This weekend’s Winton 360 marks the final set of sprint race outings for the V8 Supercars field before fans can enjoy the succession of long-distance races at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast that make up the Pirtek Endurance Cup.
With recent rounds seeing a host of different winners, we could see more new faces atop the podium over the course of this weekend’s three races, so let’s get down to business and have a look at our event preview…
|2013 V8 SUPERCARS WINTON 360
|Date:||23-25 August 2013|
|Venue:||Winotn Motor Raceway, Benalla, Victoria, Australia|
|Lap Length:||2.990km / 1.86 mi|
|Race Lap Record:||1:22.9813, Marcus Marshall (Ford Falcon FG) – 2009|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 11:05-12:20|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:05-15:20|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 09:30-10:00|
|Race 25 Qualifying||Fri 12:25-12:45|
|Race 25 (20 laps, 60km) – First Leg||Sat 15:35-16:20|
|Race 25 (20 laps, 60km) – Second Leg||Sat 16:30-17:15|
|Race 26 Qualifying||Sun 11:15-11:30|
|Race 27 Qualifying||Sun 11:40-11:55|
|Race 26 (34 laps, 102km)||Sun 13:35-14:35|
|Race 27 (34 laps, 102km)||Sun 16:15-17:15|
|2012 Winners:||Jamie Whincup (Holden Commodore VE)||2012 (Race 1)|
|Craig Lowndes (Holden Commodore VE)||2012 (Race 2)|
Self-described as ‘the nation’s Action Track’, Winton Raceway’s tight and twisty rural layout is actually the slowest circuit on the entire V8 Supercars calendar.
With twelve corners in all separated by a succession of short straights, one might think that the track would prove tough to overtake on, but that’s actually far from the case.
A top speed of 225km/h can be achieved on the main straight, but the pack had to treat the opening sequence of corners with great care on the first lap. It’s not unusual to see plenty of carnage as the field tries to switchback its way through the Turn 1/2 complex.
Facts, Stats & Predictions
While championship leader Jamie Whincup may be enjoying a healthy points lead out at the front of the Drivers Championship standings, the 2013 season is actually one of the most competitive in the championship’s history.
The eight rounds held to-date have seen a total of seven different drivers across seven different teams enjoy at least one race victory – it’s been almost fifty years since that many drivers won in a season, and it’s the first time since 2001 that so many teams have shared in the victory spoils.
More recently, the competition has been even tighter. The last seven races have been won by a different driver on each occasion, while only one team has claimed more than one win in the same period.
The combination that has managed to get it together more often than not is Jamie Whincup and the Red Bull Racing Australia team. Aside from a couple of minor mishaps at the last rounds at Townsville and Queensland Raceway, the reigning champion has been a model of consistency and now lies 129 points clear of his nearest championship rival, teammate Craig Lowndes.
Whincup would surely be the sensible fan’s bet for more race victories this weekend, but his traditionally strong qualifying form has looked rather wobbly of late. While he may have already claimed a record-equalling ten pole positions this season, he’s qualified off the first four rows of the grid in four of the last six races.
So while nothing can really be assumed, it’s probably fair to say that Whincup’s main threat will come from the other side of the Triple Eight Engineering team’s garage in the form of his teammate Craig Lowndes. The ever-grinning veteran is no stranger to winning at Winton, and he’ll be keen to close the points gap to his teammate this weekend.
As usual, the other rival outfits – Ford Performance Racing, Holden Racing Team and Brad Jones Racing – can be expected to be right up there, while rookie sensations Scott McLaughlin and the championship’s newest racewinner, Chaz Mostert, will again threaten to challenge the big boys.
The tight and twisty confines of the circuit – coupled with the expected cooler conditions – could play into the hands of the Nissan Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport outfits, with both outfits’ down-on-power engines set to suffer less around the slower track layout. Expect cars from both teams to challenge for top-ten race finish honours this weekend.
Make sure you visit the RichardsF1.com website throughout the weekend for all the latest news, highlights and action from Winton!