Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back from a little V8 break to the eighth round of the series, the Coates Hire Ipswich 300!

In keeping with the Sunshine State vibe, we travel down the coast to South East Queensland and will spend the weekend at Queensland Raceway, the lovely Paperclip circuit and – at the time of writing – blisteringly cold temperatures!

Well, weather talk aside, let’s see what is in store for us this weekend…

The Circuit

Date: 3-5 August 2012
Venue: Queensland Raceway, Ipwich, Queensland
Lap Length: 3.12 km
Race Lap Record: 1:10.1637, Jamie Whincup (Holden Commodore VE II) – 2011
Event Schedule: Free Practice Session 1 Fri 13:00-13:30
Free Practice Session 2 Fri 14:10-14:30
Free Practice Session 3 Fri 14:45-1505
  Free Practice Session 4 Sat 10:10-10:40
Race 1 Qualifying Sat 13:25-13:45
Race 1 (45 laps, 140km) Sat 16:05-17:15
  Free Practice Session 5 Sun 10:05-10:35
  Race 2 Qualifying Sun 13:00-13:20
Race 2 (65 laps, 200km) Sun 15:35-17:15
2011 Winners: Craig Lowndes (Holden Commodore VE 2) 2011 Race 1
  Craig Lowndes (Holden Commodore VE 2) 2011 Race 2
  Craig Lowndes (Holden Commodore VE 2) 2011 Race 3

Drive a few clicks west of Brisbane into Ipswich (if you’re feeling adventurous) and you will come across the lovely Queensland Raceway.

If we are to be honest, it probably isn’t the most loved track of the season, dubbed the ‘Paperclip’ because of its relatively simple six turn design and lack of elevation.  Furthermore, the changing temperatures cause all manner of difficulties for the teams as the grip levels change throughout the day.  The track does have a new surface though, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out, especially in terms of tire wear.

It must be said: though it is fairly simple, there is usually relatively entertaining racing.  Turns 1, 3, 4 and 6 (most of the turns!) provide pretty good overtaking opportunities and a great spectacle.  The 3.12 km track averages about 162 km/hr speeds, with a top speed of about 255km/hr. Not too shabby.  Good spectator views are also a bonus.

11 of the 29 cars in the series do call this track home, so there is a small home crowd advantage…to almost a third of the cars.  Welcome to the ‘swich!

Interesting fact? Queensland Raceway shares a precinct with the Willowbank Raceway dragstrip, home to the infamous Winternats!

Rewinding to 2011

2011 was a clean sweep for Craig Lowndes, who took all three races quite easily in his Holden Commodore VE2 for TeamVodafone.  Tim Slade joined Craig on the podium in second place in the first race on Saturday and on Sunday.  Tim Slade was pipped out of second during Saturday’s Race 17 however by Jamie Whincup (who had taken the third spot in the previous race).

Race 16 & 17 saw a return to the format of two 22 lap sprint races with a 15 minute pit lane service in between the two races.

Check out the videos below for a few more highlights of the Saturday and Sunday races.


Facts, Stats & Predictions

Well looking from a championship point of view, it will be interesting to see how the break affects the performance of the two heavyweights this season, FPR and Triple 8.  Between them, they have won the 15 races of the season so far… will anyone on the grid be able to challenge that?

The other big piece of news would be the return of former F1 World Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques ViTeam Voda!lleneuve to the circuit with Kelly Racing, replacing the injured Greg Murphy in the #51 Pepsi Max Crew Holden Commodore.  He will definitely be looking to improve on his Townsville performance.

Jacques left Townsville with a DNF and a 24th place, however he should definitely be more comfortable with the car during this round considering the month off and seat time.   He is joined by three other drivers who will make their first starts in the series, Alex Premat (Fujitsu Racing GRM), David Wall (Wilson Security Racing) and Taz Douglas (Team iSelect).  We wish all the fellas the best of luck!

If you are looking for some heritage, look no further than the trio of Craig Lowndes, Russell Ingall and Garth Tander who have competed in every single V8 Supercar Race ever held at Queensland Raceway!  In fact Ingall has stood on the podium 18 times in the 29 races on the Ipswich track.  Respect!

The teams also have some great history, with Stone Brothers picking up 13 podium finishes since the V8s formally raced on the track, and their rivals Triple 8 picking up 12.  That being said, Triple 8 look in pretty good form for this weekend and their four previous consecutive wins only help that prediction.  FPR will have to bring their all to the track if they want to see the highest spots on the podium.

In all, it looks set to be an action-packed weekend – make sure you keep visiting for all of the latest news and analysis from Ipswich!

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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