Round 3 of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returns this weekend to Symmons Plains Raceway in Launceston, Tasmania.
This weekend will be the 47th time an Australian touring car championship round has taken place at the circuit, which makes it the second most historic race on the calendar – only Sandown Raceway has staged more events with 49 to-date.
|Symmons Plains Raceway|
|Location||Launceston, Tasmania||Circuit Length||2.410 km / 1.498 mi|
|Opened||1960||First ATCC Event||1969|
|Direction||Anticlockwise||Lap Record||51.2622 – Scott Pye (2018)|
Located 30 kilometres south of Launceston, the 2.41-kilometre circuit is best known for its extremely tight and banked hairpin bend at Turn 4, named Brambles Hairpin.
Symmons Plains is a circuit known for being very hard on brakes. There are two main areas which provide plenty of overtaking opportunity: Brambles Hairpin, and also the Turn 6 left-hander at the end of the back straight.
|2019 Supercars Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint – Provisional Schedule|
|Event Dates||05-07 April 2019||Format||SuperSprint|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 11:50-12:20||Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:20-14:50|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 11:10-11:40||Race 7 Qualifying (Part 1)
|Race 7 Qualifying (Part 2)
||Sat 14:05-14:15||Race 7 Qualifying (Part 3)
|Race 7 (50 laps)||Sat 16:40-17:35||Free Practice Session 4||Sun 09:25-09:55|
|Race 8 Qualifying (Part 1)||Sun 11:15-11:25||Race 8 Qualifying (Part 2)||Sun 11:30-11:40|
|Race 8 Qualifying (Part 3)||Sun 11:45-11:55||Race 8 (84 laps)||Sun 14:05-15:30|
Friday and Saturday session times quoted in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (UTC/GMT + 11:00)
Sunday session times quoted in Australian Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT + 10:00)
Rewind to 2018
Last year Jamie Whincup stood on the top step of the podium after the opening race of the weekend and the seventh of the 2018 Supercars Championship season. Thanks to his speed and pit stop strategy, the seven-time series champion secured victory ahead of Triple Eight Racing stablemate Craig Lowndes and the Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden of James Courtney.
The race saw championship leader Shane van Gisbergen make contact with Scott McLaughlin on the run down to Brambles Hairpin, while Chaz Mostert’s race ended early when his Tickford Racing Ford caught fire shortly after his pit stop.
Race 8 of the Championship saw the Triple Eight car of Craig Lowndes go one better than Saturday, storming to victory from pole position to show his competitors he still had the pace and experience to challenge for the Championship. The veteran claimed his first race win in almost two years, finishing ahead of McLaughlin and Whincup.
Van Gisbergen, meanwhile, suffered more misfortune when he slowed with a downshift issue that ultimately saw him finish 25th and last of the classified runners.
The Tasmania Form Guide
If current form is anything to go by then after the domination of the opening Adelaide 500 and Melbourne 400 rounds, Scott Mc Laughlin’s Ford Mustang would surely be the one to beat. The New Zealander has won five of the season’s six races to-date, and with Chaz Mostert claiming the other victory (a race McLaughlin failed to start) it has been a clean sweep for the new Ford Mustang model in its debut year.
One of those teams seeking to end the Mustang’s reign could be the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, which has an enviable record at Symmons Plains having won 20 of the last 28 races here. The championship-winners need to turn around quickly from a disastrous Melbourne 400 weekend that saw van Gisbergen retire from the first race with engine issues, followed by the loss of his right-rear wheel in the second race.
Plenty of other team will want to spoil the Triple Eight party in Tasmania, with a major focus being what impact new centre of gravity rules changes introduced ahead of this round will have on the competition.
The Supercars Commission approved increased ballast requirements for all Ford and Holden runners as part of a technical parity adjustment after finding that both cars enjoyed a significant centre of gravity advantage over the older Nissan Altima model run by Kelly Racing.
Images via Red Bull Content Pool
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