We're Headed South!

Published: 03 April 2019
Scott Pye and James Courtney at Albert Park.
Scott Pye and James Courtney at Albert Park.

Pictured: Scott Pye and James Courtney at Albert Park.

The truck is on the boat, and we are headed across Bass Strait for round three of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, as we call Symmons Plains home for this weekend.

We’re coming off the back of a Grand Prix that saw progression and direction across the weekend, which we are confident will continue when we roll out on Friday morning.

Symmons Plains is a unique track. It’s only 2.41kms long, so the lap times are regularly in the low 50 second barrier. The field spread is small as well, with most cars, if not all, within a second of each other in qualifying.

That means qualifying is vital, because passing can be tricky.

The turn-four hairpin is one of the most well-known corners in Australian motorsport. It requires near-on full lock to get around.

The top of the track slopes down to the apex, so it’s a great passing opportunity, but also the chance to hang around the outside and drag the inside car down the back straight.

There are two 2019 firsts taking place this weekend.

The first is the Friday-morning co-driver session, where both Jack Perkins and Warren Luff will get behind the wheel to open the weekend. It’s their first run since the opening test of the year, so the laps are critical.

The second is the return of the knockout, three-part qualifying session on both Saturday and Sunday.

As a refresher, the fastest 10 in the practice session before qualifying will advance directly to part 2. The remaining 15 cars will take to the track in part 1, with the top five advancing.

Once there, the top 10 of session 2 will advance to part 3, which determines the order of the top 10.

It’s exciting, it makes practice more relevant, and it adds another layer to the weekend, so we are glad to see it back.

Being a SuperSprint round, there will be a 120km race on Saturday, and a 200km race Sunday.

There is a heavy amount of rain forecasted for Friday and Saturday which will no doubt make life interesting…

Co-driver session kicks off at 10:30am on Friday morning, with Scott and JC back behind the wheel at 11:50am for Practice 1.

Scott Pye

“Tassie is a really tricky track. It’s not long, but it’s technical and the lap times are close, so you’ve got to be on the mark or you can find yourself down the order.

“I think as a team we took a step forward at the Grand Prix, but we’ve got to keep our heads down and keep working hard.

“Last year here we had a sixth, and if it wasn’t for a gremlin at the stop, would have been pushing for a podium in the other race so it’s good data to go off.

“With Phillip Island back-to-back next weekend, it would be great to build some strong momentum and bank two big weekends of points.

“I’m looking forward to having Luffy back in the car for a spin as well on Friday morning.”

James Courtney

“Tassie was pretty kind to us last year with a third and a fourth, so I’ve been looking forward to getting back there.

“We followed the right direction across the Grand Prix weekend, and I know how hard everyone has been working in between.

“It’s cool to have the knockout qualifying sessions back, that adds some more excitement for not only the crowd, but for us drivers as well.

“It goes without saying how good it is to have Jacko in for a session as well, his feedback is important.”