Supercheap Auto Racing: Sydney Motorsport Park 360 Preview

Sydney Motor Sport Park brings back memories of good results and “interesting career moments” according to Supercheap Auto Racing’s Russell Ingall.

The V8 Supercars Championship returns to the venue, formerly known as Eastern Creek Raceway, after an absence of four years this weekend for the Sydney Motor Sport Park 360, the ninth round of the 2012 season.

Ingall was involved in one of the sport’s most notorious incidents with Mark Skaife at the 2003 season’s grand final at Eastern Creek, the “Shriek at the Creek” race rage furore still receiving media coverage almost 10 years later.

“Well, I’ve had some good results and certainly some ‘interesting career moments’ mixed together at the track,” Ingall said.

“It’s certainly good going back there, it’s a great circuit, but I’m not looking for a repeat of one particular incident this weekend.

“I’d rather repeat our recent Ipswich performance than that!”

Ingall, who makes his 213th ATCC/ V8SC start and moves past Peter Brock into outright third on the all-time most starts list, said the Supercheap Auto team was carrying a lot of confidence into the weekend following its strong performance at the Coates Hire Ipswich 300, where the #66
SCAR Commodore finished fifth and sixth.

“I think we’re going to build on what we achieved in Queensland and there’s a lot of positives pointing to that,” he said, pointing out that almost half the drivers will be new to the western Sydney circuit in a V8 Supercar.

“The track’s changed slightly, but not enough that you have to re-learn its layout – a layout I’m comfortable with, with half the drivers having never raced a V8 there before.

“We’ve also made some suspension improvements to our Walkinshaw Racing Commodores and they will suit the circuit.

“The two day format also makes the event more interesting and that will work in our favour. There’s less practice so you have to get your head into gear quicker.

“It’s a bit like the old days of the three 20-minute races in a day, flat out from start to finish. There’s no sleeping on different setups overnight, you have to make the right calls quickly and get on with the racing.”

This weekend’s event format sees a pair of races – the first time a two-race format has been used at the circuit by the V8s since 2005. The first, on Saturday, will be a 140-kilometre (36 lap) contest, while Sunday features a 220-kilometre (56 lap) race.

Teams have been allocated 16 hard and eight soft tyres for the event with it being the first time the softs have been used for racing, though the V8s did run on them at last year’s pre-season test day.

The Sydney Motor Sport Park 360 is just a two day event with two practice sessions, qualifying and Race 18 on Saturday, with practice, qualifying and Race 19 following Sunday.

The event will be broadcast live on Channel 7 and 7 mate, check your local guides for full details.