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Track tweak to improve overtaking at Newcastle 500 

Tom Howard

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Friday 15th November, 2019 - 2:05pm

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The Turn 11 hairpin has been tweaked for next weekend’s race pic: Mobil 1 Racing/Daniel Kalisz

Supercars has confirmed the Newcastle East Street Circuit will undergo a change to Turn 11 to improve overtaking ahead of next weekend’s Coates Hire Newcastle 500 season finale.

The Turn 11 hairpin has been re-profiled with the corner now sharper while the apex has been moved deeper into the run-off. 

It is hoped the tweak will allow drivers to push deeper under brakes offering up better opportunity to overtake.

Changes to the corner have been undertaken following feedback from drivers and a review of the circuit conducted Supercars’ engineering partner iEDM and consultant Mark Skaife.

Temporary barriers and the inside kerb have been repositioned to complete the tweak.

As a result of the changes, there will be 11.5 metres of additional straight between the preceding sweeper and the hairpin with the circuit’s official distance increasing by 12 metres to 2,641m.  

“One of the changes which we will see here at the 2019 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 is we have actually changed the alignment at Turn 11 so what we have done is straighten up the entry into the corner a little bit and made it a little bit longer than it was before,” said event director Kurt Sakzewski.

“In actual fact the track will be 12 metres long than it was last year.

“We are hoping with these changes to the track we will see a bit more action down at the hairpin and give drivers a better chance to have a crack at pulling off a pass.” 

Sandown 500 winner Jamie Whincup inspected the change today and is expecting the alteration to help the drivers.

“We’re always looking for improvements, always looking at ways to make the track more enjoyable to drive on, plus offer more passing opportunities,” said Whincup.

“I think the change down here at Turn 11 is exactly that. We’ve been talking about it for a couple of years.

“It’s a crazy section, you’re right in between fifth and sixth gear.

“Now with the transaxle change, it’ll definitely be top gear as we come into this last little left-hand kink before we brake into the last section.

“We don’t have ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) on our cars, so the inside-front wheel, all it wants to do is lock-up and run you off into the harbour.

“Braking is really difficult and if a car had a little bit of an advantage, you could get close to the inside but there wasn’t quite enough room to go and make the pass.

“What the change is going to make is a little more opportunity to be able to dive to the inside and complete the pass, which I think is a plus.”

The Newcastle 500 will take place from November 22-24.

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