Jones tipping higher Supercars top speed at Symmons Plains

Macauley Jones is tipping a higher Supercars top speed at Symmons Plains. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Macauley Jones is tipping a higher Supercars top speed at Symmons Plains. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

The Gen3 Supercars are set to achieve a higher top speed at Symmons Plains than the Gen2 machines did, forecasts Brad Jones Racing’s Macauley Jones.

While the signature feature of the Tasmanian circuit is arguably the first-gear Brambles Hairpin, it also features a long back ‘straight’ – actually a right-hand sweeper – where drivers climb all the way to sixth gear.

Jones thinks top speeds will be up this weekend, based on the experience at the first three events of the season.

“I think it’s like 60km/h minimum speed in the middle of the hairpin but I think the back straight is a bit faster than the front straight,” said the Pizza Hut Camaro pilot on the BJR Run Down podcast.

“I think you get to 265 in the old car and I would imagine 270 or something in the new car on the back straight, which is pretty moving.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field is set to race with the taller back-up drop gear option this weekend, namely the 1.042 that is used for Hidden Valley and Sandown rather than the 1.074 normally deployed for Symmons Plains.

That will make for a higher theoretical top speed but slower acceleration off Brambles, although the new-for-2023 engines also make more power lower in the rev range.

Furthermore, downforce has been reduced by more than 60 percent relative to the final years of Gen2, hence less drag.

However, the slashing of downforce will also make drivers more prone to lock-ups, as well as rendering the cars less ‘planted’ for areas of the track such as the awkward Turn 1 hump and the long left-hand Turn 7 that feeds back onto John Bowe Straight (pit straight).

“That’ll play a big part, especially at that last corner where the aero was pretty high in those old cars,” noted Jones.

“I’d say it’ll be pretty loose through that last corner.”

That could be but one of many challenges which drivers face this weekend, with Team 18’s Scott Pye identifying brake fade as a potential drama due to two particularly hard stops and Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison pointing out that first-gear braking and power down will make for a “quite tricky” lap.

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