Supercars drivers braced for wild GC qualifying
Friday 27th October, 2023 - 7:20am
Changeable Surfers Paradise weather is set to create an “exciting” challenge when qualifying takes place tomorrow at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500, according to Broc Feeney and Brodie Kostecki.
With rain forecast today but likely to clear up tomorrow, the most probable situation is that qualifying for Saturday’s 250km race will be the first dry session of the weekend.
According to Feeney, even a pair of 30-minute practice sessions, as is on the cards today, would be relatively little time to get ready for qualifying around one of the toughest circuits on the calendar.
However, if the weather transpires as forecast, then there will effectively be no practice time for 15 of the most hair-raising minutes of the season.
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“Two, 30-minute sessions, as it is, is very short, I feel,” Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Feeney told Speedcafe.
“It makes it exciting from those sessions going into quali, let alone when they’re wet, so Saturday’s going to be pretty exciting, I think.
“In it in such a short qualifying, it’s going to be [a case of], go out and do as many laps as you can, and go as quick as you can.
“We’ll see what [today] brings but, from what I’m told, it looks like it’s going to be completely wet, and Saturday will be our first dry laps.”
Erebus Motorsport’s Kostecki said much the same.
“There is a little bit of rain forecast for [today] but I’m not too bothered,” he remarked.
“I’m sort of happy with whatever comes, really.
“It’d be pretty exciting if we get all rain tomorrow and it’s dry going into Saturday qualifying, first time here in these Gen3 cars.
“I’m just looking forward to whatever’s coming.”
For Feeney, though, arriving at Surfers Paradise in a Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro rather than a Gen2 ZB Commodore is not so much of a factor, even if the former is likely to be trickier.
“I suppose that’s the obvious one – the width of the car – and the vision’s obviously a lot less in these cars,” he noted.
“I feel like I don’t think about the old car now – I’m just focused on this – so I don’t really compare what it’s going to be like, but it’s going to be a challenge.
“Look, they’ve handled the kerbs pretty well this year – probably not as good as the old car did – but it’s going to be interesting.
“I mean, no tyre bundles is going to make a big difference, so we’ll see what that brings.”
The removal of tyre bundles from the Beach Chicane will further raise the stakes if the weather does change from today to tomorrow, because drivers are unlikely to truly test the limits of the race track in wet conditions.
While most drivers seem to have supported the move, Feeney’s Triple Eight team-mate Shane van Gisbergen is among those who would prefer that the tyres stayed.
He is concerned that the sensors will not be consistent, a problem which has arisen as recently as last year.
“There’s just no reference anymore,” he told Speedcafe.
“It’s just random; you can get more bounce, less bounce, and miss the kerb. It’s a very inconsistent system.
“At least with the bundles, you kind of knew where you were.
“But these cars maybe are too fragile for the bundles.
“So, I think this weekend is all going to be about kerb sensors and drivers complaining and losing laps, which is a real shame.
“We provided, as drivers, a lot of solutions last year and same thing this year.”
On what he would put in place, van Gisbergen offered a number of options.
“You need bundles, or we need a different sensor system, or you need bigger kerbs, so we can’t run them, or a different radius so it makes you go around the corner,” he opined.
“But yeah, same problem every year. So, we’ll see.”
Practice 1 starts today at 11:30 local time/12:30 AEDT.