“Dismal, unacceptable, primitive, arrogant”: Shahin slams Bathurst start lights
Saturday 7th October, 2023 - 11:18am
Carrera Cup driver and The Bend owner Sam Shahin has slammed the absence of repeater lights on Mount Panorama’s pit straight at this weekend’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
According to Shahin, the gentle rise of the starting grid is still enough to obscure the lights for those who are lining up from Row 8 backwards, and there is no repeater.
He took to his personal Facebook page with screenshots of the start of Friday afternoon’s Carrera Cup race which appear to show a marshal dropping a green flag for the benefit of those who are unsighted.
Compounding Shahin’s dissatisfaction is his assertion that said marshal drops the green flag multiple seconds after the red start lights are extinguished.
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Broadcast footage reviewed by Speedcafe suggests the discrepancy was smaller, but still noticeable, and hence a disadvantage to those who qualify further back if indeed they cannot see the lights.
Watch race highlights below
“Ludicrous,” began Shahin’s post.
“Watch the sequence: Disgraceful if this is what one of the best tracks has to offer. Bathurst is almost best in the world.
“Starting lights are obscured for everyone from row 8.
“Instead of investing in a repeater light, there’s a flag marshall that drops a green flag for those obscured!
“Watch the video and the photo sequence. You clearly see the marshall not hoisting the flag until 2s after the red light comes on, and drops it a full 2s after the red light is extinguished, by which time those who have visibility to the red lights are past the start line.
“This is a sport where a tenth of a second is a substantial margin.
“Dismal, unacceptable, primitive, arrogant and ridiculous for a premier track and a premier category #bathurst1000 #supercars #porschemotorsportau We keep learning how to do motorsport better.”
Shahin, through the family’s Peregrine Corporation, is the owner of Australia’s newest permanent race track, The Bend Motorsport Park (or, nowadays, ‘Shell V-Power Motorsport Park’).
There, the Supercars field left the front row vacant this year given the ‘greenhouses’ of the new-for-2023 Gen3 vehicles are far smaller than those of the Gen2 ZB Commodore and Ford Mustang.
That situation raises the question of whether the visibility issue might be even worse for the headline act this weekend at Bathurst.
The Repco Supercars Championship field was also to have left the front two rows of the grid vacant at Albert Park in March/April, although that idea was abandoned in the first race of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, which Speedcafe understands was simply due to a mistake by the pole-sitter which everyone else followed.
Visibility proved not an obvious issue then, but a start light issue during the event meant one race was started with the old-fashioned drop of the Australian flag.
Super2 did not have a flag marshal acting as a repeater for its first race of the Bathurst 1000 weekend, although the Gen2 and Car of the Future vehicles in that field are more bulbous than a Porsche Cup Car or Gen3 Supercar.
The official start time for tomorrow’s Bathurst 1000 is 11:15 local time/AEDT.
HIGHLIGHTS: Carrera Cup Race 1 at Bathurst