The V8 Supercars return to Australia’s ‘Top End’ this weekend for the sixth event of the 2013 championship, the SKYCITY Triple Crown in Darwin.
A regular fixture on the racing calendar since 1998, only three of the current drivers have been on the grid for every race at the Hidden Valley Raceway, Red Bull Racing’s Craig Lowndes, Supercheap Auto Racing’s Russell Ingall and Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander.
Fittingly, Ingall makes his 225th Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars Championship event start this weekend, equaling John Bowe for the record of most starts in ATCC/V8SC history.
Red Bull Racing Australia and Brad Jones Racing are the form teams coming into the event after the two teams claimed eleven of the twelve podiums at the Austin 400. Since collecting his first race win at the ITM 400 in Auckland, Jamie Whincup has claimed another five victories, which sees him lead the championship by 142 points over teammate Craig Lowndes.
The 2012 event ended Ford Performance Racing’s seven-race winning streak and saw the beginning of a run of 11 victories by Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup that extended through until the Amour All Gold Coast 600.
For the first time since 2008, the SKYCITY Triple Crown returns to a three-race format this year. The Triple Crown trophy will be awarded if a driver can win all three of the weekend’s races (between 2009 and 2012 it was on offer to a driver if they could be fastest in the Top 10 Shootout and win the pair of races). However, no driver has claimed the trophy since it was introduced in 2006.
The 2.87 kilometre track has 14 corners and is characterised by a 1.1 kilometre long front straight from the left-hander at turn fourteen up to the left hand corner at turn one. Set up is critical for this circuit with the back half of the track requiring a car that will handle directional changes well, and with the introduction of the Car of the Future this year this could provide more of a set up challenge for teams. The warmer climate up North means that tyre degradation and pit stop strategy are critical to a successful weekend.
Location: Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin.
Maximum Speed: 271km/h
Average Speed: 149km/h
Lap Record (race): 1:09.0149 – Jason Bright, 1999
SkyCity Triple Crown 2013 Format
4 x 30 minute practice sessions
1 x 20 minute qualifying session
1 x Top-10 Shootout
1 x 60/60 Sprint Race (made up of two halves, each of 21 laps)
2 x 15 minute qualifying sessions
2 x 120 km races (35 laps each)
12 x Hard, 8 x Soft. During the 60/60 Super Sprint race on Saturday (race 17), drivers are only be permitted to use the hard tyre.
Drivers are required to use both soft and hard tyres in each of the 120 km races on Sunday (races 18 and 19).
Previous SkyCity Triple Crown winners:
2012: Jamie Whincup, TeamVodafone / Craig Lowndes, TeamVodafone
2011: Rick Kelly, Kelly Racing / Shane van Gisbergen, Stone Brothers Racing
2010: Mark Winterbottom, Ford Performance Racing / Jamie Whincup, TeamVodafone
2009: Jamie Whincup, TeamVodafone / Michael Caruso, Garry Rogers Motorsport
2008: Mark Winterbottom, Ford Performance Racing / Garth Tander Holden Racing Team / Steven Richards Ford Performance Racing
2007: Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team / Craig Lowndes, TeamVodafone / Craig Lowndes TeamVodafone
2006: Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team / Jason Bright, Ford Performance Racing / Craig Lowndes, Team Betta Electrical
2005: Todd Kelly, Holden Racing Team / Todd Kelly, Holden Racing Team / Garth Tander, HSV Dealer Team
2004: Russell Ingall, Stone Brothers Racing / Rick Kelly, Kmart Racing / Todd Kelly, Holden Racing Team
2003: Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team / Marcos Ambrose, Stone Brothers Racing / Marcos Ambrose, Stone Brothers Racing
2002 Jason Bright, Holden Racing Team / Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team / Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team
2001: Russell Ingall, Castrol Perkins Racing / Greg Murphy, Kmart Racing / Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team
2000: Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team / Mark Skaife, Holden Racing Team / Garth Tander, Garry Rogers Motorsport
1999: Russell Ingall, Castrol Perkins Racing / Russell Ingall, Castrol Perkins Racing /Jason Bright, Stone Brothers Racing
1998: Craig Lowndes, Holden Racing Team / Russell Ingall, Castrol Perkins Racing / Russell Ingall, Castrol Perkins Racing