With over a month having passed since the season-opening round at Abu Dhabi, the V8 Supercars Championship resumes competition once again with this weekend’s Clipsal 500 event at Adelaide, which event organisers have ambitiously dubbed as ‘The Streetfight of the Century’.
Run using a shortened version of the famous Formula 1 circuit that hosted the Australian Grand Prix between 1985 and 1995, the high-speed street circuit is a daunting challenge for drivers, who will compete in two 250km races on the 3.2-kilometre circuit.
One of the toughest tracks on the calendar, the close concrete walls punish any mistake, and the addition of other factors – for example, reliability issues, fuel economy, pit stop strategy, safety car interruptions and wet weather – could make the race outcome a complete lottery.
Fans will recall last year’s season-ending round at Homebush, where rookie driver Jonathon Webb took a surprise win while title contenders James Courtney and Jamie Whincup crashed out within a few seconds of one another as a sudden downpour drenched the circuit.
A fast car is crucial for this unusually quick street circuit, but developing a good set-up and race strategy is equally important, given the 78-lap race distance for each of the Saturday and Sunday races.
And driver fitness is one of the most important factors in Adelaide. Temperatures inside the cockpits of the V8 Supercars can climb to horrific heights of over 60°C as the heat gets trapped between the concrete walls that line the circuit.
With the 2011 race wins split one-apiece between championship defender James Courtney (HRT) and Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone), it’ll be another tight battle at this well-attended event, which saw attendance figures in excess of 270,000 spectators last year.
As usual, Richard’s F1 will be bringing you all of the action from Australia’s major touring car championship series over the weekend.
[Original images via Flickr]