V8 Supercars has told Queensland based teams they are able to test at other state circuits with Queensland Raceway failing to meet CAMS safety requirements.
The Ipswich venue was forced to undergo safety adjustments with the installation of a tyre barrier at Turn 3 to qualify for a temporary Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) license, required to run the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 earlier this month.
V8 Supercars footed the bill for the changes, costing in the region of $60,000, which were removed at the request of circuit owner John Tetley two weeks after the event.
As a result of the removal, the circuit, which is a designated testing venue for Queensland V8 teams, no longer meets CAMS approval in regards to safety.
This change in status has prompted V8 Supercars to offer Queensland teams the option to test at other circuits in the state instead.
Teams were only previously allowed to test at Morgan Park if Queensland Raceway was unavailable due to its busy schedule of events.
Question marks regarding safety at the Ipswich venue have been raised following two fatalities at the circuit last year, including the tragic death of Porsche Supercup racer Sean Edwards.
The circuit also came in for criticism in 2010 when a Mini Challenge car rolled over barriers and into the crowd injuring two spectators at Turn 6.
Champion team Red Bull Racing Australia confirmed V8 Supercars standpoint with regards to testing at other Queensland circuits and are due to conduct a test day at Morgan Park prior to the opening round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup at Sandown.
However, the squad insists safety was not the deciding factor in the switch of venue, according to team manager Mark Dutton, who also claims the team will still test at the facility in the future.
“You can still get insurance policies and things like that so we are still able to test at QR, but because it isn’t CAMS certified now without those tyres that is when V8 Supercars said that we are not going to make that your only option,” Dutton told Speedcafe.com.
“Its not a revolt or a revolution or anything like that it is simply saying we are not going to force you to test at a circuit which doesn’t meet the safety requirements required to run a V8 Supercar event.
“We have taken the opportunity to move the test before Sandown to Morgan Park just because you are allowed to.
“There are some differences there, different corners and changes of direction, things which would be good for Sandown.”
Red Bull’s five-time V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup has been particularly vocal over safety at Queensland Raceway, warning V8 Supercars may not return to the venue in the future.
He also praised the championship for stepping in prior to this month’s Coates Hire Ipswich 400.
“QR didn’t really co-operate well for the race meeting there,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com
“It is absolutely unbelievable.
“We certainly don’t want to support people who don’t support us and use common sense.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t test at QR and I wouldn’t be surprised if the category doesn’t even return there in the future.
“Good on V8 Supercars for spending the cash for the safety of the drivers. Safety is paramount and they need a pat on the back.”
Queensland Raceway has supplied Speedcafe.com with a list of areas which it has targeted for improvements over the last three years at a cost of $2 million.
These include the total resurfacing of the 3.12km layout, the lengthening of the run-off area at Turn 6 and repairs to the Turn 2 gravel trap.
Track owner Tetley has also introduced a new hinged barrier, yet to be ratified by CAMS or the FIA, at Turn 6 following Edwards’ fatal accident.
Tetley this year has elected not to conform to CAMS track license regulations.
When contacted by Speedcafe.com, Tetley issued a stinging response to Whincup’s comments regarding the safety of the facility and said he wouldn’t be concerned if V8 Supercars chose not to return to the venue in the future.
“I think he (Whincup) needs to extremely careful in what he is saying because he is talking out of his arse,” Tetley told Speedcafe.com.
“Has that barrier (at turn three) proven itself with V8 Supercars? The answer is yes.
“If they (V8 Supercars) went away we wouldn’t be crying.
“Now when it comes to testing we run about 110 events a year and the disruption we suffer to our main business really isn’t worth it.”