Van Gisbergen anticipates ‘really good racing’ on West Circuit

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen says a shift to the West Circuit at The Bend Motorsport Park will do away with tyre conservation and create better racing.

After racing on the 4.9 km long International Circuit last weekend, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will race on the shorter 3.4 km configuration for the first time this weekend.

It will mark the second straight weekend Supercars has raced in Tailem Bend, albeit, on a different configuration.

The first weekend at The Bend was dominated by tyre conservation as teams battled to set their cars up on the high load circuit.

However, the West Circuit short cuts the high-load Turn 7 to Turn 12 section, which van Gisbergen expects will lead to better racing.

“I’m not sure if we’ll see the tyre problems or conservation because we don’t have the long corners, but hopefully the race stays good,” said van Gisbergen.

“I think you will be able to keep a semi-aggressive set-up because that was just a tyre killer last week. It was quite surprising for most people.

“Some people fixed it, some people didn’t. We didn’t master it. Hopefully this weekend we can just drive flat out and push.

“It’s never fun detuning a car, you want to be driving it flat out the whole time and not managing and being fully aggressive.

“Tyre conservation was different last week. We haven’t done that for a while. Talking about tyres all the time gets boring.”

Of particular note this weekend will be Turn 6.

Driving Standards Advisor Craig Baird said he’ll take a liberal approach to the policing of track limits, opening up the entry of Turn 6 with expanses of asphalt available on approach.

That, van Gisbergen said, could make for better racing too.

“It’s just so tight but so wide,” said van Gisbergen.

“It’s really inviting to make a pass or try and defend. For racing, I think this circuit will be much better.

“There’s a huge opportunity to make it a wide entry, and then it’s better for passing.

“I think it’s a good thing for our cars,” van Gisbergen said of the shorter layout.

“The (longer) circuit here is awesome, but it just doesn’t suit V8s, but in a GT car or LMP car it’s amazing to drive. But in our car it’s just so hard to follow.

“So having these more short corners, sort of like a stadium section it sort of feels like, I reckon it’ll be awesome.

“It’ll be really good racing. You should be able to do big cross backs, big divebombs, I reckon it’ll be really cool.”

The OTR SuperSprint The Bend gets underway with Rookie Practice at 09:00 local time/09:30 AEST.

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