Rick Kelly and Todd Hazelwood have labelled the new West Circuit corner complex at The Bend Motorsport Park an “interesting” challenge.
The shorter 3.4 km layout cuts out the left-hand Turn 6 through to Turn 13 on the International Circuit.
Instead of going left onto the International Circuit, the cars continue straight to the new Turn 6, which is a tight right-hander.
That’s followed by another right-hand corner, Turn 7, which changes the approach to what is now Turn 8 (formerly Turn 14 on the International Circuit).
Speaking after Practice 1 at the OTR SuperSprint The Bend, the Castrol Racing driver said he expects the new section will provide a passing opportunity.
“It was a fair bit of fun, a very tight corner, you’ve obviously got to try and find a got to find a good brake marker there because as you come out of the crest at Turn 5,” said Kelly.
“It’s a blind approach, so you’ve got to pop over and see what’s going on and find where to brake, I think it’ll be pretty good in the race.
“It was good to see no-one continue around that left-hander (onto the International Circuit), that would’ve been pretty funny.
“It is a little bit different. There’s a lot of talk about Turn 6, but it really changes Turn 7, 8 and 9, it’s a pretty interesting complex of corners.
“It’s constant turning, and I think there’ll probably be a bit more of a lunge opportunity at what will be Turns 7 and 8.
“That’s one to watch out for; it’s not just at Turn 6, it’s the three corners after that that changes.”
Brad Jones Racing driver Todd Hazelwood labelled the new section a “cool little challenge” following his first outing on track.
Earlier this week Shane van Gisbergen indicated that the removal of the high load corners on the International Circuit would reduce tyre wear.
However, Hazelwood said power down on corner exit may mean tyre wear still plays a part throughout the weekend.
“Firing it into Turn 6 a lot deeper was cool,” said Hazelwood.
“We’ve had all week to analyse and come up with the world’s best set-up for this weekend, so it felt pretty sporty, and looking forward to seeing what we can do on fresh tyres.
“There’s a lot more heavy braking involved in the circuit and a lot more drive phase.
“So, although a lot of people are talking about eliminating the high-speed corners and thinking that tyre life won’t be an issue, you’re still in that drive phase for a long part of the lap.
“I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the tyres hang in there this afternoon for the race. From our point of view, the TRG Transport car is pretty hooked up.”
Practice 2 at the OTR SuperSprint gets underway at 11:00 local time/11:30 AEST.