Super Sprint at Symmons Plains

V8 Supercars will introduce its own version of NASCAR’s ‘lucky dog’ rule for the second running of the Sixty-Sixty race format at Barbagallo on May 4.

Any car that finishes the first 60km leg of the two-part Saturday race a lap adrift of the leader will now be put onto the lead lap before the start of Leg 2.

Those who are multiple laps down, however, will not receive any lap bonus.

The new rule is a variation of NASCAR’s ‘lucky dog’ system which sees the first car a lap down at each Safety Car period allowed to gain their lap back on the leaders.

The second leg of the Super Sprint already commences with a NASCAR-style double-file rolling restart.

The latest change comes after Craig Lowndes dropped a lap early in the first leg of the inaugural Super Sprint event at Symmons Plains due to a puncture-induced pitstop, ensuring that the then championship leader started the second leg with little chance of improving his position.

Officials have made other minor tweaks to the Sixty-Sixty format ahead of Barbagallo, fixing the break between legs at a set 15 minutes, rather than a “minimum of 15 minutes” as it was previously described.

Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom was one of several to feel that the break had run too long at Symmons Plains.

All cars will remain on pit road for the entire break at Barbagallo, with refueling now set to take place on the pit apron, rather than in the garages as previously mandated.

Changes recently confirmed by V8 Supercars for other upcoming events include the addition of tyre stops for each of the four 100km legs of May’s Austin 400.

V8 Supercars says that the move has been made in order to showcase an important element of the category to the American audience.

The only other event on the schedule to feature four races, the ITM 400 Auckland, provided surprisingly entertaining racing earlier this month despite the lack of pit activity.

Like Pukekohe, the Texas event will be run solely on the hard tyres after a late step away from a mixed tyre format.

Practice formats have also been given a tweak, with the scheduled Friday co-driver running in Darwin dropped on cost grounds.

The co-drivers have been granted additional time in the cars at the Ipswich and Winton meetings later in the season, where the first 30 minutes of the scheduled twin 75 minute sessions will be for co-drivers only.

The dedicated co-driver session on Friday morning in Townsville remains.

More information has also been given on the Townsville tyre format, which will feature 12 hard and eight soft tyres.

The teams will not be allowed to use its bank of eight soft tyres until Saturday’s Top 10 Shootout.

The Townsville event has been the subject of two regulatory faux pas in the last two years, with loop holes exposed regarding the carrying over of soft tyres from one day to the next and the use of the two compounds at the same time in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

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