Fears wet SMP night race could be undriveable
Friday 5th November, 2021 - 2:40pm
Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen are hopeful conditions aren’t so bad that Supercars can’t race at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.
The Repco Supercars Championship is set to host its second event of four at Eastern Creek over November 6-7, which looks set to be affected by rain.
The worst of the weather is expected to come on Sunday with the chance of thunderstorms, although showers are forecast across the two days of running.
The Armor All Sydney SuperNight will see three 32-lap races in total with one apiece on Saturday and Sunday under lights.
While the rain in itself isn’t necessarily the issue, it’s the associated glare that could prove problematic.
“It’s not fun, it’s very tough,” said van Gisbergen of racing in the rain at night.
“The amount of spray that comes off these cars with the bright lights on it, it’s not going to be easy, but I hope it’s raceable and we can keep racing.”
This weekend drivers will be required to use hard and soft compound dry tyres in each of the races (unless a race is declared wet).
However, van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Ampol Racing team-mate Whincup said that will be thrown out the window if the rain comes.
It could become especially pertinent if a race starts in the dry and turns wet.
“We’ve got soft and hard tyres; both have to be used in the one race though like F1,” the seven-time Supercars champion explained.
“Two different compounds but used in the same race, so that’s a good thing.
“I think the heavens are going to fall out of the sky, probably Sunday, as it always does, 10 minutes before the race just to throw it in full carnage of what tyres to start on and what to go with where.
“We’ll ride the conditions like the rest of pit lane and try to have the right tyres on the car at the right time.
“I’ve never driven a race car in the wet at night, but the guys and girls that I’ve spoken to who have, [say] it’s pretty gnarly,” he added.
“The spray, with the lights, is another level again. It’s the same for everyone, it’s a challenge.
“Obviously if it gets too bad we’ll postpone it for maybe later in the night or the next day.
“Hopefully, a bit of rain, the glare is not too bad and we can get it done.”
Triple Eight Race Engineering will hope to be celebrating by the end of the weekend in what will be their 250th event in Supercars.
For Whincup, who will take over as team principal in 2022, this weekend’s event is a reminder of all the success he’s achieved in his time with them.
“This weekend we celebrate 250 events for Triple Eight Race Engineering,” said Whincup.
“I haven’t been there for all of them, but I’ve been there for most. I started at the start of 2006. Every single one of my Supercars wins has been with Triple Eight Race Engineering.
“Big milestone. We’ll certainly celebrate, it’d certainly be nice to celebrate it with a win though.”