The KL City Grand Prix course has been labelled as ‘crazy’ and ‘ballsy’ by the V8 Supercars stars following a brief hit-out in wet conditions today.
The five V8 Supercars were granted just a single 20 minute session after delays in completing the circuit ensured track action started more than five hours later than planned.
A series of narrow, high-speed sweepers leading into slow corners provide what pace-setter Chaz Mostert describes as a ‘Gran Turismo-like’ video game feel to the 3.2km venue.
“It’s pretty unique. It’s very tight but fast and flowing, with a couple of big stops thrown in as well,” Mostert told Speedcafe.com.
“There’s room to get passes done if needed, but there’s plenty of places where it’s only one-line, which will require a bit of a gentleman’s agreement for the races.
“Being fast will be about having a point and squirt car with good turn and braking. It’s not about the mid-corner so much.
“We’ll head into qualifying with the base set-up we’ve run all year and see how we go.”
Nissan’s Todd Kelly was slowest in the session, a full 4.18s adrift of Mostert, as he struggled with front-locking into the blind corners.
“It’s a pretty crazy place, by far the craziest street circuit I’ve ever driven on,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com.
“There’s some technical corners that you think you’re going to be miles away from and then all of a sudden they appear.
“There’s really not much run-off either if you make a mistake. At least in the dry if you have a lock-up you don’t slide off 20 or 30 metres.
“I was locking fronts quite a bit and extremely cautious, but on a dry track on slicks it’s going to be a real blast.
“A lot of it will come down to how each car rides the kerbs,” he added ahead of qualifying.
“If you’ve got that worked out, the extra comfort it will give you around here is significant.
“Just to be able to attack and know you can take a heap of kerb and recover from it before the wall arrives at your front quarter panel. That’ll definitely be a big part of it.”
Will Davison admitted to struggling with confidence today as he learnt the circuit in the wet while adjusting to the squad’s spare car.
“There’s a lot of camber changes, puddles and white lines; you’re just waiting for the thing to swap ends on you, there’s no room for error,” he said.
“The whole session I was like ‘where does the track go’, just trying to work out where to place the car in the braking zones.
“You don’t see the apexes until the last minute. You either under drive or you go deep and the corner rushes up on you.
“A lot of those (sweeping) corners will be flat in the dry, it’ll be awesome. It’ll be really cool with some slicks on.”
Scott McLaughlin was third fastest in the session and is also looking forward to what is hoped will be a dry qualifying and opening race tomorrow.
“It’s quite bumpy and a lot narrower in some places then I thought,” McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com.
“At this stage it’s just balls. It’s all down to bravery and how hard you want to go.
“A lot of it will be how your car reacts over the bumps. It’s very bumpy out there. If your car can glide over the bumps and turn in nicely, you’ll be going alright.”
“It’s a ballsy track, there’s no doubt,” echoed Craig Lowndes, who was second quickest behind Mostert.
“It’s quite narrow in some parts but bumpy in others. It’s got reasonable grip even in the wet, but of course tomorrow if it stays dry it’s going to be really quick.
“There are a lot of kerbs that we can run at the moment but I’m sure next year will be a little bit different.”
As with many street circuits, pulling off clean passes in the races will require high levels of commitment and a certain degree of co-operation from the other driver.
“It’s going to be pretty tight,” said Kelly.
“There’s a lot of places where you won’t be able to get too close to another car, but then there’ll be some reasonably good opportunities.
“The last section of the track and up into Turn 2 will be really good for passing. It’s going to be pretty hard to dive in under someone at a lot of the other corners.
“Even though the entries of some are really wide the exits are quite narrow, so it’s going to be a qualifying race I think.”
A 20 minute qualifying session is scheduled for 0955 local time, with the opening race to follow at 1510.