Another weekend…another awesome V8 race!  This is the eleventh year that sees the fabulous Armor All Gold Coast 600 on our V8 calendar as part of the championship, and only the third year with international co-drivers joining the racing. 

28 international drivers join the domestic ranks, and the tight, high speed will pose an interesting challenge for the many Indycar and ex-Formula 1 drivers joining the field. 

Check out the Richard’s F1 guide to this weekend’s action, with a guide to the track and a few of the talking points leading up to the weekend…

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The Circuit

2012 ARMORALL GOLD COAST 600 
image
Date: 19-21 October 2012 Lap Length: 2.96 km
Race Lap Record: 1.10.0851 Will Davison (Ford Falcon FG) 2011
Event Schedule: Free Practice Session 1 (All Drivers) Fri 09:25-10:05
Free Practice Session 2 (Co-Drivers) Fri 11:35-12:15
Free Practice Session 3 (Co-Drivers) Fri 13:35-14:15
Free Practice Session 4 (All Drivers) Fri 15:35-16:15
Race 1 Qualifying Sat 09:35-10:05
Race 1 Top-10 Qualifying Shootout Sat 10:50-11:20
Race 1 (102 laps, 300km) Sat 13:40-16:25
  Race 2 Qualifying Sun 11:10 -11:40
Race 2 (102 laps, 300km) Sun 13:40-16:15
Past Winners: Jamie Whincup/Sebastian Bourdais (Holden Commodore VEII) 2011 (Race 1)
  Mark Winterbottom/Richard Lyons (Ford Falcon FG) 2011 (Race 2)

 

The Gold Coast, affectionately known by locals as the “Goldie” is the perfect beachside location for this high speed, adrenalin pumping street circuit.  The circuit is based in the heart of Surfers Paradise and is a shortened version of the previous IndyCar layout. Now sitting at just shy of 3km, the drivers reach top speeds of 265 km/hr and average around 146 km/hr as they make their anticlockwise way around the track. 

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The Form Guide

It has been a two team race for the entirety of the season, and this is essentially Mark Winterbottom’s last chance to make a final “all in” to have a shot at the Championship for the blue oval.  His unfortunate result at Bathurst meant he is now third in the rankings, 180 points behind the Team Vodafone lad and his on track nemesis, Jamie Whincup. 

It will be interested to see how the international names go, as the heavier cars around a very tight track may cause some havoc if drivers aren’t diligent.  Winterbottom is banking on one of these doses of bad luck it would seem:

“He is over 100 points clear but one mistake in one race could cost him the championship.  That mistake might not even come from him but his international teammate this weekend.” He said to Speed.

"For me it is a risk round but that risk is in my favour. It is a ticket to get back in the championship.

Winterbottom is paired up with the Queensland born Will Power while Whincup is with Sebastien Bourdais for the weekend’s events. 

This may be the weekend where Whincup solidifies his Championship campaign, or where the inexperience of the internationals gives Winterbottom a breath of hope…

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Some pretty random and interesting facts about this year’s GC600:

  • 13 different nationalities (including New Zealand) will be represented across the 28 international co-drivers at the GC600, with France taking the place for the most reprentitives; Le Bleu have 5 drivers on the grid.   The full list of international drivers can be found by clicking here.
  • 11 ex-Formula 1 drivers on the track: The German Nick Heidfeld driving with David Reynolds in the #55 Bottle-O Falcon. Heidfeld interestingly has the record for most podiums without a victory (13!).  The other drivers are Mika Salo, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Gianni Morbidelli, Sebastien Bourdais, David Brabham, Lucas di Grassi, Justin Wilson, Franck Montagny, Max Papis and Stephane Sarrazin.
  • Ricky Kelly will have his 150th start joining an elite group of only 18 drivers in the ‘150’ club.  He joins his brother Todd who will miss his first start since the year 2000 due to shoulder surgery. James Courtney James Courtney of the #1 Toll Holden Racing Team Holden during the V8 Supercars Gold Coast 600 at the Gold Coast Street Circuit on October 22, 2011 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
  • TeamVodafone are on a 10 race winning streak and might just extend it to 11 with the two winning international co-drivers from 2011 – Sebastien Bourdais and Richard Lyons – jumping in the hot seat.  This has been the longest streak since Skaife/Lowndes domination in the 1998/1999 season. 
  • The top-finishing international driver across the event weekend will win the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner killed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October 2011. Source
  • Burnouts have been NOT banned as reported in the paper on Wednesday.  The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that the V8 authorities decided to drop Victor Bray’s drag racing act (involving burnouts) as they didn’t want to “promote the wrong image on the Gold Coast”, but have no fear – the V8 Facebook page reported: "The facts are that the stunt team and the FMX team will perform as they always have, and the winning driver on Sunday will be able to do a ‘burnout’ following the last race, as has always been the case." This is great to know, as you can’t have the GC without a few decent doughnuts! Read more

2011 v8 gc600 burnouts

So it is going to be an exhilarating few days indeed! Racing, celebrities, concerts, predicted soaring temperatures and the beautiful Goldie coastline…what more could one want? We’re excited, so stay tuned at Richard’s F1 for all the action!

Check out the ultimate Bathurst 1000 package!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
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Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Two-time Young Australian of the Year finalist, qualified mechanical engineer, social advocate, author and 'petrol head'

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