Valo Adelaide 500 track resurface creates uncertainty

Adelaide 500 resurface

The Adelaide Parklands Circuit

How a new surface will race is a key question for Supercars competitors ahead of this weekend’s Valo Adelaide 500.

One of Supercars’ marquee events returns to the calendar after a brief period in exile, and old infrastructure such as the pit building and bridges is back despite attempts of a fire sale under the previous South Australian state government.

However, there is also something new, with a majority of the track itself having been resurfaced in recent months.

Fresh tarmac has been laid all the way from Turn 9 back to Turn 7, meaning just Bartels Road, Dequetteville Terrace – sometimes referred to as ‘Adelaide Straight’ and ‘Brabham Straight’, respectively – and the notorious Turn 8 sweeper are untouched.

Drivers will therefore enjoy more grip, but just how much more, and what exactly that means for tyre degradation, is unknown.

“The track being resurfaced is a cool opportunity,” said Team 18’s Scott Pye.

“I’ve said a few times, it does feel like my first time coming back here to race at Adelaide after losing it for a couple of years, and to go back on a resurfaced track, it really is a brand-new place.

“There’s going to be some new challenges, it’s going to change strategy, tyre wear is going to be something we’re not really sure of how that’s going to be yet.

“But, I think heading up into Turn 4 as well, that was always a really bumpy section and that, I think, has been smoothed out, so I’m really looking forward to getting there, experiencing all of that.

“I hope that the characteristics are still the same, through that [Turns] 1 and 2 chicane – it’s always a spectacular part of the circuit – but nonetheless, just with it being resurfaced, it’s really only going to be positives.”

Turn 4 is the first hard braking zone of the lap, namely the right-hander at the end of the Wakefield Street section.

Despite being targeted for previous resurfacing efforts, it tends to be one of the bumpier areas, and hence has been a hotspot for front brake locking over the years meaning cars going long into the run-off area is a not uncommon sight.

Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner expects that, regardless of exactly how the surface has changed, the Adelaide Parklands Circuit will retain much of its character.

“It’s hard to say standing on the side, but I think an improved surface is always a good thing generally speaking,” remarked the pilot of the R&J Batteries ZB Commodore.

“It was very bumpy into that Turn 4 … While it gets rid of some character, I’m sure it’s not going to be dead flat given the street track that it is. I think it will be good.

“We’re all just happy to be there and all the antics about its surface … In the scheme of things, we’re all just happy to be back there.

“No matter what they do, it’s still the Adelaide street track, it’s still going to be bumpy, there’s still kerbs everywhere, so it’s going to be pretty wild and a lot of fun no matter what.”

Practice 1 for the Supercars Championship field starts on Thursday at 15:55 local time/16:25 AEDT.

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